In 1962 I went the Australian School of Pacific Administration to train to be a teacher for Papua/ New Guinea. There were about 60 students in my year, most of us in our 20's, a few younger and older. After we were posted to P/NG many of us lost contact with each other. Some stayed for many years others moved on. In 2002, 40 years later, a couple of ex students took it upon themselves to find everyone and organise a reunion. It was a hilarious 3 day event, ex students came from all over Australia and the world. It took us the first day to recognise each other and renew friendships. It was interesting catching up with every one's life over the past 40 years.
One of our group was Howie Ralph, he and his wife brought a baby wombat to the reunion. Naturally that became a topic for conversation. It turned out that Howie left the teaching profession and returned to university and studied to be a Doctor of Medicine and a Veterinarian. He and his wife were caring for the orphaned wombat that needed bottle feeding regularly consequently it attended the reunion and won everybody's heart.
It wasn't surprising to read this news story recently, written by Josephine Asher for ninemsn. (I have shortened the article)
Dr Howard Ralph has taken time away from his vet surgery in NSW to treat animal victims of the Victorian bush fires. He has treated horses, dogs, dingos. goats, koalas, wallabies, a turtle, a duck and a peacock.
Most were treated for burns and injuries sustained while frantically trying to escape the fire, like puncture wounds, eye injuries and head injuries. Some animals had to be euthanased as the burns to their eyes and faces were too severe.
Dr Ralph was very sad to see these animals suffering and he does his best to alleviate their stress.
Dr Ralph is a volunteer with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and he has attended wildlife rescue operations all over the world including in Borneo but he has also worked as doctor and an anesthetist in Sydney and Canberra.
He is currently setting up Southern Cross Wildlife Care in Braidwood in southern NSW.
I feel honoured to know this compassionate man.
We saw many heart warming scenes on TV of owners being reunited with their pets including the peacock pictured above.