Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet” as Want to Read:
Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  806 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
The star of The Incredible Dr. Pol shares his amusing, and often poignant, tales from his four decades as a vet in rural Michigan.

Dr. Jan Pol is not your typical veterinarian. Born and raised the in Netherlands on a dairy farm, he is the star of Nat Geo Wild’s hit show The Incredible Dr. Pol and has been treating animals in rural Michigan since the 1970s. Dr. Pol’s more th
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 14th 2014 by Avery (first published August 11th 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Nicole Ncs no i have tried and they are too busy with their show, but may there be luck in the future.
Tell Me Where It Hurts by Nick TroutAll Creatures Great and Small by James HerriotAll Things Bright and Beautiful by James HerriotThe Case of Jack the Nipper by H.L.  StephensJames Herriot's Animal Stories by James Herriot
21st out of 66 books — 17 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jason Koivu
Jan 22, 2016 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
This ain't no All Creatures Great and Small, but it ain't bad neither!

Jan Pol is a veterinarian practicing in Michigan and the star of a reality show on Nat Geo Wild. In fact, it's the channel's most popular show.

Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow is Pol's cash-in-on-popularity book. I don't blame him! I don't think he even wanted to write it, but when the people want it, you do what you got to do.

It's apparent that writing isn't Pol's number one strength. He's an immigrant from the Netherlan
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Aug 22, 2015 Mlpmom (Book Reviewer) rated it really liked it
I have to be honest, this isn't a book I would have normally picked up on my own and having never watched the main character's show before, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I picked this up.

I can say this turned out to be a delightful and even fun and sometimes funny and informative read all about the life of Dr. Jan Pol.

I feel like after reading this not only do I understand a bit more about the life of a vet, but I feel like I actually know Dr. Pol as well.

This really was qu
Jun 06, 2014 Jeanne rated it really liked it
A charming book about being a veterinarian. The stories are folksy and informative. I never knew that Great Danes make excellent and willing blood donors for dogs. I've never seen the Nat Geo Wild show about the author's practice, but plan to look it up on the Internet.
Nov 11, 2014 Lizzy rated it did not like it
Anyone familiar with veterinary medicine know that there's some controversy regarding Dr. Pol's reality show (see here: I've yet to watch it, but apparently he practices veterinary medicine in a more traditional manner, which some critics argue is substandard care. I can sort of understand where he's coming from, as this book does shed light into his reasons for his sort of medicine and his background does make his approach seem more valid.

However, I do
Karen GoatKeeper
Oct 08, 2014 Karen GoatKeeper rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2014
Being a livestock owner I could relate to so many of the things Jan Pol wrote about. It made me regret having no television to see his program.
The book has an easy pace. It is not for the faint of heart as it deals with livestock realities, good and bad. I've had to pull a calf. Luckily it was easy, no adjustments needed and the cow was a pet. I've pulled several goat kids, some easy and some hard. He is so right that it is special every time to hold that newborn still wet and shaky as it finds
Jul 13, 2016 Tina rated it liked it
This book has its' interesting and witty moments, but it meanders all over the place. There are some good tidbits for sure. However, if you are looking for a vet story as beautifully written as one by James Herriot, you will be let down. This book feels like a marketing push by the Dr. Pol television shows producers. I bet this guy is a heck of a vet, but writing a memoir is probably not in his wheelhouse.

Star rating: 2.5. I'd rather watch Dr. Pol's show rather than read his book.

Feb 06, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most people I first heard about Dr. Pol on his Nat Geo Wild show, and I loved it from the first viewing. So as soon as I saw he was releasing a book, I put it on request at the library. This book gives some more background on his life and why he became a vet. I listened to the audio book and it was really well done.
Dec 24, 2014 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
A fun book, but it moves a bit too quickly, it would have been more enjoyable if we had time to really get to know some of the people and animals. Something that James Herriot excelled at; on the other hand every word of these stories is true which I understand cannot be said for Herriot.
Oct 09, 2016 Veronique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elly-s-choice
Leuk boek om te lezen. Heb af en toe hardop zitten lachen en zelfs een keer een traantje gelaten.
Het komt wel soms wat rommelig over en springt van de hak op de tak lijkt het. Er is echt geschreven aan de hand van voorbeelden
Ryan Dejonghe
Aug 13, 2014 Ryan Dejonghe rated it it was amazing
I may have never seen his show, but after reading this book I feel like I know and love Dr. Pol. My co-worker saw me reading this and asked, “Is that the guy that sticks his arm up a cow’s butt?” Before finishing the first chapter, I could reply, “Yes. Yes it is.” Or, as the awesome Dr. Pol writes, “for many people their careers as a vet begin the day they stick their hands inside an animal’s butt for the first time.” This all began in the Netherlands, gloveless, and green armed.

