Listening to the Animals: Becoming The Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick


A powerful, heart-warming and inspiring memoir from the UK’s most famous and beloved vet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick – star of the Channel 4 series The Supervet.

Growing up on the family farm in Ballyfin, Ireland, Noel’s childhood was spent tending to the cattle and sheep, the hay and silage, the tractors and land, his beloved sheepdog Pirate providing solace from the bullies that plagued him at school. It was this bond with Pirate, and a fateful night spent desperately trying to save a newborn lamb, that inspired Noel to enter the world of veterinary science – and set him on the path to becoming The Supervet.

Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Noel recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.

Noel has listened to the many lessons that the animals in his care have taught him, and especially the times he has shared with his beloved Keira, the scruffy Border Terrier who has been by Noel’s side as he’s dealt with the unbelievable highs and crushing lows of his extraordinary career.

As heart-warming and life-affirming as the TV show with which he made his name, Listening to the Animals is a story of love, hope and compassion, and about rejoicing in the bond between humans and animals that makes us the very best we can be.


I was so excited for the publication of this book. I’ve watched the programme right from the start and loved it, and my own house is a bit of zoo, so anything to do with animals I just love. And of course, Noel is Irish, so we’re extra proud of him here.

This is a wonderful autobiography. It’s very readable, and so well written. Noel is so honest, as he tells us about his childhood, growing up on a farm, and his love for animals right from the start. But he had some difficult times in school, and it’s inspirational to see how he came through this, and how hard he worked to become a vet.

There are some really hilarious stories in the book. It’s difficult to say too much without giving any spoilers away, but I just loved the stories about Larry the farmer, the antics of some of the vet nurses, and a story about his glasses, I won’t say anymore, but if you read the book you’ll understand.

What comes through so strongly in the book is not only his love and respect for the animals and their families, but his genuinely kind, caring and lovely nature. I was lucky enough to meet him at a recent book signing in Birmingham, and he’s such a nice person. I particularly loved a quote in the book from his mum, who said to him to keep his feet on the ground and his head in a hat – rather than in the clouds. He really seems to have done this.

He raises some very important topics in the book about testing on animals, and about his concept of One Medicine, where human and animal medicine work together, which makes perfect sense.

A wonderful autobiography, inspirational and insightful, and a pleasure to read. Cannot recommended it highly enough.

MY RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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