2000 Judge’s Selection

Stronghold Veterinary Pet Care Awards 2000
Judge’s Selection

Some 238 nominations were received for the Stronghold Veterinary Pet Care Awards 2000. These nominations represented the owners of over 377 dogs, 210 cats, 15 donkeys, 15 budgies, 8 rabbits, 3 guinea pigs, 3 pet rats, 2 parrotts and a number of other pet ferret, fish and ponies.

Because of the pure volume of entries received – the following is a short selection of nominations selected by the judges to give a flavour for the awards and the stories behind them. These are presented purely in alphabetical order (according to the name of the vet) and in no way relate to the overall results of the awards.

The names and personal details of the pet owners who have made the nominations are deliberately not included here. Media who are interested in finding out more about a particular nomination/nominee should make contact with Progress Communications (056-71895).

Last updated: 31 October 2000

Tom Brosnan, Co Kerry: A special pet called Chum for a boy with special needs
Tom Brosnan, Co Kerry: For Jenny’s company for an extra five years
Tom Brosnan, Co. Kerry: From a guide dog puppy walker
Marese McDonnell, Co. Limerick: For relieving Thady’s pain
Marese McDonnell, Co. Limerick: Because of how the pets love her and how share cares for us and them
Marese McDonnell, Co. Limerick: For her kindness when Misty had to be put to sleep
Marese McDonnell, Co. Limerick: For having a heart of gold
Marese McDonnell, Co. Limerick: For going out of her way and consulting for Diesel
Marese McDonnell, Co. Limerick: For saving Sneachta, who brought joy to our home
Aidan Miller, Co. Galway: For his total professionalism and care of Susie and us
Mannix O’Boyle, Co. Dublin: For his work with Blue Cross and 50 years of care (and the parrot who squaked “Ssshhtop!”)
Tom Rennick, Co. Galway: For his humanity and feeling for animals
Tom Rennick, Co. Galway: From Hoover who was putty in his hands and his love of animals
Richard Scott, Dublin 2: For always making us feel proud and for his kindness and sympathy

Vet Name: Thomas Brosnan
Vet Address: Ark Veterinary Clinic, New Road, Killarney Co Kerry
Why Nominated:
I would like to nominate my vet because I don’t know of anyone else who could have shown more care and attention to our dog Chum when he was ill or be so kind to us as a family. We are all aware that pets are very special to their owners. However, our dog Chum is EXTRA SPECIAL to us because of how he came to be part of our family 12 years ago.

Our son Keith, now 15, suffers from a severe communication disorder, very similar to Autism. When he was 3 years old and totally isolated in his own world, a psychologist recommended that we get a small trained dog for Keith, to see if a pet would stimulate his interest in the world around him. During the following week while we pondered about where we would get such a suitable dog, we arrived home one day to find a small ball of brown fur lying asleep on our doorstep.

We searched for an owner but to no avail. From the first day this little dog arrived at our home he behaved as if he had always been with us, so we called him Chum, as in FRIEND FOR KEITH.

We could not have found a more perfect dog. He was house trained, loveable and above all gentle with everyone.

Two years ago when he became very ill for the first time, I rang Tom Brosnan one night and awoke him from his sleep at 1.00am. I can still recall how considerate and kind he was to me on the phone at such a late hour and afterwards when he met my husband and I at his surgery where he kept Chum overnight.

Shortly after Chum’s successful recovery he became very ill again having consumed some poison. This time we felt there was no hope for him. However with Tom’s dedicated care and attention over several days in his surgery, Chum survived. During that time, as well as caring for Chum’s needs, Tom also took the time to console us through our tears and worries, never building up our hopes too much but gently assuring us that he would do his best to save Chum.

Tom will never know what it means to us to still have Chum as part of our family and for those extra years we hope to have with him. This little terrier came mysteriously into our lives all those years ago and we still wonder today how he arrived on our doorstep just at the right time. For this reason we have always signified this existence with Keith and we know that his passing would leave a great void in our home.

From A very special boy with a very special Chum, cared for by a very special vet, Tom Brosnan

Vet Name: Thomas Brosnan
Vet Address: Ark Veterinary Clinic, New Road, Killarney Co Kerry
Why Nominated:
The journey to my vet’s practice in Killarney takes me about an hour which can be rather inconvenient a times, but it is always worthwhile the trouble because of all the vets in our closer vicinity only Tom treats the animals like patients rather than beasts. He is genuinely concerned about what is best for the animal, but he looks after the pets’ owners as well. That’s why more and more people from around Kenmare go on that journey to Killarney and not one of them has ever regretted it. We have dairy farm and own four dogs and currently six cats.

