When i was a young boy, all i remember was running around our garden, looking under rocks, climbing in the trees, searching high and low for any signs of animal life. We were lucky enough to have a decent sized garden which attracted wildlife of all sorts. My favourite place to look used to be in the rockery at the end of the garden which used to be full of insects! ants, beetles, centipedes, woodlice, spiders, EVERYTHING! I used to love watching them. I found it extraordinary that under one rock, a whole miniature city of insects could co-exist, absolutely hundreds of them. I loved watching the way they moved, the way they behaved, the way they hunted for their prey. As an only child with a quiet persona, it gave me the introverted interaction i preferred, where i could just sit and observe.
When i wasn’t out in the garden i used to have loads of animal and wildlife books which i took everywhere with me. I vividly remember being mostly interested with the sea and all it’s weird and wonderful array of fish. The sea is one thing I’ve never stopped loving. Everything about it, the animals, the plants, the sheer vastness, but most of all, i respect it.
school life was a bit dull at first. Being a quiet person i struggled to engage with the other kids. That was until towards the end of high school where my mates wanted to start a band. This sounded like it could of been right up my street…..and it was!
I went out and bought myself a bass and we started it. Eventually i started singing as well, which has done wonders for my confidence over the years, however to this day i still get stage fright. Anyway, since that day i picked up my first bass guitar i never looked back and my life was music, music, music!
Music allowed me to meet so many amazing people and travel to different places. I had some of the best times of my life. However, this put my passion for wildlife and animals in the backseat and eventually it all got left behind.
This saw me struggle through job after because i just wanted to be a musician. When i left school i got an apprenticeship as a mechanic, working on cars and wagons….i hated it. I like cars, but i loathed working on them. I then decided to try something else so i tried sales (twice), loft surveying, factory work and even working in the cafe for my mum (which i actually didn’t mind). But nothing was clicking.
One day i was watching David Attenborough, possibly one of the blue planet series. And then it hit me, completely slapped me in the face. Why am i not working with animals?! That week i applied for college to study animal management, the course was starting in a few months. Long story short i managed to get on it. This was where the path started to become more clear. I finally knew which direction i wanted to head in.
After completing the first year of college we were required to take on work experience for 4 weeks. So i decided to do two weeks in a pet shop (which was home to snakes, spiders, scorpions and lizards) and two weeks at the vets. The pet shop was ok, but i loved working in the vets! after my work experience finished i asked for a job and they took me on straight away, i couldn’t believe my luck!
I worked there for 5 years as a veterinary nurse and managed to gain a qualification in the process. As my time went on in the vets i found myself doing the same things all the time, and i’m the type of person who gets bored of things very quickly, which is sometimes a downfall, but my luck was about to change. A brand new canine hydrotherapy pool was being built at one of our sister practices and an opportunity came along to become a qualified hydrotherapist. I jumped at the chance and managed to seal the position. I headed off to complete my training which was really fun at the time, and went back to a brand new pool room, which eventually i came to run and manage.
After carrying out my hydrotherapy duties for just under 2 years, i decided to quit and move onto my true passion which i originally had from the very beginning…..wildlife. I signed up with university to study a bachelors degree in wildlife and plant biology and i can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of it…..well….nearly every minute! This has given me the drive and commitment to pursue a career in which i know and love for the rest of my life.
I’ve had a pretty rocky past in regards to nearly every aspect of my life, but i do believe that every one has the opportunity to remake themselves. I’ve had times which have broke me and times which have built me, but i just see it as making you into a stronger person. For the things that have built me, I’ve been very fortunate and will never take any of it for granted. For the things that have broke me, i have learnt from and turned them into something positive.
Now i’m ready to start my new chapter in wildlife and carry on from when i was a boy.