New vet relishes country life
FOR Courtney Stevens, the opportunity to start his career as a veterinary surgeon in the Rose City is a dream come true.
The affable 24-year-old said for the six years he had lived in Brisbane completing his degree at the University of Queensland, he had counted down the days until he could escape back to his country roots.
Dr Stevens has been working for the Warwick Veterinary Clinic for two months. He grew up on a cattle and horse stud which his parents ran in Victoria, before moving to Beaudesert and now Warwick, and Dr Stevens said he had already set himself up on four acres on the edge of the Rose City.
Moving to Warwick is a return to his roots in more ways than one – Dr Stevens’ mother grew up at Pratten, his dad grew up between Stanthorpe and Texas, and they were married in the Warwick Catholic Church on Palmerin Street.
However it has not all been smooth sailing for the rookie vet. He has already been lost a number of times traversing the region.
“Google Maps are all wrong – the roads don’t join up,” he laughed.
“It’s hard after dark with all of the back twisty roads.”
Jokes aside, Dr Stevens is relishing the opportunity to at long last put what he has learned in lecture theatres into practice.
He has already turned a “boy into a girl” – performing a much-needed operation on a steer which had an injured you-know-what – and has also conducted a caesarean on a cow.
“I’m never going to live in the city again ... almost every weekend I was out at my parents’ place,” Dr Stevens said.
“I spent the university holidays jackarooing through the Northern Territory.”
Dr Stevens said he would be in the Rose City for at least two or three years but had some pretty big career goals.
“In 10 years I’d like to own my own practice, and hopefully a property,” he said.
“I like to do the repro (reproductive cycle) things, like AI (artificial insemination) and preg-testing.”
He is quickly gaining respect across the region, having to think on his feet sometimes, including during the recent rock-fern deaths west of Warwick.
Dr Stevens said it was a sink-or-swim situation at times.
Faced with his first C-section, he could not contact his boss Chris Reardon on mobile, so had to perform the operation on his own. While the calf had already died, Dr Stevens was able to save the cow.
Dr Stevens admitted it was sometimes hard to convince people of his title, because of his youthful features.
“I’ve been told to use it when I go to order plane tickets. I get a bit worried sometimes that I might be in a situation where a person is having a heart attack and people will think I can help,” he laughed.