North Shore Mums loves to support local businesses, and women in business. Our regular Business Spotlight brings you the story behind a local business success, from how it began to how modern mums are handling family and a career. Today, we’re introducing you to dedicated veterinarian Gretta Howard from Turramurra Veterinary Hospital.
Gretta, tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a dedicated veterinarian who lives locally in Turramurra, and mother of two mischievous boys, Hamish & Marcus. I have resided in Sydney’s North Shore for most of my life and play for the North Turramurra Football Club in my spare time.
Turramurra Veterinary Hospital is proudly co-owned by my husband, Dr James Thompson and I. We are the only veterinary practice on Sydney’s North Shore to be accredited as an Australian Small Animal Veterinarians Practice of Excellence.
Our vet practice is located at 2 Princes St on the corner of Bannockburn Road, and we have an established team of dedicated and experience vets looking after pets and wildlife in the local community and beyond. Our standards, team knowledge and leading edge facilities set a benchmark for other companion animal practices and most importantly, we love what we do.
What did you do before you launched your business? I have worked as a veterinary surgeon for over 20 years, starting out with both large and small animals in country NSW before going into private practice in Sydney and England. On the way home to Australia, I worked in Sikkim, India with Vets Beyond Borders as a volunteer. I have contributed to local newspapers and online media stories, as well as multiple veterinary publications. In 2020, I co-authored an article for the Medical Journal of Australia, titled “Surge capacity of intensive care units in case of acute increase in demand caused by COVID-19 in Australia”. As the practice grew, my husband James, who established the practice in 2006, needed extra vets. After finishing maternity leave, I started at Turramurra Veterinary Hospital in 2017.
What makes your business different? Turramurra Veterinary Hospital to this day, remains a proudly independent and locally family-owned practice – a husband and wife team. We bring together our strengths to ensure a positive customer and pet experience and our veterinary team have animal welfare at the heart of everything we do. Another unique aspect of our practice is the onsite pet behaviour consultant, Katie Bedrossian, who is dedicated to positive training techniques and assisting owners in dealing with pet behaviour problems. Katie works with our vets to tackle many of the common and more unusual behavioural issues that can occur in companion animals.
What services do you offer? Besides companion animal veterinary health consultations, we perform pet dentistry (including dental x-rays), radiography, diagnostic ultrasound, surgery (including specialist orthopaedics), faecal and urine analysis, blood screening, house calls and behaviour consultations. Our vets also offer second opinion consultations for those particularly tricky cases.
What do you enjoy most about your work? I love helping owners find solutions to managing their pet’s problems, as well as diagnosing and treating pets who are unwell so they can be reunited as quickly as possible with their owners. I believe that short stays in hospital are preferred to long periods of time away from their owners, and by performing the right tests and getting a prompt diagnosis, this can avoid unnecessary delays in getting animals home. I also love teaching my children about nature and biology – which are my favourite subjects!
Parenting and family life….
How do you balance running a business with family life? This can be difficult at times, especially because my husband and I work together and live together, so as you can imagine, there is a lot of vet talk! The main thing for us is ensuring we separate work and family time and try not to discuss our vet work in the evenings. Veterinary work can be tough emotionally, so we try to always have the next holiday booked so we do not get burnt out. Luckily our veterinary team are very capable, allowing us the freedom to have a break from work and spend quality time with the family.
What advice would you give to a new mum?
- Get organised while you are pregnant as it will only get trickier once the baby arrives.
- Do not plan to do more than one thing in a day with a newborn.
- Do not have too many visitors at the hospital. It’s much better to leave most of the visitors for when you’re at home with baby.
- Invest in warm bedclothes for baby, as it keeps them from waking up due to being cold.
- Join a mother’s group! They are your brains trust, emotional support team and a way to make wonderful friends during the transition to this new life as a mum.
What’s your go-to quick meal to make after a busy day at work? Anything from Julie Goodwin’s ’20/20 Meals’ recipe book. All her recipes in this book are easy to follow, quick to prepare and taste delicious. I’m a big fan, as I’m not naturally a great cook so it needs to be easy! I particularly love the mushroom fettuccine recipe.
Enjoying life on the North Shore
What are you favourite podcasts? Inquiring Minds by Indre Viskontas (who is both a neuroscientist and an opera singer!)
What’s the last movie you saw at the cinema? In between lockdowns earlier this year (2021), I managed to view the Judy Dench film ‘Six Minutes to Midnight’ at Roseville Cinemas, which is a venue I love.
What’s your favourite restaurant on the North Shore to take the family for a celebration? Lazana Pizza & Ristorante at North Wahroonga is a fabulous Italian-style family-friendly restaurant with something for everyone.
How do you spend your weekends? Our family love the outdoors and in particular, bushwalking. We love walking or bike-riding through the Wildflower Garden in St Ives and venturing into Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. During the fruit picking seasons, we love visiting orchards and bringing home hand-picked fruit including mandarins and apples. In 2021, I joined the local women’s soccer team, and have been playing for the North Turramurra Football Club, despite having no prior experience with a team sport. It’s been a great way to meet inspiring local mums and get involved in community sport.
Essential Details: Turramurra Veterinary Hospital
- Address: 2 Princes Street (cnr Bannockburn Rd), Turramurra NSW 2074
- Hours: Mon-Fri: 7.30am – 7pm | Sat: 7.30am-4pm | Sun: 9am-4pm
- Parking: Plenty of convenient parking is available in the immediate vicinity of the vet hospital in both Princes Street and Bannockburn Road. Additionally, there is a free off-street council car park at the rear of Turramurra Vet.
- Phone: (02) 9988 0198
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: turramurravet.com.au
- Follow: Instagram, Facebook