‘The Pets Factor’ star and Amazon best-selling author Rory ‘the Vet’ Cowlam talks to Your Dog.
Growing up in the Cotswolds, surrounded by wildlife, farm animals, and pets, Rory always dreamed of becoming a vet. After graduating from the Royal Veterinary College, he now juggles working in a busy south-east London practice with his growing media commitments.
Nominated for Vet of the Year 2018 and 2019 at the Animal Star Awards, Rory is best known for his leading role on the CBBC show ‘The Pets Factor’. His first book, ‘The Secret Life of a Vet’, is an honest and heart-warming account of the highs and lows of the profession.
Q: You’ve always wanted to be a vet — who or what has been your biggest inspiration?
A: “My biggest inspiration would have to be our first family dog, a beautiful blue Great Dane called Lulu, who I absolutely adored. I think my love for animals became pretty concrete from that moment onwards, and so there was no other career path that came close.
I was only four when I had my sights set!”
Q: CBBC’s ‘The Pets Factor’ follows you and three other vets in your daily work treating a wide variety of animals. Were there any times when filming didn’t quite go according to plan?
A: “You know what, the audience actually really enjoy it when it doesn’t go to plan! Working with animals, things will always go wrong but it can make TV gold! Some particular moments that stick in my mind are when I was filmed running around a field after some sheep and when the pet chicken I was examining decided to do a massive poo on the consult table...”
Q: As an ambassador for the RSPCA and StreetVet, you strongly believe in giving something back. How do you support these charities, and what do you feel are the most pressing issues they currently face?
A: “I try to support them by being active on social media, posting videos and photos, reposting Tweets, and speaking at events to spread awareness of various issues. For StreetVet, I am also an active volunteer and love helping out.
“There are actually so many issues at the moment. With 2020 having been such a topsy turvy year, it seems everyone decided it was the right time to get a dog or cat. This is great as a lot of rescue centres have been cleared out; however, there are issues too. The RSPCA is very worried about a possible influx of abandoned animals due to money concerns or time constraints once people go back to work, and this could be very serious. Plus we are seeing a lot more welfare issues due to the increased demand for puppies. More and more people are intensively breeding or ‘puppy farming’, which is barbaric. With regards to StreetVet, unfortunately coronavirus has really reduced the number of consults and outreach opportunities and put real strains on funding. If anyone wants to help, please think about donating to one of these incredible charities.”
Q: Do you have a dog of your own?
A: “Yes, I do. My girlfriend and I recently rescued our dog from the RSPCA. She’s an absolute beauty — we’ve called her Nala and she’s a Lurcher.”
● Published by Hodder & Stoughton, ‘The Secret Life of a Vet’ by Rory Cowlam (@rorythevet) is available now from Amazon and all good book shops.