Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet - but It Has to Laura; She Swaps the Suburbs for Sri Lanka on a Canine Mercy Mission

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet - but It Has to Laura; She Swaps the Suburbs for Sri Lanka on a Canine Mercy Mission

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH GRAHAM Reporter hannah.graham@ncjmedia.com

VET Laura Gillis swapped the suburbs for Sri Lanka when she embarked on a mercy mission.

Laura, who works for Newcastle's Westway Veterinary Group, spent two weeks neutering, vaccinating and treating diseased and neglected stray dogs that roam the country.

The visit was set up by friend and colleague Janey Lowes, who has been volunteering in Sri Lanka for nearly two years, and set up the charity WECARE Worldwide.

Sri Lanka is home to around three million roaming dogs, many of which are suffering from serious diseases, wounds and malnutrition, and WECARE aims to help them.

Laura, from Newcastle, and Janey, from Barnard Castle, neutered and vaccinated 240 dogs over four days at a pop-up clinic, before travelling around in WECARE's tuk-tuk, catching injured and sick dogs for treatment.

Laura said: "The operations themselves, although routine and something we do every day at home in the UK, threw up some challenging situations.

"Apart from surgical challenges, there was also the heat and humidity to deal with, and the locals who provided an intimidating audience, crowding around the surgical area watching us operate."

Westway Veterinary Group donated PS10,000 as a start-up fund for the work of WECARE in Sri Lanka, and Laura travelled to the island armed with bandages, surgical instruments, flea and worming products and other supplies.

Laura said the visit gave her a whole new perspective on the way animals are treated in some parts of the world.

She added: "My trip really did open my eyes to the hard lives some animals live and made me realise how lucky my two cocker spaniels back home are.

"Some situations are inevitable for street dogs in a hot climate, for instance skin disease and malnutrition, but some are imposed upon the animals by humans. …

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