Louise O'Dwyer 1974–2019

Thursday, May 2, 2019

It is with great sadness that I announce that Louise O'Dwyer died at the age of 45 in her home on the evening of Sunday May 5th 2019.

Louise qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1999. She gained her surgical advanced nursing diploma in 2004 and medical advanced nursing diploma in 2007. She didn't stop there. While working as head nurse and Clinical Director at Petmedics Manchester, she went on to feed her love of education. She gained the Veterinary Technician Specialty in Emergency and Critical Care in 2011 and in Anaesthesia and Analgesia in 2015. In 2015, Louise joined Vets Now Manchester as Clinical Support Manager. For most people this would be a lifetime of achievements, but not for our Louise. She enrolled on an MSc in Anaesthesia and Analgesia in 2018 which was due to be completed in 2021. The eternal student — educating herself, so she could share her knowledge to educate her colleagues and peers.

In addition to her long list of personal qualifications, Louise also volunteered on many committees and societies including BSAVA, EVECCS, WSAVA, was a member of the editorial board in The Veterinary Nurse and the first UK President of AVECCTN. She worked on these committees to share her ideas and knowledge, to help drive the profession forwards and to make a difference for veterinary nurses across the world. Between furthering her education and volunteering her time, Louise was a true mentor to many encouraging their own career growth and goals.

Louise's contribution to the veterinary profession is simply too big to be quantified. Her work was published in over 8 books, 35 articles and she was regularly spotted across the world on the lecturing scene including the United States, Australia, Europe and Canada. In 2016 BSAVA awarded Louise the Bruce Vivash Jones Nurse Award and the RCVS awarded her the Golden Jubilee Award to honour her achievements and selfless dedication to the veterinary profession over the previous 20 years.

In her spare time, Louise got enjoyment from a number of activities. She loved to spend time with her family and friends, offered a loving home to a number of strays, learned to scuba dive, and she loved anything vintage. She even trained for and won a weightlifting competition. There was nothing she couldn't do if she wanted.

This news has come as a shock to us all, as we feel we have lost a role model and mentor. If you ever had the pleasure of meeting her you would have been dazzled by her amazingness — she was brilliant, warm, funny, genuine and generous. If you had the pleasure of working with her then many of us are envious, as we would have loved this opportunity for ourselves. She was an advocate for her patients, a voice for veterinary nurses and a true inspiration for us all. All of those who met her were better off for it and learned either some amazing medical information or how to live life to its fullest. She gave herself unconditionally, with a kindness that was rare and unmatched.

As the world tries to come to terms with the news a dark cloud is hanging over the veterinary profession, but the light has not gone out. We won't let it. We will remember all the things that this amazing individual has taught us, and we will share her love and passion of all things veterinary with the world. We will speak up for our patients, educate our peers and continue to drive this profession forwards just as she had done.

Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues during this time. Thank you Louise for all that you gave us. Only a moment you stayed but what an imprint your steps have left.

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