How a cat named Bubbles inspired Greg Muir’s vet career
Alma Street Veterinary Hospital owner Dr Greg Muir has revealed it was a childhood pet – a cat named Bubbles – that helped shape his career.
“She was a little stray that came our way and she was one of the reasons I became a vet,” he explains.
“I was pretty close to her, she slept on my bed, but she had a few health issues.
“That was one of the things that formed my way.”
Bubbles went on to live a long and happy life; Greg went on to study veterinary science at Sydney University, graduating with first-class honours in 1990.
Dr Muir moved to Rockhampton to work in a mixed practice before moving to England to take up a position at a small animal practice for two years.
He returned to Australia and after working in Townsville, bought the Alma Street practice in Rockhampton in 1998.
It had just four staff then – Dr Muir and three part-time nurses. Today, it has 28 staff, including nine vets and 10 nurses.
Alma Street was recently voted Central Queensland’s best vet surgery in a poll run by The Morning Bulletin.
Dr Muir said it was wonderful to receive the recognition.
“That’s very nice,” he said. “It’s good, especially for our staff who work very hard and are professional and friendly.
“It’s a credit to them, really.”
The veterinary hospital treats all manner of domesticated animals as well as native fauna, including sea turtles, snakes and bandicoots.
Dr Muir said that during his stint in England, some of his more “peculiar patients” were stick insects, tarantulas and chinchillas.
He enjoys the surgical side of the profession, which can range from removing a mango seed from an animal’s intestines to inserting plates or pins in broken limbs.
“One of my favourites is doing Caesareans on dogs. The only drawback is that it can often be at two o’clock in the morning but it’s very rewarding to see the puppies,” his said.
Dr Muir has seen huge advancements in veterinary care during his career and said that had come “hand-in-hand” with the way pets were now regarded in the family unit.
“When I started, the dog was out the back, and then the dog crept inside and now the dog is in the bed half the time,” he said.
“They’ve certainly changed their place in the family, and we’ve seen just how important they are, especially through the COVID times.”
Dr Muir said his job was challenging and rewarding.
“There’s high and lows, definitely,” he said.
“It is an emotional job, and you’ve got to learn to cope with that. It can be hard sometimes but really good at other times.
“I do really enjoy the successes; making your patients’ lives better which also helps people.”
Dr Muir has two pet dogs, two cats, a lizard and a couple of guinea pigs.
He said one had come in via the RSPCA, in another case there was a litter of kittens that needed homes.
“You sort of accumulate them when you work at a vet surgery,” Dr Muir said.
“We can’t have them all, but I think you’d find that 90 per cent of our staff members have some animal that has come in (to the practice) and gone home with them.”