Written by Vasiliki A. Ntavlourou BVM, GPCert(ExAP),MRCVS. Head Veterinarian and Owner of the clinic.
On the 31st of August 2009, my dream came true! And as for every dream that comes true in the end, the "secret" hides behind hard work, continuous and focused efforts and strong visualization. A goal that I had set many many years before that day and worked so hard for, was achieved. Together with friends and family, we celebrated the opening day of my Small Animal Clinic in my home town of Patras in Greece. My clinic was the outcome ( but not the end!) of a lifetime's hard work, decent efforts and studies.
Since the very early university years, it was clear in my mind that I wanted to become a Small Animal Clinician and Surgeon. As soon as my studies were completed at the Greek University, I left my country and started my adventurous trip around the world. A trip that offered me lots of experiences, knowledge and amazing memories. My goal, apart from seeing the world, was to gain knowledge and expertise in my field of interest which was and still is: the Internal Medicine and Surgery of Small and Exotic Species.
My endeavour started in the UK. The country that has been my second home since my very first visit back in 2001. England was the country were people offered me the opportunity to "dream" and achieve my dreams and goals and for that I will always be grateful.
During my stay in the UK , I worked in many different small and large animal as well as equine practices. I consider myself lucky and blessed to have met and worked with some amazing people who have been my colleagues and mentors and who I will always thank for the help, support and encouragement they offered me. I made some friends for life who are still there , supporting, advising and mentoring me.
I started my career as a new qualified Vet in a small animal practice in Spalding-Lincolnshire.This was my very first job as a veterinary assistant of a brilliant and kind Veterinarian Mr.Wayne Smith, who I will always thank for teaching me so much and helping me gradually build my skills and confidence. I will always thank him for helping me believe that I could succeed, for helping me discover and expand my true potential. He was a mentor and supporter and he was the one who saw the passion and love I had for my profession and my hidden talent to be become a competent surgeon. He encouraged me to continue in the difficult path I had chosen, miles away from home! in a foreign at the time, country. Over the 10months I spent in his clinic, I managed to gain the appropriate experience in order to continue and seek more opportunities in larger clinics and hospitals in the UK.
My full time work in clinics and hospitals, was supported and enriched by attending countless seminars and courses of continuing professional development in the UK as well as in other parts of the world (US, AUSTRALIA, EUROPE). Since then, I ensure that my knowledge and skills are constantly updated by attending numerous CPD courses every year and very often by returning to clinical practicing in the UK.
My unfailing interest for veterinary science has always been my guide to discovering new areas and subjects for studying and practicing. As a result, in 2005, after completing a postgraduate program with the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies in England, I achieved the degree of General Practitioner in Exotic Animal Practice.
This new qualification gave me the opportunity to work in second opinion clinics for Exotic Animals and enriching even more my knowledge.
Soft tissue surgery and orthopedics has always been my top interest. Μy post-graduate training in this field, was and still is supported by working and seeing practice in Referral hospitals in the UK, alongside highly Specialized Veterinary Surgeons. One of the places where I gained a lot of knowledge and experience was the Veterinay School of Glasgow where I attended numerous surgical courses and spent time as a visitor at the Orthopeadic Unit.
During the last 4 years of my stay in the UK, I worked as an Emergency Night Vet for Goddard Veterinary Hospital in East London. A 24- hours referral hospital, part of the Goddard Veterinary Group. Goddards is one of the larger veterinary groups in the UK.
My duties as a night vet included: dealing with various emergencies, stabilizing and operating on critically ill patients, treating and nursing the numerous hospitalized animals. Apart from my night work for the group, I would quite often cover day shifts in almost all of their branch clinics around London (over 40!).
The experience I gained working for Goddard Veterinary Group was invaluable!
I owe a lot to the staff of Goddard Veterinary Hospital. I will always be grateful to the Veterinary Surgeons, Nurses and Managers of the Hospital for giving me the opportunity to work with them and learn so much, but also for offering me the financial security in order to achieve my goal. Most of all, I will be grateful to all of them for treating me in such an amazing, respectful and friendly way and for supporting and encouraging my new start in Greece. I received and still receive respect, care, appreciation, help and support. For this and a lot more, I can only feel graditude! I consider myself lucky to have met them all! THANK YOU!
In total I remained in the UK for 8 years. The thought of creating my own Veterinary clinic though, had always been in my mind. It was a dream that I was constantly visualizing and working hard for. My own clinic! A place so different and unique for the treatment and care of my little patients. A very special place, not only for its design but for its history too!
My clinic is located in the City of Patras in Greece, on the groundfloor of my family house. The home where I was born, spent my childhood and grew up. Over the years, this building was transformed several times: from home to a family business ( mini market), later on to an apartment for rent and finally...........to my very special Veterinary Clinic!
In 2009, the time had come for this building to be converted into the Veterinary Clinic that I had dreamed of for so many years.
This veterinary clinic was created by me personally, through very hard and dedicated work. The planning......very long!
The actual building project, since the day I started it, took me 12 months!
Twelve months of working in London and visiting home once a month, in order to organize the building works. All the new equipment was bought in the UK and transported to Greece. The design, was the extract of all my experiences and views from the UK and especially the Goddard Veterinary Hospital. The principles, could only be the lessons I took from the amazing, competent, decent, compassionate and dedicated professionals I met on my adventurous trip around the world, together with the principles and values that I was taught by my family.
My clinic was given life on the 31st of August 2009 and since then, it continuously grows and improves, like a living organism. The opening of the clinic though, was not the end of my dreams. My goal was and still is, the creation of a unique place for the treatment and care of my small patients. This is a constant effort, against all the odds, the difficult times and the "obstacles".
In 2010, my hard work and decent efforts were rewarded. The plan to extend the original building of the clinic, was about to come true. On the 17th of September, the building that stood next to our family home since 1958, became ours! Now, all the efforts are focused on gradually renovating this building and turning it into an extension of my clinic. This is a slowly progressing project which takes a lot of hard personal work.
I should not miss the opportunity to thank all the builders, technicians and friends who helped and supported me, in building and imroving my clinic, sharing with me the same enthusiasm and passion. Most of all I should not miss the opportunity to thank my parents for trusting and supporting me.
My clinic is not just a business building. It is a living-growing organism that will keep growing and improving endlessly!
I would like to thank all of you who have already honored and continue to honor me with your presence and trust in my services. Thank you for the endless inspiration and vitality you add into my clinic.
Vasiliki A. Ntavlourou BVM, GPCert(ExAP), MRCVS