By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – Dr. Iyock Shindong is the only registered female Veterinary Doctor practicing in the city of Kaduna, northern Nigeria. She read Veterinary Medicine at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she graduated in 2011 and afterward proceeded for her NYSC in Kwara State, north-central Nigeria.
Aside the NYSC experience where she served at Veterinary Clinic and slaughter‘s lab, at Bata Zango, Kwara State, Shindong has along the line obtained a twenty months working experience from Imperial Animal Clinic, Kaduna, owned by a registered member of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), and the Clinicians Forum, Kaduna State Chapter.
In a quest to meet her heart’s desire [for a start-up and entrepreneurship], Shindong set up the ‘Bridges Animal Care’ at Barnawa, Kaduna, to care for smaller animals and bring vet services closer to the door-step of the people.
Her initial passion was to study human Medicine, but was offered veterinary medicine by the university – she accepted – gradually after her first year, she developed interest in the course and began to love the profession, adding that, at her final year (600 level), she decided to specialise in smaller animals practice.
Seeing herself “in a male dominated profession is quite fulfilling” she said, “because if one is good as a female in a field, it makes her stand out and makes her more impressive,” especially doing what others think a woman cannot do. “For a woman to pull through something that is mostly believed one needs extra strength to succeed, it’s a good thing; and for me, it is more fulfilling, especially as a female and a vet doctor,” she said.
Miss Shingdong pointed out, “I have always had a passion and dream right from school. I have always told myself that no matter what kind of job I have, eventually, I would have to go into smaller [animal vet] practice. I have had ideas that I felt I should actualize on my own, (because) there are ideas you sell to people and they might not buy, but you can risk it and do it yourself.”
She is optimistic of having a bigger clinic in the nearest future, to satisfy the needs of residents of Kaduna and northern Nigeria, saying that would be a great achievement to her.
Services delivered by ‘Bridges Animal Care’ include; treatment of smaller animals like dogs, birds (poultry), and cats; Veterinary Services; farm management; veterinary drugs and pest control; fumigation and pest control; consultancy services. These could be delivered at the clinic or through house calls.
Responding to a question on being the only registered female vet practitioner in Kaduna, Shindong said, “It means a lot of things would come your way, especially in a society where some people frown at women being ambitious.”
On how she intends to cope with some of the challenges inherent in the field, “I have already experienced most of these challenges, especially in the area where some clients find it very difficult to pay for services and so on, but I know with every single person you meet who has a problem, there are three to four people out there looking for your services and are willing to pay. So, I console myself with that, and as life goes on, by the Grace of God, I shall overcome the challenges that may come my way.” She said
To the secondary school students, Shindong advised that, “veterinary practice is not a waste of time. It is always asked, why should one go to study animal care, when you can study that of human? In fact, we are very relevant to the society, because without our services, the human doctors will have issues.
“We are able to detect most of the diseases that are animal related before humans get to consume the meat; we usually work hand in hand. So any child that love animals and would want to take care of them, this is a very good avenue for you to practice and it’s very interesting.” Said Shindong.
She however called on the government to recognise veterinary practice in the country, by supporting their services and also internship programme for its graduates just like that of human doctors. “We want that package and they should take care of us because we are significant and we intend to make ourselves more relevant to the government and society,” she added.
Speaking during the inauguration of ‘Bridges Animal Care’ clinic on Saturday, NVMA Chairman, Kaduna State Chapter, Dr Yila Umaru commended her for starting a venture that would provide animal care to the immediate environment, calling on young graduates to emulate her.
Other members of the Association advised her to render excellent services to clients and be patience as there are many challenges in the field.