Helen Spry moved to country NSW from Tasmania where she worked for 35 years as a veterinary nurse in Emergency and Critical Care and Equine Reproduction at an afterhours clinic. Since moving to a small town, veterinary nursing work has been unavailable to Helen locally, but this hasn’t stop her from caring for animals in need.
“Veterinary nursing is my passion and I have embarked on volunteer work with Vets Beyond Borders and other organisations, travelling to various parts of the world to share my experience and help others less fortunate,” she said.
Helen took her first VBB VetMatch volunteer trip to Sardinia last month and had an inspirational experience that broadened her horizons and helped her see how lucky we all are in a country like Australia, she said.
“I enjoyed meeting the local residents, making new friends and connections and most of all helping VBB to make a difference for others and helping make a better life for the animals we treat,” said Helen. “The staff at the LIDA Olbia shelter were dedicated and wonderful to work with. They were very helpful and appreciative of our time with them.”
The volunteer veterinarians Helen worked alongside were amazing and become lifelong friends, she said. Veterinarian Dr Candace Russo is from Australia and Dr Tereza Schiffnederova came from Czechoslovakia.
“It goes to show likeminded people exist worldwide. I feel we all made a difference (be it only small) to the life of the dogs and cats we treated,” said Helen.
Helen’s duties involved supporting the volunteers, record keeping of surgeries, preparing premedications, preparing dogs and cats for surgery, monitoring anaesthesia, recovering dogs and cats after surgery and other tasks.
“I was surprised about the number of dogs at the shelter, normally around 700, and the number of dogs and cats rehomed each year is 500 plus. It shows the love and dedication that the LIDA staff and volunteers have for the dogs and cats in their care,” said Helen.
Besides the OLBIA shelter staff and volunteers, Helen said she will also miss the scenery, swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean and dining on delicious food and wine.
Sounds like a 5 star volunteer holiday!