Name: Jenni Le Pard    

Job Title: Vet, PDSA.

My position in a nutshell: I work for a charity called the PDSA, the UK’s leading vet charity. We provide free and low cost treatment for animals in need. It’s a brilliant charity to work for, quite intense but very, very rewarding.

How I got the job… Three years ago – it was my first job out of vet school – I was part of a graduate programme which was brilliant as there were six other new graduates who were based in hospitals across the UK, so we could feed back to each other on how we were doing and we all felt very supported.

My typical day… It’s probably easier to talk about my typical week as no two days are the same! I take care of small animals – cats, dogs, Guinea pigs, etc, – and my week is broken up in to doing consultations, when an owner will bring their pet in and present a problem. I’ll take their history, examine the animal and decide what to do next. The other part of my week is made up surgeries – my favourite part. Surgeries are either routine (planned) or emergency surgeries and, for me, the most interesting is when animals have eaten things that they shouldn’t – we call these ‘foreign bodies’ – and we’ve found all sorts from socks to dummies! The hospital I work in is very busy, imagine A&E but for animals!

My most memorable moment… I was recently featured in a newspaper, sharing a story about finding a foreign body in a dog – this was during the beginning of the pandemic when vets had to change how they were seeing people. Because our work is funded by donations from the general public, it was great to be able to help spread the good work of the PDSA to help to raise funds.

The worst part of my job… I have to deal with a lot of sadness. Sometimes it is necessary to put an animal to sleep and, although in some respect it is a comfort because you are taking away an animals suffering, it is very challenging for me and the pet owner.

The best part of my job… The animals. If I am having a tough day, you can find me in the kennels cuddling a kitten or puppy to remind me why I am doing this, as it can be overwhelming at times. Also, making pet owners happy. It’s the best feeling in the world when someone asks for me specifically to treat their pet.

Advice / key skills needed for anyone wanting to become a vet… Communication and teamwork. I’d say working with people makes up 70% of my role. Academically, you need to study sciences, for me it was biology and chemistry A level and, although things may have changed a little since I graduated, I imagine those subjects are still very important. You will also need to do a five year veterinary degree at university, which can seem a little daunting, however I wouldn’t say the content is more challenging than schoolwork, there is just more of it. If you’re good at managing your time, and hitting the balance between working hard and having fun, you’ll be OK.