For vet nurse Caleb Norman, the best part of his job is knowing that he’s making a difference in the community “one little furry footstep at a time”.
Growing up on a lifestyle block in Tuakau, South Auckland, Caleb Norman was always surrounded by animals.
“We had cows, sheep, horses, pigs. I was always out bottle-feeding the calves and lambs and helping look after the animals. That sparked my passion for working with animals,” says Caleb.
After completing University Entrance half-way through Year 13, Caleb left Dilworth School to pursue higher education. He initially wanted to become a veterinarian, but decided vet nursing was more for him.
“I felt that vet nursing was more up my alley in the sense that you get to do more of the physical handling of the patients and provide the kind of care I wanted to.”
“The classroom gave us the backbone for everything and then being able to actually work out on placement really helped us understand why we do the things UCOL was teaching us.”
After finishing the programme, Caleb landed a full-time job as a Vet Care Assistant at Massey University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He made such a good impression that after five months he was trained up as an Anesthetic Technician and later began teaching vet students the ins and outs of anesthesia.
Caleb went on to work as a Senior Veterinary Nurse at Animal Emergency Centre in Auckland, an after-hours clinic that provides overnight care for animals after they've been treated by their regular vets, as well as emergency care.
"We got a lot of emergencies, like animals that have been hit by cars or eaten something they shouldn't have. We did everything from consults to running diagnostics. I did a lot of the anesthesia as well."
"Working in emergency, we saw a whole range of animals. Along with the usual cats and dogs, we got things like chinchillas, guinea pigs, and quite a lot of rats lately. We got the odd turtle and birds, and a lot of wildlife as well."
Through his work, Caleb has found his passion for emergency care. He's now expanding his skills in the area by studying towards a City & Guilds qualification, using an award from his old secondary school to cover the fees.
In March 2022, Caleb started working at Western Australian Veterinary Emergency & Specialty.