Slugs, Snails and Puppy Dog’s Tails

Hello friends and family (and grant interview panels)!
I hope you are all well and managing to keep yourselves busy or safe at work, and hopefully you have a spare 5 mins to read the rest of this blog, it’s going to be a long ‘un (as per). I haven’t sat at the dining room table-cum-home office for a few weeks now. Thank goodness for the internet keeping us all informed and connected. The zoom meetings and online exams seem like a distant memory, along with the weekly quizzes. They were good while they lasted but nothing beats a cuppa in the garden or a long dog walk. Unless you almost lose an arm at the sight of a hare… RILEY!

So I bet you’re all dying to know my results, although we don’t start back till October, Joy Division will be pleased to hear that ‘I’m (going to be) back in Liverpool’ for my second year of vet school. Which as many of you have pointed out to me, inadvertently whilst asking “so how many years have you got left?”; I’m half-way there – four years down, four to go! I couldn’t be happier after an unusual and sober end to uni; we made it. The four months off will fly, with part-time work (whenever that will hopefully resume) and most importantly work experience, or as we call it at uni; EMS (extra-mural studies). The RCVS (vet regulatory body) have (eventually) said that we can do up to six weeks of EMS online. Although, the resources haven’t been released yet and with the lockdown relaxation most places are willing and able to host vet students again. Which is how I ended up with three weeks of EMS at my local mixed-animal vets.

Due to the coronavirus guidelines, animals were examined in the carpark, or if treatment was required; dropped off for appointments/ operations into a porch and moved into the practice from there. The benefit of having appointments without the clients present meant that I could ask the vets whatever I wanted and receive an in-depth explanation, get a closer look and hands-on more often. We saw some really interesting cases, such as a cat with Wobbler’s Syndrome and a guinea pig with unilateral facial paralysis. There were lots of environment influenced illnesses, although slugs and snails are always a lungworm risk, adders have been the ones to watch particularly during these summer months. The anti-serum has debatable effects and it’s cost is abominable. There were lots of interesting ops to see too, but even the routine ones were intriguing when they were performed on the rarer furry-friends; like ferrets etc. Sadly, a lot of the wildlife that was brought in for emergency surgery could not be saved, but they don’t give up on them without a fight. The Supervet should see what they can do on foxes. I love being part of the team and working with the vets from all different backgrounds and interests. The nurses too, we have a good laugh and they teach me lots of little things so I’m never short of something to do. Your patience with our two cats has been noted. Estee (grey cat) had a dirty protest in her carry box, spat out her wormer 10+ times managed to hide at the back of a desk cubby hole. FYI the saying, never work with children or animals, specifically refers to cats.

Besides going to the vets and making houses for my cats (pics below), I’ve been trying to keep fit and read when I can. My first week at the vets was so tiring, all the travelling, socialising and small talk was so strange after spending so much time at home through the lockdown. So, I’ve been keeping myself afloat. I had two interviews for grants, both panels had read (and commended) my blog. I plan to do a separate post regarding the outcomes of these interviews and the question styles etc. once I’ve heard back from them. Partly so I don’t jinx their outcome and because I feel post-grads in my position could benefit from a post focused solely on second degree self-funding help and support.

I spent the time between the end of exams and the start of EMS (re)educating myself on events and subjects that have influenced and lead to the Black Lives Matter movement. I have always enjoyed studying history and so it was no chore to me to learn the truth. Especially after a disappointing but not entirely surprising, Ofsted inspection of my secondary school and sixth form reported that homophobia and racism went unchallenged. It’s no secret that our school, like many others, white-washed history. Ryedale is not a diverse area but believe it or not, there is life beyond North Yorkshire, who’d have thought it? To me it comes down to education, you don’t have to personally experience something or know someone who’s been discriminated against to show empathy and support. Last time I checked my Facebook I wasn’t friends with any holocaust survivors… Without turning this whole blog into a BLM discussion, which I’m not claiming to or confident that I know everything about yet, if you are interested in addressing your inner biases, covert racism and microaggressions, visit my Instagram highlight where I’ve been sharing all kinds of resources and privilege checklists. I’m no expert, but I’m trying, and that’s all you have to do. Have the conversations, do the learning and use your white privilege for good, whatever your platform or audience size.

Finally, I have a new book review for you all! Or you can skip to the pics if you’ve had enough for one day.

Trust Me, I’m a Vet, Cathy Woodman
A ‘Netflix Original’ read. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Netflix Originals such as ‘A Christmas Prince’ and ‘The Kissing Booth’, these films are predictable, easy to follow and cringe worthy. Woodman’s Talyton St. George series is all of the above. As a vet student there were a few times when I questioned the veterinary techniques. I found myself despairing with the main character’s struggle to adjust to country life… bloody townies. I might read the rest of the series, after all, two vets falling in love; that’s got to have some twists and turns.

Thank you for reading my latest post. I love writing this blog and receiving such lovely feedback and comments makes it all the more worth it. I have been reading a lot of books lately but I’m going to stick with reviewing just the vet related ones on this blog, but feel free to message me for recommendations. A few shout-outs: thank you so much to my top reader for their financial support, as always your love and support is unbelievably generous. Thank you to my sister Mary for rehoming the tropical fish I inherited, your tank knowledge and attentiveness has improved their lives dramatically. A huge congrats to those who passed their exams/ graduated and their amazing results (you know who you are) and those who’ve just landed their first jobs and moved into new houses. Special congrats to those of you who have achieved all three! Meanwhile I’ll be heading back to uni, same accommodation (who have been brilliant with refunds during lockdown) and hopefully getting back to work soon! Up next is two weeks of dairy/ milking EMS and my 22nd birthday week (yes, I plan on milking that too).

Stay safe and happy reading, eating, working, social distancing, eating (more),
The Wannabe Vet xxx

I have sooo many pics but I’ve chosen my top 10:
Who doesn’t love a puppy?
And kittens?A spaniel showing us his tum-tum after demolishing 5 pork-pies…

Estee (and Nora) in for their annual MOTs,
once she had been extrapolated from the cubby hole…
The numerous cat houses constructed by moi
Even rabbits love a good sunspot
Burton Riggs with Mary, Tom and Nino
The fishes in their new home, fish transportation was a new experience for my old car, least they didn’t make a mess in thier box like the cats did the day after…
Nan and Grandad’s favourites – a good old basset

Sitting Ducks

Good morning, evening or afternoon, depending on your lockdown sleeping pattern! My last blog was C word free, however it’s becoming harder to avoid talking about the Coronavirus and how things have changed. So, in this (rather long) post I am going to share my experience of isolation thus far and hopefully you can pick up some new tips and tricks on how to keep yourself afloat too. On that note, I have heard the same analogy being used a lot lately which I’m sure will ring familiar with a lot of you; “I’m fine, everyone is going through it right? We’re all in the same boat”. But we are not in the same boat. We may be in the same storm, but our ships differ from yachts to dinghies, from crew members to resources. So as a disclaimer, what works for some may not for others and it’s okay not to know what to do with yourself. After all, we have little experience of worldwide pandemics, thankfully. Just like revision, it can take a while to find your style and what works for you. So, this is what I’ve been up to (no duck sitting or sitting on ducks as the title may suggest, no ducks at all in fact!), with some links and ideas if you’ve already exhausted Netflix, Dalgona coffee and banana bread or your fridge is empty (again).

