Vet (just) off Cowley Road

Having returned from Italy, I came across an advert with a job offer that was just too good to miss: in the heart of Oxford and only a couple of hundred meters away from patient 58 (see last summer’s blog….), a veterinary clinic was looking for a vet to help out for three weeks.

I had known for a while that there was a veterinary practice in this area, but I had always failed to spot a sign (this was due to local building restrictions as I found out later). Working there for a little while would give me the opportunity of finally finding the time to explore Oxford a bit more, to improve at the same time the family finances and possibly even having the chance to go out for dinner with Fred, our older son.

I duly applied and within a few days Katharine and Cameron – the partners at the clinic – agreed to let me join their team.

The interesting point with the location of the clinic is, that it is just off Cowley Road, which is probably the heart of “The Alternative Oxford”……..

Just on the other side of picture – postcard Magdalen Bridge and of a whole line of historic buildings and the famous colleges, Cowley Road is chaotic, ramshackle, colorful and certainly not glamorous – a melting pot of less well of students, immigrants (and their businesses) from all over the world and some left overs of the Hippie generation. But because of this, it has its own charm and personality, a kind of unexpected beauty with its cosmopolitan food, music, shops and lifestyles which might not always agree with the expectations of the council or even the police.

This is were college students would not necessarily take their parents, but where they will unavoidably have ended up after an alcohol fueled outing at some point.

Just next to this is a veterinary clinic, providing care for the pets of both communities in Oxford, including a dedicated specialist service for exotic species.

Once again I was surprised how easy it was to adapt to the routine of the friendly team and after lending a hand to restrain a sizably, but unruly Argentinian Tegu (without getting bitten…..), I was back in the consulting room and in the operating theatre, vaccinating and neutering the local dogs, cats and rabbits, very much in the same way as in Virginia Water.

My Swedish adventure had – if anything – broadened my knowledge and I have to admit that having to read clinical notes just in English made life much easier…..

Insisting on a decent lunch break I ventured every day to the local coffeeshops

and to the very international and reasonably priced food outlets and enjoyed the colorful street life, which was such a contrast to rural Bavaria, especially at this time of the year.

Once again though I was caught out by another lock down and although it curtailed somewhat the dinner plans, it didn’t affect the culinary delights I was enjoying, as most businesses on Cowley Road had already adopted to take away services.

May be this is a new way of traveling – rather than visiting only for a few days, stay for a few weeks and if possible work and immerse yourself into the local community?

Published by The Blue Vet

I am a veterinary surgeon with a German and Norwegian educational background. I have been the founder and for over 20 years I have been the senior veterinarian at the Virginia Water Veterinary Clinic in Surrey, England. When starting this blog I was also the President of FECAVA, the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. In the summer of 2019 I left my clinic to work as an international locum and clinical advisor. I am interested in all aspects of clinical companion animal medicine, in endurance sports and in traveling and meeting people with and without their pets and especially in sharing my knowledge with colleagues in other parts of Europe and the World.

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