Vet puts pen to paper to tell inspirational story of charity work in Sri Lanka
A VET from Barnard Castle who started a charity to save street dogs in Sri Lanka has written a book about her life in Asia.
Janey Lowes started her charity WECare Worldwide in 2014 after being horrified by the plight of street dogs during a holiday on the island.
She decided to stay in Sri Lanka indefinitely and raised £10,000 to get started.
Since then she has been recognised as UK Vet of Year in 2018 and featured in a television documentary with Ben Fogle last year.
Mr Fogle said of her: “Janey is like a whirlwind of selflessness – a beautiful spirit in a beautiful country doing a beautiful thing. I encourage my children to be more ‘Janey’. With more positive spirits like Janey, the world would be a better place.”
Now people can read first-hand the people and animals she has met over the years in her new book, Janey The Vet – Saving Sri Lanka’s Street Dogs.
The book took the vet about a year to complete. She said: “It was quite a bit of a process, especially as I have one of the worst memories known to man. I kept remembering things randomly and thinking ‘oh yeah, I should’ve put that in the book’ so I would have to backtrack. It was so nice to reminisce though as my life is so chaotic.”
She added that she had been inspired to write the book by people who, after hearing some of her “crazy” stories”, suggested she put pen to paper.
Ms Lowes said: “I would kind of laugh it off but then one day I had the sudden thought that it would be a really nice tribute to the resilience of street dogs worldwide. Not many people are aware of what billions of dogs go through worldwide and I thought it would be a great way to highlight their plight.”
Among the many doggie characters she has helped are infamous Georgy, Ticky, Jeremy, the beautiful Sandy and brave little Boris – they had all kinds of ailments from cancers to paralysis to traumatic limb amputations to eviscerations.
Ms Lowes said: “They all have one thing in common – they love us to bits. If I was a street dog I would hate people, but Sri Lankan dogs seem to have an innate love and loyalty towards their human counterparts and it is so beautiful to see.
“Jeremy walked 20km three times in order to come back to us after he adopted us as his humans.
“Human characters who have had a huge impact on the work we do have been Dr Nuwan, our local vet, Vinura, our gorgeous vet assistant and Chazzman, our tuk tuk driver. They are all exceptional individuals who also put the needs of others ahead of their own – my Sri Lankan family.”
Among the many poignant stories she tells of in her book is her first patient, Belle, who had terrible injuries after being attacked by a boar.
Ms Lowes said: “I came to the conclusion that she had to be put to sleep.
“Her front leg had an open fracture and her back leg was in smithereens with no bone or ligament around the knee intact. However, a local guy refused this as it didn’t align with his religious views and I was left in a total state of panic. Nothing at vet school had taught me how to manage a situation like this.”
The next six weeks, she added, were a tremendous learning curve.
She said: “Belle showed me that the ability to adapt, problem solve and think outside the box were going to be key here in Sri Lanka and they are lessons I thank her for every day.”
Janey The Vet – Saving Sri Lanka’s Street Dogs is available from Amazon and Waterstones and WH Smith, among other outlets.