The outgoing Te Are Manu Vet Clinic medical director Dr Michael Baer with Mata Nooroa Jr of SPCA Cook Islands. TAM/23111411
Mark Twain had the dubious pleasure of seeing his own obituary printed in the paper and over the last week I have had a similar feeling. While far from being an obituary, a Facebook post about me leaving has attracted heaps of comments, writes Dr Michael Baer, the outgoing Te Are Manu Vet Clinic medical director.
I have been
overwhelmed by the good wishes and kindness expressed. One recurring theme has
been that the next vet will have big shoes to fill, and I agree but those shoes
Te Are Manu (TAM)
is a wonderful place, and does wonderful work. For two years I have been lucky
enough to be part of that. But Te Are Manu was a wonderful place doing
wonderful work before I arrived and it will be a wonderful place doing
wonderful work long into the future. I am not responsible for that, and while I
hope I have contributed, it has been correlation not causation. I happened to
be lucky enough to be here while wonderful work was done.
place and wonderful work are the result of a fabulous, and large, team. I have
written recently about our helpers and friends, so won’t reiterate, except to
say Meitaki. Today I want to celebrate the TAM circle.
When I arrived
Ellen and Virginia were driving the clinic, and I quickly realised that I would
not have an easy task making improvements. I asked lots of questions, hoping to
find cracks or deficiencies; I couldn’t and didn’t. The board; Trish, Pip, Donye,
Gail, Erica, Luke and Virginia, had a brilliant balance of hands on expertise
and long-term plans. The clinic was well equipped and well stocked. It was
friendly and welcoming. And it did great work. I thought “Bugger”.
I met Marylin and
Jojo. The grounds and clinic are in great hands with them and their children. I
still love getting to work on Monday morning and seeing the clinic shining,
squeaky clean. Unfortunately, by the end of most weeks I have done my share to
ensure they have a tough task ahead to restore that shine.
started arriving in January 2022, once our borders reopened, and they started
teaching me straight away. New people, new skills and techniques, new
therapies. These amazing people give up their time and money to visit us, and
provide their skills for free. It was a great honour to work with them.
Pip has been a
fixture since before my arrival. She and John are great company and so
generous. She makes work easy and her kind way of reminding me to do my jobs
with gentle hints rather than the nagging I deserve keeps me on track. She is a gem.
So is Lorraine. Steady
and determined. Dedicated. Funny. Unfortunately, a few hippy type tendencies mar
her perfection, but without it I wouldn’t have access to an endless supply of
organic produce and her sense of humour keeps me entertained. Her compassion
for people and animals is unmatched.
Junior (Mata) is a
virtual colleague. Although he is with the SPCA, he is at the clinic so often
helping me out that I can’t imagine TAM without him. He is such a capable,
gregarious, friendly and relaxed bloke, and I am so fortunate to be able to
call him a friend.
Sarah has been
there since my first day. She is hilarious, friendly, kind, generous and so
capable. She is at home doing just about anything, and will do anything asked
of her. Often before she is asked. She goes with the flow and adjusts to the
various changes the rotation of volunteer vets brings, and returns things to
the Michael way before I get a chance to rage about it. She has been a great
friend. I have been lucky enough to meet
Junior and Sarah’s children, Cash and Coco, and they are a credit to their
And then there is
Natalie. This special person has supported me throughout my time at TAM, and
before. Can’t say enough about her, but this is already too long.
So, yes there are
big shoes to fill. They aren’t mine. They belong to the amazing people who work
in, around and for TAM. I started off by mentioning an obituary, so I will end
with an epitaph. I feel that any success I have enjoyed is best summed up by Andrew
Carnegie, who wrote this for his grave – A Man Who Knew How to
Enlist in His Service Better Men Than Himself.