Able to help animals in distress

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Being called out to help a sick animal is both a difficult and a fulfilling task, SPCA Otago animal ambulance officer Simon McLachlan says.
Mr McLachlan, who has been in the role for more than two years, said while his job did involve seeing animals in distress, it was also good because he could use his knowledge to help them.
Formerly a longtime volunteer at the SPCA, Mr McLachlan got into the job after studying Veterinary Nursing at Otago Polytechnic several years ago.
On call between 4.30pm and 9am during the week, Mr McLachlan said he could be called out by members of the public to assist a variety of animals, including seagulls, ducks and stray cats, in all states of injury.
Often, his role was just giving people advice on how to help the animal, which vets were suitable to attend to a particular animal and who would be available to help.
He said it was difficult dealing with people under stress, as often people could be quite upset if they had found a sick animal or even more upset, if they had hit and injured one.
It was also tricky trying to explain to members of the public when an animal was past being able to be helped.
‘‘It’s tough when an animal can’t be saved.’’
However, the support of his colleagues at SPCA Otago helped him get through the difficult days, he said.