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A fond farewell to Auntie Shirley


I MET Shirley Squire just over 21 years ago, immediately after vet school and in a strange country, with very few acquaintances – my wife, who is the reason I came to St Vincent and the Grenadines, and a few others.{{more}}

Dr Raninga was about to leave the country and Dr Charles Corbette was the only veterinarian employed with the Ministry of Agriculture.

After waiting for months for a reply to my application for a job with that Ministry (it actually took 2 years before I eventually got a positive response to my job application),

I decided to start my private veterinary practice. Among the first of my clients was Mrs Shirley Squire.

I distinctly remember the patient. Her name was Olive, a beautiful German Shepherd that weighed close to 100 lbs. She had a swollen left ear, or more specifically, a hematoma of the ear flap.

What I distinctly remember was how attached Shirley Squire was to Olive; she didn’t say it, but I could see that she was a bit nervous at first, and rightly so, I was the new kid on the block. Little did I know then that this was the beginning of a relationship over the years that would equate to much more than a doctor/client relationship; it was more like a mother and son.

Shirley Squire was a very intelligent person; she was an avid reader and deeply religious. She had an incredible knowledge about dogs and I have learnt a lot from her over the years.

Over the 20 odd years I have known her, she had at least one dog in her house, most of the time two. I remember her saying that after Olive, she was not going to have another dog, but that was not to be; there was Benjamin, Sammy, Rudy, Sandy and Timmy.

I treasure the countless hours I spent listening to her talking about the dogs she had as a child growing up and the stories about the good old days.

She confided to me that she really wanted to be a veterinarian when she was growing up.

When I met Shirley Squire, my first daughter was not born as yet, and when she came along, the bond they shared together for 20 years is truly amazing.

I remember the time when I think it was Sammy that was sick and I took along my daughter on the house call to see him. Benjamin, who never really liked me, thought that I was there to see him and hid under the bed.

Before I realized what had happened, my daughter was under the bed, cuddling her friend Benjamin. That was the relationship that my daughter shared with Mrs Squire and her dogs. She affectionately called her Aunty Shirley.

I still have a copy of her book “Owia” that she presented me with a few years ago.

Aunty Shirley passed away last Sunday night, after a brief illness. I have lost a good friend and mentor. But I will always remember the happy times I spent in her company.

St Vincent and the Grenadines is a better country because of her sojourn here with us.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981