Pet Goats & Pap Smears

I am happy to announce my forthcoming book, Pet Goats & Pap Smears: 101 Medical Adventures to Open Your Heart & Mind.   

Many people have commented (both positive and negative) on the cover. Unlike advertisements that objectify women or dominate animals, this book cover celebrates and honors both women and animals. Ads often use women to sell products. Think of a sexy woman lying on a sports car or a young woman wrapped around a bottle of liquor. Selling alcohol and cars has nothing to do with nearly naked women, but performing Pap smears is about naked women. I’m a doctor. My patients are mostly women and I spend much of my day listening to women and examining their bodies.

The cover model is a medical student and she is not naked. The goat–Charity– is a therapy goat. Both enjoyed the photo shoot. In fact, Charity choreographed the shoot by getting into some very funny positions and sometimes offering us hilarious facial expressions. The woman and the goat are not cheap gimmicks. They are both congruent with the profound message of Pet Goats & Pap Smears.

Why pet goats? Many people know that I have been leading town halls nationwide to help citizens design their own ideal clinics and hospitals.  As I met with people across America, pet goats were an unexpected theme in citizen testimony. And to my surprise, pet goats keep popping up in my life. The healing potential of animals is underutilized in medicine. To serve my patients, I’m willing to integrate most of their ideas into my medical practice–even if their requests seem odd to me.

Why Pap smears? A Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer, in which a smear of cervical cells is taken from inside a woman’s vagina. The cervix is the doorway to the womb, the birthplace of all humanity. When I’m in between my patients’ thighs looking deep inside the places where nobody has looked before, patients often tell me things that they’ve never shared with anybody. This sacred relationship between a doctor and patient is the foundation of health care.

Pet Goats & Pap Smears is more than a collection of stories. It’s a book of 101 medical adventures that have been retrieved from the deepest places inside people I have cared for. Sometimes, I’m so deep inside patients that I believe I have touched their souls. I know they have touched mine.

Pet Goats & Pap Smears

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20 comments on “Pet Goats & Pap Smears
  1. BR says:

    I’ve read an advance copy of this book. In my opinion, my (and other readers’) reaction to the cover, like the book, is almost a Rorshach test. And this is a magnificent thing. The cover is shocking, arresting, and delightful. It’s also a little weird and private. This is the way a lot of us feel about our bodies, our private parts, and places deep inside that we think nobody but we know about. The magnificent thing about this book is that it transforms your feeling of weirdness, secrecy, shame, fear, or whatever negative feelings you may have about your body and your insides into wonder and awe at our magnificence. This is the right cover for this book. It makes you stop and reconsider. And eventually, if you initially had a problem with it, you may suddenly find yourself smiling and saying, “Ah, yes, this is great. How delightful.” Sometimes that takes time.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      If this cover is out of your comfort zone, I would ask that you keep
      an open mind. The subtitle expresses my interest in opening hearts
      and minds with the profound patient stories in the book.

      My patients have expanded my horizons and opened my mind and
      this book celebrates their impact in my life. I have offered Pap parties
      (group Pap smears) not because it was my idea. My patients asked me
      to do this. Every region is unique. Every patient is unique. I try to meet
      my patients where they are comfortable–even if it is beyond my comfort
      zone (fortunately, not much is beyond my comfort zone). My goal is to
      provide health care and I am willing to do so way out of the box if necessary.

      Doctoring has been an amazing adventure.

      I love being a doctor.

      I have the best job on the planet.



      • Irene Hall says:

        I laughed so hard reading your book. I will share it with others.
        My daughter a nurse is also reading the book I’m sure my granddaughter a nurse will too.

        Thank you for writing it. Whenever I’m down I’ll read it again.
        It lifts the spirit!

        Yours truly.
        Irene Hall

  2. Pamela Wible MD says:

    Local doctor writes:

    I personally find this photo neither vulgar nor pornographic. It is humorous and not distasteful to me as a woman, a doctor, or a patient. Obviously people will disagree. Shock value is part of marketing, and this is not the 1950’s. This cover will get the attention of female and male readers and young people contemplating a career in medicine, letting them know the anecdotes are as much about a personal physician-patient relationship as they are about knowing diagnoses and treatment.  I have not read the book yet, but I anticipate it’s much more real life than the myriad TV shows about doctors and medicine which are ridiculous inaccurate soap operas about doctors having sex with each other on their breaks at the hospitals and cheating on their spouses.  Now that’s offensive.

    In many other countries, patients are not offered gowns during an exam.  In fact, a colleague of mine who did her residency at a US military base requested gowns many times then finally gave up because they just weren’t available.  In my own personal opinion, showing a goat with a stethoscope facing the audience is no more pornographic than showing a doctor performing a Pap smear, which would of course be boring and not humorous:)  Who’d want to buy that book? 

    We can all agree to disagree, but no one should feel she speaks for the majority of women if she likes or dislikes this book cover.

    Michelle Wyatt, M.D.

    Eugene Ideal Internal Medicine
    74 E. 18th Avenue, Suite 5 in Eugene, Oregon

  3. Pamela Wible MD says:

    A few positive and negative comments from physicians:

    “I know that the cover photo upset me from the upstart as no table paper which is unsanitary.  The videos just make it all look like very kinky porn.” 

