SO MANY OTHER THINGS
SO MANY OTHER THINGS is a photographic essay that documents “a day in the life” at the Brudine Veterinary Hospital: a busy, suburban small/exotic animal veterinary practice in Canberra’s north. The photographs have been selected to portray the practical and emotional aspects of practice work, with a structure and length that echoes what are often long, exhausting and unpredictable days.
The photographic essay is accompanied by a five-part feature article that relates some of the broader, career-scale challenges faced by people working in veterinary services, especially recent graduates.
The fundamental aim of this project is to provide young people - either considering or studying for a career in veterinary services - another way to gain insight into what their careers might look like and help them in their preparations for it.
The project started on September 24, 2017 and was published exactly one year later.
If you know somebody with an interest in becoming a veterinarian or a veterinary nurse, or working in a veterinary practice, please share this photographic essay and the article with them.
This project has been done completely for free. I will make no money from it. I want it to be a free resource for all and to have complete control over where, when and how it is published.
No project is ever possible without a village of support behind it. And no amount of acknowledgements can ever do justice to how brave people need to be these days to share their stories with a world that increasingly judges from a binary love/hate perspective.
An incredible amount of thanks go to the incredible staff of Brudine Veterinary Hospital who endured me and my relentless clicking, and shared the truth as they saw and felt it:
Dr Deborah Williams (co-owner), Dr Fiona Starr (co-owner), Dr Karen Viggers, Dr Gwen Shirlow, Dr Arianne Lowe, Dr Louise Grey, Dr Jess Winsall, Dr Grace Butler, Head Nurse Stephanie Robertson, Nurse Chelsea Rose, Nurse Kelsey Savage, Nurse Ana Taufu'i Manuolevao, Nurse Julie Marten, Nurse/Groomer Marie Watt, Nurse Skye Longley, Nurse Georgina Earl, Kennel Hand Sian Watson, Receptionist Kelly Haslop, Receptionist Rebekah Morton, Receptionist Sorrel Nation and Practice Manager Bri Smith.
Special thanks go to Dr Deborah Williams and Dr Fiona Starr, and former Practice Manager Bri Smith for giving this project a chance.
Enough can't be said for Dr Fiona Starr's continuous logistical, administrative and technical support throughout the project. Dr Starr was always available for the range of conversations that must be had during these kinds of projects and always ready to disagree, which is so important to learning. For all that I learned from the staff at Brudine, Dr Starr added the context I needed to help me put it together.
Likewise, Receptionist Kelly Haslop was on point for a lot of client liaison work critical to the success of this project.
The five-part article was edited by Dr Karen Viggers. Dr Viggers is a WORLD-CLASS AUTHOR OF FICTION and her book, The Stranding, informed this project as much as James Herriot's first couple of books. I am lucky to have someone with her experience to review my work. For all her help, of course, I remain responsible for the final article and its quality.
There'd be no story without the clients of Brudine who agreed to being photographed for this story, or agreed for their pets to be photographed, even when the outcomes were the ones that nobody wants to happen. No matter how benign a story might be, and especially in this day-and-age of love/hate and social media, it's becoming braver for anyone to share anything in public. I can't express my appreciation enough and I hope that the photographs in this document respect what you've given.
Vernon Bryant, staff photographer for the Dallas News, produced photographs in the story, THE STRESS OF CARING, that inspired and informed this project, as did Terri Langford’s writing. Both led me to Sandra Brackenridge, who led me to Wendy Till, who is working on becoming Australia’s first qualified Veterinary Social Worker.
Thanks also to Karen Connell, Kellie Thomas and Mel Catanchin (Veterinary Student Alumni Networking Program), Claudia and Jarrod Male (PET AMBULANCE SERVICES), Jenny Pierson and the amazing team at the TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE. All your support and input has been incredibly beneficial and you’re all doing important work that should be acknowledged.
There are always cafés involved in my processing and writing. This time, there are three. TILLEY'S in Lyneham (ACT), WYNDHAM GENERAL STORE AND CAFE in Wyndham (NSW) and the CANDELO GENERAL STORE CAFE in Candelo (NSW). All lovely places to work, drink coffee and eat, and lovely people.
Special thanks also go to the TWO BY TWO VETERINARY HOSPITAL in Balgowlah, Sydney. An opportunity to photograph there formed the genesis of this project, opening my eyes to those many other things and deepening my concern for young people thinking about embarking on a study and a career in veterinary services. The spirit of Two by Two's staff and clients inhabits the the core of this story. To Dr Natasha Bilous and Dr Peter Lee, I am forever grateful.
Many people have given so much to this story. If I've missed anyone, or if there are any errors, that's on me (and please CONTACT ME to let me know).