New vet is enjoying change of pace working in the Outback

Dr Lauren Leicester has recently taken up the role as a permanent vet at the Kidman Way Veterinary Surgery. Lauren has moved to Cobar from Invercargill, New Zealand with her husband, her dog Piper (a five year old Spoodle Maltese, pictured above) and three cats.

Cobar once again has the services of a per-manent vet, with Dr Lauren Leicester join-ing the Kidman Way Veterinary Surgery practice last week.
Prior to coming to Cobar, Lauren worked in a large mixed animal veterinary surgery at Inver-cargill on New Zealand’s South Island.
“There were 10 vets there and a total of 26 people working in one building so it was quite hectic.
“There were lots of people and a lot going on,” she told The Cobar Weekly.
Lauren said she was looking forward to the change of pace that working in Cobar, in a much smaller surgery, would bring.
“I actually thought is was going to be a lot quieter than it is.
“It’s been really quite busy which is nice,” Lauren said after her first week of surgeries at both Cobar and Bourke.
“I’m not a huge city person.
“Invercargill, where I was working, is classed as ‘rural’ so it kind of made sense really to move somewhere a bit warmer and nicer weather, its not snowing here so that’s nice!”
After growing up in New Zealand and leav-ing school at 18, Lauren said she’s always wanted to work with animals and so went to Dunedin to study a degree in Zoology.
At the completion of her studies she travelled to Africa with a girlfriend as both were keen to go and “work with the big cats”.
“We went over there for 12 months and I worked with chimpanzees at a chimpanzee sanctuary that was run by an American vet.
“She did a lot of surgery there, as well as on cats and dogs that were living in the village.
“She did TB testing and wound care, things like that.”
Lauren said she really enjoyed the experi-ence, had a re-think and decided to be a vet “instead of working in conservation and the Zoology academic side of things”.
Upon her return from Africa, she applied to James Cook University in Queensland to do her Veterinary degree, was accepted and moved to study and work in Townsville and Mackay for the next six and a half years.
“I then moved back to New Zealand due to pressure from my mum.
“She wanted me to go home and settle down and get married and do all those things.
“So I moved home, got married but I haven’t settled down and I’m not looking at having kids anytime soon,” Lauren said.
Recently she felt it was time to make a move from Invercargill and was looking at a few different jobs in Australia.
“I just think it was the right time for us to move on from where we were and I was look-ing for a new challenge.”
She called the girlfriend who she’d travelled to Africa with(who was working in Sydney) and asked her opinion of a couple of places.
Her girlfriend had done some remote work at Bourke and Cobar and told Lauren, “Cobar was a really great place”.
So upon that recommendation Lauren decid-ed to take up the position at the Cobar surgery which also includes surgery work two days a week at Bourke.
Lauren’s favourite areas of interest includes “the medicine side of things, and bloodwork and working out complex medical cases.
“I do a lot of surgery as well so really it’s pretty much everything to do with small ani-mals.
“I did train with larger animals but it’s not really my passion but I’m happy to help when I can”.
Lauren’s husband, three cats and dog have made the move to Cobar with her.
(Unfortunately they couldn’t bring her three pet sheep and three chickens which had to be re-homed before they left.)
Lauren said while she is mostly “a dog per-son” she is also “a bit of a sucker” which is how she came to have three cats.
“They just kind of came into the clinic—one was really sick, one was going to be euthanised and the other one was on ‘buy, swap and sell’.”
Lauren said she’s been made to feel very welcome in her first week in Cobar.
“Everyone is friendly and very appreciative that there is a vet here.
“Its nice to feel appreciated,” she said.