By Yolanda Ridge, Rossland News
“Truth really is stranger than fiction.”
It may be cliché, but when author Dave Perrin muttered those words at the end of his two-hour visit at the Rossland Public Library on Oct. 2, you would have had to agree.
In a powerful baritone perfectly suited to his 6’11’’ frame, the doctor captivated the audience of more than 20 people with several long readings from When the Going Gets Tough, the fifth volume of stories in a self-published series of memoirs about his adventures as a country veterinarian in the Creston Valley.
A natural story teller—who seamlessly blends humour with detail bordering on vile (especially in the description of every gland and orifice that gets poked and prodded in a pet exam)—Perrin had the crowd in stitches with the tale of a neurotic dog owner who insisted on a midnight examination for a “psychological problem” and the story of a cat, proudly referred to as “the king of the block” by his sunflower seed spitting owner, who terrorized the waiting room and his veterinary assistant.
The laughter dried up, however, as Perrin steered the discussion to Keep it Sweet, a non-fiction account of growing up in the polygamous Mormon community of Bountiful.
Co-written by Debbie Palmer, a good friend of his wife (both previous members of the FLDS), Keep it Sweet won the 2005 Vancity prize for best book published in B.C. on women’s issues.
Perrin’s own tale of survival—following a 600-foot plummet down a nearly 90 degree bank off the Kootenay Pass after colliding with another vehicle that was turning around in the middle of the highway in June 2009—is not yet available in book form.
But that didn’t stop him from mesmerizing the crowd with his personal account of the moments after the crash. The broken neck. The blaring horn. The smoking hood. The trucker who slid down the slope after him.
Perrin credits his survival to meditation and the Beasley and Salmo fire departments who risked their own lives to tie off the vehicle and use the jaws of life to extract him from the wreck while boulders fell around them. At the end of the rescue, “I was drenched in sweat,” said Perrin, “and none of it was mine.”
After extensive rehabilitation, Perrin is now fully mobile but retired his veterinary practice after failing to regain feeling in his right hand. This has also made writing a challenge; but not enough to stop the best selling author from continuing to share his strange, but true, stories of adventure.
To find out more, check out Perrin’s books at the Rossland Public Library or visit http://www.davespress.com/.