I came home from uni on the 18th March, I was lucky to get home as the trains were being cancelled left, right and center. In quick succession the uni gym, libraries and other facilities closed. We were set to go home in two weeks for Easter anyway, but our abrupt departure meant we missed out on the end of term socials, especially St Patrick’s day, which is always huge in Liverpool. Until now I hadn’t calculated, but it’s been 7 weeks since I left uni with my bulging suitcase, and even more since I last went out in town. I recently heard my favourite club might be on the brink of closure and what with our vet Summer ball being moved back, I am very excited for when I can next go out and celebrate belated birthdays and the end of exams in true student fashion. Seen as I haven’t even started exams yet you can probably guess I’m already chomping at the bit to finish. On the other hand, I am actually extremely grateful to have had a purpose over the past few weeks. A reason to get up on a morning, besides delicious buttery toast made with my Mum’s homemade bread. I knew from the start I would have to keep to a routine in order to stay motivated, and so I made a rough plan for each day to see me through to exams. My interview for the Scarborough Municipal Grant was postponed, but my rent was cut; swings and roundabouts I guess. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the tearoom where I planned to work part-time had closed and my lambing placement was cancelled too. Although lambing is deemed essential work, my placement across the valley presented too high a risk for the elderly shepherds. With even more time on my hands, I knew I needed to fill my days with a healthy balance of uni work, entertainment, exercise and sleep.

With little else to do other than studying (and letting my eyebrows grow wild), it would be very easy to just focus on that and that alone. Its every student’s dream to have enough time to revise before exams. With usually just one week off between 12 weeks teaching and the start of our exams, it can seem nigh on impossible to revise those 12 weeks, never mind the previous semester’s 12 weeks too. From the start I treated uni like a 9-5 job, working weekdays with weekends off. I have kept to this, it works for me, and with my parents at work through the day it means I have the house to myself to set up on the dining table. With double doors that open on to a lovely view of the moor, I am very fortunate indeed. I’m used to long periods of revising now, making timetables and organising my time. I like to know what I’m doing each day, and with only the odd Zoom lecture to structure my time around, I knew I needed to find a regime I could rely on each day for direction. It comforts me to know that have the time to revise and I do not miss the usual stress of cramming for exams.

Surprisingly, I still find a lot to write about in my diary, and equally this blog… I find it easy to busy myself and lose track of time. I can honestly say the lockdown has flown (I don’t mean to brag). Although, March seemed to drag, April disappeared in a flash. Writing my diary is useful for a lot of things. Especially recalling memories, but as I turn each page, filling each journal, it reminds me to make each page count. As cliché as that sounds. Speaking of pages to turn, I’ve read more than I’ve read for a long time. Most 90s babies and millennials have resorted to re-living their childhoods: playing board and video games, watching old TV series on Disney+ and even playing on Nintendos. I remember ‘Nintendogs’ and ‘My First Vet Practice’ fondly, but for me it has to be reading books. I’m on my 7th book since I came back from uni. I’ve read all sorts but as my exams were approaching, I thought it was about time I read some of the vet related books I hadn’t got round to, the ones I’ve been lent and accustomed over the years from charity shops and birthdays. So, I’ve reviewed a few below, no spoilers, giving my honest opinion (that no one asked for):

Tales from a Young Vet: Mad Cows, Crazy Kittens, and All Creatures Big and Small by Jo Hardy
An easy read. Interesting for outsiders and by that, I mean non-vet students. She starred in BBC 2’s Young Vets with Judy Puddifoot, who I have met and love her postgrad drive, like myself. Jo’s book was a little basic for me, she lived a pretty normal student life. Apparently her second book is good if you’re interested in wild animal vet content. Personally, I just want to know if her and her boyfriend, that she only saw once a year, got engaged.

Adventures of The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen
A wholesome read. More about her house renovation and children’s lives than her own or the farm, but worth a read to round off the series. I love reading about the Dales side of Yorkshire in comparison to the moor. 100% recommend her first two books and James Rebanks’ book The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District, for similar content. Both books have taught me a lot about sheep farming.

My Yorkshire Great and Small by Peter Wright
A passionate read. I’ve been dying to read this book since I got a signed copy from Peter at uni talk about his life as a vet. Knowing the areas he spoke of extremely well, I felt like I was able to connect to the places I couldn’t currently travel to, learning new facts about them and also new places I need to visit. Having met ‘The Yorkshire Vet’ from Channel 5’s programme; Peter, he reminded me so much of my Grandad; I instantly fell in love. I can’t wait to read his other book, which is apparently more about his vet life than his surroundings. I’d like to read his co-vet, Julian Norton’s books too (he follows me on Instagram don’t you know).

Listening to the Animals: Becoming The Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick
A must read. Where to start! An apology: I’m sorry I listened to what other people/ vets had told me about you Noel. I know you’ll never read this but I’m sorry I let the jealous and financially driven people you talk about in your book change my view of you and persuaded me to believe you were arrogant and acting for the camera. Such an honest book, hard to read physically and emotionally. An actor (on Heartbeat no less – twice!), a radio show host, a dreamer and a doer, besides being an extremely qualified, hardworking professor, self-made business owner and simply brilliant vet. From rough beginnings he made his dream a reality and One Medicine (One Health) has always driven my studies too, so I hope to meet Noel one day to thank him for reminding me, to always form your own opinion of people and follow your dreams.

Vet on Call: My First Year as an Out-of-Hours Vet by Marc Abraham
3/5 (so far)
An unfinished read. If Hardy’s book suited a younger audience, I’d say this book is the opposite. FYI worth noting, I’m not actually a book critic, but so far so good. Many small chapters full of stories that I’m used to seeing in practice but usually throughout the day. Marc lacks support from his peers like Fitzpatrick, and no one believes in him when he sets up his own out-of-hours practice. I must admit, his sleeping pattern would scare the life out of me. I’m enjoying the relevant content though, kind of like recreational revision. My Mum thinks I’m mad, but I just feel inspired.

