Vet Volunteers series

Five preteen kids—Maggie, Sunita, Brenna, Zoe and David—tell their stories of volunteering at a veterinary clinic in Pennsylvania. The clinic is owned by Dr. J. J. MacKenzie, better known as Dr. Mac, the grandmother of first cousins Maggie and Zoe. The series offers a peek into what veterinary work is really like.

It’s hard to imagine a more positive older character than Dr. Mac. Tall and strong, with short white hair, she brims with energy and is a staunch advocate for animals. She runs marathons, loves bright colors and wears jeans and T-shirts. She’s practical, smart and feisty, calm in emergencies (she says getting upset won’t help) and patient in teaching her young volunteers. Dr. Mac writes books and a newspaper column about pet care and has invented a couple of surgical tools. Yet, it’s rather refreshing that Dr. Mac is not quite Superwoman: she knows what she’s good at and sticks to it.
One volunteer narrates each book, and the five kids have distinct personalities, squabbles, favorite kinds of animals and so on. The kids do some grunt work like cleaning cages and mopping floors, but they also treasure the opportunity to learn by watching Dr. Mac treat sick or injured animals. Exciting, dramatic plots coax readers into turning the pages as the young volunteers discover animals in danger or help Dr. Mac handle emergencies. Through it all, she is their mentor and coach. The books give useful tips on animal care and introduce readers to controversial issues related to animals—from dogs, cats and horses to birds and endangered wildlife.

Previously published as the Wild at Heart series.