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Welcoming Dr Debbie

Kerstin Nyberg Peart

If you grew up in the Kruger National Park, and are the daughter and granddaughter of rangers, it’s likely that your career choice will have something to do with animals. Dr Debbie English, the new companion animal vet who joined Provet at the beginning of this year, says that she never considered any other career option except becoming a vet, and she qualified from Onderstepoort in 2017 with distinction.

Debbie spent her childhood in the KNP, where her father Don English has worked for over 30 years and is now regional ranger for Marula South. Having grown up in the bush, it is for Debbie the best place to be: she is not a city girl at all and prefers a smaller community like Hoedspruit. Although Debbie has lived in the Park all her life she still regards visits there as a treat and goes there whenever time permits.

After completing her compulsory community service in Lydenburg, Debbie stayed on at the same practice for a year before moving to Hoedspruit. She says that her daily work here is very different from what she did before, and very diverse. In her first month she has attended to dogs stabbed by antelopes, slashed by warthogs or bitten by hyenas, and it took two hours of surgery to save a Labrador puppy attacked by a crocodile. Her patients can be squirrels or bush babies, and she recently treated a Gaboon viper for an eye infection. No two days are ever the same, and Debbie enjoys it all.

Eventually Debbie may wish to have more exposure to wild life work, but she enjoys working with companion animals enormously, with all its diversity. She also loves Hoedspruit, the friendliness and the nice vibe. With her background, Debbie knows what she is letting herself in for, and she is committed to making Hoedspruit her home and career.