I just want to say a massive “Thank You” to you all for your questions that you kindly sent in recently on the Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre Facebook page; your interest and support is very much appreciated. A lot of you seemed to want to know how I decided to become a Veterinarian, so I thought I’d share some of my experiences and why I do what I do, with you.
Growing up, I was much more interested in outdoor pursuits than staying in with my head stuck in books, to be honest! My parents weren’t keen on me having larger animals for pets, so I was only ever allowed to have Hamsters. They didn’t realise how noisy Hammies can be at night though, something which made the rebel in me chuckle a little 🙂
One summer holiday I was in charge of the class’ Stick Insects and, like me, you’re probably thinking “How hard can they be to look after”? Harder than you realise, is the answer; I can still remember what a traumatic experience it was! As I got older, my fascination with animals became increasingly obvious and I spent more and more time with my granddad ‘to visit him’ – and to help him with his cat and three dogs 🙂
I realised fairly early on in life (about 12 years old) that my burning ambition was to become a Vet, and that focus got me researching what grades I would need to get into Vet School. Needless to say, I had some serious studying to do; so, I got my study cap on and spent a little less time outdoors hooning around. I guess this what I would say was my ‘light bulb’ moment; whether I succeeded or not, this was a pivotal time in my life. Clearly the hard work paid off; I got into Vet School and earned my Degree.
Early in my Veterinary career I had to visit a Gorilla in a Safari Park, and this is perhaps the most unusual animal I’ve had to treat. The parks’ usual Vet was away for 24 hours so they were asking if local vet practices would go out to the Gorilla, as it seemed to be in pain. With the help of its keeper, and a dart gun (!), I was able to provide this amazing creature with pain relief until his usual Vet returned. The striking intelligence of this particular Gorilla was clearly demonstrated when he handed the dart back to us; I kid you not! Clearly he’d been trained, and learned remarkably well.
I have been lucky enough to visit Africa and have a Safari experience, which was mind-blowingly awesome! The wild cats in particular are incredible, and I would say that a Lion would be my dream pet. No chance of burglars at Underhill Towers with one of those bad boys around– or none that would live to benefit from their ill-gotten gains anyhow!! In reality, I have dogs and cats as pets at home, in common with most of the British population. Cats are independent, low maintenance and fairly self-sufficient, making them great for those with full time jobs and with little or no garden. Dogs are much more labour-intensive, needing feeding and toileting more; they are more ‘human-like’ than cats in my opinion though, and provide great companionship to their owners.
and, honestly, there are so many things I love about it that I could easily write a whole blog just about this. Animals make THE BEST patients; they rarely feel sorry for themselves, and they’re a joy to work with. Every day is different in practice, and being a Vet as opposed to a (human) Doctor means I get to combine multiple disciplines such as surgery, anaesthesia, medicine, imaging, skin, hearts and lungs etc. rather than being restricted to one area; such as teeth, if you’re a dentist. The ultimate satisfaction for me is when the whole SLVC team works together to return a pet to health, there’s no feeling quite like it!
Being an animal lover myself has enabled me to realise what a dramatic effect we can have as Vets on peoples’ lives by helping their much-loved pets. They really are people’s fur-kids, their immediate family members that happen to have four legs, and for us to help them in their time of need is a truly privileged position to be in.
It isn’t all glamour and glitz in the world of Veterinary practice though; there are plenty of funny and/or embarrassing moments too. Many times my professional air has been shattered when (picking animals up) my trousers have split all the way up the seam, up to, and including, my derriere! I can only apologise profusely to those of you whose eyeballs will never recover from the sight! As a vet, I also regularly get pee’d, pooped and puked on, as well as my nostrils being subjected to aromas of the flatulent variety. But do you know what? I wouldn’t change a single moment of my life 🙂
To you all, furry and non-furry clients of Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre, I just want to say Thank you for letting me be part of your lives!
Until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy 🙂