It was now the middle of the summer and the river of life had washed me back on to British shores, where the tsunami of “Pandemic Puppies” had caused a huge demand for veterinary professionals.
This times I was not alone though, as just before my departure from the continent I was re-united with Mia, our Hungarian Vizsla, who like me was missing all our British friends and – in Mia’s case – all her “surrogate pet parents” who took her on far more interesting walks than I ever did….
To keep myself busy, it needed only a couple of messages to some Polish friends of mine (some of the few that had stayed behind following Brexit….) and I had secured some locum work with the lovely teams at Alder’s and Croft’s Vets near Guildford – so just on my door step.
Both clinics have a long history with very charismatic practice owners and they are very established institutions in the local communities. Similar to my own clinic in Virginia Water, these practices had been sold to a corporate owner and young and enthusiastic teams of vets and technicians were making these places now fit for the demands of the 21st century.
Alder’s Vets was a busy practice in a pre-dominantly working class area, just next to a little pet shop, a convenience store and a fish-and-chips shop on a busy road just opposite of a petrol station. The building was cracking at its seams, with tinny rooms and vets, nurses and patients squeezing past another. With everyone being courteous and happy to help each other, there was a real ‘buzz’ in the place and I absolutely loved it.
Once again I realized that there are not a lot of jobs in the world where you are getting paid while cuddling puppies and kittens……
Even better was that Mia found a new “family” with the office staff, meaning that she too was looking forward to going to work every day.
Croft’s Vets is situated in walking distance of the village center of Haslemere, one of my favourite places in England, which can be described as “picture postcard” Surrey. There are still a lot of – very expensive – little cottages and plenty of coffee and tea rooms and even a still thriving bookshop. The scenery is dominated by groups of middle- aged ramblers and cyclists on high end mountain and road bikes desperate to get their caffeine fix.
Here we are in Labrador and Golden Retriever country, with only a few French Bulldogs in sight…
The clinic – with an over 100 year old history as a veterinary practice – was an amalgamation of modern and historic features with sculptures of a jolly pig and of a giant rabbit in the front garden.
Stepping into the waiting room you soon appreciate that the wife of the former owner was an interior designer, with the avian motifs of the wall paper and of the clock harmonizing well with the parquet flooring and the antique furniture, but yet blending well with the modern logo and the glass entrance door.
It was a delight to consult in the well lit examination rooms with their high ceilings and providing enough space to allow for the first face-to-face consultations with pet owners present in over a year.
Life over here was not quite as busy as at the sister practice, so that in my lunch breaks there was even time to walk Mia on the nearby hiking trail and to relax with a coffee and a newspaper in the village center.
A great plus was also the proximity of Haslemere to the “Devil’s Punchbowl” – a nature reserved owned by the National Trust which made for great evening runs after days spent in the foot steps of Crofts and Alders….