I’d imagine tha
Pol is not the sort of vet you took your puppy to as a kid. He's a farm vet, focused not only on bigger animals but also on the farmer's bottom line. He clearly loves and respects animals, and loves that he gets to work with them day in and day out, but he's also a realist. Will saving -- or trying to save -- this cow's life be beneficial to the success of the farm, or would it be better to send her to slaughter? But he's also clear about his focus on quality of life; saving a horse from ...more
The Incredible Dr. Pol is a show I've watched a lot of. I found it very interesting to see a Dutch vetinarian in America. You can still hear it in his accent, and even some of the things he does and says.

So when I heard he had a book out and had the oppurtunity to get it, I did. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting from this book, but I guess I was expecting more details about his past as a vet and a addition to the tv show. But I don't feel that the book is quite like that. Mostly it just f
Jun 02, 2014 theresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
having worked for a veterinarian (small animal)and having a huge love of animals I thought i'd enjoy this and I did, very much! dr. pol is, as stated in the title a "country vet" meaning that his practice covers mainly farm animals so the book recounted many tales (tails?) of dr. pol's treatments of cows, horses & pigs! there were many stories of births, some with better result than others, there were things that made me laugh and others that had me in tears (the story of the family dog, ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Jaguar rated it it was amazing
"Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow" by Jan Pol is a very cool book about a country vet who lives in Michigan. Jan Pol does big and small animals. He works with dogs, cats, reptiles, cows, pigs, horses, sheep, goats, and then list goes on. He does pregnancy checks, regular check ups, and many other things. In his book he shares his journey to becoming a vet, and he shares some memorable animal stories he has experienced along the way. I love his show "The Incredible Dr. Pol" and would recommen ...more
Linda Hunt
Oct 20, 2014 Linda Hunt rated it it was amazing
What a life story! How blessed each of us would be if we went to work each day doing that which we most wanted to do in all the world!! Dr. Pol has that opportunity, and his enjoyment of his chosen profession is SO obvious in this book. Not only does he enjoy it, but it is his passion. I enjoyed the stories, the experiences, and animals, and the people. The book is written not particularly as an autobiography, although that's what it is, but more as a very enjoyable run-on of many of his ...more
Feb 22, 2016 Allison rated it really liked it
I will admit I never miss the show and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There was more of Doc. Pol's background, why he became a vet, education, love of animals, more stories than could ever fit in the show, and his love of family (he explains the best part of the show is the time he gets to spend with Charles). This book is not for the squeamish though. Some of the stories are about trying to save a cow after a death of the calf and the lengths he has to go to and the smell. Parts of this book ...more
Lisa Martindale
Sep 15, 2014 Lisa Martindale rated it it was amazing
I love Dr Pol and thoroughly enjoyed his book!! It brought together my two passions -- reading and animals! Dr Pol provided many interesting true stories of the animals he has cared for, and his life as a rural veterinarian. Having been a fan of his show, it was easy to imagine Dr Pol retelling all these stories, not just of the animals but of his childhood, and his years up till now as a vet.. I'm hoping there will be another book in the works! I'm sure he has many more animal stories to tell!!
Tim Hodges
Oct 21, 2014 Tim Hodges rated it really liked it
I like Dr. Pol -- more so now that I've read this book. Being a vet -- especially a large animal vet -- is not an easy job. This book is kind of him rambling through 40 years of stories, but each one illustrates his care and compassion for his patients and their humans.
Nov 17, 2016 Yvonne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ik ben denk ik één van de weinige mensen die nauwelijks nog wat van de show heeft gezien. Maar wat ik tot nu toe heb gezien, beviel me wel.

Vanaf pagina 1 was het alsof de show zich in mijn hoofd afspeelde, alsof hij met een recorder zijn verhaal heeft opgenomen en iemand dit letterlijk heeft overgetypt en zo dit boek heeft gevormd. Ook het hakkietakkie uit het boek kwam goed overeen uit de paar shows die ik op tv had gezien.

