Get to know Dr Emma April 22, 2015 19:52


Well it turns out that Dr Emma is quite shy of talking about herself, and particularly dislikes being photographed! Any photo you see of her required a large bribe, or was taken sneakily. Don't get me wrong, she's very social and friendly and gets around to a lot of events etc, but she just isn't comfortable talking about herself. She would much rather talk about her dogs - we'll get to that shortly!

Here's what I can tell you, behind the scenes, about Dr Emma. She loves coffee. And she has a special weakness for Iced Coffee Breakers. Whenever we catch up, we have to go for coffee, or stop off somewhere to grab one on the way. I've noticed she never says "no" to left over birthday cake at my house either! And she always ends up chatting way longer than she meant to. She loves a good natter about this that and everything else. Her range of interests is pretty broad. Her brain never stops, and she's always doing new courses, further training, webinars, seminars etc. Her most recent one was on the use of herbal treatments within conventional veterinary medicine.



You can't get to know Dr Emma without becoming acquainted with the "Tollers". Officially the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. And yes, Dr Emma is more than happy to talk about her beloved tollers, so here's the roughly translated interview I have conducted piecemeal over several years:



Amy: When did you get your first Toller?

Emma: In 1994. That original dog has passed away now of course, but was the start of it all.

Amy: Where did you first see them, and what attracted you to the breed?

Emma: I saw a picture in a dog magazine, and then I saw a real one at a dog show, and I was really taken by their beautiful faces with soft brown eyes. Then I saw a video of a litter of puppies and that was the last straw - I had to have one!

Amy: Aren't they just golden/orange coloured Border Collies?

Emma: NO!! They are TOTALLY different! They were bred for an entirely different purpose even.

Amy: Oh, what purpose were they bred for?

Emma: Tolling of course.

Amy: Which is .....?

Emma: Ok, Tolling is the art of luring water birds over towards hunters by mucking around on the river bank. Then once they have been lured into range, gunmen shoot the bird they are hunting, then the Tollers do their Retrieving bit, where they collect the birds carefully and bring them in. So they don't need the enormous amounts of exercise that Border Collies require - they have fairly laid back personalities. But still very intelligent and trainable.

Amy: Have you ever taking them hunting? Do you shoot birds?

Emma: No, of course not! I take them playing in rivers and at beaches though. And we do agility and obedience training, and we regularly show and exhibit to increase public awareness of the breed. They make excellent family pets.


Amy: Sounds great. Where do I get one?

Emma: Get in line - demand currently far exceeds supply. If you are seriously interested, contact me and we can have a chat.


Dr Emma is relatively new to the housecalling way of veterinary work. I asked her recently what she thought of it and her reply was interesting! She said it seemed so friendly and relaxed that she almost felt like it didn't really qualify as work, which made her wonder if she's being lazy. SO next time Dr Emma is at your place, make sure you get her working hard, so she doesn't feel guilty about having too good a time!!


Dr Amy Coles