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Balcairn-based sports vet Sara Bagheri pictured with her dogs Mini and Nala, wants to set up a community vet service for those who cannot afford the cost of veterinary care.

Making veterinary vision a reality

For sports vet Sara Bagheri, delivering her first chiropractic course to international vets became an exercise in adaptability when most students had to leave New Zealand part way through their studies.

Sara, who provides holistic veterinary care to animals ranging from dogs through to goats and horses through her business Zoominals, was running the Balcairn-based course for vets and chiropractors from Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, along with lecturers from the UK and Germany.

“We’d finished the first part of the course in February and most of the students went for a trip around the South Island during the break but then lockdown hit, and they had to leave.”

Determined to finish delivering the second part of the course but faced with a weak internet connection, Sara taught the rest of the course from a car parked outside her mother’s house to make use of the stronger internet signal.

“We made it work and you learn a lot from adapting to new circumstances. I definitely needed some chiropractic treatment myself though after being cramped up in a car for a few days though.”

Sara continued to work during the lockdown in her role as an on-call vet for Paws Veterinary Services in Woodend as vets are considered an essential service.

“It was still busy for us; however, we could only treat emergency injuries and illness during this time.”

The lockdown period also gave Sara a chance to hone her long-held vision of providing a community vet service to provide veterinary services to those who cannot afford to treat their pets.

“As vets we don’t get any subsidies from the government to reduce the costs of animal care and it’s been a long-held dream of mine to create a service which provides vet care to those who might otherwise struggle to afford it.  

“Pets are so important for wellbeing and especially in uncertain times when we can turn to our pets for a source of comfort and routine. When you don’t have a strong circle of family or friends around you, or if you are unwell then a pet is a vital companion and everyone should have the opportunity to have this comfort in their lives.”

Sara is currently developing a plan for the community vet service and is keen to hear from others who would like to be involved in the project.

“I’d love to hear from others who want to be part of this project. One of the most important lessons lockdown has taught me is that you need to take action to make your dreams a reality or they will always just be an idea. There’s nothing to lose and the time to give it a go is right now.”

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