PROFILE: CLAW’s Dr. Saskia Karius

Dr Saskia as we affectionately call her, with one of her patients.On a blistering hot Johannesburg day I stand in awe watching CLAW veterinarian Dr Saskia Karius, or Dr Saskia as we affectionately call her, stand at her surgery table sterilising more than 20 patients.

The surgery room is sweltering but Saskia carries on because CLAW patients must be sterilised before they are returned home to their owners.

This is one of the main focuses of CLAW - population control in the informal settlements. The number of unwanted puppies, kittens and adult dogs is staggering, and only a lucky few are able to be rehomed each month.

Saskia was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and her tertiary education was in Munich, Germany.  In 2003 she graduated from the Ludwig Maximillian University with a Veterinary Nursing degree, and in 2005 received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She briefly worked in a small animal practice in Munich after graduating.

But she couldn't resist the call of South Africa.

In late 2005 Saskia moved back to her family home in Johannesburg.  Not one to sit idle, she quickly found the perfect job for her at CLAW and in March 2006 Saskia was hired as CLAW's full time vet.

She has been with us ever since.

Saskia is always willing to go the extra mile.When I asked her what the best part of her job was, she answered: "The look on an owner’s face when you return their healthy pet back to them. That gratitude is priceless because if CLAW didn't exist, there would be no option for medical treatment for the pets in the townships.” 

Saskia is always willing to go the extra mile for one of her patients. Whether it be cooking for the sick patients in the hospital, performing a home visit after work, or taking critically ill patients home with her overnight so they can receive around-the-clock care. 

When I asked her where she sees herself in five years, she answered matter-of-factly "at CLAW".  Then quickly added: "In a state of the art new environmentally friendly animal hospital". 

That is something we all wish for! 

--JG

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