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Friday, September 23, 2022

Review: Reg Pascoe - The Vet They Called God

Title: Reg Pascoe - The Vet They Called God
Author: AZ Pascoe

Publisher: 16th August 2022 by PascoeInk

Pages: 290 pages

Genre: nonfiction, biography


'Don't look now... but God's in the front row.'

This was a frequent refrain at both Australian and international veterinary conferences for decades. And there Dr Reg Pascoe would be: watching and listening attentively, eyes glinting with wry humour behind his glasses. His brilliant mind and unyielding curiosity made him an international legend. His dedication to education and investigation made him a veterinary pioneer. And his passion and breadth of expertise earnt him a nickname no one gainsaid.

This is the story of how a young man from a poor rural Queensland family became the vet they called God.

On a rocky patch of ground in a small country town called Oakey, Dr Reg Pascoe built an internationally renowned veterinary clinic. From that quiet corner of the country, he served as a cornerstone of the Australian horse industry for over fifty years. His self-driven research illuminated shadowy corners of equine veterinary medicine and his commitment to developing professional veterinary organisations and mentoring junior vets enriched the Australian veterinary profession. But Reg Pascoe was far more than simply a vet.

This biography, rich with tales from those whose lives Reg touched, chronicles the life of a great Australian. Despite the challenges that met him during his journey, Reg never allowed himself to be constrained by his fears or the limitations others might have placed upon him. His life is an example of who we might be if we, too, pursue our dreams with fervour and with a genuine desire to serve those around us.

And how in doing so, we might quietly, generously, and humbly change the world.

My Thoughts

“People literally referred to him as God … they weren’t being cynical; I think it was a genuine reflection of their respect for him. Because he really was the leading light in equine work in a public sense.”

Having just farewelled the Queen, it was somewhat fitting to review a book about an iconic figure, a man they referred to as, ‘God’. For over fifty years Reg Pascoe proved to be an integral influence on the Australian horse industry in the advancement of equine medicine. Discoveries he made led to advancements that are felt up to this day. Here was a man who devoted his life to veterinary science, community and family. 

Veterinary science in Australia was in its infancy at the time a young Reg took it up. He would see a growth that would witness the transformation from the unrecognised to the structure, regulation and professionalism we take for granted today. Reg gained international recognition for his skills and knowledge in animal medicine and teaching that would influence thousands of vets throughout Australia and indeed the world. 

Yet Reg’s story is more than that of a humble vet. Here is a story of a young man who inadvertently opened a letter not meant for him that turned the course of his life and many others from dream to reality. His granddaughter, AZ Pascoe, is a Queensland-born Australian writer who has done an incredible amount of investigation and research into this well informed book. She hoped to capture the essence of an incredible life and I believe she has done that and so much more. 

‘The death of someone we love is inevitably coloured by the fear that they will be forgotten – this book, a tribute to my grandad, is my effort to ensure Reg Pascoe never can be.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

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