Of all the books I have read I realised that the majority of our ‘vet idols’ are male, despite the majority of my course and the veterinary sector being female. Maybe I’ll write a book and inspire young vets in the future, who knows.

I’ve been watching TV too, I’m not a total book worm. I’d definitely recommend ‘Liar’ (not just because my Aunty is in it), ‘Our Girl’, ‘Normal People’ (Yes, Connell’s chain), ‘Killing Eve’, (obviously) ‘Made in Chelsea’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. PSA: Students can watch ALL the TV shows and films that have EVER been on TV via ‘bob Learning on Screen’ for FREE (you can thank me later). Alfie and I have been loving the live action films on Disney+, The Lion King especially. I’ve also been watching the weekly National Theatre productions and The Show Must Go On – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s productions each week. I’ve loved getting back in touch with my love of the arts. I’ve been reading some classics, sketching and writing poems too, just for a fun at the weekends, I’m not considering a change of career!

For anyone who had somehow missed the memo that I live in the middle of nowhere, I will just say that there’s very limited walking opportunities. Now that sounds mad considering I live in the middle of a National Park, full of woods, walks and paths, but what I actually mean is, it’s incredibly difficult to go anywhere without hitting a massive hill. Sadly, my bike is at my Grandparent’s and the pools are closed, so I’m back to running after a year off because of my knee. I’m really happy with my qua-run-tine, even if I only have the one route down to Falling Foss and back up the (incredibly steep) bank. With a lot of people driving to exercise, I am constantly dodging people which baffles me considering the population of Littlebeck is less than 10, and that includes my two cats. Better than life in a block of urban flats though, even if I see numerous different people playing on the same rope swing and eating their picnics with their hands…
I’ve been walking a lot with Mum too, trying to find loops and avoid the inclines, both which have been a struggle. Trying not to be out all day is difficult, so we mostly do ‘out and backs’. I love Les Mills BodyBalance at uni and I’ve recently discovered they do a free barre class too. So, I run every three days and do balance or barre on the days in between. Stretching has been a life saver whilst spending so much time sat down and I’m closer to the splits which is cool (still can’t do a handstand though). I’ve been video calling my workout buddies to do ‘Isolates’ with which is fun if you’re bored of the solo experience.

Socialising with the Distant
I didn’t realise at the time, but my last social occasion was a charity pub quiz held by the Trusty Paws committee, unfortunately we didn’t win. At least we didn’t win a golden turd like the last pub quiz I entered at home… Despite virtual quizzes taking off since the lockdown, I am still yet to win. But wish me luck for ‘The Lockdown Olympics’ tonight. I have really appreciated the weekly video calls and catchups with family and friends. I miss playing ‘Come Dine with Me’ and watching ‘Liar’ with my house mates, but our weekly quiz and Instagram fitness account keep me laughing. Just knowing that I’ve got friends on my course, that I would usually see every day, on the end of the phone to understand my uni stresses is a blessing, and I love hearing about their crazy pets and love lives. I would usually be meeting up with friends from home over the holidays, but we’re keeping in touch and I’m incredibly proud of them for working hard on their dissertations and job applications. My family have made a group chat for our daily updates and photos of our entertaining, furry co-workers. We miss each other but we know that if we keep our distance now, we can have the rest of our lives to enjoy family BBQs and pizza parties. I keep getting asked how I am managing with a long-distance relationship, and the truth is, it’s really bloody hard. Unlike at uni when I count down the days, (for once in my life) I’m not thinking too far ahead. I am just living each day and appreciating having someone there for me, over the phone, when I wake up and before I go to sleep. Thank you for having my back, lending me books, entering my Grand Designs housing blueprint competition (where someone drew not one but two hot-tubs in their garden…), and for baking me comfort food. I’m fortunate to live with a resident chef also, so thank you for doing the weekly shop and disinfecting it. Most importantly, thank you for staying at home, for the sake of our whole family, we can do this! I couldn’t be any more safely distanced and thankful for the internet, for which I couldn’t study or socialise.

I miss my clinical skills group, aka the Loose Women, and can only imagine the discussions we’d be having on the current circumstances. We’re all hoping that things will resume in September, but I’m glad that whatever happens I’m still a vet student and one way or another I will learn the skills I need. I must say uni have been incredibly good with us too. I don’t listen to the news or radio if I can help it, I see enough on social media and with half of it being old news or fake news, I find it healthier to tune out and just get on with what I can control. I’m not being ignorant or hiding from it, I just know that the constant information overload is incredibly depressing and unhelpful when I’m currently content with staying at home, I know all I need to know for now. I’m not counting the days up or down; I’m just taking each day at a time. Maybe one day I’ll be on the frontline of a zoonotic or animal pandemic (like Foot and Mouth or BSE) and I’ll be facing the crisis from a different perspective, but I know that whichever shoes I’m in, every challenge has its learning curves which help prepare us for whatever life throws at us.

Big loves and stay safe, Evie xxx

P.S Thanks for the pictures, keep them coming. All I’ve taken photos of recently have been my pair of covidiot cats, so bear with.

 The Loose Women ‘Come Dine with Me’ with Floss the week before lockdown

The golden turd and tonight’s Lockdown Olympics host

Mum’s bread


Lizard gift from Estee

The cat’s isolation ‘garages’

Nora lending a paw/ taking over my desk

Estee my running coach

Humphrey gardening

Nino gardening

Murray enjoying the sun

Ted enjoying some lockdown tunes

Nala and Gary having a Maine Coon cuddle

My last one spot from my Nanny
(and a documentary on sheep farming in the Lakes whilst I study, yes Mum herdys!)

Non cat related animal content

Estee is totally over the whole lockdown thing now…

Paws for Thought

Hurray it’s the Easter hols at long last! The past two weeks have been rather interesting but seen as social media is plagued by the C word, I thought it was a good time to write a post for my blog. So, rest assured Covid-warriors, this is a virus free blog post! No Corona here, just the ins and outs of my second semester at vet school from the Christmas hols (how long ago they seem) to the pre-lockdown days. Grab a cuppa (or something stronger) and your 17th biscuit of the day and enjoy reading something other than the C news.

