Vet Janey Lowes is set to swap the north-east of England for Sri Lanka to help set up a charity dedicated to tackling the country’s stray dog problem.
Ms Lowes, 26, is to take a year’s sabbatical from her job as a vet with Westway Veterinary Group’s branch in Wideopen, Newcastle, to work with Embark, a charity that helps Sri Lanka’s street dog population of more than a million.
As well as helping to vaccinate against rabies and other serious diseases, the group aims to neuter up to 40 dogs a day and treat sick and injured animals.
Furthermore, Ms Lowes will be setting up a new charity called WECare, which will see the north-east’s biggest veterinary practice send vets and nurses to Sri Lanka, as well as providing drugs and equipment to help improve the health and welfare of stray dogs.
Ms Lowes, who studied veterinary medicine at Nottingham University, said she has already seen for herself the terrible conditions endured by stray dogs when she visited the country on holiday in July.
She plans to set up a mobile clinic and travel the country vaccinating and neuteuring dogs, many of which are suffering from mange and other conditions.
“I love to travel. I worked in Bali two years ago, which really opened my eyes, but it was when I went to Sri Lanka this summer that I was really shocked to see the condition of stray dogs,” she said.
“There are not enough charities to vaccinate, neuter and look after the animals as most of them have mange, eye issues and tumours at the very least.
“My plan is to set up a mobile clinic and run a mass neutering and vaccination project and, because Westway is such a big practice, we can spare vets and nurses to join me at certain times of the year to lend a hand.”
Westway Veterinary Group, which also owns Easyvets and Value Vets, will provide a £10,000 donation to get a mobile treatment clinic up and running in Sri Lanka, and to help establish the new charity. Clients will be able to donate in any branch to help Westway’s work with stray dogs in Sri Lanka.
Managing director Nick Myerscough said: “Janey will be a tremendous ambassador as she is very enthusiastic and dedicated.
“We will liaise with manufacturers to get drugs and equipment and our vets and nurses are going out in their holidays to do the work.
“It is very unusual for a private practice to do this, but this is exactly why vets come into the profession – because they want to make a difference to the health and welfare of animals.
“We hope it might have a snowball effect and other veterinary practices in this country might get involved to tackle what is a major problem.”
For more information and to donate to the project, visit a Westway branch or the WECare Facebook page.