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Book Review
Pet Repair
by Jack McElyea & Jane Warnock McElyea

Review by: Kate Connick, August 2005

Jack and Jane Warnock McElyea's Pet Repair is a self-published, spiral bound, index card sized "book." It has an adorable cover illustration - by Marta Shattuck Romansky - that shows a little boy dressed up as a veterinarian, tending a bandaged dog and a cat on crutches. Nearby, it declares, "Useable First Aid For Dogs & Cats." Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The concept of a pocket-sized first aid book is laudable. Unfortunately, the content doesn't even remotely approach the goal. The 180 pages contain scattered, irrelevant tidbits including pithy quotes, trivia, personal anecdotes, jokes, and cartoons. It is irritatingly cutesy and uninformative.

Written in extraordinarily large print, each page contains no more than a few sentences, at best. Obvious information is missing. For example, the authors mention that "scooting" reflects "an itchy bottom" and suggest applying Vaseline to the rectal area. They never mention the possibility of anal sac discomfort.

Other areas require illustration or explanation. In treating skin wounds, the authors suggest that one "discern if professional help is needed," but never suggest how to make that determination. If the tip of an ear flap is bleeding, they recommend applying bleach and then:

"Apply pad of one-half mini-sized Kotex pad. Hold in place with a sock that has had the toe cut out. Secure with paper tape, keeping this very loose. Wrap tape around and around the head until ear is secured to the head."

Unless someone is familiar with what is being described, this could be more confusing than helpful. A simple illustration would have provided the necessary clarity.

The overwhelming majority of the book contains pointless inanity. Page 172, for example, has a pencil sketch of a horse's head and reads, "The Winner Is... When I go to the race track, I must always pick the best horse because it takes all the other horses running as hard as they can to beat him." If you don't see the relevance, that's how I felt as I read most of the book.

I see no reason to bother with this book. It's expensive, devoid of meaningful content, and fails even to be charming (especially because it's masquerading as a seriously practical guide to first aid). Romansky's illustrations (reminiscent of Carol Lea Benjamin's drawings, but far better artistically) are endearing but are still not enough to make this book worthwhile.

Pet Repair by Jack McElyea & Jane Warnock McElyea
Published by McElyea Publications, 1989. ISBN: 0961562242

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