EXPERT: Vet Dr Andrew Hemming, owner of Flinders View Veterinary Surgery and Ripley Veterinary Hospital, with his border collie, Normus.
EXPERT: Vet Dr Andrew Hemming, owner of Flinders View Veterinary Surgery and Ripley Veterinary Hospital, with his border collie, Normus. David Nielsen

Vet recalls 'big lick, kiss' for dog he treated 9 years ago

IT WAS a magic moment for Ipswich veterinarian Dr Andrew Hemming last year when a dog bounded into his Flinders View surgery and jumped up to greet him like a long lost friend.

Dr Hemming hadn't seen Whitey in nine years - not since he treated him for serious injuries following a car accident.

"He was a beautiful dog but we had to put him in surgery due to the accident and we amputated one of his legs," he says.

"It's incredible how readily dogs adapt to something as severe as an amputation, and Whitey recovered well from the surgery," he recalls.

Dr Hemming had just moved to Ipswich after years of travelling around Australia as a vet and was working for a vet at Silkstone where he met his then girlfriend Sarah.

The couple had fallen in love with the city, married and, several years later in 2012, made their move to Ipswich permanent by establishing the highly successful Flinders View Veterinary Surgery.

However, the story of Whitey's recovery remains one of Dr Hemming's earliest memories of his time as a veterinary practitioner in Ipswich. A recent heart-warming reunion proved that the feeling was mutual.

"About six months ago Whitey's owners found me and brought him in for a vaccination," Dr Hemming says.

"The moment he saw me he gave me a big lick and a kiss. It was amazing that he remembered me after all that time."

It's moments like these that keep the passion for the profession alive for Dr Hemming, who is preparing to expand his business to include a new state-of-the-art veterinary hospital at Ripley Town Centre.

The new Ripley Veterinary Hospital will complement his established Flinders View Veterinary Surgery to bring a new level of pet care to the region with a range of services including ultrasound and advanced dentistry.

"Our aim is to be industry leaders in animal care," says Dr Hemming.

"We want to maintain the standards and values we have developed over many years by bringing over several strong members from the team at Flinders View to the new practice."

Dr Hemming says animals are no different to humans when it comes to a hospital visit and this is leading to one of the big changes in the field.

"There's a new movement towards reducing stress for animals in veterinary care, and we're currently in the process of gaining Fear Free certification for our clinics.

The practice is also seeking ASAV Hospital Accreditation and, once achieved, would make it among just five in Queensland to meet that standard.

The accreditation scheme recognises companion animal practices that achieve quality health care and practice management.

For Dr Hemming, after more than 13 years in the profession, nothing beats the love for pets he's witnessed in his practice over the past nine years.


Health hub for animals

DR ANDREW Hemming and his veterinary nurse wife Sarah plan to expand their service offering at Ripley Town Centre to include a Pet Wellness Hub.

"Veterinary care isn't just vaccinations, nutrition and surgery these days," Dr Hemming said. "Sarah is currently gaining qualifications in veterinary massage and myotherapy to rehabilitation. The effect of this treatment in the recovery process is amazing, especially for our orthopaedic cases, which are a passion of ours.

"Our long-term plan is to provide complementary services including alternatives such as acupuncture, naturopathy and herbal medicine to provide complete treatment for animals to cater to the needs of owners."

Flinders View Veterinary Surgery has 13 staff, three of whom will transition to Ripley Veterinary Hospital and three new staff will be hired.

"Since we opened, I've also found a new passion for my staff to help them develop to their full potential," Dr Hemming said.

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