Veterinarian Karen Fine on the special role pets play in our lives

A woman poses next to a book
Veterinarian Karen Fine knows how important our pets are to us. She’s spent more than 20 years helping families with their furry loved ones. Her new book, “The Other Family Doctor,” explores how the pet-caretaker relationship enriches us all.
Courtesy photos

It helps for a veterinarian to be an animal lover.

It doesn’t help for her to be allergic to cats.

But Karen Fine didn’t let that stop her. Nor was she cowered by the fact that, in the 1980s, when she went to vet school, almost all the students were male. She followed in her physician grandfather’s path and became a veterinarian who made house calls, “laid hands” on her patients and always took time to listen — both to the pets and the caretakers.

Fine’s new book, “The Other Family Doctor” is a collection of stories she amassed while practicing veterinary medicine. But it also functions as a memoir. She weaves in tales of her own pets: the birds, cats, and dogs who have taught her that caring for the animals in our lives can teach us to better care for ourselves.

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Join MPR News host Kerri Miller as she talks with Fine about pets, mindfulness and how even vets struggle with knowing when it’s time to say good-bye.


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