The Gloucestershire vet saving animals in Helmand
A British Army vet from Cheltenham has begun a six-month tour of Afghanistan, treating animals across Helmand Province.
Captain Laura Holmes (29) is a member of the Veterinary Engagement Team, based in Lashkar Gah. She travels all around Helmand, running veterinary clinics for Afghan farmers.
“Local farmers bring in their sheep, goats and cattle for a health check. We give the animals some medicine, and deal with any ailments they might have,” she said. “Each farmer has a few animals which he uses to feed his family, so their animals are fundamental to their lives.”
“We get to interact with the farmers too,” she added. “Whether we’re talking about animals or football teams, we can have some face-time with them.”
Laura also runs classes for the farmers, showing them how to look after their animals themselves. “I teach them a bit of veterinary medicine and modern animal husbandry,” she said. “It’s absolutely fantastic to see the difference that it makes to their lives.”
Laura decided to become a vet because of her lifelong love of animals.
“I’m very lucky, I have an affinity with animals,” she said. “I also enjoy the medical side of things. I really enjoy seeing them get better.”
“And why the army? I really enjoy the challenge it provides. Every day here is different, whether I’m out on foot patrol, or flying to a new location, no matter where I go or who I meet, I learn something new every day. No two days are the same, so it’s always exciting and always challenging.”