Four Level of Shep’s Hobby (James Herriot)

The main theme of this story “Shep’s Hobby” is to reflect the nature of animals that tries to advocate animal rights should not interfere.

1. Literal Comprehension

In this story Sheps Hobby, James, narrator a vet, a cow named Rose, and the dog named Shep.This starts when the narrator goes to Mr. Bailes’s house to treat the Rose, she was suffering from stomach trouble of unknown nature. As the narrator walking near the wall, shep suddenly jumps and frightens the writer. He treats the cow. Next, the day writer also comes to the farm of Mr. Bailes to see the condition of Cow. But still, she doesn’t get out of the stomach trouble. Seeing this the writer felt hopeless. And, this time also dog barked at him while he passes through.

Again next day, the writer comes to the Bailes house but this time he sees the cow in good condition. She is running on the farm. He feels happy. But it is the work of the postman who cures the cow by making running or galloping her. Then, the writer goes to the kitchen of Mr. Bailes to wash his hand, again the dog frightens him. But this time he is so angry and threatens him. Then, again the next day the writer comes to the house of Mr. Bailes but this time the dog doesn’t react to him. And, seeing this the speaker (narrator) was happy.

2. Interpretation

This story is trying to show us nature, the habit of animals. It says animals have also their own way of making entertainment. They have also sense as the human being, they understand what we do, and what we speak, as well as they felt pain and pleasure, as Shep has done. This story stands in favor of animal rights and freedom. Animals do have their own happiness and a way to get pleasure. We should not suppress the feelings of animals. This story also portrays the superiority that humans show to animals. Everyone should give freedom and right to animals and should not stop them from doing the things that give them satisfaction.

3. Critical Thinking

This story is really interesting and informative. However, after reading this story, I am not convincing with some statements of the text. And it creates some questions in my mind. They are:

  •  How couldn’t the veterinarian doctor know the remedy that the postman knows?
  • How can the dog understand the threat of humans?
  • Do all dogs bark only for fun?
  • Can we believe a dog takes entertainment by barking to people?

4. Assimilation

After reading this story I come to know that animals too have feelings. This story has changed my attitudes to animals completely. Before I read this story, I would run away if a dog comes close to me. I would think that it had come to bite me. But now I think that it has come to play with me. Now I love a dog and want to make friend with it.