New Practice Manager at Esther Honey Foundation Animal Clinic

Jess Moore-Jones

EHF Rarotonga Practice Manager Jess Moore-Jones

New practice manager at pet clinic Rarotonga’s pet population is in even safer hands with the arrival of veterinarian Jess Moore-Jones who has taken up the new role of practice manager at the Esther Honey Foundation Animal Clinic in Nikao. Moore-Jones is now working alongside Esther Honey’s clinic director Gregg Young and the nine volunteers at present. In a few weeks Moore-Jones’ work will begin in earnest when the clinic’s volunteer numbers drop to two (When the rest of the team is on a EHF VET TREK to Aitutaki).

She says at present her supervisory role is almost superfluous due to the calibre of those helping out at the clinic. This week has presented Esther Honey workers with feral cat trapping and spaying, puppies with fish poisoning and a horse needing an eye removed. Moore-Jones is a New Zealander who studied veterinary medicine in Western Australia and has spent the three years since working throughout the world. From fully-equipped clinics in the United Kingdom and Denmark to more make-shift operations in Thailand, Greece and Ecuador, she has worked on some interesting and challenging cases. Moore-Jones says one of the most memorable was saving a cat in Australia which became impaled on the steel pole of a garden trellis. “I was looking towards the management side of being a vet and this came up. How can one resist the tropical life? It was pretty impossible to turn down.”

Moore-Jones arrived in the country a week ago and has since been exploring Rarotonga from her base at the Nikao clinic. She has visited the island once before – in 2000 – for a family reunion with her uncle and former New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Rob Moore-Jones. Since then Rarotonga has changed a lot but is still a beautiful, friendly place, Moore-Jones says.

“The island itself is just amazing – I can’t believe the community support that we get – everybody’s so friendly. A lot of time we are getting paid in starfruit and bananas because that’s what people can afford but they are more appreciative here that you are doing the best you can than in the UK where you’ve got amazing facilities and people think you still haven’t done enough.”

Without an x-ray machine at Esther Honey veterinarians have to be innovative and work harder to properly diagnose and treat animals, she says. “You have to question what’s going on sometimes and have to be better in terms of actual medicine, rather than rely on tests.”

Moore-Jones is on a 12-month contract which may be extended. She is impressed with Rarotonga’s active social scene and has already been running with the hash harriers, paddling and to local dance lessons. “Everybody is so happy to involve you in things, which is really nice. Mainly I’m just excited about meeting everybody.”

Esther Honey is also asking all people who have borrowed cat traps to return them to the clinic straight away. The clinic’s workers are travelling to Aitutaki in a couple of weeks to sort out the island’s wild cat population and need all the cat traps they can get.- Rosie Manins