"I don't get caught up with things we don’t have. If the computer is down, so what? Let me see the next dog."

The son of an Irish mother and a doctor father from the Dominican Republic, author Castillo enjoyed an early enthusiasm for animals, sports, and wisecracks. His propensity for joking often got him in trouble. His sports interests included both playing and coaching. And his care for animals never diminished. An indifferent student who liked weekends and late nights better than hours spent in class, Castillo found himself after high school with limited opportunities. At his father’s urging, he moved in with relatives in the DR, though he spoke not a word of Spanish. The move would form his character, with his Dominican family, despite their own deprivations, always urging him to try harder, to believe in himself. In that spirit, he finally attained his dream of becoming a veterinarian with a thriving practice and strong roots in two countries.

Castillo writes with clarity and humor as he recalls his earlier years, such as when he was sent to buy school supplies and came home with a hamster. As the title suggests, and he repeatedly emphasizes, he persevered, being lucky in love with a supportive wife and in business when, after some fits and starts, he rose to become the head of a veterinary clinic in Massachusetts. One of his vivid memories is of assisting with care for rescue dogs on the scene in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, recalling the firefighters and police begging him to save a baby finch they’d found in the smoldering ashes. Castillo comments wisely on such matters as the value of money and savings, the gradual changes in the medical and veterinary systems he has observed, and the future that may await everyone post-Covid. His book will doubtless inspire anyone facing similar barriers and everyone who cares as he does for feathered and furry friends.

Return to USR Home