Obviously, not only feeding all these animals can be rather costly but occasional veterinary treatments can add up as well. Tom is very aware of our financial situation and is always very good to us, giving us substantial “bulk discounts”, accepting payment by instalments, at times not charging at all in spite of having invested time and medicine. To cut a long story short, here follows a short list of examples: Tom gives us nice discount for the annual vaccination and medical check over of all our animals. When Tom had to put down cats of ours at two separate occasions (one was ill, one had been hit by a car) he never charged a penny in spite of having had them in care and his use of medicines.

Our young sheep dog had been hit by the postlady’s van and had a broken pelvis. For several time-intensive attendances, having taken x ray pictures, having used drugs and having given us medicine for use at home Tom charged a total of only £60. We would have been prepared to spend a substantial amount of money on this dog as he is a very good working dog, and Tom had mentioned a specialist in Dublin who would have bolted the bones etc. But he didn’t think it would be necessary to spend this sort of money as long as the dog would be looked after properly. So, by following Tom’s strict instructions our dog was completely restored to health over a period of three to four months and we saved an awful lot of money and presumably avoided a lot of pain and discomfort for the dog thanks to Tom’s realistic judgement.

When our Irish setter bitch had escaped during her heat and had crossbred puppies as a result, Tom put them all down for us without charging anything. Tom is involved with the Kenmare Society Against Cruelty to Animals and neuters animals introduced to him through this Society at a special rate. He also tries to find new homes for unwanted kittens and until homes have been found, he keeps them at his practise, as far as I know at his expense. Tom neutered my six farm cats again charging us way below the going rate.

We had a Spinger Spaniel who was already nine years old when I moved to Kenmare in 1995. At that time, she had a fairly large “bag” hanging between her back legs and that the local vet had diagnosed as cancer and he had recommended to have the dog put down. As the dog very obviously was in no pain, we did not follow his recommendation. The year after that, the bag had suddenly trebled in size over night and Jenny was now in great pain. We took her to another vet nearby who told us it wasn’t cancer at all but a hernia into which the womb had now fallen and this was causing Jenny pain. He said he would operate on her as it could be fixed, but since she had just been in heat he didn’t want to perate on her for another month or so.

There was no way we would have our dog endure such pain for another four weeks and after the weekend we took her to Tom who made the same diagnosis and he told us there was not need to wait and he operated her immediately. In spite of Jenny’s advanced age she came out of the anaesthesia as well as the operation itself. It was only at Easter this year that she had to be put down due to the cancer. Thanks to Tom we enjoyed Jenny’s company for an extra five years during which she was very active, went hunting with great enthusiasm and played with our other dogs like a young one. We will never forget him that !

Vet Name: Tom Brosnan
Vet Address: Ark Veterinary Clinic, New Road, Killarney Co Kerry
Why Nominated:
He simply is the best. I’m a guide dog puppy walker for a number of years and as you know these puppies need a lot of attention. When I take these puppies for their various treatments – the courtesy and kindness shown to me by Tom is first class. The gentle way he handles the puppy and the reassuring words immediately puts the puppy and owner at ease. When puppies are being neutered etc Tom keeps them for the day. When you go to collect your dog, you are advised about his general health – weight, diet etc. Recently Vance fractured his hip and needed surgery. Tom arranged everyting with Model Farm Road Cork (Guide Dog Centre). The dog was collected, operated on and delivered back again. Tom is seeing to Vance’s needs as he recovers. Thankfully all will be well with Vance and hopefully he’ll go on to be a Guide Dog. There are other puppy walkers in the Killarney area and they all attend Tom’s clinic. He cared for my neighbour’s cat. My neighbour lives alone and her cat means a lot to her. Cousins from England who are retired in Killarney took their dog Kerry (13 years old) to Tom. The dog broke its leg. They said the care and attention given by Tom ws superior to their veterinary experiences in England. I nominate Mr Tom Brosnan for the Veterinray Pet Care Award 2000.

Vet Name: Marese McDonnell
Vet Address: Treaty Veterinary Clinic, High Road, Thomandgate, Limerick Co Limerick
Why Nominated:
If kindness and understanding could be measured, this lady vet has it by the ton. I have had pets now for going on 20 years, and have delt with many vets. I have found Marese to be the very best. She is a credit to her profession. Let me give a brief example. I have always lived and worked in Limerick, I moved back to my home town nearly 2 years ago, but still travel to work in Limerick every day.

