Cat-neutering business closing after 63 years
PUBLISHED: 17:18 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:56 11 December 2019
She has dedicated more than four decades to controlling Norwich's cat population.
But Susan Howard is calling it a day - meaning the end of a business that has been running for 63 years.
On December 31, Ms Howard, 65, who runs Howard's Neutering Clinic on Hall Road, Norwich, where she lives, is retiring after 41 years in the profession.
Her life as a vet had a certain inevitiably, as she grew up watching her parents treat and operate on animals.
She followed in her mother and father's footsteps to become a vet, which ended up with her taking over the Norwich family business.
She said: "It is a sad day to see the business closing but it is going to come sooner or later. I'm retiring at the right time. I'm looking for a new challenge.
"The job has been challenging but rewarding. There is quite a bit of variety. There is a sense of achievement. It does have its difficult and bad moments though. It was one of those things I drifted into."
JW & EC Howard Veterinary Surgeons was opened in 1956 by John and Celia Howard and was based on St Faith's Lane, where it treated small animals - mainly dogs.
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The couple, who trained together at London's Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and graduated in 1949, also carried out operations from their family home on Hall Road, where Ms Howard grew up and now runs her business from.
John Howard, who used to travel around the Norfolk countryside to treat large animals including cattle, pigs and horses, died of a heart attack in 1983.
Ms Howard said: "When we were small my father would take me and my siblings around in the car when he treated large animals to see what was going on. One of my earliest memories is mopping up after my father had done an operation. My father was totally dedicated. He is still fondly remembered by many."
His daughter continued the practice, initially helped by her mother, who died four years ago, but the St Faith's Lane base was closed in 2007.
After raising two children, being on-call 24/seven for the practice and doing out-of-hours veterinary work for charities, Ms Howard scaled back and for the past seven years has carried out vaccinations and run a neutering clinic.