WHEN I was told I only had a short time to live, I created a unique bucket list to help save some of the world's most endangered animals.
After I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease six months ago, I decided to spend the time I had left helping the world's most endangered species around the globe, from India to the rainforests of Borneo.
My bucket list also included sledging with huskies under the Northern Lights in Norway, canoeing up the Amazon and helping rescued dancing bears, a leopard cub and a tiger with toothache in India.
When I was told I had a terminal illness I felt as though someone had sucked all the air out of me. It doesn't sink in at first, as you never imagine that something like this will ever happen to you. At first I felt: "Why me?" I'd contributed to society, and there are so many people who waste their lives, and I remember spending one night veering between feeling numb and crying.
But I've come to terms with facing death and I resolved to make sure I didn't waste a minute. I wanted to give some of the world's most endangered animals a life free from pain and suffering before it was too late for me to help them. I want to do as much as possible with the time I have left.
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.