The Veterinary Centre

Henley and Twyford

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Julie Wills
Office Manager
 

In October 2002, my dog Jazz and I transferred to The Veterinary Centre as clients on the recommendation of a friend and neighbour. In January 2005 he was diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system). The next year was a roller coaster ride as he responded to treatment, developed complications both related to and separate from the lymphoma and its treatment, and made seemingly miraculous recoveries from apparent near certain death (never the same thing twice). At times, we were visiting the vets so often that the waiting room in Henley felt like a second home, and I realised what a good choice I had made back in 2002: all the staff made us feel very welcome, as well as giving Jazz the best care and treatment possible. They all really care about what they do. Sadly, Jazz finally lost his battle and was put to sleep in December 2005, but not before I had persuaded Fiona to give me a job!

My background is in computing: I have a BSc in Computing Studies from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and my first job after graduating was as a Software Support Engineer for Hewlett-Packard. After 8 years there, I took a change of direction and spent the next 13 years working for backinaction, experts in specialist back care furniture and healthy seated posture. Back then, I was their first employee (I was a customer of theirs before working there too) and my job was mostly administrative, although I did also design and code the first computerised Excel-based order processing system there; gradually, as the business grew, I needed to be involved more and more in sales, which is not really my cup of tea, so once more it was time to move on.

I joined The Veterinary Centre as Office Manager in January 2006. My job is to lighten the administrative load and look after the computer systems so that the vets and nurses can get on with the job they love, working with the animals.

Since joining I have acquired two more dogs. Roxie was brought into the surgery by a member of the public because she had an injured leg. She was never claimed, so came to live with us, and as part of her rehabilitation after major surgery by Sharon to pin her leg, we took her swimming at my sister's Canine Hydrotherapy pool in Southampton (that's the two of us in the photo).

We got Micky from the Diana Brimblecombe Rescue Centre in Wokingham, partly hoping that he, like Jazz, would prove to be a Flyball dog (especially as "Princess" Roxie just can't understand why anyone should think she should demean herself by picking up a ball). BFA Flyball is somewhat different to the Flyball you see at Crufts, and suitable for many more breeds. I used to enjoy commentating on BFA Flyball competitions at public shows while Jazz was still with us, so hoped that Micky would be reasonably good at it, even if he didn't turn out to be as super-fast as some of the collies.

The good news is that Micky took to Flyball like a duck to water, and did some really good times in individual training. The bad news is that he absolutely hates other dogs invading "his" space - and Flyball is a team relay sport which very much involves another dog heading straight for you at high speed (more details at www.flyball.org.uk). So we had to gracefully retire him before he ever had a chance to compete. Roxie is scared of her own shadow, but likes to think that barking her head off at other dogs is the best form of defence, so we sometimes wonder what we've done to deserve two such resolutely anti-social dogs (despite our best efforts). If you meet us out on a walk, please don't be offended if we avoid you!

I work part time, and spend one day per week in Southampton supporting my parents: my dad cares for my mum, who had a severe sub-arachnoid (brain) haemorrhage in May 2009, leaving her partially paralysed.

In my spare time, I enjoy horse-riding, Formula 1 Motor Racing and technological gadgetry, amongst other things. I have a blog at blog.juwlz.co.uk, where I write periodically about whatever techy topics take my fancy (mostly smartphone-related). I have also appeared a number of times on Steve Litchfield's video and audio podcasts, The Phones Show and the Phones Show Chat respectively; I administer the PSC user forum and contribute to a number of other technological forums on the internet. You'll also find me on Twitter and Google+.

 

Photo:
Windswept!

Photo:
Jazz
Photo:
Roxie and Micky
Photo:
Roxie
I'm a member of the Barkshire Bandits flyball team, and whenever we host competitions at public events it's time for me to get the mic out and settle down for the weekend to do the commentary. I really enjoy explaining the rules and tactics to crowds of people who can see that all the dogs and people are enjoying their racing, but have never seen BFA flyball before (which has different rules from the slower Crufts version you may have seen on TV). A little detail and explanation helps the spectators to appreciate it all the more. Many new flyballers get their first taste of the sport at these shows, and it's good to think that I've done my bit to help fire the enthusiasm of a number of new handlers to get involved in a sport their dogs love to bits, whatever level they compete at.
 

 

 

   
Henley Vets and Twyford Vets
The Veterinary Centre: 271 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1EL - Phone 01491 574490
Also at Twycombe Lodge, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, RG10 9JA - Phone 0118 934 0259