Chapter- 1


                                -By James Herriot

Name of the characters:-

  1.  Mrs.Pumphrey (A rich lady who is also the owner of a bulky dog)

  2.  Tricki ( The pet and bulky dog of Mrs. Pumphrey)

  3.  Mr. James Heriot ( The doctor)


                    The chapter, "A Triumph of Surgery" by James Herriot is about a bulky dog Tricki, his mistress Mrs. Pumphrey and the doctor Mr Herriot. In this story the mistress always takes extra care of Tricky and because of that, the dog converts into a very bulky as well as a patient. Further in one meeting when the doctor asks the mistress about her dog that weather she has kept her dog on a strict diet. Mrs pumphrey replies in positive but her way of reply  is a little bit confusing as she tells that her dog is suffering from malnutrition. So she is providing him some malt,  cod liver oil and a ball of Horlicks. Except for these things, she is also giving him creams, cakes and chocolates. Because of these careless routines,  tricky becomes ill and further  leaves eating and walking. Finally he gets admitted to the hospital. There the doctor doesn't give him any medicine but just for two days he avoids foods for him and keeps him only in water. Tricky finds his kind of animals there and begins to mix with them. He enjoys playing, getting others rolled over him and getting defeated by others. In the meantime Mrs pumphrey uses to call the doctor to get the tricky health news. Listening to the news of improvement in his health, Mrs pumphrey begins to send lots of eggs, wine and brandy. These things become a reason for temptation for the doctor but after two  weeks finally the doctor has to inform Mrs. Pumphrey that she can now take tricki back. Listening to this news, just after a few minutes Mrs.Pumphrey arrives at the hospital and the doctor brings something tricky in front of her. Tricky jumps over the lap of his mistress and at last Mrs. Pumphrey thanks  the doctor.



Q. 1.Why is Mrs. Pumphrey worried about Tricki?


Mr Pumphrey is worried about Tricki because he is unemployed. He refused to eat and had ways to cleanse himself. 

Q.2. What does she do to help him ? Is she wise in this ?


Mrs. Pumphrey starts giving him some little extras between meals, like some Malt, cod-liver oil and Horlicks, in addition to his main diet, to improve his condition. She also continues to satisfy his sweet tooth with cakes and cream. She doesn’t give her any exercise. She is unwise in doing so because overreacting Tricki exacerbates his condition rather than improving himself. It has made him fat and lazy.

Q.3.Who is the 'I'  in this story?


'I' refers to the narrator, Mr. James Herriot, a veterinarian.

Q.4.Is the narrator as rich as Tricki's mistress?


No, the narrator is not as rich as Tricki's mistress, Mrs. Pumphrey. We can say that because the narrator seems to be pleased with the way Mrs Pumphrey is spending money on the welfare and care of his pet. 


Q.5.why is he tempted to keep Tricki on as a permanent guest ?


Mr. Herriot is tempted to keep Tricki a permanent guest because of the good food and wine he enjoys in Tricki's name. He does not want to miss out on the luxury of fresh eggs, wine and brandy.

Q.6.Why does Mrs. Pumphrey think the dog's recovery is "a triumph of surgery"?


Mrs Pumphrey thinks Tricki's recovery is a surgical victory because his condition was serious. She was of the opinion that there were very little chances of Tricki's improvement and that he needed immediate treatment. Therefore, his recovery without treatment was a great success, according to her.


Think of It

Q.1.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 ?


The narrator, a veterinarian, is a skilled and intelligent doctor. He treats Tricki well and shows that he is honest about his job. He does not work for the dog unnecessarily and heals it by changing its diet and activities.

He is a very intelligent man as he knows exactly how to ensure that Mrs. Pumphrey is hospitalized with Tricki for surgery. His decision to inform Mrs. Pumphrey to collect Tricki supports her feelings even though he was tempted to keep Tricki a permanent guest.

Q. 2.Do you think tricki was happy to go home ? What do you think will happen now ?


Tricki was happy to return home as he truly loved his mistress and the comfort of her happy life. He had no friends at home like in the hospital, but he seemed happy with Mrs. Pumphrey. I think now Mrs. Pumphrey will control how Tricki eats and how he lives. She can also give him daily exercise as described by her employer before.


Q.3.Do you think this is a real - life episode, or mere fiction ? or is it a mixture of both ?


The story looks a mixture of both. It is possible that rich people do excessively for their pets out of love. It is not uncommon for them to maintain a large wardrobe for them. But a veterinarian is not expected to go out of his way to lie to save an animal. It is not uncommon for anyone to eat food offered in the name of animal health.

Talk About It

Q.1.This episode describes the silly behaviour of a rich woman who is foolishly  indulgent, perhaps because she is lonely. Do you think such people are merely silly, or can their actions cause harm to others ?


Mrs. Pumphrey's actions had a profound effect on Tricki's life. She was overreacting 'and exaggerated Tricki in the name of love. This made him so ill that he had to be hospitalized. People like Mrs. Pumphrey are not only stupid but their actions can have serious consequences for others.

Q.2.Do you think there are also parents like Mrs Pumphrey ?


Yes, there are parents who, like Mrs. Pumphrey, do not take their children for granted. They do excessively for their children / pets even though they know the harmful effects on their health. Parents like Mrs Pumphrey must maintain a healthy lifestyle for their family and pets.


What would you have done if you were:

i. A member of the staff in Mrs Pumphrey's household,

ii.  a neighbor? What would  your life have been like, in general?


i. If I were a member of the staff in her house I would not have followed Mrs. Pumphrey's order to blindly feed Tricki. In fact, I would feed him according to the vet's advice. I will also be skipping to send unnecessary items like toys, matches and more. My life would be very busy, because I would have to take care of household chores and meet Tricki's demands on time.

ii.  If I were Mrs. Pumphrey's neighbor, I would advise her to see a veterinarian and follow the advice carefully about keeping Tricki's health deteriorating. I would also be supporting them during their difficult time when Tricki was hospitalized.

Q.4.What would you have done if you were in the narrator's place ?


If I had been in the narrator position, I would have treated Tricki with the same compassion and love. I would be equally caring as Mr. James Herriot near Tricki. I would be just a little bit slower when I advised Mrs. Pumphrey to put Tricki on a solid diet knowing his way of showing love. I would not eat Tricki's share of the eggs, wine and chicks sent by Mrs. Pumphrey.

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