Over the Christmas hols I completed a week of EMS at my local mixed animal vet practice. The practice was having a new extension built including a new theatre! Once I’d navigated the new rooms, I was able to practice the clinical skills I’d learnt in first semester; radiography, IV fluid drips, bandaging, urine tests, blood tests, and asepsis (that’s right we’re taught how wash our hands). During our professional skills seminars we learn how to take a patient’s history, so I set out to practice this skill for my assessment (little did I know it would be cancelled… oops, no more C word!). My lecturers were right, the small talk as a vet student is easy:
“Hi I’m a vet student.”
“Oh really, my grandson is a vet student! What vet school do you go to?
“I’m at Liverpool.” *points to badge or polo shirt logo*
“I always wanted to be a vet. It’s 7 years isn’t it, to be a vet?”
“Well actually it’s 5 if you don’t count A-Levels.”
… And so on and so forth.
The end of a consult is nearly always the same too. Something along the lines of; “Well good luck with your studies!”, which I’m not sick of hearing yet… maybe by 5th year.

My first patient discharge was ‘dis’-appointing to say the least. I really thought I’d nailed the bandage care. It was all there on the discharge notes I had printed off. All I had to do was verbalise the notes, hand them over and fetch “Fluffy” (or Scruffy or something). I made sure to discuss the bandage in detail; what to expect, what to look for, how the anaesthetic drugs would take a while to wear off properly etc. The owner was nodding along as I reassured her, thanking me countless times for the amazing job we (probably not me) do as vets. I told her to call if she had any worries, they teach us this at vet school, they call it “the safety net”. Later that day the owner had called three times about Fluffy; Why was he so quiet?, Why was he licking the bandage?, Why wasn’t he running upstairs and playing with her friend’s dogs?… I looked totally incompetent, but at least I know why they call it “the safety net” now, because you can end up getting caught out and tangled from the vet questioning your discharge technique. Which reminds me of an acronym we have been banned from using in refence to owners; PBTO – Pet Brighter Than Owner.

I attended numerous farm visits too. From scanning Kerry Hill ewes for lambs to placing an IV catheter (under supervision) in the jugular of a cow with metabolic acidosis. The herd had broken into the pig feed and quite literally engorged themselves like pigs. Their rumen cannot cope with the high energy feed and they require a lot of fluid to balance the level of acid created in their gut. The farmers don’t usual partake in small talk, I think they fear it will be added to the call-out fee. That said, some offer you a guided tour, free eggs and a cuppa. Although it does always make me wonder if they’re trying to get their dog vaccines knocked off the bill, that they’d conveniently forgotten were due. The vet once told me, you won’t meet anyone tighter than a Yorkshire farmer, you can do them a job for free and they’ll still ask you for a favour.

I had been pleased with my feedback form from my week at the vets and I had hoped to mirror my success in my January mock exams. Four exams; two written, one SPOT (stations with objects and questions) and one OSPE that was divided into clinical skills (thankfully I had lambing) and a quiz over a dissected forelimb. We finished on the last Friday of January and we were into semester 2 by the Monday. We had our winter formal the week after exams. As I’ve said before, the vets have a social for every occasion, and finishing exams is most definitely a cause for celebration. Poor Izzy wasn’t very well so Eve and I made it our mission to drink her share too, which somehow ended in me doing laps of the bus depo on a city bike!

I was glad to be back at first aid learning the skills I need to become an advanced first aider. We had a talk from the uni’s BSL society, who taught us some sign language which I must say was not completely farfetched from charades. I discovered the vets have their own CU too. Everyone is so lovely and each week we meet up to discuss what we have struggled with or need guidance on and then we pray together. I had been to the Everyman theatre to see Animal Farm, where an elderly couple wished me well with my studies following an awkward conversation where I thought they were asking me about my knowledge of animal farming, oops. Eve and I had a huge fan girl moment when we attended a talk by the Yorkshire Vet; Peter Wright. Not to be confused with another famous Yorkshire Peter… and no I don’t mean you Uncle Peter. By the end of the talk, we’d had our books signed and picture taken, whilst Izzy was still trying to figure out where Yorkshire was… bloody Southerners!

Just as I was beginning the first series of Grey’s Anatomy and wondering whether I would make it as a surgeon, we received our exam results. We had been told that if you gained more than 50% on any exam, you had revised far more than you had needed to. As 50% is all you need to move on to second year, and it is by no means easy to get half marks. So, I was more than satisfied with my grades that had bordered 70%, relieved was an understatement. We had another drawing task to complete after exams; a schematic drawing of the equine gastrointestinal tract. I was rather pleased with mine but seen as it hasn’t been marked yet I won’t dare to jinx it. Whilst I’m on with grades I may as well mention that I scored 90% on my epidemiology assessment too, not bad for an essay on Lyme disease, the most ticks I’ve ever seen (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Season 4 of Grey’s Anatomy accompanied my final weeks of uni. I helped out at the applicant day, where prospective students meet staff and current students to decide which uni to make their first choice. It’s a bit like a backwards Hunger Games, the unis are the districts and the students are the tributes, except the tributes choose their district and the unis are the ones fighting. We gave a presentation where I discussed life in Liverpool and have I got a lot to say about Liverpool! But essentially, we were paid to host a quiz which was very similar to my SPOT exam, so I made use of the additional revision. Before we suddenly left uni, we had a week of bacteria practicals where we cultivated our hand bacteria on agar plates, somewhat forewarning, but thankfully I have very clean hands.

Which brings us back to reality. I hope you managed to forget about the C word for a while, I know I did writing this, looking back on my happy memories of second semester and life before the lockdown. With a lot more to come if my exams go as planned. It wasn’t quite how I’d imagined finishing my first year but hey ho, least it wasn’t my actual first! Stay home, stay safe, and (I don’t know who needs to hear this) shut the fridge!

Big loves (from a respectable 2m distance) Evie xx

P.S For a bit of fun, email me ( a picture of what your pets/ furry co-workers have been up to during the lockdown and I will give you (and them) a shout-out on my next blog!

Revising with my best pal

Presents from my not so ‘best’ pals

Before things went from 0 to 100 (laps)
Peter Wright aka The Yorkshire Vet
Tesco’s finest
Clinical skills’ finest
Not my finest…

Feline Festive

Semester 1 over and out. I can’t say I’m not relieved that it’s over, but what a term it’s been. Despite my previous experience of uni, it goes without saying, vet school is unlike any other degree. It came to me as no surprise that the hours and workload are much more intense. We’re in 9-5 most days and so far, I managed to keep up to date on my lecture notes through the week. Treating uni like a job made it easier to fit in time to play sport/ go to the gym, see friends and most recently, visit the Christmas markets. The tuition fee deadlines were rather daunting but being a postgrad does have its perks. I soon realised I didn’t have to spend hours ‘finding my style’ when it came to lecture notes. In general, having less to worry about made it easier to concentrate and keep up, which I feel most people struggled with. The content wasn’t necessarily hard to understand, there was just soooooo much of it! A little older than most, I’d say I’m just above the average age in my year; there are so many postgrads, foundation year and gap year students. For once, having an August birthday has been a blessing. It’s been a slow start to lacrosse and sailing, with a busy timetable and my knee still in recovery, but my swimming is nearly back on track! I love my new house so much I’m moving back in for second year! Besides copious amounts of lectures and labs, which I decided no to bore you with, here is my semester 1 review (you may have seen some spoilers on my Instagram and Facebook stories):

Welcome week (freshers)
You’ve all heard of freshers, 18-year-old me certainly smashed it and 3 years later… not a lot has changed. Knowing my way around campus made me a bit of a tour guide but I didn’t mind, it certainly helped us with the treasure hunts and other welcome week activities. I went to all the usual sports and society fairs, I’m back at SJA first aid and I’m hopefully sitting my advanced exams next year too.