Anyway a few weeks ago, Thady my dog fell ill. I was on a few days holidays. I decided to take him into the vet here in Charleville. For five days I was going in and out of this vet “3 visits in all” who diagnosed my dog as suffering first from constapation and then from his prostate gland. As it turned out he was suffering from neither of these.

My dog was still in severe pain, so I decided to take him to someone who knew their job. Marese the vet examined Thady after I told her all of his symptoms. I hope I am explaining this OK. She told me Thady was suffering from his back. Some part of his disc was leaning against his back bone and this was causing severe pain and discomfort. Anyway now he is on medication and is coming around great. I was very worried about him I can tell you.

So you see it is wonderful to know that there is someone like Marese there if I need her. Animals cannot speak, they cannot tell you what is wrong. They deserve the best and that is what they have in Marese McDonnell, the very, very best. Hope I have not taken up too much of your time, and that I have explained well just what this lady means to me and a lot of people AND ANIMALS. Thanking you. God Bless. PS Marese was very kind to me last year when I had to get one of my dogs put to sleep. It was a very sad time for me. I had him 15 years almost.

Vet Name: Marese McDonnell
Vet Address: Treaty Veterinary Clinic, High Road, Thomandgate, Limerick Co Limerick
Why Nominated:
As you see, I have 3 dogs. Rusty, 7 years ago, broke his leg and after that hated vets until Marese came when they opened the clinic in Thomandgate. Now when he needs to go to the vets he jumps from the car and runs in to see her and loves her. He would never go up on the vet’s table but since Marese he goes up on it and even turns over on his back for her to rub his tummy. That is how much confidance he has in her.

Tramp is a young dog so all he wants to do is play and Marese just keeps him happy always making him playfull with her while she is checking him out. So he never thinks he is being examined and now I come to Riki, the oldest of the three. Since I got Riki he had a lot of problems, from losing his sight to an enlarged heart. When we found out his eyes were at him she got in touch with Michael Woods in Dun Laoghaire and got us up to see him. Then last summer 99 we were going on a 3 week holiday and 3 days before we were to go he needed to go to Dublin for surgery in his eyes. We were worried about going on holidays and leaving him after surgery but Marese told us to go and went out to the kennels numerous occasions and made sure he was fine and got no infections., and has been checking them every since.

Then this year in May 2000 I had to go into hospital for a hysterectomy and I was worried about Riki so I phoned Marese from the hospital and she made arrangements to meet my husband at our house where they realised Riki was ver sick but she had the good sense to tell my husband not to tell me. She knew by looking at him that he had kidney trouble. On the Monday my husband dropped Riki down for some x rays where they discovered he had an enlarged heart also. Now I couldn’t drive and my husband was working but Marese put my mind at rest – she came up to the house for his checkups until I could drive again and even before she would go home to see her grandmother who lives in her home town who is 102, she still would call up to see Riki.

When I would go down again she would never let me lift any of the dogs. Then a few weeks ago she thought Riki had to be put to sleep she saw how upset I was. She gave him an injection straight in to his vein and she told me to go home and that we could make up our minds if we thought he needed to go to sleep she would come up to the house to do it for us, not to have to go down to the surgery.

But thank God he has pulled thru and she is still treating him she calls him her miracle. Marese has done so much for my dogs and also myself and my husband. We swear by her and would be lost without her. I am always telling her if she ever moves from Thomondgate we will have to go with her as I coulnd’t see anyone giving them the same treatment and care. She is one of the best vets I know for the care and attention she gives you just know it comes from the heart and it is her true profession.

Vet Name: Marese McDonnell
Vet Address: Treaty Veterinary Clinic, High Road, Thomondgate, Limerick Co Limerick
Why Nominated:
I’m a middle aged single man living on my own. My only company for 9.5 years was my dog Misty. I used to take her to the vet twice a year to have her nails cut. When I took her about 2.5 years ago, my vet Marese saw immediately that something was wrong. Marese ran a blood test and said it was the worst news possible. She told me that Misty’s liver was 80% diseased and that nothing could be done for her.

I’ve never fainted in my life but this time I nearly did. Through my dizzyness I could hear Marese’s words of kindness and support. She said that she could see how much I loved Misty and how upset I was. She said it would be a kindness to put Misty out of her misery and suffering. Marese asked me if I wanted to take Misty home that night in order to come to terms with it. I said no. She asked if I wanted to stay with Misty while she gave her an injection to put her to sleep. I hadn’t the morale courage to stay with her and I’ve never forgiven myself.

