Military dogs get a new best friend

This Is Lancashire: Captain Nina Cooke at work in the vet’s surgery in Camp Bastion Captain Nina Cooke at work in the vet’s surgery in Camp Bastion

A VETERINARY surgeon has been deployed to Afghanistan to treat sick and injured military working dogs as well as helping Helmand locals with their livestock.

Former Turton High School pupil, Captain Nina Cooke, is a veterinary surgeon in the British Army and has deployed on her first operational tour to Afghanistan as part of 1 Military Working Dogs Regiment.

She is responsible for making sure the dogs of the regiment are fit and healthy while on operations supporting British patrols.

The 25-year-old served for a number of years in the Reserve before being commissioned as an veterinary officer working alongside an American veterinary colleague to provide round the clock emergency care, as well as more routine veterinary care similar to what would be provided in a veterinary surgery in the UK.

While deployed in Afghanistan Captain Cooke has been called upon to provide routine care to animals belonging to an Afghan General as well as being responsible for the working dogs comprised of 75 from the British Army and 150 from the USA.

She originally joined the reserves in 2006 while studying veterinary science at the University of Liverpool before completing training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to a commission into the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

Captain Cooke said: “Most people want to be a vet when they’re a child, but they grow out of it, I just didn’t grow out of it.”

As well as completing her studies at university she has worked for a year at the Defence Animal Centre and undertaken placements with the PDSA and UK veterinary surgeries to hone her skills.

She added: “I chose to be a vet in the Army because of the travel opportunities. I really like adventure sports such as climbing and skiing and I get the opportunity to do that in the Army as well as working with animals.”

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