10 Questions with Marcus Taylor, author of The Ones That Bit Me!


Q1: Being a vet — one of the best jobs in the world?

Sorry to go all Charles Dickens on you: it’s the best and the worst. It depends entirely on the day — or the hour! One moment you are vaccinating six adorable Husky puppies, and the next you are saying goodbye to an old family friend — being a vet truly has its ups and downs!

Q2: It must be challenging too. You are dealing with an animal’s owner at a time of stress for both them and their pet or farm animal. A tricky double act to manage?

Managing those ups and downs is certainly challenging. Working as a vet requires emotional resilience and a healthy work–life balance, which many of us struggle to find!

Q3: This books kicks off with an hilarious recount of an initiation of first–years into Massey’s vet school. Er . . . what do you reckon the university would say?

It was a wild and fun introduction to vet school that’s for sure! I can't speak for them but when it comes to our uh, ‘extracurricular festivities’, I imagine most universities prefer to know as little as possible (don’t read my book!).

Q4: Later you give an equally entertaining account of the annual Mr Vet contest, in which you were victorious. Is that just one of those legendary rites of passage?

Mr Vet is the vet school’s annual male ‘beauty pageant’. The building packs out as it’s a hilarious evening. The wiser men in the class avoid getting up there because you're guaranteed to be embarrassed! There is usually just a handful of men in a given year group so it's a great way for the women to poke fun at them!

Q5: It seems as though over the years your job has delivered you situations that are just made for writing about in a book. When did you decide that you were going to do that?

The day after I calved that cow under the full moon in the first chapter, I sat at my desk and wrote the story down. I didn’t plan to write a book, I just thought it was so special that it would be a shame not to record it. I showed it to my sister and she loved it and suggested I keep writing. I had no idea how much work it was to write a book, but I’m so glad I did it because now the stories can be shared and enjoyed by anyone interested!

Q6: is writing a book harder than working as a vet?

It’s different. Vet work is like doing a series of sprints every day. Writing a book is like running a marathon.

Q7: Your accident was a major setback for you. How driven were you to make a full recovery?

I was determined. I worked hard with my physio and doctors to get as close to 100 per cent as possible so that I could return to work and normal life. The injuries I got from that accident were massive and still affect me today but it’s one of those life challenges that you learn to work with. It pushed me to do many things (such as finish this book) that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

Q8: Of all the stories in this book, is there one that still touches your heart above all others?

When I farted on the elderly lady’s cat, that was inspirational. I kid! It would have to be Fortune the lamb. There is something magical about witnessing the courage of a little lamb to overcome such overwhelming odds. His owner’s willingness to invest the time and money to save him moved my heart!

Q9: Most difficult animal to treat?

Birds! Treating birds is tricky because they are fragile, and their skin is so thin. When they are sick or injured, getting them back to full health is a tremendous challenge.

Q10: And the one with the worst bite?

If you only include the ones I’ve worked with (I imagine a sperm whale bite would be rather painful) I would say camels, especially male camels — their teeth are HUGE! Thankfully none of them landed a bite on me, although they certainly tried their best!