Rose Brolly is one of many students that have moved overseas to chase a life-long veterinary medicine dream.
Growing up on a family farm, steeped in tradition, ignited her passion for animals and, in turn, influenced the Derry native’s career path.
“My grandad and great-grandad farmed this land many years ago. I remember being no age at all and helping my grandad Billy feed calves from the bucket,” she explained to Catherina Cunnane, editor of That’s Farming.
“I helped wherever I could really, and I fondly remember collecting eggs and whisking powdered milk in the little grey buckets.”
“I always wanted to be a vet but didn’t get good grades at school. I worked in a vet clinic for a few years after school.”
When the whole idea of becoming a vet did not seem possible in Rose’s eyes, she considered pursuing a career in veterinary nursing.
“Working in the clinic proved not to be the work I wanted to do – I like the outdoors and large animal medicine.”
“Small animal cases are fine too, but getting out, seeing people and driving in the countryside is where my heart lies.”
“You get called out of bed at all hours, it’s more physically demanding and the weather isn’t always on your side, but I’d take it over being inside all day.” the 23-year-old added.
With a renewed desire to fulfil her childhood dream, Rose considered repeating her exams over a two-year period, with a view to enrolling in a university in Dublin or the UK, while her plan ‘B’ entailed venturing overseas.
She applied to Trakia University, Bulgaria where she began her studies immediately; she is set to graduate as a veterinary practitioner in 2022.
“I had to give up a lot including my job, my car, my friends here and not seeing my family every day.”
“Being away from home is difficult. It has got easier, but I still feel very upset when I have to fly back. It’s fine once you are back and into routine again.”
Rose aims to return home as frequently as possible to assist with the running of the suckler enterprise.
Liam, her father, who works full-time off-farm, had spinal surgery in March of last year; they have reduced their herd to eighteen cows and one stockbull.
“I just get really homesick – It’s not like being in the UK and you can leave to fly home on a Friday and fly back on a Sunday night in time for university on Monday,” she admitted.
Looking ahead to 2022, the Derry native intends to move back to her home soil where she hopes to secure a position in a mixed practice.
Fascinated by the nature of veterinary medicine, she is determined to further her studies in the area of large animal reproduction in the future.
“Veterinary medicine is fascinating – animals cannot tell you where it hurts or what happened to them, it’s a case of figuring it all out and knowing what action to take.”
“A cow is different from a cat and a horse is different from a goat. All are unique and different, yet their doctor is just the one person.”
“Other than referral clinics with specialist vets, the vet that did a ewe caesarean or splinted a foal’s legs could have done an enucleation on a cat’s eye all in the same day.”
“I want to be successful in my work – I want to be good at what I do, treating animals and helping owners, to be a good vet and be spoken about in a positive way.”
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