It is the complex interactions between animals, their owners and the vet that makes me want to study veterinary medicine. In my first few weeks of volunteering at Battleflatts Veterinary Clinic a woman, whose guide dog had injured its leg, came in. I was struck by how much that woman’s quality of life depended on her dog. This realisation cemented my determination to become a vet and since then I have organised a breadth of work experience from small to large animal surgery, and from lambing, calving and farrowing to kennels and stables.
I have learnt that a balance of compassion and realism is important for a vet as both the owner and the animal need to be considered when deciding on the route to take on a particular case. It is important that an owner understands exactly what is happening and how to give their animal(s) the best quality of life possible. Every case is different and communication must be adapted to the client.
Having worked at Battleflatts for three years I have loved being able to see cases through from beginning to end. I have enjoyed seeing the routine surgery and feel I have gained a broad and realistic insight into the veterinary profession. This includes successful treatment and recovery but also paperwork, being on call and experiencing failed treatment. I have particularly enjoyed the satisfaction of dealing with real problems, following the treatment and seeing the outcome. I am lucky enough to have spent a lot of time with a vet that specialises in exotics. I have enjoyed learning about the husbandry of different animals as that is the first step to a healthy animal.
During my work with a large animal vet at Tower Veterinary Group I went with the vet on his daily calls. This changed my perception of large animal surgery completely. As well as visiting dairy and beef cattle we went to see a small herd of highland cows that were being kept as pets then, in the same day, went to see some of the most expensive sheep in England. For my first work experience I spent a fortnight in a farrowing house where I had to kill an ill piglet on my first day. This brought home to me the harsh realities of farming. I especially enjoyed weaning day when all the hard work came to a climax.
Over the past 3 years, I have annually attended the same farm to help with lambing and calving and this year was privileged to take sole responsibility for the routine deliveries. Last winter I spent every Sunday for six years at a livery yard and, having little experience of horses before this, learnt a lot about how to act with horses. My time at 3 Acre Kennels allowed me to learn similar skills with dogs when they weren’t in the stressful situation of being at the vets.
At school I enjoy keeping fit by doing karate, playing hockey, tennis and netball, and have represented the county two years running in Netball. Last year I was part of a successful Young Enterprise team called Key Ideas. This year I have been promoted to Sergeant in the RAF section of the schools CCF, following the Air Cadet Leadership Course during the summer. Last summer I was selected to spend a 5 week expedition canoeing the Yukon River through the wilderness from Whitehorse to Dawson city. This summer I travelled to Namibia to do a project at a school in Schlip then do some trekking and a safari. I also raise money for two local cancer charities and am on the school charity committee. I have been awarded the Jim Bishop Award by the RGS, the John Muir Conserver Award and by Christmas will have completed my gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award.
I look forward to continuing many of these interests into my university life.