    “I know of no women who would like getting their PAP in a party situation.  Most don’t like revealing their privates to me much less their friends.  But Pamela might have more open and sexually free patients.” 

    “I wish you the best of luck with your project, if even only one woman gets a PAP that will save her life because of your work, all the aggravation will be worth it.”

    “It’s outside of my comfort zone.”

    “This is vulgar.” 

    “You have my complete support and I admire your chutzpah :-).”

    “What you have is a naked woman with her legs spread and a ‘dirty old goat’ between her legs.  It definitely has the shock value of grabbing attention.  People are either going to run from it, thinking it is porno or stories about doctors behaving inappropriately.  Or they are going to be intrigued and pick it up.”

    “I love the cover. Laughed hard 🙂 With gratitude . . .”

    “Gulp, gulp, Wow!”

    Most comments have been overwhelmingly positive.

    ~ Pamela

  4. Ken Rosemarin says:

    When a specialist presented me with limited treatment options for a diagnosis which I received, I chose to consult Pamela for a second opinion because of her reputation for thinking outside the box. I feel very fortunate that she approached my situation with a “beginners mind”. Professionalism is an outer manifestation of an inner sense of integrity. The book cover celebrates a female physician’s dedication to her female patients and her openess to pursue healing that works even if it involves a goat.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Thanks Ken! Personalized medical care begins with celebration of the person sitting on the exam table. Their needs, desires, and philosophy of healing is central to the success or failure of any treatment. Who am I to judge? If it helps my patient, I am willing to try it!

  5. Tina Scaduto says:

    I just “spread the love” (link) on my FB page. Can’t wait to get this book and though I definitely did a double-take of the photo, I was not offended at all. While I certainly believe all are entitled to their own opinions, sometimes I think we all just need to lighten up a bit and quit being so uptight! Humor is a good thing! Props to you, Dr. Wible! You are definitely one of those people who is truly making a difference and changing the world (and medical care as we know it). Thank God!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Thanks Tina! Please share this blog with others and spread the videos far and wide. The cover controversy has me very intrigued and excited. xoxoxo ~ Pamela

  6. Holly Lynn Danyliw says:

    I agree with Pam. The female body has been objectified forever. The reality of a pap smear is…what?…not sexy enough? I think the goat looks happy and smart…love the stethoscope. He can take my blood pressure anytime. More power to ya, Pamela…much success with the book.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Thanks Holly! I think joy should be part of every medical visit. Most people suffer from cynicism, hopelessness, and boredom. Life rally can be fun! And it’s good for your health. xoxox

  7. Joanna says:

    I think it’s a great book cover. The “patient” looks happy and healthy. The goat is just priceless — both cute and giving you a baleful stare at the same time. Getting a reaction from people (positive or negative) is good news in marketing. It means you’re hitting a nerve, making people feel something. I love it.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Thanks Joanna ~ I love the goat and she REALLY, REALLY had fun during the photo shoot. And the woman came into my life with the most amazing synchronicity. The entire photo was just meant to be . . .

  8. Smiles says:

    thank you, Patch Adams’ foreword itself is enough for me to know you are on the right track, I am so looking forward to reading it. so am off to order it. Go girl Go. or would that be Go Doc Go? I think it an awesome eye opener to have a GoAt a serious subject like this. . and it all about reclaiming our minds, spirits and bodyes and flower power to the people through the knowledge, ours to share.

  9. Christopher Keough says:

    I haven’t read this book but I did hear an NPR segmant on Pamela’s ideologies and conviction to better the relationships between patient and physician. There is nothing about the cover that portrays pornagraghic imagery. Its fun, light, and makes one pause. Isn’t that what its all about? I listen to my body and my body listens to me. It’s powerful that one woman’s passion to build positive, loving relationships with her community would place her in such critical view of her professional piers. It threatens the fabric of our western based medicine that looks at numbers and images and not the breathing soul that sits in front if them. I believe in her approach and I believe that with doctors like Pamela our medical model can evolve into something that can heal a system that currently operates with a calculator and not a human heart.

  10. Kalani Baker says:

    I am a practicing PA and I loved your book and the cover. I read snippets out loud to my husband (also a PA) on a long car trip recently and we were snorting with laughter. I am ordering a copy for my daughter who is a first year medical student.
    Has no one else noticed how the goat’s head is essentially a female reproductive tract with the anterior presentation of the nose mimicking the cervix, the uterus (head) behind, and the ears – fallopian tubes and ovaries? In my younger life I had a pet goat named Alice, so I may be a bit prejudiced. My vote – goat stays!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Hahaha!! Yes! A patient of mine told me that the goats head looked like the cervix-uteris-fallopian tubes. We took 100s of photos and this is the only one in which the goat’s ears are straight It is not her typical look per the owner. I love the synchronicity and magic moments caught on camera. Had no idea when I chose this photo . . .

  11. William Amick says:

    I really loved reading this book. And I love Pams aditude and wish she was my docter.

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