Meet Your Pet’s Vet is our series of biographical profiles on the veterinarians at our clinics who love taking care of your pets. We love getting to know the pet parents who come to us, and we hope that by getting to know us too you’ll feel at home and happy to visit our Clinics at any time.
Meet your pet’s vet: Dr Rosali Bruggemann of Country Animal Clinic.
Dr Rosali had the best career inspiration any young woman could hope for: her Dad. Here’s what Dr Rosali has to say about why she loves what she does:
“My Dad Leon is a vet on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast. He’s the best vet in the world. Okay so I’m a little biased. But together with my amazing mom, he genuinely taught me so much about appreciating every detail on every creature, big or small. Assisting emergency stitch-ups in the kitchen and helping revive puppies from C-sections is maybe not every five-year-old’s experience, but I was lucky enough to have just that.
My grandfather was a dairy farmer, so playing in hay bales and bottle feeding calves growing up really was my cup of tea. I developed a deep love and care for animals, but had many different interests, making choosing a career difficult. I pursued music (piano mostly), team sports and nature activities of all kinds, but the pull towards becoming a doctor for those without a voice was the strongest and won in the end.
At Country Animal Clinic, I really feel that each one of my colleagues is phenomenal at what they do, but not just in their knowledge and skill. My Dad once told me that a good vet does their job well, but the difference between a good vet and a great vet comes in combining an intense love for animals AND care and compassion for their owners.
His words left an imprint on my brain, as I always wanted to know exactly what it was that made everyone say: ‘Oh, Dr Leon Bruggemann? He is absolutely amazing isn’t he? What a fantastic vet’, and I longed to have that reputation as a young girl.
I have realised through my very few years of vet wisdom though, that it isn’t the reputation one should strive for; if you do your work with the passion and integrity that someone like my father has, you will naturally become the greatest version of yourself, and be an inspiration to those around you.
This is how I feel about my colleagues at Country Animal Clinic, fellow veterinarians Dr Ingrid de Wet and Dr Adri Rossouw, who continuously inspire me (together with my father of course) to grow and work with love and passion.
What are the special ingredients needed in caring for pet patients?
It really is often the little things, isn’t it, that become most important in life? We’ve all seen where people go out of their way to make their clients or patients feel as comfortable as they possibly can in a daunting situation; like the barber that quickly cuts a toddler’s hair while the rest of the salon sings children’s songs and puts on a small show to stop him from crying. In the same way, when a dog or cat is brought into this strange-smelling new place, it is of utmost importance to make them feel as comfortable as we possibly can. Positive energy. Warm greetings. Calm environment. Speaking in a friendly manner. Allowing space when space is needed. And treats. ALWAYS treats!
When a client walks in for the first time, with that gorgeous little soul that has just been welcomed into its family, my heart literally goes soft and squishy. I cannot contain my happiness as I drop to my knees to allow this new little pup to bound over and approach this strange ‘hooman’ with open arms, perhaps nervously at first, but then the confidence kicks in as it realises it is not in danger and is showered with praise and soft cuddles; that moment when it becomes a vibrating blur of licks and tail wags as it returns the love. There is not much else that makes me as happy as this moment of first interaction, the beginning of hopefully a long and happy relationship as your vet.
What do you love about your job?
I take pride in my work. I may take that extra minute longer, but I am not satisfied with second best. I find it crucially important to explain everything to a pet parent in such a way that it makes sense to you as an individual, that well-informed decisions can be made as needed.
I find squeezing anal glands and lancing abscesses incredibly satisfying. I fight tears during euthanasias, often unsuccessfully. I enjoy chatting during consultations and finding common ground. I freeze like a deer in headlights if being shouted at. I will sit in the cage with your pet after its surgery and hold it until it has woken up, not because it is my duty, but because I don’t want them to feel alone when they are vulnerable and confused. I pretend I don’t take offense when an animal doesn’t love me back.
I love that our clinic has lots of windows and light and though small, a view of the ocean. I love being silly and laughing at comic situations.
I have an amazing husband who also happens to be a vet (I know, keep it in the family right?).
We got married in June 2019, and life is just better with him by my side. I am totally blessed. We do not have children or fur-babies of our own yet, but will probably look into that in the nearish future when we get tired of enjoying our newly wed freedom!
That’s me in a nutshell. Well, it’s hardly a nutshell, more of an oak tree really! 😉 Apologies.