Week 1/ vet freshers
The vets sure know how to party! The vet society (LUVS) organise socials and events for every occasion! Having met my buddy (Rachel) and her house mates (one who I knew from a VETSIM course back in 2015), we had our ‘buddy meal’, bar crawl and welcome party (first years had to dress as cacti and for my buddy meal I was a puppy).

Week 2
I went to the vet squash taster session, unfortunately it clashed with lacrosse most weeks, but it was still fun to play with other vets and meet other freshers. They have a lot of vet sports clubs to help students fit in sport around their timetable.

Week 3
The first week of HACs (handling animal classes) and anatomy lectures. At HACs we got to handle pigs, sheep, horses, dogs, cattle and sheep one day a week over at the Leahurst campus (on the Wirral). We were advised to ask for anatomy colouring books for Christmas… they weren’t joking.

Week 4
The vet sports teams had their annual medics vs dentists vs vets sports day and we had a lecture on EMS (extra mural studies/ work experience). In short, it looks like I have no summer holidays, with 10 weeks of EMS to do this year alone.

Week 5
We finally got our name badges! It was beginning to sink in; I’d been waiting 3 years for that piece of plastic with my name on it! I made a start on my letters, applications and emails to various charities, foundations, funds and trusts, for help with my uni fees.

Week 6 (halfway)
Another vet party, this time the annual Halloween party. I went with two other vets (Eve and Izzy) as Regina George from Mean Girls. It was also AVS weekend in Glasgow or a half-way ‘long weekend’ off if you didn’t get an AVS ticket. AVS is one big sports weekend held by a different vet school each year. Next year it’s in Liverpool, so at least we won’t be fighting for tickets.

Week 7
LUVS hosted a bonfire with mulled wine out at the Leahurst campus and we started our dissections too… I can’t say a lot about them, but I will say that as they really are an invaluable learning experience. Mum and her work colleagues crotched me some purple poppies to sell in aid of Trusty Paws for Remembrance Day.

Week 8
The vets have numerous societies for anatomy (LVAS), equine (LEVS), small animals (LSAVS) and farm animals (LFAVS). Each society hold talks (with free pizza) throughout the semester. I went to one on calving complications held by an alumni vet. The Lady Lumley’s Foundation were happy to cover my gym membership fees and kindly sent me a cheque in the post. Every little helps.

Week 9
LEVS had a talk on gastric ulcers in horses and LUVS had a ‘Schwartz Round’ where three vets discussed times when they first felt they had ‘imposter syndrome’ and how they coped with it.

Week 10
And another talk, and more free pizza, this time on pet obesity. I only had three coursework/ continuous assessments to do this semester which I completed one weekend so I didn’t get behind on lecture notes, including; an essay on Lyme disease and a histology drawing of cell membranes. I’m no Picasso but I was chuffed with 17/20 on my drawing.

Week 11
A final party to finish the semester; the annual Christmas party. I know you’re probably wondering when we actually do any work, but it’s all about balance right?

Week 12 (final week)
FINALLY our stash (vet school clothing) arrived. We spent the last days of term donning all our LUVS gear; better late than never. In clinical skills, besides rehearsing episodes of ‘Loose Women’, we practice CPR, blood and urine tests, asepsis, IV drips, lambing, bandaging, radiography, drug dosing, surgical instruments and knots. We had our last clinical skills ‘OSPE’ before our practical exams in January, we were visited by a Doberman puppy afterwards as a treat.

12 weeks of learning all things forelimb, histology, husbandry, clinical skills and the major organ systems, and it’s finally time to start revising… after vet placement, Christmas, Boxing day, Christmas (2), New Year, oh and a wedding! Thanks for reading my last blog of the year, and a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you (especially if you’re going to be up to your eyeballs in revision like me). My cats best be ready to help me practice my clinical skills… yeah right!

Until the Easter hols,
The Wannabe Vet

Free as a Bird (2)

Here’s the second half of my update blog! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. It’s raining here in Liverpool, but it’s making packing up three years of uni easier. Although, I may have underestimated just how much sh*t I have… (part 2 of 2).

Where to begin. I’ll get the boring part out of the way first; my summer so far has consisted mainly of waitressing, but  I start working outside soon which I much prefer.

The novelty of being back home to my cats soon wore off. I took them to the vets for their annual boosters. So strange to be on the other side of the table. And embarrassing as we had to wrap them both like burritos for their wormers. Nevertheless, both healthy; a successful trip to the vets… until I got home and realised Estee had p*ssed all over her sister in retaliation for being man-handled… nice.

I’ve been seeing practice at the vets on my days off. I was just returning to the practice after an equine visit when I received a VERY IMPORTNANT EMAIL; my uni results. I prayed for a 2:1 as I opened it. What on Earth was I going to do if I’d lost my place at vet school? Panic over I’d bagged my 2:1 AND a 1st for my dissertation! So If for some reason you haven’t already heard, I’M GOING TO VET SCHOOL in September! Student finance – sorted. Accommodation – sorted. Numerous coloured chinos – required. Of course there are so many people I’d love to thank for believing in me, but without getting too soppy, you know who you are.

Graduation was amazing; being a wizard for the day with my two biggest fans (Mum and Nanny). I hope you both enjoyed yourselves as much as I did. Three crazy years boiled down to one incredibly proud occasion. A shout-out to all my clever friends that have graduated up and down the country this week too; beauty and brains, so proud of you all.

Now I must get back to packing, and the rain has stopped just in time for the girls graduation. I really don’t want to leave Baltimore Street or my lovely Balti-girls, but a new adventure awaits. Bioveterinary Science degree – complete. Tune in sometime in September, if I survive vet freshers

Big loves, The Gunnabe Vet

P.S Turns out I got my TV debut a month early. Here I am promoting Chester Zoo:

Estee enjoying her crate before the vets

Thanks Mum and Liv


My lovely Balti-girls – thanks for the best three years
Did someone say 8 more weeks of summer?!

