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Vet Cartoons!…what the?…

How did I stumble into this esoteric art form??


In 2001 the Vet clinic in Amberley, Nth Canterbury decided to vary the look of the calendar it traditionally produced for itself and associated clinics. They considered, instead of the traditional horse photos etc., cartoons based on the true life, oddball incidents its practitioners regularly face. One vet, a natural raconteur, would drive north annually and brief me in person - always an entertaining occasion - and on one trip he even sorted out my dog’s sore leg. 


Part of the fascination with the genre is that rural vets have to deal with often colourfully rugged clients in often colourfully rugged settings ( sometimes only accessible by boat or light aircraft. ) Plus, they are the only academically trained professionals who are periodically obliged to get down and dirty with large hairy animals!


Some of a rural vet’s regular procedures could appear disturbingly bizarre and somewhat disgusting to the more urban-minded. In many of the anecdotes submitted by vets (in a region now encompassing the upper half of the Sth. Island), this is compounded by things going terribly awry. When you consider that my renderings of these are to hang about for a month each, often in family kitchens, my approach must be circumspect. Not all cartoons, however make the cut.


Vets deal in life and death and understand the emotional bond that can exist between their clients and their clients' critters. Any cartoons that might have the potential to unintentionally offend this delicate chemistry will sometimes be quietly euthanised.