During the height of the pandemic, I spent some time working at my local vaccination centres around Suffolk, administering Covid vaccines to members of the public. It was during these busy weekend shifts that I started to gain more insight into some of the physical and mental health challenges that many people face in their day to day lives, and to understand the value that animals bring to those who are more vulnerable in society.
In my ‘normal’ career I am a qualified veterinary surgeon, and when patients asked me what I did as a ‘day job’ the conversation often naturally moved on to talk about their own pets and their importance to them. Many people shared stories about the different ways in which their beloved cat, dog, guinea pig or even budgie had improved their lives. For some of the more vulnerable, isolated patients their animal companion had often been their only company throughout the period of lockdown, and it was clear that many would not have got through this time without them.