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Julia’s Weekly Column for the Middy – Being a Vet

Being a vet has its perks, and they’re not always what you might expect! Learn more in this weekly column

At a conference last month I was amazed to bump into a Vet I used to practice with nearly 30 years ago, at a time when he was newly qualified and I was a student still at Vet School.

Catching up with him brought back wonderful memories of my time spent learning from a large team of Vets and Nurses at a thriving practice in Watford, run by several partners, including Dinah and Roger Johnson.

Dinah must have been one of the first female Vets ever to qualify. Having had three children, she restricted her time to performing routine operative procedures every morning at the practice, running the hospital like a sergeant major.

Her husband Roger, on the other hand, still worked full time caring for the local pets, horses and farm animals, with his other colleagues.

I loved working with him. He was a charming gentleman of the old school, always dressed in a suit and tie, even when visiting local dairy or pig farms. I would spend as much of my time in Watford with him as I could, taking his wisdom on board.

And so it was that I spotted his Friday afternoon wheeze.

If I was with him on a Friday I noticed that we would always have a certain Mrs Foyle on our list of calls, who had several toy dogs. Whenever we arrived at her beautiful, spacious home, there would always be tea for two laid out, to which she rapidly added a third cup if I was in tow.

She would request that one of her little pets should have some minor intervention, usually an anal gland check, which Roger would lovingly complete with the minimum of fuss. Then we would settle down to tea and cakes and a nice chat for half an hour.

Roger never showed any impatience to get on to the next call, and in his usual charming fashion appeared to enjoy the little break in our hectic rounds.

After the third such Friday afternoon call, I challenged him: “Trixie didn’t really need that, did she?”

“No,” he said. “But if Mrs Foyle wants to pay me for a little company and cake, why shouldn’t we enjoy it?”

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