VETERINARY nurses from Coulby Newham have returned from the other side of the world ‘humbled’ by their experiences helping needy dogs more than 10,000 miles away in Sri Lanka.

Ashley Whitehead and Amy Hood, who both work for White Cross Vets, went to Sri Lanka with the World Veterinary Service to help the Dogstar Foundation humanely deal with that country's massive over-population of dogs.

The pair raised £1,650 for the trip through generous sponsorship from clients at the practice, and by doing a host of fund-raising events, as well as taking part in the 10k sponsored Stockton River Rat Race, and collecting donations from colleagues across all 14 White Cross Vets practices.

Ms Hood said: “The money enabled us to purchase 1,275 meters of suture material which will last the Dogstar Foundation six months and is enough to neuter approximately 1,800 dogs. We also collected lots of consumables and medications kindly donated by other White Cross practices and local vets in Middlesbrough, for which we were very grateful.

"We worked at the field clinics with the Dogstar team, meeting locals who were bringing their pets in for neutering or vaccination, and helping neuter the strays. Despite plenty of research on the conditions, nothing could have prepared us for the experiences we had. The dogs were kept in nets whilst waiting for their operations which is very different to how we do things at White Cross Vets. They were then prepared for surgery and monitored during anaesthetics. Although things were different, patients were very well looked after by the dedicated team.

During their stay Ashley and Amy helped the Dogstar Foundation to provide neutering and vaccination services which are provided free of charge.

Ms Whitehead said: “If fees were charged, people simply would not come to the Foundation, and the problems would escalate.”

The foundation can neuter a dog for £17.50 and relies on Dogs Trust funding and charitable donations to carry out their work, which enables them to neuter an average of 30 dogs a day.

Ms Whitehead added: “The locals who bring their pets into be neutered wait for their pets to wake up and then take them home, either in their arms, on motorbikes, in washing baskets and even in the occasional carrier bag. Although this may sound shocking, you would be surprised at how happy all of these pets are.”

Each day Ashley and Amy were in a different location, including school yards, church grounds, the local fishery or individual’s homes. During the trip Amy and Ashley witnessed a major milestone for the Dogstar Foundation when it neutered its 10,000th dog.

For more details visit or call White Cross Vets in Coulby Newham on 01642 576 333 or email