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PHOTO ESSAY: An afternoon with the vet at the Wellington SPCA

Mar 21st, 2018 | By | Category: News, Picture story

Nestled amongst the trees on Mt Victoria sits the Margaret Doucas Animal Hospital, named after the Wellington lawyer that left a large bequest to the SPCA earlier this year.

Ms Doucas this year left $1 million for the charity to pay off the shortfall from refurbishing the former Fever Hospital into a custom refit animal hospital, shelter and education centre.

She earmarked a further $1 million in bonds and investments towards ongoing operational costs.

This bequest and others, along with money raised from fundraising and by donations is what enables the SPCA to do the work they do: prevent cruelty through education, investigation and intervention, seek justice for animals who are harmed, provide welfare response, shelter and rehabilitate animals that need it, then rehome them.

Last year the Wellington SPCA had 5000 animals pass through the shelter.

Of special note in the process of getting them to a re-homeable state is the Wellington SPCA’s vet clinics and surgical centre.

One vet clinic takes private, paying clients, often pets originally adopted from the SPCA, and what would usually be considered profit is funnelled straight back into the animal hospital.

The other clinic and surgical centre is available for animals brought into the shelter.

Megan Sewell, practice manager of the Wellington SPCA, says the ability to have an in-house surgery, X-ray and some lab facilities onsite is of great advantage, as is having two full time vets on staff, and a team of trained assistants and nurses to assist them.

Instead of spending money on outsourcing diagnostic services, or surgeries, the Wellington branch can spend the money treating abandoned, injured, neglected or stray animals that outsourcing may have made prohibitive in some circumstances.

“Our facilities here are the envy of others.” says Ms Sewell.

Those facilities, and the variety of work the staff are faced with is one reason why a placement at the Wellington SPCA is much sought after by students studying veterinary science at Massey University.

Both vets and veterinary assistants join the team on temporary, assessed placements, and its hands on from the get go.

“It’s exciting and scary,” said one student who asked not to be identified.

“But I love it.

“Seeing how fast they recover, and how quickly they start responding with love again?

I know I’m in the right profession.”

Journalist Sarah McMullan swapped her headphones and microphone for a surgical cap and a camera, and spent the afternoon with the SPCA Wellington’s surgical team.

The animals in the following photographs now have permanent homes, but there are plenty more  healthy, happy, good natured cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds at the SPCA looking for someone to love.

If you’re considering a pet – please visit the SPCA first.

Please note: this essay contains some surgical images.

An Afternoon with the Wellington SPCA's Vet Clinic.

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is Christchurch born, has lived in Auckland and is loving Wellington. She believes fairness, honesty, David Bowie, and accountability are the foundations of society. Something to tell her? Hit that email button or call her (+64) 27 254 7930.
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