Outside the home of my wonderful Grandma with her brilliant Guide Dog Fergie and then a few hamsters when I was growing up, my experience with companion animals really began when I started volunteering for The Cinnamon Trust in 2009.
The Cinnamon Trust are a fantastic charity that assist elderly people with their pets by providing volunteer dog walkers, animal carers and foster homes. Over approximately five years when required I’d regularly walk dogs for elderly people who were not able to themselves; it’s a highly rewarding experience being able to help both dog and owner so I strongly recommend getting involved and becoming a volunteer.
At the start of 2010, with my GCSEs beginning, thoughts of the possibility of becoming a veterinary surgeon were buzzing around my mind, and so in April 2010, I began volunteering at my local small animal veterinary practice every Saturday. I helped in their adjoining cattery in the mornings (which held up to 30 cats) and then watched and assisted in consultations in the afternoons. This continued until September 2010 when I became officially employed as the Weekend Cattery Assistant, working Saturday and Sunday mornings and responsible for the entire cattery over the weekend, whilst maintaining my Saturday afternoons as voluntary work in the veterinary practice.
In November 2011 my role changed and I became employed by the same veterinary practice as an Animal Nursing Assistant, working 19 hours per week alongside studying for my A levels. My role included: assisting during consultations, procedures and operations; admitting and discharging inpatients; administering medication; running in-house tests; processing analog x-rays; handling and restraining a large range of animals, as well as many other tasks.
In the build up to applying for university I additionally did two weeks work experience at a mixed animal veterinary practice and a week at a canine hydrotherapy centre, alongside work experience spent at a small holding farm and stables.
In September 2012 I began studying at the Royal Veterinary College in London (hooray!) and so left my previous employment behind.
As part of the animal husbandry themed placements required for my course, I chose to spend two weeks working at a Dogs Trust kennels and rehoming centre where I worked closely with dogs of a variety of temperaments and helped provide them with their daily care and enrichment.
When I reached the clinical part of my veterinary training, I dedicated the vast majority of my placements to small animal clinical work. I enjoyed learning and developing my skills in a range of practices in Southern England including in a small animal referral centre (with medicine and cardiology certificate holders) and in fast-paced charity practice. I also thoroughly enjoyed a week spent focused on shelter medicine where I assessed and neutered animals in a number of different rescue settings as well as spending time assessing and contrasting those settings. With the addition of 15 weeks rotating around the array of specialist departments in the RVC’s Queen Mother Hospital for Animals and 2 weeks in the RVC’s first opinion practice in Camden, by the end of my time at the Royal Veterinary College, I was very excited to start work as a Veterinary Surgeon.
I am now working in small animal charity practice where the fast-paced environment is quickly building my skills and confidence in a range of surgeries and medical cases.
If you have any questions about my past or present work, you’re welcome to get in touch.