Wildlife veterinarian Jerry Haigh considers himself a conservationist and a storyteller, two flavors that go surprisingly well together. His blog combines a view of countries that most people never get to see, with personal anecdotes about his life and hobbies. Every post is designed around a variety of pictures, adding a visual aspect most blogs lack. Jerry has a focus on telling stories like they were told early on in human history. A common metaphor is cave drawings, as when he discussed his experiences doing presentations using PowerPoint (what he calls “the latest evolutionary form of cave art”). Because visual art is universal, the pictures and drawings he includes in his blog serve to accentuate the words he chooses, bringing his audience closer to the topic. However, because of his work in conservation there are times when pictures can be more graphic in nature than one might expect. Jerry is not afraid to show the worst aspects of our humanity when it comes to protecting the animals he loves, and does not shy away from pictures of scarred rhinos and elephants. Saving these animals is of the utmost importance, and in order to drive that point home, we must understand just how dire the situation is. Jerry’s blog shines a true light into those shadows. While you won’t find advice on domestic animals, Jerry’s travels, stories, and beliefs are always interesting, well-written, and important. That makes his blog one that is definitely worth visiting on a regular basis.
How did you get started with blogging?
I had to go back and check. My first blog was on Jan 11 2008. That’s over 5 years now! I had no idea that I’d been writing them that long.
What topics do you cover most on your blog?
I’d day that at least 90% of the material is on conservation. Either directly, or with info of books and other examples. I also blog about storytelling, but of course writing and storytelling are out of the same box. It was the famous author (and storyteller) Robertson Davies who wrote this: “The author today is the descendant of the storyteller who went into the market-place, sat himself down upon his mat, and beat upon his collection bowl, crying, “Give me a copper coin and I will tell you a golden tale!”
What is the most rewarding part about blogging as a vet?
Partly just the fun of sharing stories. Then these days, with the terrible things that are happening to rhino and elephants (not to mention sharks, lions and an almost endless list of other species) I hope that I’m getting more people aware of what is going on. Maybe I’m whistling in the dark (aka pissing in the wind) but maybe (hopefully) someone will take action.
What is the most unique thing about your blog?
I think that fact that I can tell stories about things I have done, written about and feel passionate about is an important part of the blog.
What is your best advice for pet owners dealing with fleas?
I have not looked at a domestic species (in the professional sense) for 38 years. I’d advise a pet owner to get the most up-to-date advice from a small animal veterinarian. Resistance to so many pharmaceuticals develops so quickly that any advice I might give would be out of date. There was a time in my Kenya days when one of my clients, a homeopath, swore that a clove of garlic daily would do the trick. I’ve never tried it.