Now a vet and first graduate in 97 years

FOR former Emu Park resident Lilly Brophy, putting animals down that don't need to die will be the hardest part of a job she's about to begin.

Lilly graduated from the University of Melbourne on Saturday with a degree in veterinary science.

The former St Ursula's College student admits she's always had her heart set on being a vet.

"Ever since I was six, I wanted to be a vet.

"I've always loved animals.''

Lilly said her love of animals was first forged while growing up on a property at Clermont, where she was surrounded by plenty of animals.

While she is now able to heal most beings in the animal kingdom, Lilly said she couldn't help but have a soft spot for one in particular.

"I love dogs. I've got two crazy cats at the moment, but I'm hoping to get a dog when I start my job and move into a house.''

Lilly said when it came to work, she preferred larger animals like cattle because she found them less emotional.

"You get too attached to small animals. Putting down an animal that doesn't need to be put down is hard.

"But with cows and horses it's more business. It's more about making money.''

Lilly said she didn't expect the task of putting animals down to get any easier.

She said she was half considering living on a farm and taking in as many animals as she could when she starts her first job as a vet.

Lilly has accepted an offer to work at a dairy practice in Tasmania starting in February.

When Lilly graduated at the weekend, she also earned a special honour.

She was the first indigenous Australian to graduate from the university in 97 years.

"It feels really special.''

Lilly said she plans to give something back to the Aboriginal community every year.

She said she planned to continue a program she started in July where she took a couple of volunteer students to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory for a few weeks to desex cats and dogs. "I hope to do it every year.

"It was good to put something back into the Aboriginal community,'' she said.

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