10 Questions with Dr. Brooke Schampers
As an animal lover, I have a soft spot for anyone who has made it their life’s work to help animals. Focused on critical care, Veterinarian Brooke Schampers helps animals who need it most. It may not be an easy job, but as she explains it is fulfilling. While no one’s road is ever easy, it is a choice on how to deal with it. As Dr. Brooke puts it so eloquently, “Positivity is a choice!”
Tell me a little about yourself.
I grew up in the western suburbs of Brisbane, when I graduated high school at St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls School, I moved to Townsville to study a degree in Veterinary Science. It was a five year degree and was easily one of the best life decisions I made. To have the strength to pick myself up and move, and embrace a new life at university has shaped who I am today. After university I moved back to Brisbane to pursue my dream job in emergency and critical care at the Animal Emergency Service.
1. What is your career/passion?
I work in veterinary emergency and critical care, caring for some of Brisbane’s most critical animals.
2. Why did you choose this path?
I think it chose me. One day when I was a child I woke up and decided I was going to be a vet, and then in my second year of university I undertook work experience with Dr. Alex Hynes and Dr. Gerardo Poli at AES. Ever since that moment, the missing piece of ‘the kind of vet I was supposed to be’ just fell into place. That adrenaline of not knowing what is about to walk through those doors, being able to send once sick animals home to their families and learning something new every day is what I love about my job. Plus being able to connect with patients, seeing their tail wag when they are on the mend, or starting to eat, is the best feeling in the world.
3. Who was your biggest supporter?
Firstly, my parents, without their moral and financial support I would have never have made it through schooling and university. Secondary, Dr. Alex Hynes and Dr. Gerado Poli – my mentors, without their belief in me I wouldn’t have dreamed I could do emergency medicine straight after graduating. It is a challenging field but their faith in me throughout this internship has been incredible.
4. What is your earliest memory involving your love of animals?
I have hundreds of photos of me as a child in petting zoos cuddling all sorts of creatures. But I think my strongest memory is when I was 10 – it was Christmas eve and I had desperately been asking Santa for a Golden Retriever for Christmas. When we arrived home from a family dinner that evening, a lost Goldie was sitting in our front yard and I thought all my dreams had come true. I gave him water and ham and then returned him home to the address on his name tag. But in the car, he fell asleep on my lap and I just remember feeling a truly beautiful connection.
5. Were there other careers that you considered?
6. How many pets do you have? What are their names?
I have a cavoodle called Polo.
7. In one word, how do you feel when going to work every day?
8. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it. Positivity is a choice!
9. What obstacle in your journey made you think twice about your decision? How did you overcome it?
There has only been one moment where I thought twice, and it was a brief flicker of faith. I had an incredibly sick animal when I first graduated and she started crashing. I panicked and said to myself – I don’t know enough to help this animal. It was an awful helpless feeling. Luckily, I was surrounded by an incredible team and together we pulled her through. I was faced with a similar situation a few months later, however, in the mean time I had studied what to do. This time, I was calm and collected and implemented the correct therapies on my own. It is all about reflecting and learning rather than punishing yourself.
10. If you could give ONE PIECE of advice to someone who is starting out on a quest to follow their passion, what would that be?
Taking little steps every day is important, even if sometimes you feel like you aren’t making any progress. Focus on the end goal and the light at the end of the tunnel.
A great big thanks to Dr. Brooke. You can find out more about her and see her amazing patients on Instagram.
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