Marese was considerate enough to get me Misty’s collar so that I’d have something to remember her by. I’m suffering from depression and I felt my whole world had collapsed around me. I don’t go out very much and so I don’t meet many people. I’ve since got two dogs but I don’t have the same feelings for them. When I took them to Marese to have their nails clipped, it’s always a pleasure to meet her. Marese has a very cheerful and sunny disposition. She’s always ready to offer advice about a pet’s health and well-being. I’ll never forget her for her help when I really needed it. Marese is such a good person. I strongly believe she deserves recognition of some sort.

Vet Name: Marese McDonnell
Vet Address: Treaty Veterinary Clinic, Thomondgate, Limerick Co Limerick
Why Nominated:
She is a wonderful vet ! I have 2 dogs – Shadow, I have seven years and Sam we found 2 years ago. She knows both dogs very well. She treats them like little children when she sees them – asking them how they are and saying hello ! She knows their little quirks so well. Shadow doesn’t like to get her claws cut but Marese never gets annoyed or gives out.

She treated my sister’s dog Diesel for two years with epilepsy. It went from bad to wrose bot not from lack of trying. She never gave up hope or let my sister give up hope until it was time and she had tried everything. She went out of her way to find medicines that would help and rang a veterinary college at one time. Unfortunately Diesel got too bad and had to be put down. Disappointingly Marese wasn’t on duty. I have brought in a dog, cat, bird and rabbit tha thave been knocked down and left to die. Even though I couldn’t find owners and wanted to pay the bills, Marese never allowed me.

What showed me what a genuine person she is, was when I received a card on the birth of my first son. It’s just one of the little things she does to show she cares for her patients and their families. I have never felt like I was wasting her time which is so important. I can’t sing her praises enough and to see her get some recognition for her work would be truly deserved. She has a heart of gold that shows in the way she cares for her patients and their owners. Thanks for reading this !

Vet Name: Marese McDonnell
Vet Address: Treaty Veterinary Clinic, Thomondgate, Limerick Co Limerick
Why Nominated:
I reckon that if I would prefer to travel 15 miles to see Marese rather than go 2 miles to my nearest vet, it says a lot. My story begins a few years ago when I woke up one morning to find my dog Diesel (a rottweiler cross staffordshire) having a fit. I took him to the Treat vets where I met Marese. She was brilliant with both diesel and me and I must have rang her hundreds of times over the next few years. Yet she never made me feel I was wasting her time.

Diesel was started on phenobarb and Marese wanted to be kept informed at all times at any changes in Diesel. On many occassions that he was very bad, both Diesel and I would be so tired but with fits you have to go with the flow. Marese was fantastic at this time. I was never asked to go to the clinic because she always came to the house. Only 3 people really knew Diesel’s temperament and Marese was one of them. She hew hew would get too excited if he went down so she always came to the house to see him. On these few nights she got many calls but was never put out by them.

She then put Diesel on the human tablets Epanuttin and talked with a professor at the Veterinary College Dublin about Diesel. She said that he was the hardest dog she had ever had to treat for epilepsy and I think this made her all the more determined to help him. These tablets worked very well for 1.5 years but he became immune to them and started fitting again. Bromide was Diesel’s last chance but Marese said that it had stopped being produced. She asked me to give her a couple of days and then she rang to say she had tracked some down up the country.

On another occasion Diesel was bad but it was Ben who needed her help this time. A bottle of Diesel’s tablets had fallen off the table and I didn’t realise until I found Ben, literally at death’s door. We rushed to the clinic and Marese was dead straight with me about how bad he was. When she had him stabilised she rang to say she had rang the hospitals to get charcoal and had pumped his stomach. To have both of our dogs very sick on one weekend was devastating but knowing Marese wsa there for the three of us was very comforting.

Sadly Diesel got very bad and I knew I couldn’t let him suffer anymore. Marese had never pressurised me into eututhanasia but she had always kept me in the picture so I knew that when the bromide didn’t work, there was nothing else we could do for him. My only regret about those 3 years is that Marese was away when I put Diesel to sleep and I would have wanted her to do it. Diesel is dead a year on the 27th of August and I have to say that the expertise, commitment and understanding she gave to Diesel and I was fantastic. She is outstanding at what she does and she really deserves a nomination. Being a vet isn’t a job to her, it’s a passion and I think the veterinary profession are very lucky to have her on their team.

