In his new book Creatures of the Rock: A Veterinarian’s Adventures in Newfoundland, Andrew Peacock introduces us to the people who make their living dealing with animals on an in-depth level, as their veterinarian. He relocated from Ontario to Newfoundland in the 1980s to take over a farm animal practice on the Avalon Peninsula, and is still working there today.
Reminiscent of the iconic James Herriot series of vet adventures, Peacock’s “unquenchable curiosity about animals” shines through in these stories of pig and bull castrations, moose relocation, calf birthing, injured pets, spectacular ocean views and funny place names.
While Peacock deftly balances his stories of animal distress with humour, as an insightful onlooker of Newfoundland culture, there is little continuity among the stories. A greater attention to chronology would be helpful and would add to the sense of his growth – both as a vet and a husband and father – over the decades. It would also be interesting, and enlightening, to read of some of his failures, along with his successes, as an animal doctor. This aside, Creatures of the Rock is an informative romp through rural Newfoundland, especially for those of us who mistakenly associate Newfoundland with few animals beyond the moose and the codfish.