One small profession – one large family

One of the great advantages of being a veterinary surgeon is that compared with many other forms of employment, people usually have an idea of what our job might be and in most cultures the work we are doing is looked upon favourably, especially when it turns out that we are treating companion animals and …

Travels with Mia: In Search of Northern Europe

1960 John Steinbeck took his standard poodle Charley on a road trip through America to learn more about the land and about the people he was writing about. His “Travels with Charley in Search of America”turned out to be not only one of the greatest travel narratives ever written, but it is also one of …

Veterinary Medicine at the tip of the Curonian Spit

A thin slither of sand, in places not more than a few hundred meters wide and crowned with thick pin forest and undoubtedly one of the most striking features of the Baltic Sea is the Curonian Spit. This giant sand dune is nearly 100 kms long and connects Lithuania in the North and the Russian …

An evening of fine dining, staying at an igloo and going to jail in Tallinn

Never ignore an invitation for an evening stroll along the seaside in one of Europe’s fastest changing cities – Tallinn. This applies even more so if your tour guide is no one less than the grande dame of companion animal veterinary medicine in Estonia – Tiina Toomet, my perennial host and occasional saviour whenever I …

Where Estonian vets are made

I have always been a fan of smaller vet schools. Having studied in Hanover with more than 230 students in the same year, there wasn’t much direct interaction with our lecturers and it was easy to feel just like a small fish in a large pond. Large institutions like UC Davis or London’s Royal Veterinary …

Eye to eye with Amur Tigers in Helsinki

One of the real highlights in the life of every veterinarian is to be able to apply their craft to more unusual animals and we are all looking up the rare species called “Zoo Vets”. If you – like me – don’t belong to this exclusive club, then at least knowing one is second best. …

Leaving the imprint of your finger on the world

Following the well tarmaced road South (it was just a dirt track the last time I was here…), I am reaching Kautokeino, the final settlement before the Finnish border. Here I had to re-visit a place that seems so outlandish but that is now such an integral part of the town that both are often …

Breakfast in Maze (“Masi”)

While listening to the wind running through the delicate leaves of the birch forest which is showing early autumn colours, I am enjoying a late breakfast with fresh cloud berries at the lonely mountain station near Maze (pronounced “Masi”) at the Northern rim of the Finnmark Vidda. To reach this place , I have followed …