May 26, 2012

Concern over shortage of vets | NATIONAL News

Many issues are causing problems around the world for vet students - rising loan debt, low pay making it hard to repay, let alone own property or stop work to have a family. There are many more women in the profession who really want time out for children but can't, and there are less men not only entering the role, and those that do, often dont want the responsibility of owning practices. In general many people are avoiding becoming vets at all as they can earn more money with less abuse in other work areas.

It is hard for people to understand that as there are no government subsidies for vets,as there are for doctors, all the costs have to be paid. Many owners resent paying vet bills but refuse to get pet insurance cover, or limit the animals they have so they can afford to treat them when they are ill or injured.

The real risk for New Zealand is that the shortage is mainly in the rural area...the bit where the milk, the meat, the animal products that are exported overseas and earn large volumes of money to create an income for NZ is based. These are the vets who maintain these income streams, and help protect the country and the public from diseases like Mad Cow or Listeria - and ultimately will be there to catch any outbreaks from Foot and Mouth disease before they infect too many other animals.

I have never regretted joining this profession - I have loved it and managed a reasonable living, but I left university with no debt. Times have changed so much. If I had to decide what to do today i really don't know what i would do, but many capable people are choosing alternative careers. And I feel sorry for them, even as I understand their choice.

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May 25, 2012

Large Christchurch Aftershock - gee what a surprise....

The long anticipated larger aftershock has happened - a good 5.2 and all in all 9 quakes in 100 minutes ... with one the other side of our river at Horseshoe Lake. If you go to this link there is a recent quakes table too.
After a week from hell in so many areas I am too tired to really care. However, I am grateful that the house is fine, I wasn't at work on the fourth floor when it hit.
In other news, it was Scott's birthday yesterday but we shelved the planned dinner celebrations with the children when James rang to say Jess had been knocked off her bike and was off to A and E ... poor girl was in a lot of pain and full of morphine, panadol, nurofen and codeine when we got to the hospital. Her arm is fractured across the humerus below the shoulder joint, so she will have to sleep sitting up for a few weeks but she was able to come home today. This is the Richardson family's second time for an ambulance this month.... they do a great job!!!
Meanwhile Jaz is continuing with her treatment with the oncologist and facing the next round of her battle with "the beast". You can follow her journey at It was great to have lunch with them last week.
Heading north shortly for dinner with friends in Waikuku. Hope the quakes are smaller but as most of them are centred just off the coast there it might be a vain hope.

May 21, 2012

The ground is still settling....

A busy day of earthquakes for Christchurch, with a good 4.8 winding up a shaky day yesterday. It was a worse day for Italy with their large, shallow and deadly Bologna shake. At least four people have been confirmed dead so far and many injured. The pictures of rubble and cracked buildings in the news have a haunting familiarity for us all here and our thoughts are with all those dealing with the situation. I was relieved to hear that Alex slept through it all in nearby Citta' di Castello, Umbria.

We, along with many other people, went for a walk in the newly opened up Gloucester St part of the CBD yesterday. There is still massive demolition of the high rises everywhere you look, as you can see by the cranes at work, but it is the gaps that feel the worst. Disorienting, no memories, struggling to picture the old layouts.

Men and cranes.... gradually removing facades ...

You get a real feeling of life interrupted with offices untouched since February 2011.

May 19, 2012

Wilf the PON discovers France.: To the very end .

People sometimes wonder why anyone blogs. It is something you either do and enjoy, or just have no time for. For me I just like thinking about stuff, but really, a lot of the greatest pleasure has been sharing ideas by reading other people's blogs; seeing life through the eyes of someone else.
It has been a real privilege and a pleasure to follow Angus and his stories of their lives in Italy and France with Wilf and Digby. Sadly they lost Digby two years ago, and today, Wilf. I have cried a few times since I read this blogpost, like many other readers.
I know Wilf had the best death we can offer a pet. At home, in a familiar places surrounded by the people who loved him. Loved and respected.
As a vet and fellow dog owner, this is how it should be and I am so glad for them that it was... but I know it is not true for many pet owners, or people.
At the moment I am studying this subject with one of my vet nursing classes- how can we help people with pet loss, particularly euthanasia. The topic is something vets often do not deal with well and I want them to see this as a shining example....
To quote Angus:
A journey completed with dignity. Laughter to the end. All dogs , all people , should go like this. Gently. Unafraid. Loved. Respected.
Give me a couple of hours and Wilf will lie next to his brother, on top of the ridge, sheltered by the old oak trees. A view to the mountains . A spot where the house lights linger at night. A good place for a family hero.
Au Revoir Wilfee x and Sincere condolences to Angus and "the Font".

Gorgeous girls in stereo

Update 2013 - Scott is officially banned by police from ever seeing them again....

Scott Spensley gets a cuddle from Molly and Phoebe after a lovely lunch in Rangiora with them and Caitlin, Jaz and Mark :) We checked out the Southbridge chinese buffet for a feast and catch up. Always a delight.

Early Morning Glow for Christchurch

This beautiful photo of Christchurch was featured on the TV one news the other night . The early morning sun shining on the remaining high rises (look closer and you can see the cranes at work "deconstructing" most of them!)
The first snow, tinged with a rosy glow, has appeared on the mountains this week too - and some arctic weather and temperatures came with it. It is meant to be -4C tomorrow morning but followed with a clear sunny day.
Many thanks to Heidi's Circuit ( she is on facebook) for taking it. I can't find any other way to acknowledge her - but for locals, her business web page is>

May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

Flowers from Alex in Italy...
Afternoon tea with the others at my parents to see my own Mother. More presents and cake! Skyped with Alex for the first time since he left. Wonderful day :)


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May 12, 2012

May 4, 2012

Aftermath of an earthquake


Inside the "Central Business District Red Zone" - May 3rd 2012
The aftermath of an earthquake, after the shaking settles, the clean up continues. It doesn't really matter whether you are familiar with Christchurch - anyone watching this video can appreciate the empty spaces, the occasional high rise still standing - often only because it hasn't been demolished yet.
I watched this thinking of Gotye's song - "Somebody that I used to know...."- only it is somewhere not someone. Utterly disorientating - whiile impressed at the progress, the cleansing look of all the sites left, the careful recycling and the hard work from many people, it is hard not to feel depressed. The rebuild is slow to take off - signs or repair and construction are out there in the suburbs, but not here in the Red Zone, where we have not been allowed to enter since Feb 2011 unless in controlled bus tours or following fenced walkways to farewell the Cathedral.

While we cope with this, the increasing housing shortage grows worse. Rents have skyrocketed - why charge $400 a week when you can get $150 a night for short term people - who are desperate for somewhere while their homes are repaired. EQC insist that homes are completely emptied, including curtains, while the work is done, which makes sense for major work like repiling, new walls and floors, but is probably not essential for paint and plastering! So pets are boarded, storage is sought and people do get out, into these rental places or temproary homes or caravans or relatives, mainly using the insurance payouts to pay for it all. Meanwhile, people renting in the areas whose houses have been condemned in the suburban red zones, are finding they will soon have no where to live - or anywhere they can afford to rent.

And quietly, sadly, in the background, many families are facing the reality they have no way of renting anything with pets. Displaced and facing being homeless, their priorities have to be with shleter and providing for their children and a wave of animals are appearing for rehoming, or euthanasia, or ultimately abandonment. Appeals have been made to landlords to relax their rules in an attempt to stop more families losing their pets on top of everything else.

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May 2, 2012

Amazing nature - The Eagle Owl

This film of an Eagle owl filmed at 1000 frames per second flying towards a camera.
The last few seconds as it lands are amazing!

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