woman standing with a donkey
woman standing with a donkey

A day in the life: Victoria

SPANA Veterinary Programme Advisor Victoria is one of the dedicated head office vets who helps to manage our nine core countries and our many outreach and partnership projects across the world. Read on to learn more about a day in the life of this hardworking vet.

woman with her dog

A typical day in SPANA…

I’m not a morning person so although my alarm goes off at 6.45, I tend to hit snooze a few times before I finally get up at 7.00. I take my dog, Marley, a pointer-cross-springer spaniel, to work with me so once we arrive at the office, I’ll get Marley settled in his bed under my desk and eat breakfast while checking my emails.

One thing I love about this job is the diversity of tasks I’ll have in any given day. I might start my day by answering fundraising proposals for countries like Pakistan and Zambia or organising donated medicine to be sent out to one of our core countries.

I’ll use my lunch break to walk Marley while listening to French language classes – I want to improve my French so I can more easily communicate with country staff across North Africa. I’m slowly picking up vocab so am looking forward to practising it in country!

The afternoon might be spent preparing community training posters or organising practical skills workshops to help teach international vet students skills like suturing or how to make blood smears. All of this helps us to foster the skills of the amazing vets who help working animals across the world.

I’m responsible for…

SPANA’s projects are split into core country projects, partnership projects and outreach projects – with differing levels of SPANA involvement in each. I am responsible for overseeing all veterinary activity in the SPANA core countries of Myanmar, Jordan and Morocco as well as two Tanzanian and one Indian partnership project plus seven outreach projects ranging from Mongolia to Iraq. It definitely keeps me busy! I help them with everything from giving veterinary advice and guidance to organising distribution of veterinary supplies like medicine and bandages. I visit each of these projects personally and travel up to 12 weeks of the year, delivering vet training to our in-country teams, reviewing projects and planning for how to reach even more working animals.

woman with an elephant

I got the job by…

Before coming to SPANA, I worked as a clinical practice vet for 12 years. Although I enjoyed my role as Senior Hospital Vet for Emergency and Critical Care, I was ready for a new challenge. I have a real passion for the non-profit sector having volunteered as a vet at several elephant rescue projects across Asia so SPANA felt like a natural match for my skills and interests.

The worst part of my job…

Sometimes, we get applications for funding from outreach projects that unfortunately we just can’t afford to fund. Thanks to our supporters, we can help so many animals, but there is always so much more to be done. In those cases, we have to say no, which is tough when you know it’s for a good cause. Hopefully, as SPANA continues to grow we can take on more of these very worthwhile projects.

The best part of my job…

I love being able to help so many people and animals in this role – not just colleagues but whole communities that rely on their working animals. It’s a great feeling when a horse or donkey owner thanks us for the help we’re able to provide to their animal. Another highlight of the job is the opportunity to teach vets and students. I love sharing my knowledge and seeing how much they appreciate learning new skills and techniques. Most of all, I love knowing we can really help suffering animals and give them much better lives. Our work is ongoing but I am thrilled to be working for an organisation making such a difference to hundreds of thousands of animals and their owners.

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