Globe West People

Man's best friend

Magician Gil Stubbs will share his secrets in Wellesley. Magician Gil Stubbs will share his secrets in Wellesley.
By Cindy Cantrell
October 9, 2011

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In his previous books, veterinarian Nicholas Trout of Westborough has written about his professional relationships with animals. His latest memoir, “Ever By My Side,’’ is personal.

In his book, the surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston describes how animals throughout his lifetime have taught him about friendship, loyalty, and resilience. As a boy growing up in England, for example, he was mystified by a bond so intense between his grandmother and her aggressive toy poodle that she risked her life to save the dog from drowning in the Irish Sea.

When Trout married his wife, Kathy, in 1992, he expected his greatest challenge to come from his new role as stepfather. As it turned out, however, he earned the trust of 5-year-old Whitney far more easily than that of their ornery barn cat, Reggie.

Trout writes that he learned another lesson shortly after his now college-age daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 2. He was struggling to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation when news broke about a dog he was treating who had been severely burned when its homeless owner fell asleep smoking in the car in which they lived.

Almost overnight, the veterinary hospital received $10,000 in donations for the dog’s care. Annoyed at first at the comparative disregard for his daughter’s disease, Trout says, he was later humbled by the reunion scene between the woman and her dog, and the realization that the most important thing in the world is the joy of simply having one another.

“All of these animals have made an impact on the kind of person, father, husband, and veterinarian I am,’’ said Trout, whose family includes Meg, a yellow Labrador, and Sophie, a Jack Russell terrier. “Animals will never be with us long enough, but they leave enough of a mark that they’re never very far away.’’

Trout will discuss his book Thursday at 7 p.m. at Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave. in Lexington. For more information, visit

AWARD-WINNING MOM: Maynard resident Jenifer Gershman recently earned a silver designation from the Mom’s Choice Awards for her children’s book, “Where Did Mommy’s Superpowers Go?’’

She wrote the picture book to help youngsters understand and cope with a parent’s serious illness based on personal experience. In 2007, Gershman struggled to explain her diagnosis of amyloidosis, a rare blood protein disorder which can be fatal if left untreated, to her 4-year-old son.

The book depicts a mother explaining in simple but upbeat language to her little boy that she needs medicine to rid her body of “bad guy’’ cells, but the medicine is so powerful that it will take away some of her good cells, too. She won’t feel well and may even look different for a time, but she assures him that her superpowers will return.

For more information about the Mom’s Choice Awards organization, visit

To learn more about Gershman’s book, go to

SHARING HIS MAGIC: At 84 years of age, magician Gil Stubbs of Wellesley still has dozens of tricks up his sleeve. Beginning this week, he will share the secrets behind them all.

Stubbs will teach his “Learn To Do Magic Tricks’’ class to ages 60 and older at 1:30 p.m. on the next four Thursdays at the Wellesley Community Center, 219 Washington St.

He will provide participants with 50 pages of notes describing his sleight-of-hand techniques and tricks with cards, coins, dollar bills, string, rope, rubber bands, pens, paper clips, tableware, napkins, and handkerchiefs.

Stubbs, a retired electrical and aerospace engineer, regularly performs magic shows and workshops at libraries, schools, parties, retirement homes, churches, and hospitals. He is a member of the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

While he enjoys the satisfaction of practicing the art form, Stubbs said, magic has, more importantly, enabled him to bring enjoyment to children, grandchildren, and countless friends.

“Magic is great fun,’’ he said, “and when I raise the spirits of others through magic, I raise my own as well.’’

To register for the class, call the Wellesley Council on Aging at 781-235-3961. The cost is $30. Wellesley residents are given first priority.

MEET THE SHERIFF: Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian will speak in the sanctuary at First Parish in Bedford, 75 Great Road, next Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Waltham resident, who has long focused on criminal justice and victims’ rights, will discuss his background, the work of the sheriff’s office, and programs at the Middlesex Jail in Cambridge and the Billerica House of Correction. A question-and-answer period will follow his presentation.

A former Middlesex prosecutor, Koutoujian was elected as a state representative for the 10th Middlesex District in 1996. During his 14-year tenure on Beacon Hill, he was a member of the Committee on Public Safety and chairman of the Public Health Committee and Committee on Financial Services.

He is also a board member of REACH Beyond Domestic Violence in Waltham.

The free presentation is sponsored by the Middlesex County Prison Coordinating Committee, First Parish, First Church of Christ Congregational in Bedford, and the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

For more information, e-mail or call 781-275-0540.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at

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