A POPULAR vet receptionist whose help to thousands of pet owners once won her an Oscar of the veterinary world is leaving her role after nearly four decades.
Sarah Bowler, 54, has been the familiar face behind the counter at Holly House Veterinary Surgery in Knutsford, which is part of Willows Veterinary Group, for a remarkable 36 years.
She is leaving on March 28 to concentrate on her newly-formed business feeding and caring for cats whose owners are at work or on holiday, and to spend more time with her husband and their herd of cows.
Sarah, who lives in Mobberley, said: “I’m leaving on a high. I class my job as socialising because it doesn’t feel like I’m at work.
“I feel so lucky and privileged to have been in a job I love for so long.
“Above all though the most important part of the job and the part I’m going to miss the most is the people. I’ve met so many lovely, amazing and special people over the past 36 years.
“Colleagues who have remained good friends but more importantly clients and their four legged companions, many of whom I can now call good friends. These people are what have made my job so special and that’s what I’ll miss the most.
“It’s going to be a shock for everyone when I leave, myself included. Nothing lasts forever through does it? And I’ll be coming back in to see everyone – they’re not getting rid of me that easily!”
Sarah began working at Holly House when she was 18 despite not having any aspirations to pursue a career with animals when she left school.
Holly House, which offers an out of hours service, is part of Willows Veterinary Group which offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise through a network of 25 small animal practices, a referral veterinary hospital, two equine centres and a seven-office farm practice, located across Cheshire and into Greater Manchester, North Wales, the Wirral and Staffordshire. Willows is accredited by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Sarah said: “One of my teachers recommended me to my old boss as they were good friends.
“I come from a farming family but I’d never thought about working with animals, it just came about from a chance meeting between my careers teacher and my old boss.
“I initially trained as a veterinary nurse but then had a nasty motorcycle accident midway through my training. I was a passenger and it was quite a bad crash. I broke my leg in 15 places.
“When I eventually went back to work I didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to work on the people side and I noticed a receptionist role was available. The rest is history.”
Sarah says she has loved every minute of her job but there was one particular year that she considers to be her career highlight.
She said: “In 2012 I was nominated by my colleagues and clients for the award of Veterinary Support Staff of The Year and I won.
“These awards are organised by the pet insurance company PetPlan and are considered to be the Oscars of the veterinary world.
“There was a very posh ceremony in Birmingham and my award was presented by the comedian Sean Walsh who took part in last year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
“It was an amazing night and also coincided with me celebrating 30 years at work so 2012 was definitely a year to remember.”
Sarah is now looking forward to making her business a success and spending quality time at home – potentially with the addition of a new dog.
She said: “Now I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life. I want to work for myself and I have a new business venture called Cat Watch, which is a cat home care service, and I also want to spend more time with my husband John and our herd of six beautiful Highland cattle and also maybe get a four legged friend of my own.”
To contact Holly House Veterinary Surgery, go to www.knutsfordvets.com or call 01565 632253.