Het boek was anders dan ik dacht; het was niet zuiver een levensverh
De van Nederlandse afkomst Dokter Pol heeft een dierenartsenpraktijk in Michigan. Over hem is een tv-serie gemaakt, die nu ook in Nederland te zien is op National Geographic. Ik heb daar even naar gekeken, en las toen weer verder in dit boek.
Het is alsof Jan Pol bij je in de kamer zit en je vertelt over zijn belevenissen als dierenarts. Dat zijn er veel, maar jammer is, dat ze toch vele malen hetzelfde lijken voor de leek. De magen van koeien bleven maar verdraaid zitten, er moest weer een kalf
Marissa Mastracco
Nov 09, 2016 Marissa Mastracco rated it it was amazing
This book is about a farm vet in Michigan named Jan Pol. This farm vet grew up and went to school in the Netherlands before he moved to Michigan. The story is about how he got to where he is now, from his inspiration as an 11 year old when he pulled his first litter of piglets to owning his own clinic and being the star on the TV show the Incredible Doc. Pol on the CW. I really enjoyed this book because it went through mistakes that he made when he was an inexperienced vet and how he learned ...more
Maaike De Langhe
Nov 10, 2016 Maaike De Langhe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
mooi mooi mooi...als veeartse heel wat vergelijkbare momenten meegemaakt...en nog vele die me te wachten staan...wat heeft die man ervaring!
"Niemand wordt dierenarts omdat het aanzien geeft of uitzicht op een lekker leventje. De vraag is dus: waarom zou iemand dierenarts willen worden? Ik ben dierenarts geworden omdat ik nooit iets anders heb gewild. Geen enkel dier heeft me ooit ook maar een cent betaald voor wat ik heb gedaan. De dieren kennen misschien mijn geur, maar verder weten ze niets ov
Oct 30, 2016 Dymphy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch
'Dokter Pol' is een boek waarin Dokter Pol verteld over zijn avonturen als een dierenarts. Hij neemt je mee vanaf het begin dat hij een dierenarts wilde worden.

Eerlijk gezegd vond ik het boek een beetje tegenvallen. Het boek gaat van de hak op de tak, sommige verhalen zijn ook langsgekomen bij de show. En als je de show hebt gezien, dan is deze net wat minder leuk.

Wel is het goed verteld hoe Dokter Pol een dierenarts werd. De inhoud is vrij interessant.

Dit boek is er eentje voor Dokter Pol fa
Stephanie A.
Nov 18, 2016 Stephanie A. rated it really liked it
I've never heard of his show, but that was quite an enjoyable shot of laid-back, old school folksy vet wisdom. There were some glaring repetitions that an editor should have caught, but it was like sitting around and listening to stories from an awesome grandpa. I also learned the fun/terrifying fact that calves can sometimes grow inside out, i.e. with vital organs developing outside of their body in utero. That has definitely not come up in any vet memoirs I've read to date.
Geen briljant geschreven boek, maar zeker vermakelijk door alle anekdotes... vooral als je stiekem fan bent van het tv-programma van Dr. Pol
Oct 31, 2016 Berber rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed every single bit of this book!
If I had the time, I'd read it all over again, and again and again!
Oct 23, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing
This book reads like the show is aired. I loved it!!! Dr. Pol is Incredible!!!
Melanie Page
May 25, 2015 Melanie Page rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Since I grew up in Mount Pleasant, MI, I am very familiar with Dr. Pol. He is the vet to nearly everyone in the area, and it's hard not to notice that other vet offices in the area look very fancy and cost a lot, too. I've often read that Dr. Pol doesn't act like a modern vet, but when I compare the differences just by looking around, I can't help that his old-fashioned practice focuses on animals and not looking shiny, modern, and, well, expensive.

Now for my review, which is solely about the bo
Nov 28, 2016 Tracy rated it liked it
In the tradition of James Herriot, Jan Pol is a country vet- this time in Michigan's dairy district. He also has had a TV show- although his is not scripted.
This was an interesting, if repetitive, look at being a country vet in the US. Trained in the Netherlands, and moving to the US to be with his wife, Dr. Pol tells stories of animal births, deaths, illnesses, and, yes, checking cows for pregnancy. He has a dry, almost stoic sense of humor, and it caused me to chuckle often throughout the boo
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow by Jan Pol- 3 stars 2 10 Nov 30, 2016 01:57PM  
  • Lucky Dog: How Being a Veterinarian Saved My Life
  • This Man's Army
  • It's a Wild Life: How My Life Became a Zoo
  • Into Great Silence: A Memoir of Discovery and Loss among Vanishing Orcas
  • Chasing Spirits: The Building of the "Ghost Adventures" Crew
  • The Lieutenant Don't Know: One Marine's Story of Warfare and Combat Logistics in Afghanistan
  • The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue
  • C'Mon, Get Happy: Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus
  • Busting Bad Guys: My True Crime Stories of Bookies, Drug Dealers and Ladies of the Night
  • The Queen: A Life in Brief
  • The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery
  • The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of "Unadoptables" Taught Me About Service, Hope, and Healing
  • The Ultimate Book of Top Ten Lists: A Mind-Boggling Collection of Fun, Fascinating and Bizarre Facts on Movies, Music, Sports, Crime, Celebrities, History, Trivia and More
  • Population: 485 : Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time
  • Living and Dying in Brick City
  • This Is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications
  • Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's Natural Treasures
  • We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam

Share This Book

“How could anybody not find a woman who played tag with her pet duck attractive?” 3 likes
“I’ve never known an animal to hurt another animal for absolutely no reason. Animals might be protecting themselves or their family, they might be hungry, or they might be territorial, but just to hurt another living thing? No, that doesn’t happen in nature. So I don’t think it’s correct for someone to refer to an awful person as an “animal.” 0 likes
More quotes…