When I decamped from city life in Dublin to Park, Kinnegad to begin a new life, it was a huge departure for myself and my husband Shane. I went to school on St Stephen’s Green where I studied hard to get the 595 points needed for vet school. Places were few, and competition was tough. I trudged through city streets with a heavy school bag; and took long winding bus journeys home while pouring over textbooks. The buses were smokey then; in those days there was smoke everywhere; it was a long time before the ban came in. There was no internet; no phones; just books and buses….
After qualifying, I lived a cosmopolitan life in London in the University in Camden as a young vet, and then managing a busy practice in Ealing, whilst living in a city apartment.
But one day, after having our first two babies, I decided to follow my dream of having my practice at home; where I could keep a close eye on my patients day and night, and always be close for my children. I couldn’t have done it without Shane. He is 100% supportive, even though it means a longer commute for him.
My husband and I spent a long time designing our logo. We weren’t in a hurry. Baby number three pushed out the practice opening by a couple of years. I took three years off to cuddle my kids and take in the magic of the early years.
When the logo designer sent our first draft back, she had deleted the butterfly and replaced it with a ball. She didn’t think the butterfly was very “vetty” and looked out of place. She thought a ball was more meaningful and playful.
But, I wanted a butterfly. That’s the lovely thing about striking out on your own. The freedom of choice! It was a time of metamorphosis for me; ceasing to be an employee, taking the reigns, and taking flight into the unknown.
It was a leap of faith. Our location is very rural. I did literally no market research. I hadn’t a clue what other practices were nearby. But when I saw the old house, and old gardens, and the lovely clinic I just fell in love with it. I didn’t care if I only had one client a day or 50; I knew we would be happy here.
My Dad is a vet; although he never ran a practice. He was worried for me. I think he thought I was a bit flighty. I had sold everything we had; and it was quite far from home. He said to me ‘’well if it doesn’t work out, you can run and B and B”.
So.. the butterfly.. if you spot it.. holds meaning. I lost a brother – it’s a little bit for him. He always told me to paddle my own canoe. He always wanted me to have my own practice. It’s also a symbol of powerful transformation, metamorphosis,
moving through different life cycles, rebirth.
It also suggests lightness of being, playfulness, tuning into the emotional or spiritual, the world of the soul, the psyche.
For me, it has everything to do with how I practice. Of course, I couldn’t practice without my patients. So thank you to everybody that has come to see us throughout the pandemic. During this scary time; the butterfly is a reminder that life goes in cycles. Nothing remains the same. Everything is transient. And this too, shall pass.