For this month’s Paws for Thought, KAREN HUNTON, settles into a new job at the vets

WELL, 2020 is certainly going to go down as one to remember. There has been so much loss to deal with over the last twelve months. Loss of income, loss of jobs, loss of freedom to do the things that we love and worst of all, the loss of loved ones.

Thankfully, with the launch of a new vaccine there is both light and hope at the end of the tunnel and what better way could there be to start the new year?

But Covid aside, there have been one or two reasons to celebrate this last year. In our family, we have been blessed by a new arrival as my niece gave birth to a beautiful baby girl two weeks ago and nothing lifts the spirits quite like that of a new baby.

On the downside, with two lockdowns necessitating the closure of non-essential shops, the impact on my own small business has been immense, but just when I thought that all was lost, out of the blue I was offered a job at a veterinary practice. The hours are only part-time, but none the less it is a life-line and just as significantly it is a job that I enjoy immensely.

Working on reception has also given me the opportunity to view things from “‘the other side”. For example, due to Covid restrictions, instead of being the concerned owner handing over my animal for treatment outside the practice, I now see patients as they arrive.

I see them when the door closes behind them and they enter the practice on their own and in many cases, I suspect they are a lot more relaxed about the whole procedure than are their owners, waiting outside in the car park.

So many happy, waggy-tailed patients pass the front desk, eagerly leading the way through to the consultation room, happily exploring as they go. Occasionally, they may stop to say a brief “hello” as they pass-by, possibly on the off chance that we might have something tasty to eat, which of course we don’t. But in most cases they are far too busy sniffing all the exciting sniffs to pay us too much attention. Even some of our regular, more vocal clients seem to be much quieter and more chilled out in general when on their own, so maybe there is something to be said for stress travelling down a lead, after all?

This is definitely a good environment in which to work, surrounded by animals and like-minded people, both colleagues and clients.

It is heart-warming to witness the importance of the roles that animals play in the lives of their guardians, whether that be as part of a family or as a sole companion to someone living on their own.

Over the years, whatever has happened, I have always found animals to be the one constant in life; an absolute joy to be near and never more so than over recent times. Sitting at my desk now, I am looking at a small cat asleep on a chair and listening to Jamie (our newest recruit), snoring as he sleeps on his back on the sofa; all is well in their world and I am feeling blessed.

So on that note, as well as saying thank you for reading my column each month, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Christmas and a very peaceful and prosperous New Year.