A Triumph of Surgery by Dr. James Herriot
· The story ‘A Triumph of Surgery’ is written by James Alfred Wight who is known with his pen name, James Herriot, a British veterinary surgeon and writer.
· Pertaining to his experience and love for animals James Herriot can sense animal needs, diseases, nature, behaviour and habits.
· In this story a young pet dog, Tricki falls sick and becomes inactive due to his obesity and for all this its owner, Mrs. Pumphrey and her love and extra care may be blamed.
· On being contacted by Mrs. Pumphrey, Mr. Herriot keeps Tricki under intensive care and provides due treatment and eventually is able to make the dog healthy and fit without any surgery and medication.
Summary / Synopsis
· Owing to Mrs. Pumphrey’s love, extra care and over feeding, Tricki became hugely fat like a bloated sausage. When she took her dog out for a walk, Dr. Herriot was shocked to see the dog and advised her not to give him unhealthy food. Mrs. Pumphrey gave excuses that when she curtailed his food, Tricki looked weak and lacked energy, she started giving him Horlicks, malt, chocolates, etc. About exercises she told that as the gardener was down with lumbago, a muscle pain, ring throwing exercise wasn't possible. Doctor advised her to keep him on strict diet.
· But Mrs. Pumphrey couldn’t refuse the dog and the dog also couldn't know to say 'no' to food, thus he became obese, inactive, ill and unhealthy. Tricki didn’t feel like walking, playing and even eating. Mrs. Pumphrey sensed Tricki was seriously ill. Therefore, she contacted Mr. James Herriot who suggested that Tricki needed to be hospitalised for its treatment.
· Mrs. Pumphrey was about to faint hearing this. She sent Tricki’s beds, bowls and cushions with him, which were kept in the surgery unused. Dr. Herriot pitied the dog saying that he didn't have any motivation or 'kick' in his life. In the hospital Tricki was kept among street dogs. Doctor gave him only water and no food for first two days.
· Third day, it licked the bowls of other dogs and felt like going out to play with other days in the open space. Tricki had to compete with other dogs for his food. And there was limited Food. As he was habitual of luxurious life style, it could not compete with street dogs and had to remain hungry.
· Next day again food was kept in bowls and Tricki could not reach food pushing bigger dogs away as it did not know how to fight for food. But when hunger forced it to fight for food, it could push the other dogs and knew the real taste of food. He was recovering fast.
· Slowly, he started jumping and playing with other dogs, and soon became active and healthy. Mrs. Pumphrey used to send eggs and wine for Tricki’s sound health but Dr. Herriot didn’t give him any of them. Rather, he himself consused them as well as shared with his partner and friends. She also sent brandy for Tricki and Doctor relished this brandy at night. He was tempted to keep Tricki with him as a guest for long.
· But, after fifteen days, taking a wise decision Mr. Herriot called Mrs. Pumphrey and asked her to take away Tricki as it was perfectly fine. As she reached the hospital in her big black car, Tricki made a happy leap in her lap and started licking her face and jumping over her. All its beds and cushions, which remained unused, were returned to her.
· Mrs. Pumphrey cried in happiness and thanked Dr. Herriot saying that it was ‘a triumph of surgery’.
Irony is all about our beliefs, words or actions that go in contrast of reality.
Dr. Herriot did not tell her the secret of Tricki’s treatment. Being unaware of reality Mrs. Pumphrey ironically considers the recovery of Tricki ‘a triumph of surgery’, but in reality no surgery or medication was done, this is irony.
Dr. Herriot through ‘A Triumph of Surgery’ very beautifully and cleverly brought out the message especially for the parents that their extra care and over protective attitude make their children weak and vulnerable. Growing children need a rough and tough environment for becoming tough and strong to meet the challenges of life.
Important Question – Answers
Q1. What kind of a person do you think the narrator, a veterinary surgeon, is? Would you say he is tactful as well as full of common sense?
Ans. The author, James Herriot, who is also a veterinary doctor, is a very clever, tactful and experienced doctor as well as he is a man of common sense. As an experienced doctor he sensed that Tricki is suffering from obesity and over feeding. He advised Mrs. Pumphrey to keep a strict check on Tricki’s diet and his exercise schedule. His tactfulness is seen in his smart schedule of food and play of dogs in his hospital. He sensed clearly the problem of tricki and arranged wisely for his treatment without any surgery and medication. He is a man of common sense. He gave plenty of water to Tricki and made him fight for food. This healthy practice and his witty schedule of Tricki’s eating and playing helped him recover from his illness.
Q2. What does the story convey? Are there the over protective parents like Mrs. Pumphrey in our society who unknowingly do great harm to their own children?
Ans. The story conveys that extra care and love is not healthy for the growing children and young kids. There are people like Mrs. Pumphrey, in our society, who are over protective and too much worried about their children. This attitude of taking extra care and over protecting nature make their children weak and vulnerable. In fact, they unknowingly become enemy of their own children who require rough and tough environment to grow and challenges to mould their personality.