I have wanted to be a vet since I was five years old, and grew up with a menagerie of dogs, cats, pigeons, chickens and rabbits. After completing my training a chance phone call in January 2005 changed my life.
A voice on the end of the phone said: "Hello my name is Paul Cassar, I'm a dentist and I'm a trustee of International Animal Rescue, and we've got a large number of rescued dancing bears in India whose teeth have been smashed out by their former handlers. I'm looking for advice as I'm going to repair their teeth."
When I saw images of the bears suffering I immediately said: "I'd like to come and help."
After getting all the necessary equipment shipped, we flew to Agra, India in November 2005, initially to treat the 10 most desperate cases.
The visit was a huge success. Since then, Paul and I have gone on to operate on more than 100 former dancing bears, removing tumors, extracting smashed and rotten teeth, as well as treating abscesses. I've travelled the world treating more than 50 slow lorises in Java that have had their teeth brutally clipped by poachers, two tigers in India with abscesses and lions, tigers, a jaguar and even a wallaby with toothache.