The Unsung Hero

Once upon a time, there were four girls who fell in love with horses and through the most magical of animals, fell into friendship with each other.

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That’s Getaway.  He’s “Yee Ling’s” horse.

Nobody liked him, she reminded me.  He was blacklisted.  I knew that love and kindness would pull him through.  He is not the best horse, but he is the best for me.

Girls who love horses and hounds, that’s all we ever talk about when we get together.  I wonder if the horse especially, unlocks something primal within, that then links us irrevocably?  Because even as we no longer ride together, nor live in the same city, I always feel, Yee Ling if I allow her, has my back.

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Two years ago, Angel’s tummy suddenly swelled and hardened, into a drum-like shape.  I text-ed her a photo.  She called me immediately-  Tam?  Bring him in.  Don’t wait.

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She was not our vet then.  She is now.

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She saved Angel’s life.

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To be honest, I think what I am now, the way I practice as a vet, has come from years and years of experience.  For example, I may ask myself, do I really need to put a dog through all the tests?  What am I, or the patient going to get from it?

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When a vet graduates, she’s armed with knowledge.  How she applies it comes with experience.  She needs a strong leader.  

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When I graduated, there were no leaders at all… I guess that’s why I fumbled.

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But when I took up ophthalmology, I met Dr Robin Stanley, and he was wonderful.  Credit goes to him for what I am now.  He is still my guide.  

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I think I am a much better vet now.

At work, I have to put in all that I have.  I have to make sure the client understands, and not expects me to be, God…

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Vet School was very hard…first time overseas, alone…I remember the train pulling into Waverly Station… all the buildings were so black..  I was so scared…  

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I don’t know how much of me is the real me.  I think I’ve said this before, Tams, the job has shaped me.

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I think the real me is the animal lover.  That’s all I know.

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Animals are great.  They need help, and they cannot speak.  They never complain and they always love their owners.

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What would you say to your younger self?  To your older self?

Younger self?  Things will be better.  Older self?  Should have retired earlier!

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*Dr Heng Yee Ling is a Senior Veterinarian at Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Farrer) in Singapore.  She was trained at the University of Edinburgh.  She has a special interest in the eye.  All photographs used belong to the both of us, and were posted with her permission.  Please note that it took some coaxing on my part for her to agree to be my guest, as she is simply too modest, and too busy saving/improving the lives of her patients.

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