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20-21 May 2022, Loseley Park, Surrey

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Vet Honour

VET Honour
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Cara Golden

Not only is she an excellent surgeon, having passed her surgical diploma in 2020 (how she fitted all that studying in I will never know), she has successfully steered the practice through the unknown territory of 2020. This involved taking rapid decisions on how best to manage workload, retaining as many staff as possible on as close to their normal salaries as possible despite the unknown outcome for the business, predicting the high demand for services once the first lockdown ended and employing a locum despite any financial concerns this might have brought, and ensuring that the welfare and well-being of her staff was always forefront in her mind.

Despite the tremendous pressure on her from every direction, she has negotiated longer term improvements for the practice and staff, rewarded nurses for their hard work during lockdown with a bonus, and put everyone else's needs before her own, having taken only 4 days off throughout the whole of 2020. She genuinely is an outstanding example of a practice owner who understands how her staff feel and what is important to them. She is a smart businesswoman who is a pleasure to work for. Despite sometimes overwhelming pressures from seemingly every direction, she has managed to emerge smiling and with a stronger practice as a result. Our work family is what it is today as a result of her efforts, and we all applaud her for it. An example of this is supporting a staff member who was diagnosed with terminal cancer by moving her into a flat across the road from her own home (practically the whole practice turned out to move all the furniture) so that Cara could be on hand for that individual if needed. If anyone deserves to be rewarded for their outstanding efforts to ensure the smooth running of a practice in extremely turbulent times, and additionally looking after staff, it is Cara. But there's more. Cara is well known for her "above and beyond" attitude towards her clients, which is why they adore her. She often phones them late in the evening, long after she should have gone home, just to ensure that their pets are OK.

There is nothing that she won't do for her clients, or indeed her staff, to make their lives a little easier. As a result, staff are also inclined to go above and beyond to support her too. The love spreads both ways. Prior to commencing my employment at Whiteley Village Vets, I worked in a large practice for 32 years, initially as an assistant, then as a partner, and finally as a senior vet after the practice was sold to a corporate in 2008. The approach at Whiteley makes a refreshing change from the corporates in so many ways. I was beginning to get disillusioned with my profession until I started working at Whiteley. For the past two years since "defecting" from the corporates, I have found a new enthusiasm for my work and am once again playing to my strengths. For me, under corporate ownership, my former practice had lost its soul. At the (then) age of 56, I have rediscovered my niche, and there is only one person who can take the credit for that - Cara.

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