Local author writes of life as a vet in Napa

Pagosa resident Patty Latham grew up loving animals and knowing she would be a vet. She did exactly that, even though she had been told by her male undergrad adviser at Colorado State that veterinary medicine was not an appropriate profession for a woman.

“Napa Valley Vets: The Balance of Lives,” available at the library, chronicles her life as a small animal vet, along with husband Jim Latham, also a vet who specialized in horses, from the time they started working out of their truck in California to the time they moved to Pagosa Springs in 2001. Most of the book centers on their life starting in 1977 after they bought a practice and a clinic on seven acres of land in the Napa Valley where they also raised two sons.

For animal lovers who enjoy reading about puppies and kittens, dogs and cats, this is a fun read. You come to love them all, from Merlin the Welsh corgi and Molly the Irish setter to Tasha the black lab and Yogi, a short-haired tiger cat. You also meet the occasional fawn, hawk, goose, emu, deer, cow, pig, goat and sheep – and, of course, many horses.

Twenty-four years later they retired and returned to the mountains of Colorado. They had seen Pagosa and fallen in love with our spectacular scenery when they were students at CSU, and done some relief work for local vets here as well. The boys had grown and gone, and it was time for a new phase of their life. They now operate Mill Creek Veterinary Services, an equine only general practice here in Pagosa Springs. “We never got Colorado our of our hearts,” Patti says. “We had to come back.”

New novels

“Wesley the Owl: The remarkable love story of an owl and his girl” by Stacy O’Brien is the poignant story of their two decades together.

“Bride Island” by Alexandra Enders is the story of a recovered alcoholic trying to regain custody of her young daughter.

“The Tsarina’s Daughter” by Carolly Erickson is a historical novel about Grand Duchess Tatiana, daughter of Tsar Nicholar II.

“The Third Angel” by Alice Hoffman tells of three women, all in love with the wrong men, and another woman who blames herself for a tragic accident.

“The Truth About Diamonds” by Nicole Richie is a novel about the adopted daughter of a rock superstar and his wife.

This new edition of “The Arabian Nights” is based on the translations by Richard F. Burton.

Books on CD

“Nothing to Lose” by Lee Child is the latest in the Jack Reacher thriller series. “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski is set in the remote reaches of northern Wisconsin.

Financial advice

“The Estate Planning Toolkit” by attorney Dianel Sitarz includes a CD-Rom with hundreds of easy-to-use legal forms. “Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World” by longtime Wall Street commentator James J. Cramer. “Home Rich” by Gerry Willis offers advice on buying, maintaining and selling your home so you come out ahead financially. “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches” by Jeff Yeager teaches you how to enjoy life more by spending less.

Mysteries and suspense

“Fire and Ice” by Julie Garwood is an contemporary romantic suspense novel set in Alaska. “Rumpole Misbehaves” by John Mortimer is one of 16 in the English mystery series featuring Rumpole, a crafty old barrister. “The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes” by Diane Chamberlain tells of an infant missing after her mother disappears. “Rough Weather” is Robert B. Parker’s latest Spenser mystery. “Silence” by Thomas Perry is a psychological thriller about what happens when people want to find a woman who disappeared six years ago. “Wolves Eat Dogs” by Martin Cruz Smith is another in the Arkady Renko series of mysteries set in Russia. “Scarpetta” by Patricia Cornwall is the latest mystery featuring forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta.

Environmentally friendly advice

“Crafting Log Homes Solar Style” by Rex A. and LaVonne Ewing” is a guide to self-sufficiency. “Careers in Renewable Energy” by Gregory McNamee is a practical guide to getting a green job. “Homebrew Wind Power” by Dan Bartmann and Dan Fink is a hands-on guide to harnessing the wind.

Other nonfiction

“Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” by John Wood, creator of Room to Read, tells of his odyssey top educate the world’s children. “The Best Life Diet Cookbook” by Bob Greene provides more than 175 convenient, healthy and family-friendly recipes. “Mexico 2009” is the current Fodor’s guide to this country. “Guilty” is the latest book by conservative commentator Ann Coulter. “What Now?” by Ann Patchett is an inspirational primer based on the author’s 2006 commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College.

Young children’s books

We have two new board books — “Little One Step” by Simon James and “Rescue!” from the Look at Me series. Other books for parents to read to children include “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” a sing-along action book by Jane Cabrera, and “A Brave Spaceboy” by Dana Kessimakis Smith. All these books have wonderful illustrations.

Quotable quote

“For me it is sufficient to have a corner by my hearth, a book and a friend, and a nap undisturbed by creditors or grief.” — Spanish poet Fernandez de Andrada.

Thanks to our donors

For generous donations we thank Donald Logan and Patricia Howard in honor of Bob and Carole Howard, and Jacquelyn Schick in memory of Drue Hartong. For books and materials this week we thank Jeanette Bean, Kay Donahue, Janet Donavan, Susan Dussell, Lisa Heitz, Dagmar Huffman, Charles Martino, Sarah Mashue, Reyne O’Neal and Curtis Spell.

Web site

For more information on library books, services and programs, please visit our new Web site at www.pagosa.colibraries.org.


PREVIEW photo/Carole Howard
Pagosa Springs resident Patty Latham has written “Napa Valley Vets: The Balance of Lives,” available at the Sisson Library. It chronicles her life as a small animal vet, along with husband Jim Latham, also a vet who specialized in horses, from the time they started working out of their truck in California to the time they moved to Pagosa Springs in 2001. Most of the book centers on their life starting in 1977 after they bought a practice and a clinic on seven acres of land in the Napa Valley where they also raised two sons. They now operate Mill Creek Veterinary Services, an equine only general practice in Pagosa Springs.