Please let us introduce Keith, our not-so-new member of staff! Keith is Charlotte’s husband but, until recently, he could only be found assisting management in the background of the clinic. However, he has (finally!) moved his clinical work to Bergholt Road so we’re pleased to announce you might be meeting him in a consult room soon!
Keith was born and bred in Scotland although his family comes from Northern Ireland, so please don’t worry if his accent confuses you.
From a young age, he developed a passion for animals from visiting Edinburgh Zoo and watching David Attenborough programs, so his goal was to find a career working with animals when he finished school. He set his sights on veterinary medicine and was lucky enough to get a place at Glasgow Vet school, his first choice. So, with a quick trip from the east to the west coast of Scotland, he settled there very quickly.
During his time at university, he learnt a lot about himself both as an individual and also the different challenges you can face as a veterinary surgeon. However, he claims his most important discovery was Charlotte his lovely wife and business partner at Mayne Veterinary Clinic. Keith qualified in 2002 and started his career in mixed animal practice. His first job was in Northern Ireland, but when Charlotte qualified in 2003 they opted to move to Essex (for the first visit!). After a couple of years in Essex, he and Charlotte decided to move to Australia for a year of working abroad. There they had the opportunity to work with a number of different species, learn different techniques from other professionals and visit some good friends. They briefly toyed with the idea of settling in Surfer’s Paradise (for a 4-day week and learning to surf!) but decided they missed the UK and so returned to Essex in 2008. Since then Keith has worked for 10 years at a small animal practice in Tiptree while Charlotte returned to Bergholt Road.
When the opportunity arose to buy the practice in 2012, it was an easy decision for Charlotte and Keith. The previous owners, Adrian Arnold and then Viv Long, had spent years building a caring, and truly independent practice, ideals which are very important to us at Mayne Vets.
But you might be wondering if Keith and Charlotte bought the clinic in 2012, why did Keith wait so long to move his clinical work to the clinic? Well, as you might know, being a vet requires a lot of time at work, long stressful days! Keith and Charlotte have built an amazing relationship over the years and they were worried that working in the same building would change their bond. However, they decided to take the plunge last year and discovered that this couldn’t be further from the truth; even though they are both working at Mayne Vets they still barely see each other so all is fine on the home front!
While Keith has moved his clinical work here, he is also very much involved in the management of the practice, splitting his duties on a day to day basis. Good practice management has always been important to him, especially after working in several practices for the past 17 years. During this time, he had the chance to experience both positive and negative management styles and is now applying the positive ones while working with the team here. Keith always tries to ensure that the team has the support they need and that we keep challenging ourselves professionally in order to keep up with the most recent developments in the veterinary industry. The Mayne Veterinary Clinic is one of the few independent practices around the Colchester area, for the past few years more and more practices have been bought by corporates. Keith and Charlotte are determined to keep an independent practice running so they can provide our patients with the best standard of care and have the freedom to choose the most suitable treatments available without the corporate pressure you might find in other practices.
But that’s enough about “work” Keith, what’s he like as a person? Well for starters, fun fact, Keith is actually allergic to most pets! He has allergies to rabbits, cats, guinea pigs, horses and hay but it’s nothing that an antihistamine can’t keep under control and is actually far more common in the veterinary industry than you would think! However, it does limit the number of pets they can have at home. In addition, at Mayne Vets we promote the responsible ownership of pets, they are family members that require a lot of time and dedication! Up until recently, Keith and Charlotte have felt they were not home long enough to have a pet, however, they now have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter to keep them busy at home so that may change sometime soon!
Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his family and especially loves Thursday’s which he spends being bossed around by his daughter. He says he loves eating food and avoiding exercise but his main sporting interests is watching Scotland play rugby. He claims “being a true Scotland rugby fan really helps you learn how to take life’s little disappointments in your stride; hardening you up to the bad times, and helping you enjoy the rare wins when they happen!”. And when asked about living in Essex, he admits that, although it was never his long-term plan to settle here, he and Charlotte quickly realised it was a great place to live. With the amazing weather; beautiful parks and beaches; and the occasional trip down to London, there’s always something to do. The only downside he’s struggling with is accepting that his daughter may end up supporting England in the 6 nations rugby, but he’ll just have to get used to that!
Although Keith has only moved to Mayne Vets recently, he’s already had a positive impact on all the team and clients. It has been lovely to see clients coming to us from his previous practice chasing the same caring and skilled vet that they always trusted!