Encinitas veterinarian releases debut book ‘If You’ve Ever Loved a Dog’

Heidolph's book contains a series of vignettes about her dogs and other stories.

Encinitas-based veterinarian Vera Heidolph recently released her debut book “If You’ve Ever Loved a Dog,” featuring vignettes about her dogs and other stories from her career.

“It is a compilation of true stories about the path to becoming a veterinarian,” said Heidolph, who completed pre-vet studies at Rutgers University, her doctor of veterinary medicine at Ontario Veterinary College, and a small animal medicine and surgery internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey. “Part of that path was switching careers from being an investment banker, in international investment banking.”

That change in career was spurred years ago by a midlife crisis at age 30 and a question from her niece, who wanted to know why she never became a veterinarian.

Vera Heidolph

“Those simple questions, when they come from an 8-year-old niece, you can’t really answer with all the complex answers that you think of or the excuses you make as an adult about why you don’t become something,” Heidolph said. “That was somewhat the stimulus.”

Growing up in a small town in Ontario, Canada, Heidolph had dogs, horses and a rabbit. She now has her own mobile veterinary practice called VetBus, and she has also volunteered with animal organizations to do spays and neuters in the U.S. and in Tijuana. Heidolph learned the importance of those procedures in regulating the pet population during a summer break from veterinary school, when she was trained by a board-certified surgeon on how to perform them.

The book, which Heidolph called “a labor of love,” was 10 years in the making. She said her goal is to provide readers with “comforting stories that inspire and make you feel good about that connection between an animal, especially a dog.”

“It’s about saving their lives, whether it’s through rescuing them, fixing a broken leg, or a wounded soul,” she added.

She also said she thinks it will resonate with “anybody who really has ever experienced that love of a dog. I think there are a lot of folks who have.”

With the enduring pandemic, Heidolph said she hopes the book will be “uplifting and inspiring to people.”

“I really see people all over hurting on so many different levels. Emotionally, financially, in terms of social distancing, I think there’s a loneliness that even people who live in families have,” she said. “I really hope that this book can help them reconnect with that love and provide some sort of solace and comfort.”

Heidolph’s book is available on Amazon. For more information about her and her practice, visit