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The Boston Globe

Books

Book Review

‘The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs’ by Nick Trout

Cyrus Mills is in a heap of trouble. He’s broke, his license to practice veterinary medicine has been suspended, he’s racked up massive legal bills he cannot pay, and though the death of his estranged father has left him with an animal clinic in Vermont, the place turns out to be drowning in debt. Oh, there are two other issues — Mills is an emotional wreck who recoils from human intimacy and he doesn’t interact well with animals. His expertise has been in pathology, rendering him more comfortable working in labs than with Labs.

Returning to his hometown after 14 years away, he finds, due to a bank demand, that he has less than a week to solve all his problems. In six days, can a man pay off his debts, unlock the deep mysteries of his past, discover true love, execute a complete emotional transformation, and find redemption through a parade of peeing, panting, vomiting, pets? Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say the jacket description of “The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs’’ as a “winsome tale” is a clue. It’s a little “Murder, She Wrote” meets “All Creatures Great and Small.”

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