Thank you for reading.

Vet Name: Marese McDonnell
Vet Address: Treaty Veterinary, Thomondgate, Limerick Co Limerick
Why Nominated:
Almost four years ago on the approach to Christmas we purchased a beautiful Samoyed pup and called her Sneachta. For the three years previous our Christmas’s had been very sad for the six children and myself following the death of my wife Bridie RIP. Suddenly this dog brought a joy to our home which has been there since. We decided to get one litter of pups from her last year but then everything seemed to go wrong. 5 pups, only one female which was dead when born, 3 males died the following week with only one survivor which we now have. Sneachta started getting weak and we were afraid of losing her but Marese McDonnell diagnosed her as having diabetes and by prescribing her the correct amount of insulin followed by an expert operation in spaying her, we still have our beautiful dog and pup. Thanks Mareese.

Vet Name: Aidan Miller
Vet Address: Fitzgerald & McManus, St Mary’s Road, Galway Co Galway
Why Nominated:
We would like to nominate Aidan Miller for Veterinary Pet Care Award 2000 because of his outstanding care for our beloved Border Collie Susie earlier this year. Susie was 16/17 years old enjoying her retirement from a long working life as a sheep dog, and she had had occasional visits to the vet for minor ailments during her final year.

However last March, when she struggled to eat her food one weekend, we hoped it was another minor ailment, but unfortunately this was not to be the case. This was our first meeting with Aidan, who not only proved to be entirely accurate in his first assessment, but left an impression of a professional who not only cared deeply for his animals, but who also totally understood and related to our own concern for our pet dog.

He firstly informed us that she was definitely weak, even for her old age, and that he strongly suspected some blockage in her digestive tract, and most probably a growth. However he was careful to strike a balance by pointing out the possibility that it could indeed by something very minor, thus keeping our hopes alive. He recommended that Susie stay overnight for an x-ray and tests, to which we consented in the safe knowledge that this was the best course of action. When we collected Susie the next day, he informed us that the results were inconclusive, and he gave us clear and easy-to-follow instructions for her care and monitoring at home.

Right from the outset he stressed that he was contactable and approachable at any time should we ever feel the need to call him, and he certainly meant it. Within two days we had brought Susie back to the surgery, where he again recommended that she be detained overnight. When we rang the following morning, Aidan gaven an extremely detailed acount of her condition and her overall form in general, while outlining all the possible outcomes in the most sympathetic manner. He recommended that she return again to her home environment for some more “TLC”. The next day was a Saturday, and when Susie had failed to improve overnight, we rang him on his mobile outside of surgery hours. He arranged for another prescription to be collected by us that afternoon, informing us what it was and its chances of success, which were by now obviously slim.

When no improvement had occurred by Monday morning we contacted the surgery, and Aidan confirmed our worst fears that unless we perform a precarious open surgery, that the best course of action would be to put Susie down. However he in no way attempted to influence our decision, but merely informed us of the pros and cons and what the majority of dog owners would tend to do in this situation.

At this stage we decided to consult a relative who is also a practising vet, and who then contacted Aidan herself to verify some facts concerning Susie’s condition. Initially we were slightly apprehensive about this, because in my own experience of working life, I have seen countless situations where a professional feels undermined or takes umbrage when a second opinion is sought of another colleague. However with Aidan we needn’t have worried, for his reaction was typical of his professionalism and human compassion. He simply said: “Susie is your dog, and therefore you have the right to seek as many opinions as you feel you need, just as I would do with my dog.”

And when we took the hardest decision of all, namely to put Susie down, again his attitude was beyond the call of duty. He arranged an appointment time at very short notice, and just before performing the deed he informed us both that he firmly believed we were doing the right thing, reminding us that it was all in the best interests of Susie. And after the event itself, he requested our permission to perform an autopsy in the most tactful and delicate manner possible.

He outlined the reasons why he as a veterinary surgeon would like to carry it out, but reassured us that he would completely respect our wishes and did not want to exert any pressure whatsoever. And while earlier during her illness we would have both been very much against the idea of an autopsy, by this stage we were completely supportive of the idea, and were happy to authorise Aidan to do so.

