Expat veterinarian pens book on how to care pet animals

Juliet Decaestecker

Chennai: As a young child, Juliet Decaestecker grew up in a place that made her connect with nature everyday. She recalls chasing after birds in the garden or learning how to feed horses at her grandparents’ farm. “Even if a pigeon would fly into the window, I would get inside the house and try to heal it,” she says. “The close contact I had with nature made me observe animals around me and realise they were part of my environment and I had to preserve nature to take care of them.”

Today, the 36-year-old Belgium-born is an integrative veterinarian and recently released her book “Healthy Dog, Happy You: Secrets to a Thriving Life with Your Best Companion”. Having made Chennai her home for the past three years, Juliet finds the city a bit more conservative than other States in India and likes how it tries to preserve its traditions.

Speaking to News Today, Juliet narrates how she wrote her book. “Every day I was consulting, taking my time with pet owners, I realised I was repeating the same simple advice to help them heal their animals. I realised people were just not aware of it and after chronically turning around finding a solution they were astonished to hear this kind of tips from a veterinarian,” she recalls. “I felt it was my job as a veterinarian to share my experience and not to keep it only in my consult room.”

Her friends offered her motivation to write. There is so much in your head please spread the awareness, they told her. Juliet also realised that many animals were not healthy or happy because of the wrong information the owner believed them to be right. She was compelled to write after coming across several myths in India. “I started writing down daily stories about what happened in the consult room and with dogs owners,” she says. “I’m not a born writer but little by little, I wrote down bits and pieces in between taking care of my children and my husband helping me recite stories I told him before.”

She explains the difference between an ‘integrative veterinarian’ and other veterinarian. “An integrative veterinarian is a veterinarian who will combine allopathy with traditional medicine,” she says. “I use X-rays, blood tests to help with diagnosis but I won’t just ‘take out’ the symptoms of a disease with only chemical medication. I try to treat the root of a disease, imbalance in the body with herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture and food so that the disease doesn’t continue to linger.” She adds, “Prevention and change of lifestyle are core. Combining both medicines gives me more arches on my bow.”

Juliet conducts “Happy Pet, Happy Owner” programme through which she aims to spread awareness about how to live a healthy life with a pet. “I want to leave a better future to the next generation and what is better than sharing my passion of being an integrative vet by teaching other vets and providing webinars to pet owners,” she says. “Change happens around you, putting it into practice yourself helps to start the wave.” Through webinars, Q & A’s and talks, Juliet shares simple tips for both the pet and owner.

Mohammed Rayaan