Free as a Bird (1)

Just a quick update blog post you’ll be pleased to know (part 1 of 2).

Finally, I am free! Back home to my cats and their welcome home ‘gifts’. Three out of three final year exams done! Fingers crossed I’ve managed to secure a 2:1. My final exam was like the countdown to summer scene from High School Musical; ‘summer, summer, summer…’. I’m so proud of all my friends for their amazing dissertation grades! I’m still waiting on mine, but if anyone cares for Campylobacter control, feel free to give my diss a read; 7000 FASCINATING words.
Thank you for the endless support over my exams, you know who you are! Especially Mum and the ladies at PGs for welcoming me back to the office to revise once again. And not forgetting my furry study friends; Nino and Humphrey.

So, what’s in store for my long summer:
For the rest of June, besides working hard to save up for my first year on the vet course, I plan to write to charities, foundations, important veterinary figures, and specific vet school sponsors. I hope I can receive some financial support for my second degree, even if it only funds my memberships, coveralls and vaccines, every little helps. People still think I’m crazy paying for a second degree, but when it’s my dream career I’ll do whatever it takes. If anyone has been in my shoes, funding a second undergraduate degree, or knows of any foundations I can write to, I would appreciate your advice. I’ll be back at the vets for work experience, so look out for some more animal selfies (with or without blood and guts).
I will get my final degree result on the 1st of July and graduate towards the end of the month. I am still awaiting my MRI results, so my fundraising has been halted for now. Part time work has left me with little time for training, and now that I am back from uni for the summer I can work pretty much full time. But they’ll be plenty of time for exploring and sightseeing in North Yorkshire and beyond, some roadtrips too I hope.
August will be an exciting month too, with my 21st birthday celebrations; seeing Countryfile live at Castle Howard. Lookout for my TV debut as the Wannabe Yorkshire Supervet! I’ll also be packing for uni once again, back to Liverpool (I hope) for another five years! Good luck to all my friends with their final years ahead of them, first graduate jobs, PGCEs, masters, work placements and travels. Now pass me the prosecco and get me back in the sunshine! My pale skinned, stressy, sweaty library days are over… for now.

(Tune in after July 1st for part 2)

Obligatory dissertation hand in pic

Humphrey revising

Nino procrastinating
Start of summer


Horses for Courses

It’s finally the Easter holidays! After a 10-week term I am exhausted! Which is strange because since January I have been unable to run or swim because of a knee injury I sustained one evening on the dancefloor… more on that later. Besides being jealous of everyone hitting the slopes, I have been living in the library like a good third year student. Less than two months of third year left… but I’m back for Easter delivering the odd lamb, balancing uni work and a part-time job. Although I know where I’d rather be… I enjoy helping-out during the busy lambing period and who can say no to pet lambs?

My work experience really has been worth it. I won an Easter egg last week for answering a question on ideal lambing percentages. But in all seriousness, my work experience has been the topic of conversation for all my interviews, and over the past four years, there’s been a lot. From Bristol; visiting my Aunty and her local IKEA, to Edinburgh; Christmas shopping with my Grandparents and there was the time Mum got lost in Liverpool during my first interview…

Last year, before Christmas I had interviews at Surrey, Liverpool and the RVC in London, which I mentioned in my last blog. With a place secured at vet school either way, I had nothing and everything to lose at my Nottingham interview. I really wanted a place at the Notts vet school, especially after I hadn’t secured one in my first application. It’s even harder to get a place at Notts because of their unique AAB offer, which makes the course more appealing to A-level applicants. Both of my interviews at, Notts were unforgettable, the first time round I was meant to take the train with my Aunty, who was nervous to drive to Nottingham for the first time. Unfortunately, she hadn’t set her alarm, despite being the most organised person on Earth… we had missed our train by the time we woke up.

My most recent trip to Nottingham was just after my January exams which went rather well considering I had to teach myself physics and learn umpteen different diseases and pathogens inside out, literally. My favourite being Fasciola hepatica, the liver fluke. Anyway, I’d decided to stay in Notts for the rest of the week, which my immune system and liver would later regret. The interview went well, however what I thought would be a two-hour formal interview ended up being a timetabled talk, break, tour, break, practical, break… finally after another break (!!!) I had my interview. Absolutely shattered I was relieved to see my ‘Dad’; avid blog reader Dan Johnson, waiting for me with all the other Mummies and Daddies. As with all good nights out, it went downhill from there. It wasn’t even midnight before I was limping around Crisis, but at least I was walking out this time. Somehow, I’d managed to twist my knee, it was probably for the best that I’d had a few VKs. Thanks to Grew and all at 62 Harlax for having me. My stay was probably the closest I’ll come to experiencing life on ‘I’m a Celeb’, a visit I will not be forgetting, or reliving, for quite some time.

Before returning home for Easter I received an offer for a place at Nottingham! Nottingham had always been my first choice uni. Although I love Liverpool very much, and it was voted the best destination on TripAdvisor, I thought I’d fancy a change, as five more years is quite a long time in one city. However, bursaries, travel fees and first year accommodation costs must all be considered. Despite being offered a place in September 2019, Nottingham uni will be taking on a second cohort of 150 students from April 2020. I fear a course of 300 students may not meet the expectations I’d once hoped for.

All prospective vet students must confirm their firm and insurance choices on UCAS by the end of the Easter holidays. After much deliberation, I have decided to choose Liverpool for the next five years on the vet school course. There are so many advantages, besides who doesn’t want to live in the North. It will be nice to see everyone who’s planning on sticking around too, especially my house mates… not sure how I feel about us all moving out of the best house in Liverpool soon. I’ll be spending the first three years of the vet course on the uni campus and the remaining two out on the Wirral. The Leahurst campus has two referral hospitals, three first opinion practices, and two working farms. I can’t wait to get back into sailing and playing lacrosse for the uni, which I have greatly missed since my knee injury. The other week I volunteered at the Grand National with St John Ambulance; I was positioned to cover the stand directly opposite the finish line! I look forward to covering more once in a lifetime events and hopefully gather enough experience to become an advanced first aider.  Liverpool will always have a special place in my heart; I cannot wait to be back in September making new memories and reliving old ones! Maybe I’ll even run the 10-miler next year! I won’t be going anywhere is I don’t bag myself a 2:1 and graduate, lots to look forward to. Tune in to find out how my finals go, que cards and mind maps at the ready.

