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Reigning cats and dogs

Date

Megan Doherty

Bondi Vet Lisa Chimes with her dogs Lucan and Nelson at Dudley Page Reserve.

Bondi Vet Lisa Chimes with her dogs Lucan and Nelson at Dudley Page Reserve. Photo: Lee Besford

Dr Lisa Chimes is snuggling on the couch with her dogs Nelson and Lucas, enjoying some rare down time.

''It's a nice change,'' she says.

As one of the vets on Channel Ten's Bondi Vet, Chimes is busy.

She films for about 50 days a year while also working full-time at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH), in North Ryde, Sydney, as an emergency and critical care vet.

It's there the show's producers are on the lookout for not only interesting medical stories but those that tug at the heartstrings.

''Usually the crew will just wait around and film whatever comes in that day. It does come down to a lot of luck. There are days when they don't film anything,'' she says.

''Obviously we don't want to show really sad stories when we know there's going to be a bad outcome. Even though we can't guarantee they're going to survive, we try to choose ones that are going to have a happy outcome.''

Bondi Vet has resonated with audiences, with the fourth season now on air.

''A lot of people just love animals and the show just showcases that love between the owner and the animal,'' Chimes says.

''Seeing the real emotion and attachments - people connect with that. We're just the storytellers. The people and the animals are the real stars of the show.''

And there are cases that still stay with her, after all these years.

''There was a German shepherd called Bohdi. He had a terminal illness, we couldn't work out what it was but he was only four and it turned out to be bone marrow disease. The bond between him and his owner, oh it was just pretty amazing. Unfortunately, Bohdi didn't make it in the end but that connection, that love, that constant willingness of his owner just to try anything, I will never forget it.''

And there are some lighter moments.

''It's always funny when I have to deal with reptiles. It's not my preference, I have to say. I much prefer to work with dogs and cats,'' she says.

''I've had animals eat anything, you really don't want to write about it. The most revolting things have been pulled out of their stomachs. We usually have a laugh, after we've had a gag.''

After graduating from Sydney University in 2006 with a bachelor of veterinary science with first class honours, Chimes completed her internship in veterinary emergency and critical care in Melbourne.

It was during that time she discovered her passion for providing specialist and compassionate care for dogs and cats and in 2008 moved back to her home suburb of Bondi.

And now she is on her way to Canberra for the inaugural Crace Pets Party in the Park on Sunday.

Chimes will be on hand to offer advice and to meet local owners and their pets.

''I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and answering any questions pet owners, or wannabe pet owners might have,'' she says.

''This party is a great way for animal lovers to get the latest information, advice and tips from locals who really know their stuff, and it's all free.''

TAMS Domestic Animal Services will be on hand to talk about responsible pet ownership, Hill's Pets will be handing out free samples, and the first 10 dogs to arrive on site will be washed for free, thanks to Aussie Pooch Mobile. The first 50 people will also receive a free breakfast.

Kids can go wild on the jungle-themed jumping castle and get messy with animal-themed arts and crafts in the ACT Playgroups' paint and play marquee.

The Belconnen Dog Obedience Club will have their dancing dogs and information about training and obedience. The RSPCA will answer adoption questions and rally support for next month's Million Paws Walk. All dogs must be on a lead.

Chimes says she's happy to be part of the day.

''Any event which encourages pet ownership is wonderful. Pet ownership is a community. We all share our stories with our pets and it's nice to have friends in the park when we take our dogs for a walk. I think it will be a great day.''

■ The inaugural Pets Party in the Park is a free event that will be held at Crace Linear Park, Stowport Avenue, from 10am to noon on Sunday.

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