Ever thought of using an iguana to catch a date? How about using your dog as a private detective or a parrot as a guard dog?

As a veterinarian with about 20 years of experience, Dr. Veronika Kiklevich has seen all that and more. Dr. K., as she insists people call her, is a former clinical instructor at Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where she practiced clinical medicine and taught veterinary students.

Having witnessed many times over the years that pet owners can be as strange as their animals, herself admittedly included, she decided to write some of her most memorable experiences in her first book, Real People Don’t Own Monkeys.

“The book is not scientific—just fun,” Dr. K. said. “I mostly wrote it just to make people laugh, . . . and as weird as some of this stuff is, it’s all true.”

Besides humor, there are also tales of danger, heartache, and just plain bizarre occurrences that veterinary school simply does not prepare an animal doctor for, including how Dr. K and her husband, Steven Austad, learned how to clean their giant python’s cage.

Readers can also learn from the practical advice woven throughout many of the stories, such as don’t feed your dog French fries or chocolate, how to tell if your turtle is dead, and for heaven’s sake, don’t keep your parrot in the bedroom.

Dr. K.’s experiences in the book not only include tales that happened at WSU, but that span the globe. From suicidal cat owners in New York, to raining iguanas in the savannahs of South America, to setting up an emergency spay-neuter clinic on the island of Kosrae while on vacation, Dr. K. brings the reader into her extraordinary life.

J. Veronika Kiklevich with Steven Austad
Sourcebooks
Naperville, IL
2002