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4 stories from Bruce R. Coston's vet memoir 'The Gift of Pets'

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David Goldman/AP

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2. Mistaken for college-age

While he was still in high school, Coston was given the opportunity to speak with four equine doctors, then go on the rounds with one of them. Coston had cheerfully told the group that he was about to graduate, but was soon cowed by the questions the doctor asked him as they completed the rounds. Coston got almost all of them wrong, and the veterinarian, Dr. Evers, was looking more and more displeased. Coston was crestfallen, thinking the day had been a disaster so far. "Honestly, Bruce," Evers told him after a few visits with patients, "I have some real concerns about your readiness for practice." Coston, confused, told him he'd gotten straight A's all through school. "You're kidding me, right?" Evers asked. He was silent for a moment, then asked Coston about his plans. "I'll be working at camp this summer again," Coston said. "Then I'm headed to Tennessee for college." Evers looked at him, then burst out laughing. Evers and the other doctors had taken "senior" to mean senior in college and had been aghast that an almost-college graduate couldn't answer their questions correctly. "With that piece of vital information, I have to say that you have handled yourself amazingly well," Evers told him.

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