Some thank yous are in order, despite a hold-up on the fundraising front. I didn’t push for sponsors on my 10-mile run or 2-mile Swimathon but thank you Aunty Mickey and Alfs for your kind support and making me smile regardless. It is very much appreciated. I’ve updated my Just Giving Page ready to start fundraising again soon, I’m so proud of how much I’ve raised so far. Hopefully I’ll be back to my usual, mountain climbing, triathlon training self once I can figure out how to stop my knee from clicking and giving way… (any physios out there?)

Now I better get back to writing my dissertation and finding other things to do of equal importance… Good job I’m only 3000 words over. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my office or rather, I’ll be in one of my favourite fleeces surrounded by pet lambs. See you soon!

Big loves,
The Wannabe Vet

… or as Mum is now calling me; The Wannabe Yorkshire Supervet!

Pre-Notts interview drivethru

Notts offer postcard
Grand National with SJA

Estee Cat on her 2nd birthday

Turning Turtle

Oops it’s me! Happy New Year, merry Christmas and whatever else I’ve missed over the past few months. I realise it’s been a while since my last post, but I do have a lot of exciting news and updates: Dry January looked promising until I finished my first semester of third year exams… I’ve had some rather embarrassing clothing malfunctions at interviews and as far as my latest challenges are concerned; ‘how many turkey dinners can you consume post-Christmas day?’ wasn’t really worth the sponsors. I’ve left my best fleeces in Yorkshire, and I’m back in Liverpool for my final semester of my Bio-vet degree. Now grab yourself a brew because this is going to be one hell of a whistle stop tour!

We were warned in second year how difficult third year would be. There was no description of how it would be harder and beginning my final semester as a bio-vet student, my experience of third year so far has been exactly as predicted. For those of you who have seen the latest Mary Poppins film, the chaos and pressure of third year, I believe is best described by Meryl Streep in ‘Turning Turtle’. Except it’s every day in third year and not just every second Wednesday of the month…  it’s worth a listen.

With first semester exams now over, I never thought I’d say it, but I actually preferred the physics-based, biomechanics exam. I proved to myself that no matter how difficult something can first appear, perseverance does pay off. If at first you don’t succeed, fix your pony tail and get your head down. We can learn anything when we put our mind to it, even physics! With my dissertation and second semester exams (‘finals’!!) looming, I will be sad to spend less time in the lambing shed this Easter. Lucky for you Mum, I will be available to entertain your work colleagues when I next join you at work to revise in my office. Although, I can guarantee a quick ‘brain break’ will teleport me from my revision notes to the lambing pens on the other side of the valley.

Last semester I met Judy Puddifoot from BBC 2’s ‘Young Vets’. Her advice and anecdotes reminded me to reflect on my journey so far and explained some benefits of being a post-grad vet that I hadn’t even thought of. Post-grads understand how uni works, and they can use this to their advantage when freshers (first years) are getting themselves settled in. Her dyslexia was not diagnosed until late into her course, and so if she managed to learn the content, I sure as hell can too.

Having received all four invites for a formal interview, between October 15th and late November, I am now nervously awaiting my final vet school interview in Nottingham. I have already attended interviews at the Uni of Surrey, Uni of Liverpool and the Royal Veterinary College, London. Soon after my Liverpool, 9 panel Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) in the cathedral crypt (some serious déjà vu), I received my first offer of a place at their vet school. I was elated when I received my offer by email. To clarify; I am going to be a vet! All there is to do is bag a 2:1 and I’ll be studying in Liverpool in September. That same day I was en route to London to stay with an extremely talented MTA student, and close friend from secondary school. I must thank her for having me and for her fundraising ideas as she too had to self-fund her dream course. I am still awaiting a response from the RVC, but as a post-grad course places are more limited. Last but not least, my most recent offer from Surrey came in the day after my first exam this January. They had been struggling to access my work experience forms… rather annoying as I felt the interview had gone rather well, despite my shirt unbuttoning at the chest mid-interview. I needn’t have worried because I know have my offer. Huge thanks to my Guildford family for having me, Surrey is a lovely place with a lot of character and the uni had fantastic sports facilities.

Fingers crossed I hear from the RVC soon, but I have bigger fish to fry with my Nottingham interview around the corner. Having a choice of vet school will be rather exciting, although I really don’t have a preference because I will still be a vet at the end of the course. When the time comes to decide I will have to assess the costs and benefits of each:

  • Despite the RVC offering a four-year course, Camden will be a challenge to afford living costs.
  • Liverpool is the best city ever, and I know it so well now, but I do love exploring new places.
  • Surrey has great facilities, but again the cost of living in Guildford cannot be ignored.
  • Finally, Nottingham would be the most affordable, it’s equidistant from home as Liverpool is and they produce highly-skilled vets. I will have to wait and see what the interview holds… 3 down 1 to go!

I thought it would be sensible to have a break from competitions and fundraising over the past few months; what with the Baltic weather, my interviews and quite frankly being far too unhealthy over Christmas. Apparently orange segments in mulled wine do not class as one of your five-a-day, Bailey’s is not a calcium source and Christmas cake every day for a month does have a downside… However, besides the odd Parkrun, I have been planning my next challenges for the coming year. In my last blog posts, I was raising money for St John Ambulance when I ran the Great North Run and two weeks later the Nottingham half marathon with Mum.

I plan to run the Liverpool 10-miler and complete a 2-mile Swimathon this March. Having not swam since before Christmas and excessive amounts of snacking halting my running progress, I could well be facing my hardest challenges yet. Please follow the links to see what my challenges entail. I will be swimming and running in aid of Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK. With 50% saved for my vet school fund. Here are the links for my PayPal and fundraising page too. I would be so grateful of your support. I appreciate asking for sponsors this time of year, especially after Christmas, is the equivalent of asking for anything other than chicken in Nandos, but your support would be amazing nonetheless. My interviews and vet schools offers have motivated me to study, much to my family’s delight, however I have been a little less inspired to exercise. Weeks of Christmas indulgence has left me questioning my idea of a healthy diet too.

I didn’t want to jinx my last interview by writing my tips for “smashing” interviews, so I will save them for another blog post, and hopefully by then I will have a good success rate and more experience. Between now and my next blog I will be working hard on my fitness (and diet), uni work and my Nottingham vet school interview. I can’t promise when my next blog post will be, but hopefully there will be more interview offers and the results of my Liverpool 10-miler and Swimathon, so long as third year doesn’t kill me off… tune in to find out!

Big loves,

The Gunnabe Vet xx

My office at PG

Pre- Surrey interview
Christmas dinner
Exam revision with Humphrey
My first vet school offer
Post-RVC interview
Parkrun with my fit fam

The Great North Run

The 9th September 2018. My final challenge, the Great North Run. After my first half marathon measured 400m short earlier this year, I entered the GNR ballot on a whim. Knowing how unlikely it was that my name would be drawn, I entered the Notts half with Mum too.

