Tales from the Tail End

Adventures of a Vet in Practice

  • Imprint: Summersdale
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Price: £8.99
  • Publication date: 5 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9781849532136

About the book

Misty was ecstatic to see her owner but to the nurse’s surprise her owner just stood there and said, ‘What have you done with my dog’s head?’ ‘I’m sorry,’ replied the nurse, ‘what do you mean? She’s just been in for spaying.’ ‘That isn’t my dog’s head. The rest of it is my dog but you’ve put a different head on it.’ On a crisp October morning in 1996, Emma Milne started her first job as a newly qualified vet, a career captured on camera for eleven series of television’s Vets in Practice. Now she tells the full story. We discover the numerous things that can get stuck in an animal’s stomach, how to stop a cow exploding, and – the biggest truth of all – that animals are easy to deal with in comparison to their owners. They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and these Tales from the Tail End turn out to be stranger – and funnier – than you could ever have imagined…


'As warm and entertaining as Herriot, Emma's sense of humour shines through the trials and triumphs of the life of a vet.'

Steve Leonard

'Funny and pertinent to all of us who have pets, and probably disturbing for those that don't!'

Rick Wakeman

'Right from the Introduction any animal lover will be drawn into this enchanting and amusing account of veterinary life. Emma Milne tells of her early career as a vet in practice, in a brilliantly honest and warm way, vividly recounting the ups and downs of the novice vet. A highly entertaining read coupled with the obvious passion that Emma has for her subject matter. James Herriot, in his country practice, would have much in common with this version of life as an animals' doctor.'

Clarissa Baldwin OBE

'Emma is a classic twenty first century vet; young, female and opinionated, with reality television celebrity status. Her tales - of animals, farmers, pet owners and television cameras - are both engaging and entertaining.'

Pete Wedderburn, the Daily Telegraph vet

'This book is delightful, amusing and honest, like Emma.'

Christopher Timothy

'A bluntly honest and eye-opening book that takes one on a most fascinating journey behind the traditional "shop front" of the veterinary world… an absolute must-read for all animal lovers.'

Allen Parton, author of Endal

'A sensitive but sometimes harrowing account of the challenges facing a greenhorn vet directly out of vet school. I found this book a joy to read. I could relate to the fears and exhilaration that Emma felt in those early days and how her confidence gained momentum. The learning curve will continue through her life, but with Emma at the helm, it could only be good for our animal friends.'

Terry Nutkins

'I have every respect for someone who can put their hand up a half-ton cow, and then pull it out to write so engagingly about the experience.'

Andrew Dilger, author of Dash: Bitch of the Year

'The adventures of "Vets in Practice" star Milne, this is the personal side of the TV programme told with great humour.'

The Bookseller

'A great little book that will make both tails and tongues wag.'

David Bellamy

'Reading this book has proved to be a delightful, stunning experience. It is a celebration, an account of some of the adventures in the early life of a young vet. I simply couldn't put it down! Emma Milne writes with gravitas and soul, combined with a rare gift for infectious humour. … This book is a tour de force. … Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to immerse yourself in this book and emerge at the end with every cell in your body happily changed!'

From the foreword by Brian Blessed

'Like reading a transcript of my first job, Tales from the Tail End captures a vet's journey from student to practicing clinician brilliantly... with liberal yet totally well-founded splatterings of crazy when describing our beloved clients and ourselves. A great read!'

Scott Miller

'Owners with ticks, cows with bloat and a boss who mistook the consulting room for a car park, it's all in a day's work according to an amusing new book on veterinary life.'

The Daily Express

'you're going to love this collection of true to life tales, told by Emma Milne - a vet in Yorkshire. Emma was a star of the hit UK TV show Vets in Practice... With the kind on in-depth behind the scene insights that you can only glean from a book, this read educates everyone about how to stop a cow exploding, the truly weird objects that can get stuck in an animal's stomach and, most entertainingly, that animals are relatively easy to deal with in comparison to the humans that come with them. It's also a rather heart-warming read so definitely give this on a go.'

St Christopher's Live Your Life e-zine

'so entertaining'

Yorkshire Post

'A wonderful new book… difficult to put down… the content ranges from informative and educational to downright hilarious.'

Phonebox Magazine

'With TV schedules awash with reality programmes, it's easy to forget how revolutionary Vets in Practice seemed in 1996… From revealing behind the scenes secrets, to telling of the joy, heartbreak and even hilarity that he job entails, Milne has created a no-holds barred account of a vet's life.'

Best of British

Millions of viewers followed Emma Milne's progress as a young vet through 11 series of Vets in Practice and now she tells the whole story, from learning how to stop a cow exploding to the challenges of dealing with difficult owners. A James Herriot for our times, Emma is a very modern vet but with a timeless gift for storytelling.'


'… Here she tells the full story of a working life with animals and shares her adventures, which are at times bizarre and hilarious.'

Your Cat

'Every chapter is filled with stories, many of which are funny or joyous. Others are desperately sad. And there are plenty of strange tales too… Add to the mix, Emma's mischievous sense of humour. The highs and lows of her personal life and her relationship with her own family of dogs and cats. I absolutely loved reading Tales from the Tail End, and can honestly say I found it difficult to put down. An excellent read for any aspiring vet, animal lover or anyone who simply enjoys and entertaining book.'


'If you loved the All Creatures Great and Small books by James Herriot, then you're bound to enjoy this… an absolute treasure of a book and Dogs Monthly's choice for content and well-crafted skill in recounting a fascinating life… Emma is a natural storyteller… her book gallops along at a fast pace, chock-full of fascinating experiences - from heartwarming [sic] to heartrending… Emma writes an honest and blunt account of both her professional and personal life as a woman vet in a man's world… an entertaining and riveting read that was simply impossible to put down from start to finish. From laugh-out-loud moments, to those that put a huge lump in your throat and make you reach for the tissues, Ms Milne's book is an utter triumph in this genre - and secures her position as a worthy successor to Mr Herriot. More please Emma!'

Dogs Monthly

'Straight-talking, no-nonsense vet Emma Milne takes a look back at some of the highs and lows of her career… Less outspoken and more upbeat than usual but none the worse for it.'

Your Dog

'If you've ever wondered what practice life is like from the other side of the consulting room table, Emma's stories will answer all of your questions and leave you roaring with laughter too. … Her observations about the people she meets during the course of her career are reliably expressive and memorable too. … Emma's style is as easily readable as it is honest, and you will turn the page eagerly to find out just what on earth is going to happen to her next with genuine enthusiasm/fascinated horror. …will make the reader realise that the true story of what it's like to be a vet is far funnier than they could possibly imagine …'