Islington People: Blue Cross chief vet Mark Bossley
From a lemur found freezing in a London park to puppy with a tin can stuck on its head, Blue Cross chief veterinary surgeon Mark Bossley has seen it all.
The 39-year-old from Islington, who works at the animal charity’s flagship hospital in Victoria and often operates the mobile pet clinic seen every week at Islington Green, has been on the frontline of veterinary care for most of his 16-year career.
Mark, who also featured in the hit TV series Animal SOS, originally wanted to study medicine, but got involved with animals while working at a farm during his college studies and never looked back.
After a brief stint in a private London veterinary clinic, Mark joined Blue Cross where he has specialised in ophthamology – medicine of the eye – but stills sees a wide range of ailments among household pets.
He also encounters the odd exotic creature, including a Californian king snake which was recently taken to the mobile unit in Islington.
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Mark also hit the headlines in December when he treated a ring-tailed lemur found suffering from hypothermia in Tooting Common.
One of the strangest mishaps Mark has had to deal with during his time as a Blue Cross vet is when a tiny puppy got a tin can wedged on to its head.
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He said: “I was doing nights and I got this call about a puppy that had its head stuck in a tin can which had its food in it. It’s owner had been trying for ages to get it off.
“The puppy was just squealing into this can and running around. In the end we had to put lubricant round his neck to get it off.”
Mark says the best part of the job is simply working with animals every day.
He continued: “You are doing whatever is in the animals’ best interest, you are making a decision for them and feel you are making a difference.
“What’s particularly great is that because I do the ophthamology I see my cases all the way through the treatment.
“For example, I can treat a dog for a scratch on the eye – when I first see it it’s feeling really sorry for itself and in pain, then two to three weeks later I see it bouncing around. You’ve saved the animal’s vision and it’s a great feeling.”
But not all animals can be saved, which brings its difficult moments to the job.
“There are situations where you have to deal with people who have lost their partner or families and their pet is their whole life, but it can’t be saved,” said Mark.
However, while hard decisions sometimes have to be made, Mark lives for the many times he is able to save an animal’s life.
n For more information about the Blue Cross visit www.bluecross.org.uk.