ANIMAL lovers and Pompey fans had the chance to meet and greet players and enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of an impressive new veterinary practice.
Pompey players Jack Whatmough and Luke McGee were invited to take their pooches for a check-up at The Vet, which opened at Portsmouth Retail Park in August.
The Vet sponsors Pompey’s mascot, Nelson, who was also there to have pictures with youngsters from across the area.
Clare Chapman, practice business manager, said: ‘We have a 5,000sq ft facility which as a client bringing a pet in, you wouldn’t usually get to see.
‘We’ve got two operating theatres, a dental room, an X-ray room, a large dog ward and a card ward as well as some isolation rooms.
‘The Vet is the sponsor of Pompey’s mascot Nelson, so it’s a nice tie-up that Nelson is a dog and we wanted to reach out to the community in the same way Pompey in the Community do, and that’s why we invited two players along to meet some the kids.
‘Youngsters have had their faces painted, dressed up as a vet and operated on a big teddy, using surgical tools to pull sweets out of the bear’s stomach.’
Senior vet Richard Murphy gave Jack Whatmough’s 18-week-old pup Teddy a check over.
The French bulldog pug-cross was deemed fit and healthy and Jack was given advice about how to look after Teddy as he becomes an adult.
Adam Lea, from Pompey in the Community, said: ‘Nelson helps us relate to young football fans so by teaming up with him and The Vet we can send out positive messages to youngsters.
‘Jack and Luke are animal lovers and have their own pets so when they saw the partnership between us and The Vet, they were only too happy to volunteer their time to come down and meet some of the fans, see the place, and bring their pets.’
Jack, 22, said: ‘The Vet sponsor the club so it’s nice to come down and get an idea about what they do. Teddy is registered to a different vet but it’s nice to see what other vets do, Richard was really helpful looking at Teddy and making sure he is alright.
‘It’s good to mingle with people who have got pets too and to see what experiences they’ve had with dogs and meet some fans.’
Former Pompey player Alan Knight MBE also attended the family open day.
Shirley Holmes took her 12-year-old daughter Sophia, who attends Priory School, along to the event – because she wants to be a veterinary nurse.
Shirley said: ‘Sophia’s always had a passion for animals, but it’s difficult to find out what she should be studying or what route to go down to get into the industry.
‘The event has been fantastic, we’ve both learned a lot and Sophia now knows which avenues she needs to go down as she gets older.’