Vet goes extra mile to help poorly pets during lockdown

Newcastle vet Mandy Hood has been pulling on her running shoes to ensure poorly pets receive vital medication during the coronavirus lockdown.

 For the last three months, keen runner Mandy, who works for Westway Vets at their Howdon surgery in Wallsend, has been delivering medication and flea and worm treatment during her lunchtime runs.

Her kind-hearted gesture has provided a vital service for elderly and vulnerable clients unable to come into the surgery to collect medication for their pets because they were shielding or self-isolating.

On one occasion, she even bought dog food for a client, who was unable to leave her home.

Mandy has clocked up 50 miles around the streets of Howdon and Wallsend, delivering medication during lockdown. It has been great training for the 39-year-old, who runs for Heaton Harriers, and has completed two Great North Runs and 47 park runs.

Mandy, a vet for 14 years, said: “Westway was offering deliveries to vulnerable clients who were self-isolating or shielding if they needed repeat prescriptions or medication as a result of us doing consultations by telephone during the pandemic. It reduced the number of clients coming into the surgery during lockdown and ensured pets received medication and treatment for conditions or stayed up to date with flea and worm control.

“Because we have been so busy, I decided to start running to clients’ houses during my lunchtime run. It saves on fuel money and is better for the environment, plus Heaton Harriers had to cancel training sessions so it was a great opportunity to stay fit.

“The clients are surprised when they see me turning up. I’ve has a lovely reaction as they’ve appreciated the gesture and have been grateful not to have to leave the house. It has created a close bond with our clients as we are part of the community.

“It was also lovely to be able to have a socially distanced chat with clients who live alone or are elderly. It was vitally important that owners maintained medication for these animals because of the conditions they have.”

Among the clients Mandy has been delivering medication to is pensioner Eve Ridley, who has had to self-isolate due to suffering from asthma and emphysema, and her beloved dog, Elsa.

Elsa, a golden doodle, was diagnosed as having thyroid problems and arthritis by Mandy as lockdown started, but is making good progress.

Last month, Mandy and veterinary nurses Amy Bevan and Rebecca Lawrence delivered medication, a birthday card, goody bag and a toy for Elsa’s 12th birthday.

Mrs Ridley, from High Howdon, said: “Mandy has been such a good sport and I don’t know what I would have done without Westway Vets. Without their care, Elsa could have deteriorated, but Mandy has been bringing her medication and anti-inflammatories to my door, and she’s like a different dog.”