When we rang the next day he informed us of the results, which showed that there was indeed evidence of internal growths, but which thankfully reassured us that we had made the right decision. However my abiding memory of this conversation was his first question when he asked: “How are you guys bearing up ?” This proved that not only was he an excellent vet, but that he was excellent in communicating and empathising with owners, effectively treating us as his patients, and not just our dog. He completely related to our devastation at losing a very important family member, and in doing so he helped minimise the grief no end. We wholeheartedly recommend Aidan Miller for this award, and would have no hesitation whatsoever in consulting him again on any matters concerning the health and well bing of our dog.

Vet Name: Mannix O’Boyle
Vet Address: Blue Cross Animal Welfare, 8 Orwell Road, Rathgar Dublin 6
Why Nominated:
I am a volunteer for the Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity. I have worked with retired vet Mannix O’Boyle on the Wednesday evening mobile clinic which tends the needs of the animals of Ballyfermot.

Sadly Mannix is retiring from the Blue Cross this month after working with animals for 50 years. Mannix’s ability to care for the animals belies his age (late 70’s if not more). I have seen him handle the most difficult of animals, all creatures great and small, with the tenderness and compassion that only comes from years of experience.

There are many stories from the Ballyfermot Clinic that could contribute to a very interesting compilation of a vet’s memoirs – the night we had a parrot who squaked “Ssshhtop!” while having his nails clipped or the Halloween night a gerbil was brought in with a growth on his nether regions that turned out to be a peanut he was trying to pass – whole ! Or the night he rescued a dog who caught his paw on the garden railings in the rain ……..I could go on.

To this day I meet grown men and women from Ballyfermot who remember bringing their pets to Mannix O’Boyle as children…..and he is now tending the pets of their own grandchildren. It would be a brilliant finale for Mannix O’Boyle to leave his veterinary life with an award affirming his contribution to the happy and healthy lives of animals in Dublin. He will be greatly missed.

Vet Name: Tom Rennick
Vet Address: Tirboy, Church View, Tuam, Co Galway
Why Nominated:
I feel Tom has a way with animals and treats them with dignity and respect. Our dog Pluto has had occasion to be treated by Tom a number of times. He never seems to be in a hurry and puts the animal totally at ease. I remember Tom treating a sick calf and saying “don’t isolate unless it is absolutely necessary, the animal would feel alienated, let him be within sight of the other animals.” Thinking about it, it is so true, nobody wants to be an island. I think this shows Tom’s humanity and feeling for animals.

Vet Name: Tom Rennick
Vet Address: Tom Rennick’s clinic, Church View, Tuam Co Galway
Why Nominated:
As well as his skills with animals, he has a special technique and way of winning their trust before he even begins to treat them. He runs his fingers through their fur and makes eye contact with them. They seem to have a sixth sense that recognises the healing in him and respond to it. Hoover, one of our cats we found dumped in a ditch, newly born. Fed with a dropper and later a baby’s teat she survived. She loved us but hated strangers and children. He claws were out snarling when things did not go her way. I dreaded her first visit to Tom. But within seconds she was putty in his hand and sitting happily on his shoulders. Unbelievable. She lived to be 15. As well as being a farmer’s vet, Tom has a small animal clinic. You meet troubled animals of all sorts there and troubled people. But he puts them all at their ease, humans and animals. His greatest aversion is when he has to face the inevitable and put an animal down. It is for him the worst aspect of his practice. What makes him most irate is neglect of any of these vulnerable creatures. Coming face to face with a farmer who is careless he tells them so, in no uncertain terms. Just recently a stray dog in agony with mange he took care of and made well. His own home is also home to five stray cats. Could animals write this they would re-iterate my words: “his special kindness and care of us, his respect for our dignity and genuine interest in all of us no matter where we come from or who owns us – even if we are strays without status.” But they are dumb and we must speak for them. I once asked Tom what single thing he would miss most if he ever lost his freedom. “What I would miss most,” he said, “is the feel of an animal’s fur under my hands.”

Vet Name: Richard Scott
Vet Address: Animal Welfare Hospital, Charlemont Street, Dublin 2
Why Nominated:
Before he died, my cat had lost most of his nine lives, by being attacked by other animals, having a severe heart attack and a viral infection which had him hospitalised for more than a week, during his various visits to the clinic the family as well as the cat were treated with consideration and kindness and always in a most professional way. Ziggy was treated by Richard Scott on the majority of those occasions and we were always confident to leave our pet in his capable and sympathetic hands. Richard has the knack of making the family feel proud of their pet and always praised our care of him. This is a great gift as it can encourage better animal welfare. Our loved pet finally died from cancer and again was treated to the end by Richard and his team and the kindness and sympathy shown at the end will always be appreciated.