Coincidentally, en route to a lacrosse game in Newcastle I received the email informing me I had secured a ballot place for the Simplyhealth Great North RunTHE most prestigious half marathon! 13.1 miles from Newcastle out to Southshields (if they get the distance right on this one…).

As always, I’ll be splitting my sponsors 50:50 between my uni fees and a charity close to my heart, St John’s Ambulance.

Donating a pint of blood wasn’t enough for me so I began volunteering with SJA in my second year of uni. In return for my time I have been trained and qualified as an event first aider. I realised the importance of first aid from a young age when my Nan started blacking out, we hadn’t the foggiest how to help her. Only a week ago at my triathlon, as I was having my hair braided a man collapsed, convulsing beside me! First aid is a skill, not just CPR, and it’s very easy to forget and become flustered in an emergency. Check out their helpful videos for yourself, and test your knowledge, you just never know when you’re gong to need it. FINALLY, it has been introduced to the national curriculum!

I love running but working non-stop has meant little time for running after 15 miles + of moors trekking! I’m squeezing them in and finding the time, relying on your support to keep me going. I really want to smash this final challenge and make my SJA unit proud to have me on their team.

If you don’t have time to do your bit for charity but you can spare some pennies, please sponsor me as I tackle (technically my first) half marathon, the Great North Run. You can even donate anonymously!

Links at the top of the page.

Big loves always xx

P.S I raised £25 from my triathlon sponsors. Thank you for your kind donations for Macmillan and my dream career.

Trust Me I’m a Dogtor

My LAST blog, for now. I need to focus on my application due in October; revisiting my old friend UCAS, a new personal statement and chasing up on my work experience references. Lots to do and working full time to save up for my second undergraduate degree. A never-ending battle towards the £45,000 uni fees but so far I’ve raised £600 for my uni fees and for the various charities I’ve supported over the year. A year ago, I ran my first 10K Race for Life, the start of my running journey, I can’t believe how far I’ve come and I’m excited to see what my sister can achieve a year on from her first 10K. My friend Roz and I completed the Cleveland Way by climbing Roseberry Topping, road-tripping from Flamborough to Saltburn, and I ran the Duncombe Park trail run in Helmsley to finish. Thanks to my supporters, see you on Saturday for my first ever triathlon.

PLEASE, please, please if you can spare TWO minutes donate your Friday night pint pennies to my fundraising page (or PayPal) to support Macmillan and my desperately needed uni fees. My hardest challenge yet, three disciplines, triple the training and hopefully, triple the sponsors! Feel free to drop in your donation at Café Frog, Pickering if you can’t access the internet. If you’ve already donated or you can only spare ONE minute, please share my triathlon and comment your support!

Now you’ve (fingers crossed) sponsored me for this weekend here’s what I learnt this week, why your trip to the vets costs sooo much and why you MUST neuter your pets. Disclaimer: I research and quote the vets I work with wherever I can, but I can only offer my advice and opinion from what I’ve experienced first-hand. Some vets will disagree.

As we celebrate 70 years of the NHS, and I reminisce back to my 6 A&E visits over the past 19 years, mostly from being a clumsy child. We moan about tax all the time but we really are fortunate to have free health care services available to us at our time of need. However, veterinary practices do not work like this. There are brilliant payment schemes available to reduce and spread the costs of wormers, vaccines, nail trims etc – the general pet MOT. Particularly, dog breeds with well-known medical conditions such as brachycephalic (I shared a post earlier this week about the breathing difficulties of pugs and French bulldogs) and dogs with back problems (dachshunds). It’s crazy how many owners have spent hundreds of pounds on their pet and try to avoid paying for their second vaccines!

Another costly visit that springs to mind are emergency, out of hours consults. The unsociable working hours of vets and vet nurses come at a cost. With few practices accommodating the option, the usual cost of a consult out of hours is triple the cost of a consult within normal opening hours. Vets see all sorts of emergencies, much like an A&E department, some accidents have unbelievable stories. Others are completely avoidable. Spaying and neutering are safe and SO much cheaper when pets are young. Reducing the risk of mammary and testicular tumours, which are fatal in 50% of dogs and 90% of cats and pyometra (uterine infection causing swelling from accumulating blood), requiring an emergency spay. The benefits of neutered pets greatly outweigh the minor surgical risk! Besides avoiding life-threatening surgery, it has been proven that pets LIVE LONGER and males are less aggressive once they’ve lost their ‘undercarriage’, as my grandparents say. I personally have witnessed all the eventualities mentioned over the last month alone! At my first whelping (dog birthing) I learnt most Kennel Club registered puppy breeders breakeven after the feed, vaccines and medical care of the bitch and her pups is deducted from the pup sale income (photos in my last blog). Puppies are beautiful but not all whelping experiences are magical. I was called in to observe an emergency caesarean. The poor mother had been whelping since 6 am… 16 hours later, the owners decided she might need some assistance. There was a pup stuck in her birth canal! Only one survived and the bitch made a full recovery. The reduced cost of spaying younger animals came as a shock when I saw the final bill for the pregnant bitch. Accidental mating is no laughing matter, the animal ‘morning after pill’ and emergency surgery is far better avoided in my opinion. So I’d definitely think again if you’re keeping your pet entire for ‘maybe’ breeding them in the future. Not hinting at any of my close family members with brown haired, sausage-shaped dogs…

Although neutering is easier said than done in some animals. We visited a boar last week for a castrate and trying to safely sedate the 120kg+ beast required 3 hefty pig boards and 5 willing volunteers. Fun fact: female pigs (sows) and horses are not spayed due to the largely complicated surgery. Going back to what I said about patience last week, we needed buckets of it. The tusked male shot between my legs, I luckily escaped unscathed. Thanking my long legs that I had not been carried away, I left with a very large bruise.

Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you learnt something new or advise a friend to get their precious pet insured and neutered.

My latest charity shop book about a newly graduate vet has inspired me even more to smash my application due in October, maybe I’ll write a book one day. I really want to hear what you think of my blog and what inspires you?

What to expect next:
– Keep an eye out for my last challenge of the year (more to come in 2018)
– Other fundraising events
Monthly blogs on my application progress, interviews, animal nutrition and finance

Be back soon, big loves, Evie xx

Photos that made me proud this week:

The first Summer calf at Leasbeck

Pre-Duncombe Park trail 10K trying to hide my big bruise

Post-9 mile 10K…?
Mary’s first 10K

Midnight born caesarean puppy

Roseberry Topping