Janey Lowes

Janey Lowes is a UK vet and founder of WECare, an organization whose goal is to change the lives of animals worldwide and live in a world where no street dog is left without top-notch veterinary care. She is the author of Janey the Vet: Saving Sri Lanka's Street Dogs by Janey Lowes (2020), a book that tells the story of her move to Sri Lanka and her life's mission.

In 2014 Janey Lowes had been a vet for just two years when she left her home in County Durham and went traveling. She was backpacking around Sri Lanka in May 2014 when she noticed the plight of the local street dogs.

She contacted local vets, but it was difficult finding someone who had the facilities needed to treat some of the more severe issues. In her mid-twenties and only three years qualified, she was determined to make a change.

Back in the UK, Janey sought advice from her boss, Nick Myerscough, expecting to be laughed at as crazy for her ideas. But suddenly, Westway Veterinary Group donated £10,000 to help her move to Sri Lanka and set up a charity. They shared the belief that veterinarians have a responsibility to make sure that every animal, regardless of borders or geographic location, deserves access to high-standard veterinary care.

Lowes moved her life to the island five months later, setting up WECare. Over the first four years, WECare has treated almost 6,000 animals in need.

Janey also spent her time working alongside Sri Lankan vets to carry out multiple neutering and vaccination programs in the community. 735 dogs were neutered in the first year, as well as 956 dogs were vaccinated and 202 were treated for other ailments.

Since 2014, WECare has grown from a one-man band to a team of 30 individuals, working together to help, treat and educate. That is a mixed bag of vets, nurses, and animal lovers from the UK, Sri Lanka, Australia, India, and Poland.

Janey Lowes still lives in Sri Lanka with five ex-street dogs in a sleepy seaside village on the south coast.

Photo credit: Twitter @janeythevet


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How could one of the most beautiful places on earth also see man’s supposed best friend going through so much suffering?
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I lose my temper, I cry. I cry a lot. How can I not, seeing this kind of thing day in and day out? But I cling to the understanding that these cruel people are few and far between, and they aren’t necessarily fully bad, but just haven’t yet made that connection with empathy yet. Let’s face it, animal cruelty, and the odd person who will never have a shred of empathy, exist everywhere you go in the world. It was the large majority who could make that connection, and start treating dogs with more compassion, who I wanted to focus on.
It isn’t always easy to judge whether we are winning the battle of the hearts and minds of the locals, and I think it is such a gradual change that I don’t always notice it happening.
But when a tourist comments on how much healthier the dogs look in the area around Talalla Beach than the dogs they have seen everywhere else on their travels, or when a local proudly informs you that they are keeping their dog’s vaccination card up to date, that you think, okay, this is working.

It is a more recent example, but a great story about educating by example
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That change in his mindset was incredible, and is exactly why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge or assume that people aren’t dog lovers. More often than not, they are just unsure. People only need to see how great a dog can be, and they start to want the same relationship with the dog. Who wouldn’t?


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what a brilliant book filed with warmth, kindness and care about two things i really love: dogs and Sri Lanka. please support Wecare!

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