Neil McArthur

Neil is one of Australia's best known comic poets. He lives in Ballarat, Victoria but travels widely as a regular performer. People generally start laughing as soon as Neil walks on to a stage and are still going long after he finishes. Best known perhaps for his great works "The Gay Farmhand" and "Shopping Trolley Rage" among others.

This is the only piece of verse that we have of Neil's, which he has kindly given permission to publish on these pages. Neil is a very well known bush poet who performs regularly at various venues around the country. He has an excellent selection of books and tapes which include such well known pieces as "The Gay Farmhand", "Shopping Trolley Rage" and "Grandpa" which are among my favourites. For more information on Neil's tapes and books, you can email Neil McArthur

The Apprentice Vet

I had a job a while ago,
As an apprentice vet
I worked for a vet called Dr. Vet,
p'robly the best name for a vet you can get

Menial chores were my first set task,
Like sweeping the floors and that
Filing forms, sending out bills
And disposing of the occasional cat

Then one day Dr. Vet came in and said I'm going away
You should be able to run the place, this is your seventh day
Now I didn't know he was going away for twenty-five years to jail
For unethical activity, and also for skipping bail

Those graves I'd dug for the family pets,
The poor pussy cats and doggies
Were being filled by his Mafia mates
With uncooperative human bodies

So suddenly I became the Head Vet much to my surprise
So the first thing I did was take up my fees and give myself a pay rise
Well, one day I was sitting there, finishing off my lunch
A couple of deep fried Budgies and some cat left over from brunch

I was wracking my brain tryin' to figure out how to rebuild this goat
When suddenly there was a knock at the door, so I covered the bits of goat with my coat
And in walked this poor old farmer, with a labrador in his grasp
It must have been a hundred years old, and ready for it's last gasp

I need you to put my dog to sleep,
The farmer said in a quiet tone
I thought, If you wait ten minutes, you'll save fifty quid,
The mongrel will die on it's own!

Are you sure, have you thought this through I asked, thinking of the fifty quid
The Farmer slowly nodded his head and told me that he did
So I drew up a big dose of lethal poison, a double dose to be sure
Injected it into his dog and Bingo - no more labrador

This dog had now found it's peace, I thought no suffering or pain
Was ever going to inflict this poor old pooch again
It just lay there dead and quiet, totally devoid of life
And as I looked upon it, It reminded me of my wife

Do you want to leave the dog here? I asked, pointing to the labrador
The Farmer looked at me strangely and said, What would I do that for?
Dr. Vet always puts him to sleep so he can have a kip
Cause he hates travellin' and when we hit Adelaide, he wakes and he's slept through the trip!

© Neil McArthur 2000