Hello, my name is Shelley and I am the Veterinary Department Clerical Officer. I have worked at the Sanctuary for 7 years and still love cuddling the donkeys on my way in every day. Not many places can boast that before you start work!
The hospital is a very busy place and we have a team of 7 vets, 5 vet nurses, 2 equine dental technicians and 2 grooms... this creates a lot of work for us in the office. Every vet has their own farm to visit as well as routine in-house surgeries, we have to process all the clinical and diagnostic paper work and external blood work forms for each and every donkey... that’s a lot of typing! The grooms from each farm will contact me via the radio system or phone and we co-ordinate the vets to send them where they need to go first... sometimes we can have several calls at once!
As you will be aware we will never turn away from any donkey in need and we have a dedicated line for all veterinary enquires. This can be from vets locally, to nationwide and quite a few from overseas. The furthest vet I have spoken to was from Texas. And he told me to have a nice day! We have to prioritise the calls from urgent to non- urgent to make sure everyone is given access to the help they need.
Our vets not only give out all the advice on the phone to them but we have a variety of advice sheets, ranging from feeding to dealing with hyperlipaemia (life threatening) and of course our handbook that we can send out or email to them as extra back up. Our vets also give a lot of advice on castration surgeries and how to support and look after orphaned foals.
We also have veterinary students weekly throughout the year that shadow our vets and gain vital expertise on how to care for donkeys. We even have students from Europe come to us too.
I am kept very busy with all of this, not to mention making sure the vets actually stop and eat some food before flying off again! And I have helped feed several foals over the years too!
I also get to do the hospital tours for the Events and PR teams. This gives me a great chance to get children interested in what we do as well as the adults. I especially love telling them about all the operations we do (these happen most days) and how we give the donkeys their medications, either through a jam sandwich, ginger biscuit or polo. They get to see through the theatre windows at the machine, hoist and all the anaesthetic equipment you might see in a human hospital theatre (if you were awake) . The children like going into the padded donkey stocks we use for dental treatments or endoscopy, but are not so keen if we offer them a dental at the same time! The best bit though is showing them all the parasites the donkeys could get if we didn’t keep such a close eye on our herds and vaccinate and worm them.
I will leave you with those lovely pictures. Bye for now!