A MUCH-LOVED Helensburgh vet is aiming to take her care for animals around the globe as she prepares to say goodbye to local pet owners.

Karen Murphy took on Lomond Vet Clinic in the town 2007 but has announced she is to step down at the end of September.

She told the Advertiser that her time in the town has been full of joyful moments with family pets - but also the difficult and messy aspects that come from working with animals.

And Karen said she now hopes to combine a love for travel with her passion for pets as she leaves the practice in capable hands.

She said: "I want to thank everyone for the well-wishes and lovely comments I've had since I said I would be leaving.

"I have been completely overwhelmed by people's kindness and have shed more than a few tears so far, with more to come no doubt.

"Leaving Lomond Vet Clinic has been a very difficult decision for me. Since taking on the practice in 2007, I have poured heart and soul into my little veterinary clinic.

"Being the only vet there until late 2021 meant I really got to know people and their pets, and it's hard for bonds not to form in that situation.

"I've seen pets through their whole lives, and I believe that's quite a privilege as a vet.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Vet Karen Murphy with her late dog Eddie, who died two years agoVet Karen Murphy with her late dog Eddie, who died two years ago (Image: Karen Murphy)

"Much of veterinary work, isn't all that glamorous and there's a lot of stinky breath and squeezing anal glands, but fixing these things makes pets feel better, and that's what the job is all about."

She continued: "One of my very recent highlights was when one of our senior patients, a 21-year-old cat, caught a mouse because he was feeling particularly good that month.

"Little things like that make my day. I love it too when dogs come in and have a great time throwing the toys around in the consulting room or seeing how many treats they can get out of us. Animals are just the best."

Karen said the workload during and after Covid became too much for just one person to manage.

"I consider myself very fortunate to have added Dr Sally Burnett and Dr Alice Samra to the veterinary team," she said.

"Our support team has also grown with two full-time and one part-time veterinary care assistants and a full time and part time receptionist - including, of course, our Petplan award winning receptionist Laura.

"All of the team deserve an award for how hard they work each day and I am grateful to each and every one of them.

"I am happy to say that the practice will remain independent and not part of a large corporate group. I believe it is a better fit for Helensburgh and will allow the same personal service to continue.

READ MORE: Lomond Vets urge owners to ask about any behaviour concerns

"I feel I have given what I can to the clinic and it is time for someone with fresh energy and enthusiasm to take it on.

"Just as I built upon the lovely practice I took over from my predecessor, Mr Cobb, I trust my successor, Camille, will grow and develop the practice with the same dedication.

"As for me, I'd like to use my veterinary skills to give something back.

"I've always enjoyed travel and I know that animals elsewhere in the world don't have access to the same veterinary care as our pets in the UK so I'd like to combine my two passions and do some voluntary work abroad.

"I'm also going to take some time to see my family who all live abroad and some of whom I haven't seen for a few years now."

Karen added: "Thank you again to everyone - my team and my clients past and present and all of the amazing animals I've seen over the years.

"I couldn't have wished for better and I will be eternally grateful to all of you."