VET’S VIEW: Do not be afraid to ask if volunteers need a hand

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ONE of the nice things about visiting Greece, apart from helping the animals there, is the range of characters we meet along the way.

Pat and Dave are a couple who retired to Cephalonia, and have a lovely villa on the hills outside the capital, Argostoli – but they haven’t shed their English roots, and Dave still prefers his shepherd’s pie to what he calls ‘that Greek rubbish’!

Pat has a real heart for the animals and so has become the go-to person when any waif or stray turns up.

She finds it hard to turn anyone down, and over the years has accumulated a real menagerie, and each of the animals has its own story to tell.

For example, there was the turkey poult that was being bullied but ended up terrorising all her visitors.

Then there was the goat that learned to undo zip pockets to look for treats...

However, such hard work comes at a cost.

When we arrived this year, we were shocked to learn from Dave that Pat had been taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack.

Fortunately, it seemed to be minor and after a couple of days in hospital she was able to go home, with no serious damage reported. But it has forced Pat to think about how much work she can do in the future. In the event, Pat’s friends rallied round and we were able to do the work she had organised and more besides, so I think she was pleased with that.

It is the case that animal charities often rely on a few key individuals who, because of their commitment, end up shouldering the lion’s share of the work when, really, they would benefit from some help.

If you know someone like that, don’t be afraid to offer assistance, even if it’s only a little. It’ll be greatly appreciated, and everyone will benefit, not least the animals themselves.

• Peter Brown, of Northdale Veterinary Practice, writes the Herald & Gazette’s Vet’s View column. A local man, whose family history can be traced back to the 1700s in Worthing, Peter took over the practice 26 years ago. What was a one-man operation is now a thriving six-vet practice.