When did you know you wanted to be a vet?
I remember doing a week’s work experience at a local practice when I was 14, and although up until then I had been fairly sure that was what I wanted to do, after a week seeing the vets at work, I was absolutely sure – and nothing was going to change my mind! A fairly negative teacher in sixth form tried to persuade me to think of another idea, as he didn’t think I’d get into Vet School, and didn’t want me to be disappointed. I told him I’d cross that bridge if I needed to…….. and very much enjoyed seeing his face when I got a place, and then the A-Level grades I needed. Like many of us, I don’t think I really knew what the job would involve – I certainly didn’t think enough about the people side of things – but praise God, I still can’t think of any job I’d rather be doing. Unless of course you ask me at the end of a busy Saturday!
When (and how) did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian in my first term at University – largely through making friends with several Christians, seeing the way they lived, and realising that they had a very different outlook on life to me. I wanted to know more, went along to a discussion group run by the CU, and was able to ask question after question. I was brought up going to church at Easter, Christmas, and some other ‘special’ Sundays, and thought that Christianity was something that some people took more seriously than others. It had never occurred to me that it could affect your day to day life – and I had never heard the gospel explained fully. Mid-way through the November of that first term, everything fell into place, my eyes were opened to the truth of the gospel, and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
What work are you involved in now?
I work in a very busy small animal practice in Coventry having been there since 2001. I’m very much ‘part of the furniture’ there, and when my boss is away, I’m considered to be the ‘grown up’! In the last 8 years it has grown from a team of 20 to a team of nearly 50, with accompanying big changes in the dynamics and feel of the practice, as well as an extension to the building. I am very blessed to have many colleagues who are also good friends – several of whom have been there even longer than I have. Being there for so long means I have been able to build up a strong client base, and I really enjoy this side of my job. Surgery has always been what I love the most, as well as mentoring younger vets, and helping train our student nurses.
When did you take on the regional rep job and why?
I was a bit slow to get involved with VCF, and went to my first conference a full 10 years after graduating but straight away I realised what an amazing privilege and blessing it is to meet up with people who totally get it. Friends at church are very supportive when work is tough, but they will never understand the slightly strange world that we work in as well as other Christian vets will. Through VCF, I found people with whom I could share the ups and downs of being a vet, people who would pray for me, and who encouraged me to live out my faith at work. When I heard about regional groups I couldn’t see any reason not to get one started in my local area. After all, meeting up with other VCF folk every year or two just wasn’t going to be enough! At the 2011 conference, my enthusiasm for the regional groups didn’t go unnoticed, and I was asked to join the committee as regional group rep.
How can we best pray for you?
Like many vets, work is busy, and unpredictable, and makes that elusive work-life balance very hard to manage. I need God’s wisdom to know how to manage my time, what to prioritise, and when to say no. I am very blessed to have several Christian colleagues. Please pray that together, we can be a powerful witness for Christ as we live out our faith at work. For VCF, pray that I will know how to encourage those who are heading up the regional groups, and be able to link more folk up with other VCF members near them. Above all, pray that I will increasingly understand the incredible depth of God’s love for me as I seek to live out my faith. As Jesus said “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full”. My desire is to live the life God has blessed me with in all its fullness.