Wednesday, 21 January 2009


I pick up the phone because there are not enough reception staff.

'I put it behind the pheasant food!' A lady is yelling down the phone, obviously this was not meant for me.

'Oh, I'm terribly sorry.' She apologises. 'I just wanted to let you know my gamekeeper is on his way with a dog with a wound under it's leg.'

'How did the dog sustain the wound?' I ask.

'No idea.' She says honestly.'Anyway, he'll be ten minutes and it's guts are hanging out.' She continues matter of fact.

'I'm sorry.' I say shocked.'Did you say it's guts were hanging out?'

'Only a little bit.' She says brightly.

Thankfully when the dog arrives and trots through the door I am relieved to see that it's intestines are not dragging along behind it and the wound is skin deep only.

The next day I am called back to the surgery to see a dog that has apparently been hit by a train.

Nothing prepares me for the dog's facial deformities and whilst I maintain my cool, as if it is perfectly normal to deal with this sort of injury every day the nurse cannot conceal her shock.

'Jesus Christ, what the hell happened here?' She asks the already shaken owner.

But I am pleased to say after the valiant efforts of my boss the dog's nose is now pointing forward again and all it's teeth are back in it's mouth.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


'What's the point?' Asks Annabel. She is tall, blonde, with good genes and a privileged background, she is destined for a career in equine medicine and she is currently in her fourth year at vet school. 'If the cat might only live a few months what is the point?' She presses me.

'The point is that the owner's love their pet and while she still has a good quality of life I will do my best to give them as much time as possible with her.' I reply. 'Ultimately it is my job to offer them all the options and their choice to make, if they had requested euthanasia I would have obliged but they elected to continue.'

Annabel does not understand the bond that develops between a small animal pet owner and their much loved pet and empathy is something that cannot be taught.

Saturday, 17 January 2009


Mrs Green is 93, her God-daughter always brings her for her appointment and she must be at least 65.

Mrs Green is starting to forget things but she always makes herself up and dresses with pride. She is a little hard of hearing but we always have a little joke.

She loves her Pug, Thomas he is her only companion.

I assure her that Thomas is fine and she is greatly relieved.

'He's so naughty you know.' She tells me. 'One day I was playing bridge with friends and he has an obsession with looking through people's handbags.' Her eyes are twinkling.

'Low and behold he pulled a packet of condoms out!' She giggles.

I'm not sure whether I am more shocked by the old lady's frank account or by the thought of some of her friends having sex.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Rare breed.

It has dawned on me that I might be the only vet from a state school system in the entire practice.

There are 24 vets in total.

If you play the numbers game then I should be in the majority.

Is this a failure of the vetschools to recruit students from state schools or is this a failure of the state school system to help us realise our dreams?

'Don't bother trying to get in.' My careers adviser told me when I was fifteen. 'You'll never get in.'

But I did bother.

Now I am starting to wonder whether the rise in tuition fees means the stable door is slowly closing behind me?

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Cold calling.

It is 5 am, very dark and it is also minus 5 outside. 

Mrs Marsh has requested a visit to put to sleep her cat, Thomas.

Although I am usually happy to oblige, Thomas sounds as if he is in some considerable distress and I know it will take around 45 minutes to an hour to reach him by the time I have halled my sleepy arse out of bed, de-iced the car, driven into work, picked up my 'death kit' including a nurse and found her house in the freezing fog.

I tell her it would be much better to bring her cat straight to the surgery where I can relieve the poor animals suffering in a more timely manner.

'Oh.' She says. 'I'm not sure I can.'

She pauses. 'The cat basket is at the bottom of the garden.'

Saturday, 10 January 2009


'I am afraid you will have to pay for Maisey's foot to be stitched up when you come to collect her.' I tell Mr Jackson.  He is a new client.

'How much will it be?' He asks as I mop Maisey's blood off the floor.

'Around £150.' I tell him, and that is pretty cheap.

'I don't have it.' He says.

I have been given instructions that we must get the money because he is a knew client who has walked in off the street.

I can't bear the though of Maisey walking around with a gashed foot.

'Could you pay £50?' I ask him.'Then we could sort out a payment plan.'

'I'll have to make some calls.' He says.

Before I can stop him he is out of my room with Maisey limping behind him, leaving a trail of bloody footprints.

He never comes back.

It seems silly to worry about the security of my job during the recession when the welfare of the animals under my care is perhaps a more pressing issue.