AMRRIC member and supporter Anne Fawcett is a Sydney-based small animal veterinarian and journalist who also lectures in veterinary science at the University of Sydney. Anne has volunteered many times on remote dog health programs in the Northern Territory.
Anne's committment to AMRRIC's philosophy is demonstrated in her decision to volunteer in the Yuendemu community for the last five years. Yuendemu is 293 km northwest of Alice Springs on the Tanami Track. The team also visited Nyrippi community which is located approximately 440 km from Alice Springs.
What did you do for the program?
Being able to work out of my normal context is a mind-expanding experience. I desexed and treated dogs (eg stitch ups, examinations of lame dogs) as well as performed euthanasia humanely (when it was requested).
What advice would you give to prospective volunteers?
Be prepared to get in and get your hands dirty. Bring IV catheters, this makes a big difference. Revisiting the same community was important to me. I’ve been to Yuendumu now for five years so I can see the difference the dog programs make. I’ve also gotten to know people in the community and have a connection there.
Were there any challenges?
There are always challenges. Logistics was the main one and really we were fortunate to know Gloria Morales who lives in the community, as she dealt with most of these issues. Ultimately communication, planning and flexibility are essential.
What is the main thing you got out of this volunteering experience
Working with an excellent team of volunteers doing what I love (surgery) in a field hospital in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia. Going back to the same community is a really rewarding experience as you build relationships and people can see your commitment and are more likely to ask for help.
Thank you to Anne for dedicating herself to AMRRIC's programs and also for supporting AMRRIC with her skills as a journalist. To find out more about Anne's veterainary experiences visit Small Animal Talk.
Image: Anne is on the left.