Book Review: The Lion and the Lamb & The Rhino and the Rat

Dr Mike Hardwich, the author of the highly acclaimed “The Lion and the lamb” and “The Rhino and the Rat” was once contacted by his daughter’s primary school teacher.  She was concerned that the 11 year old girl’s fantasy stories were getting out of control. Where did the girl get the idea of twelve elephants in the garden, a chimp in the bedroom and two lion cubs running free?  Imagine her surprise when all these fantasy stories of the family pets’ menagerie were actually the absolute truth.

Book review

Title:“The Lion and the Lamb” & “The Rat and the Rhino”

Author: Dr Mike Hardwich – South African Vet

Content: Easy to read sketches of the daily trials and tribulations of a vet

Target market:  Most pet owners who ever had a sick pet, prospective vets or anyone who wanted to become a vet will enjoy these books.

Value: Excellent value at R150 per book

Rating: 4/5


As a wild and domestic animal vet with more than 39 years of experience Dr Hardwich’s books can keep you captive for hours.

In his daily life he has been in some precarious situation where his escape depended on staying calm, focused and level headed.

He shares his interlude with Borang the Italian orang-utan, with his readers on the first page of his book. He was attending to the medical needs of this majestic primate and administered a vitamin injection. Most likely due to the sting of the medicine the ape turned ballistic and he was trapped inside the enclosure with the angry animal. 

His rapport with animals is clear in his interaction with the littlest marmoset to the biggest elephant. He mourns with the orphaned marmoset and celebrates with the Lulu, the fox terrier that defies all science and lives for months with an extensive liver cancer.

In the veterinary profession the one person who knows the vet best is the kennel hand or assistant who assists him with the sometimes challenging patients. In the wee hours of the night after a long day consulting, uncooperative patients and emergencies, a person is stripped from all pretences. One of Dr Mike’s assistants summarised him as follows:  “His spirit calms the animals… he knows no fear… he never panics..”

In his book he recalls the challenges of filming animals for commercials and movies. From convincing lions to attack a stuffed sleeping bag.. without getting in harm’s way .. to trekking with 12 elephants to the desert  for a high budget advert, his tales never seize to amaze. He also played a cardinal role in the “Lion and the Lamb” TV commercial which was aired in the early nineties and was awarded the “Best Advertisement for Peace’, at Cannes. He describes the behind the scenes challenges and the secret on how they convinced the lion not to devour the lamb.

His experiences are presented as short sketches and although his scientific background is evident in the nomenclature it is an easy read. A reference glossary is given at the end of the book for terminology used.  Fun illustrations add background to the book and will please all the young readers.

Dr Hardwich gives a true account of the challenges a vet has in his daily life. He does not only share his success stories but also the frustration when a beloved pet dies regardless of your best effort.  He devotes more than one chapter to the rabies threat and the importance of rabies vaccinations is emphasized.

These are excellent books written expertly by an exceptional person whose commitment to the wellbeing of animals is evident in his tales but also in the establishment of the “Dr Mike Hardwich Foundation”. This non-profit organisation aims to vaccinate and sterilise dogs and cats in underprivileged areas. Approximately 80% of South African pets do not have access to veterinary care and, especially in Kwazulu Natal where rabies is a daily threat to all, making a difference in the lives of these unfortunate animals are needed.

I was very excited to hear that Dr Mike will publish another two books later this year. Keep a look-out for “The Green Desert” and “The Tiger and the Tortoise”.

Review by: Dr Adel Ferreira

Buy the Books

If you would like to buy a hard copy of The Lion and the Lamb – Memoirs of a Vet or The Rhino and the Rat – Further Memoirs of a Vet directly from Mike Hardwich please place your order (banking details will be provided to you) via:

PHONE: +27 31 7652123 (office hours)

For Kindle owners, both e.books are available for download from Amazon.


The Tiger and the Tortoise will be published in October 2014.



Mike Hardwich is a dedicated vet who has worked with wild and domestic animals for over thirty-nine years. He assists whenever the need arises and has an extraordinary rapport with all living things.

This is perhaps best summed up by the late Sam Ngwena, who spent forty years in all working for various vets as an assistant and the last six of his life working with Mike: “Mike is a white African who understands animals like no other. His spirit calms them; he knows no fear and never panics. He makes our really difficult work seem easy. We seldom have to restrain an animal patient; there is a calming spirit in our practice because of him.”

Follow Mike on Facebook

Follow Mike on Twitter



Product :         The Lion and the Lamb
                      The Rhino and the Rat

Category :       Books

This weekend we are giving away 4 books. Are you going to be one one of these 4 lucky readers?

Prizes:             4 books up for grabs!

Question: Which one of the 2 books would you like to win? Post your answer to our Facebook page with the message #FreebieFriday- and stand a chance to be in the lucky draw. Remember to LIKE & SHARE the competition post on Facebook too.

To enter please answer the above question on our Facebook page.  Remember no SHARE no entry.

Competition Entry Rules:

  1. Winner/s will be chosen from the comments in the comments section below and on Facebook.
  2. Competition Starts Friday 4 April and ends at midnight on Monday 7 April. (You have 4 days to enter)
  3. Late entries will not be accepted.
  4. One entry per household is allowed.
  5. Only people residing within the borders of South Africa are allowed to enter.
  6. People who reside outside the borders of South African may offer to donate their prize to a South African Animal Charity or Shelter listed here.
  7. Winners will be announced on this page in the comments section below, as well as on the PetHealthcare Facebook page the following week. Each Winner will be guided on this page on how to contact us as soon as we have made the announcement.
  8. Winners have *2 weeks from date of entry to claim their prize.  After this, should they not come forward to claim their prize/s, it will be awarded to the next person/s.
  9. Winner/s give PetHealthCare permission to post a photo of them or their pet/s enjoying their prize, on our Facebook page and in the monthly Newsletter.
  10. PetHealthCare and the Sponsor/s reserve the right to choose the winner/s, and no correspondence will be entered into.

Winners announced!



You Might Also be Interested in:

Vet Tech writes open letter to her clients Pet Healthcare Missouri Vet Tech Association
“Dear Pet Owner, I am writing this to you because I am human.  I am a Veterinary Assistant, or a Ve
Everyone is aware of the critical benefits of having a good night sleep on our health, both in the s
A dog fell down the very deep hole, and was swimming for its life for days before rescue teams could
Does your dog always scratch or lick themselves?  Please check, they might be developing a nasty Hot
Often, our New Year's Resolutions are to spend more time with our loved ones, so this year I spoiled
BAT, Ban animal trading video, dieregesondheid, animal health, pet insurance, diere versekering, troeteldierversekering suid afrika, south Africa, Pet Health Care, pet care health, petcarehealth, pethealthcare, ask the vet, dieremaniere, animal behaviour, sick animals, siek diere, honde, katte, cats, dogs, veterinary advice, dog walks, dog events, pet wellness, kitten care health, pet care health insurance, pet insurance health, pet care news, pet health care questions, pet care health claim form, pet care
Ban Animal Trading in South Africa has done amazing work to create awareness of the cruelty that is