Get to Know Our New Vet

August 9th 2019

A Q&A with Dr. Tara Pugh

Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic took a huge step – 15, 815 kilometers to be exact, to welcome a new veterinarian to the practice.
Dr. Tara Pugh and her partner arrived from South Africa at the end of July. Dr. Pugh responded to our online ad and in her application and in our discussions with her, she showed great compassion in her care of animals and a willingness to support owners to provide the best possible care. There was a real sincerity in her responses and a genuine interest to work with families and their animals.
As well, the commitment and challenges involved in moving countries and what it takes to come to a new country is well known by Dr. Dekens who immigrated from and Belgium over 25 years ago.
Read more about Dr. Pugh’s journey to Canada, her interest in small animal surgery, integrative medicine, her experiences with large game animals and her journey to become a certified veterinarian in Canada in this one-on-one interview.
Q: What brought you to Canada?
A: Google is a great thing and from watching all the You Tube videos and things we just saw Calgary is the most beautiful city in the world, according to us. So we just did our best and we thought this is going to be our new home and this is what we were aiming for.
I saw the job advert on Indeed and (Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic) looked like a fantastic clinic. I did a bit of googling myself and saw the website and it's a fantastic concept and I just love the idea of a stress-free environment for dogs and cats.
Q: What is your background in veterinary medicine?
A: I qualified in 2014. I did some work in at the edge of Kruger National Park working mainly in primary animal health care, so working in the communities and teaching them how to look after their animals.
After that I was a wildlife vet and did that for two years, treating all sorts of wildlife. Lions and elephants and rhinos and you name it, I was there. Then I went into small animals. I have a great interest in surgery and small animal surgery. In my last couple of years I was doing small animal work.
Q: What is the process for you to be qualified as a veterinarian in Canada?
A: So I’ve already started the process. It is basically four exams. I’ve written two of the two theory exams and then I have the two practical exams that I still need to write.
So I will be working with Dr. Dekens under what they call immediate supervision until I get fully qualified and from there I will as soon as I do the practical exams, I’ll be a fully qualified DVM. I’ve already registered for the next one so as soon as they have a gap in the next examination timetable schedule, I’ll be able to do that one.  Hopefully, within the next year or so I should be 100 percent qualified.  
Q: While you are going through the certification process, what will you be doing?
A: I’m very excited to have joined the Montgomery Veterinary team. Officially, I start work beginning of August.
So I’ll be working very closely with Dr. Dekens and learning the ropes. Definitely I think I can learn a lot from Dr. Dekens and his years of experience.
Q: What are your veterinary interests?
A: The mobile services is something I’ve been really interested in doing, but obviously its limited in South Africa for safety reasons and all of that. So it is not something we access to do in South Africa, but something that I really think is important and is a great service to offer. Crime in South Africa is quite bad so we always have to be very vigilant about everything. You just don’t go to a strange person’s house.
There are also things that Montgomery Village does offer, particularly on the alternative side, which I’m very intrigued about and, which again, in South Africa is very limited. People are not as open minded to alternative forms of therapy such as acupuncture or chiropractic. I am intrigued to learn more about that side of veterinary medicine.
Q: How are you enjoying living in Canada?
A: In South Africa, you have to always be on high alert. It is not safe to walk around. There is always the risk you will get mugged.
It’s definitely a new concept that we’ve experienced in the last week that we’ve been in Calgary. We notice how safe it is and how much we can walk around and enjoy the city and its very new for us and very exciting.

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