Saint and Superhero

201708SaintSuperhero“Every time anyone rescues or adopts an animal there is a little more light in the world.”  - Prof. Noel Fitzpatrick

This Irishman not only has Supervet superpowers, he also has the famous gift of the gab, which in this day and age translates into what the media calls soundbites, and Prof. Noel Fitzpatrick is a master of them. Watching him on the five-day Animal Rescue Live show on the UK’s Channel 4, one couldn’t help but be blown away by his on-screen presence, his ability to say exactly the right thing at the right time and, of course, his endless compassion and love for all animals.

His aim was to get as many rescue animals adopted as possible from shelters across the UK and it was a concept that engaged viewers in droves, many of them already fans of the fabulous Supervet series. It wasn’t just dogs and cats; there were goats, rabbits, ponies and most memorably Thor the snake and Sausage, the African Grey potty-mouthed parrot, who entertained viewers with his repertoire of swear words, none of them shocking to Prof. Fitzpatrick who freely admitted that like many Irish people, he uses much of Sausage’s vocabulary on a daily basis. Thankfully, turning the air blue didn’t stop Sausage from getting a forever home and Noel Fitzpatrick can swear until the cows come home – there are lots of people out there who would gladly give him a forever home as well.

This would make his mother happy: she made an appearance on an episode of Supervet and, like many a mother, she complained about the fact that he hasn’t found a nice girl and settled down yet. Unfortunately, for his mother and those who have fallen in love with him, this charming man is single by choice, as he told The Telegraph in an interview last year. He also revealed that whilst he does have a house, he often doesn’t sleep there, preferring to bunk up in a supplies cupboard at his veterinary practice, Fitzpatrick Referrals, near Godalming in Surrey. He also conceded that he is “a work-obsessed freak” and that his Norfolk terrier Keira (yes, named after Keira Knightley) would be his ideal woman. However, after nights spent operating on injured patients until 4.30am, he joked that she’d “run off and married a rock star.”

So, where has Noel Fitzpatrick emerged from to take veterinary science into mainstream popular culture? Born in Co. Laois in 1967, he graduated from University College Dublin in 1990 and since then has made his mark in the world of orthopaedic surgery. In 2009, he became the first veterinary surgeon to successfully apply a post-amputation prosthesis to Oscar the cat who had lost two feet in an accident. And in 2014 he received a Guinness World Record for being the first veterinary surgeon to deliver his PerFITS prostheses to two limbs. It’s fitting he got an award from Guinness, because he’s a bit like a pint of the black stuff himself - a dark, dreamy legend.

And, somewhere in the midst of all his healing work with animals he found the time to act in Casualty, The Bill and London’s Burning, plus three feature films, including a horror movie “The Devil’s Tattoo”. Of course, we all know him better for his two TV series, “The Bionic Vet” and “The Supervet,” the latter being so successful it is now in its ninth series.

His work doesn’t stop there: he brought One Medicine to greater prominence in the UK. This is a concept that is central to his mission and is the cornerstone of his charity foundation Humanimal Trust, which is the first of its kind in the UK and aims to establish a platform for the cross-pollination of expertise and ideas between veterinary and human medicine for the benefit of all living creatures.

What he wants to get across to people is this: “I want to see headlines of hope, not cynicism and despair. Every time I see the way a person looks at their dog and the way that dog looks back, I see pure, unconditional love. I’m trying to bottle that and give it to a world full of idiots who think the money, ego, power and greed are what matters.”

Noel Fitzpatrick is both St. Francis of Assisi and Heath Robinson: he can create a prosthesis for a dog recovering from a horrific accident using a Croc that he has just taken off his own foot and show the utmost compassion to every animal and human that sets foot in his practice. His passion is compelling and his kindness, evident from his fondness for hugging, is a magnet for the three million plus who watch him on television.

Why does he work all the hours that God sends and probably more? In his own words it is for this reason: “I do my very best for every animal that comes through those doors. The value of companion animals is incalculable to us as a species. They don’t judge us, they trust us, they bring out the humanity in us. I don’t do this for fame or applause.”

And neither does our own Marbella superhero Javier Peromingo.

Our Local Superhero

Javier Peromingo is a much loved man in Marbella and San Pedro. A volunteer at Triple A, he has single-handedly trapped over 4,000 street cats in the area, in his own time and using his own resources to ensure that each cat receives the CES protocol. 

This acronym means C=Captura, E=Esterilizasción and S=Suelta. Javier captures the cats, has them sterilised and then puts them back on the streets where they live. Done consistently, this stops breeding on the streets and males fighting, which decreases the spread of illnesses.  If you ever wondered what the V s in the ears of the street cats in Marbella is, this is the mark that they have been castrated and will not be able to breed, which brings suffering to them in the streets. Triple A support this protocol in Marbella, but in other areas of the coast, street cats when caught are immediately sent to a killing station, and it is thanks to Javier Peromingo that Marbella’s cats do not suffer the same fate.

Recently, Javier’s supporters successfully crowdfunded a new car for him so he can continue his valuable work and we’d like to ask Society’s readers to continue this support by contributing to Triple A and specifically to Javier’s work, for which he receives no payment. As any rescue organisation will tell you, donations are vital for keeping centres open and the animals healthy; vet bills, as well as food make up a significant part of their expenditure.

We’d also urge you to consider adopting or fostering a rescue animal, because as the Supervet says, when you give an animal a forever home you bring a little more light into this world. 

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