I RECENTLY had the chance to visit Wrexham's newest veterinary practice - Animal Trust, in Caia Road.

The new surgery has opened at the site of the former Vets4Pets practice, which closed earlier this year.

As well as bringing in improvements and a highly experienced team, the organisation has brought an interesting new ethos to the area, as it is not-for-profit.

During its first two weeks, Animal Trust saw hundreds of people register and the team had almost back-to-back consultation appointments.

The Leader:

The Animal Trust in Caia Park, Wrexham. Images provided by Animal Trust

Wrexham is the organisation's ninth branch in the UK, the others being in Bolton, Failsworth, Blackburn, Leeds, Dewsbury, Ellesmere Port, Shrewsbury and Birkenhead.

The practice boasts bright, open and welcoming spaces from its reception and waiting area to its consultation rooms.

In addition to the four consultation rooms, the practice contains a theatre, pharmacy, cattery, kennels and an X-ray room.

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Owen Monie with his dog Sam

Head vet Rhys Peters, from Cilcain, near Mold, came into veterinary work about five years ago because of his interest in science and love of animals.

He said: "With it being not-for-profit, consultations are free, so you don't pay to see a vet.

"There are no barriers - it is really good in that way, because it is open and we can have a conversation about things.

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Head nurse Helen Rudd and head vet Rhys Peters

"A lot of our prices are fixed and that quite appeals to a lot of customers.

"They don't get a shock at the end of it, they get that information up front.

"We are transparent - there are quite a few prices on our website as well, so people can get an idea of what something is going to cost.

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A consultation room at the new practice

"We're making our high standards of veterinary care as accessible as possible for owners and their pets."

Speaking of the feedback he has had so far, he added: "It's been really positive.

"I think all of the clients have been really happy to be able to see the vet and not have to pay for a consultation.

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The reception area

"I think it's the kind of thing Wrexham needed."

Helen Rudd, head nurse at the practice, said: "I've been nursing for about 20 years. I love animals, it's very rewarding.

"We are getting such positive feedback - people are really happy.

"I think it's just putting something back into the community and helping people who might not otherwise bring their animals to the vets.

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The theatre room at the practice

"This offers them peace of mind, there's no fee so they can come in, get some advice and not get charged.

"We can help you with whatever you need."

Owen Monie, director general of Animal Trust, is originally from Whitchurch, now living in Chester.

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X-Ray facilities

Explaining the ethos of the organisation and the reaction the Wrexham branch has received, he said: "I owned this practice and sold it to Vets4Pets about eight years ago.

"Then I wanted to set up a veterinary group that made treatment more accessible.

"I was worried lots of people were being 'priced out' of the veterinary market if they weren't insured or well-off.

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Kennel facilities at the practice

"I set up Animal Trust on the back of that to remove the conflict between profit making and treating pets.

"We brought in innovative things like not charging for consult fees so people could come in and get expert advice.

"It's been really positive here. What perhaps people sometimes people think with not-for profit is that it's a 'budget vet'. That's not the case.

"We're as well equipped as any practice and we have very highly skilled staff."

Describing his motivation for veterinary work Mr Monie, 38, said: "My first childhood memories are dogs at home and I have always really liked animals and science, so it was bringing all of that together.

"I wanted to be a vet since I was four and I'm very glad I am. I'm very lucky."

To find out more and to book an appointment, visit: https://www.animaltrust.org.uk/