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    Turning Passion into Practice: Lucy's Mobile Business Story

    24 June 2024

    A passion for animals – coupled with her studies at Harper Adams – have helped Harper alumna Lucy Faulkner to set up her own business as a mobile animal physiotherapist.

    Originally from Little Wenlock, before relocating to Shifnal, Lucy set up Wrekin Veterinary Physiotherapy in November 2022– after graduating from her BSc (Hons) Veterinary Physiotherapy degree. Wrekin Veterinary Physiotherapy accepts all animals, from horses, to pets like cats and dogs – and even exotic species.

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    And despite – like many small businesspeople – initially finding setting up her business a challenge, Lucy now has a growing client roster as she develops her career in a sector she loves.

    She said: “I am very much still trying to navigate how to run a business, keep learning and keep a social life - but it is getting easier and will hopefully continue to grow with persistence!”

    For Lucy, it was her placement year - which nearly every Harper Adams undergraduate undertakes in an industry role - which proved pivotal in setting her on the path to running her own business.

    Working with the RSPCA at her first placement, she gained invaluable insights into animal welfare and behavioural work – particularly with horses.

    She said: "I think the RSPCA taught me the gold standard of welfare which I believe is so important.

    “I think a lot of behaviours and pain signals are ignored or not understood and it is so important to educate owners. Towards the end of my time there I was given a pony to work with who was my responsibility to groom and train.

    “He was very cool and chilled and eventually got rehomed - although I would have loved to keep him and a few of the others too. I think this job allowed me to deeply appreciate that having horses isn't about riding but rather the bond you form with them.”

    Lucy also spent part of her placement year at a livery yard and riding school, further immersing herself in the industry.

    This experience, coupled with her second placement role at Physio-Vet working with animals like cats and dogs, significantly enhanced her practical skills.

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    She added: “It was amazing, and I feel like I developed massively as a physio. I went from very basic knowledge, observing the consultations, to eventually leading my own appointments under the vet’s supervision.

    “This involved analysis and treatment of the dogs (and one cat). I got accustomed all the equipment they used including the laser, therapeutic ultrasound, shockwave, underwater treadmill and the CT scanner.

    “It was great to work so closely with the vets, nurses and physio to develop a much deeper understanding of the veterinary industry. I saw a wide variety of cases and it built my confidence considerably.

    The journey wasn't without personal challenges. During her placement year, Lucy's father was diagnosed with leukaemia. Yet, her work with animals provided a therapeutic escape.

    “At home I had to pick up a lot of extra jobs and we weren’t allowed to go out really - except for work which was unavoidable - in case we brought any illnesses back. This added to the isolation, and it was stressful to deal with, so working with the animals helped to take my mind off it.”

    In her final year, the workload increased, but Lucy’s dedication to her studies continued. “My final year was a lot harder than the first two, as the workload increased dramatically. I had practical days every week either in the dog clinic on campus or we would travel to a yard or farm. This brought a lot of the learning and experience together and was very beneficial to have more time with the lecturers.”

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    After graduating, Lucy took some time off over the summer to decide what path she wanted to take.

    She added: “I started looking at physio jobs, but they all required moving away which I didn’t want to do for several reasons, so I started to apply to several non-physio related jobs.

    “An interview and trial day for a management graduate role at a rental car company confirmed that I needed to be in an industry that was influential and feel like I made a difference to people’s lives.

    “I decided to start my own business, as several of my friends from uni had done so already and I didn’t want to give up on physio. I didn’t originally want to start up on my own as I didn’t have the confidence or think I was good enough, so this held me back a lot.”

    However, as her confidence grew, Lucy began to secure regular clients – and is now adding yet more to her roster and honing her skills, with the help of her team – Frankie the Cockapoo and Maia the Leonberger.

    Reflecting on her time at Harper Adams, Lucy said: “The placement year is an aspect of Harper that is extremely valuable as it is great to experience the industry and helps with finding a job afterwards. It also helps to grow you up without being thrown in the deep end.

    “My course was a good mixture of academic and practical work. It is very rewarding, but tough and hard work. You have to love animals but also be prepared to work with them in their worst states.

    “My advice to anyone thinking about studying Veterinary Physio would be to gain as much work experience in the industry as possible - because you can learn from everything, and it will help you realise what you enjoy and want to do.”

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