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The Torquay

Animal House

Kate Mussett

Dr Denis Ryan has a thirst for life that is contagious; this passion has seen Denis commit his life to the care of animals for the last 30 years. Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1962 Denis spent the early part of his life as any normal kid, with an older brother he adored, a father as a doctor and a mother as a nurse. At 13 this ordinary life however took a turn for the worse and Denis faced one of the toughest times of his life. On 12th April 1975, Denis’ brother was involved in a car accident, that sadly took his life. It was a tough time for the family and a day Denis will never forget. Denis believes this time changed the way he not only viewed the world but it was a driving force in how Denis wanted to spend the rest of his life. It helped him become a more compassionate person which he believes is one of the most important attributes of being a vet and something he looks for within his colleagues. During this time he recalls finding comfort through their pet dog Barkley. Denis is a strong believer that animals have a therapeutic effect within peoples lives and certainly helped him through his tough times. After finishing high school Denis made the decision that unlike his father who worked with humans, Denis wanted to help people that didn’t have a voice and give back to his fury friend that had helped him so much. This lead to Denis studying veterinary science in Dublin, Ireland and in 1984 Denis graduated. He practiced small animals in the UK for the next 18 months before returning to Ireland for another 18 month stint at a large animal practice in Co. Donegal. Here Denis learnt many valuable lessons and gained a great deal of experience. Denis met his Wife Darina in 1980 and they soon married in 1985. In 1987 Darina fell pregnant with their first child, Fiona. Both Denis and Darina made the decision to move to Australia and in 1987 with a 10 week old baby they emigrated to Australia. The family started their Australian experience working at Kyneton (80kms north west of Melbourne) where Denis spent the next 6 ½ years in a mixed practice where he worked with both large and small animals. In 1993 the Ryan family (with now 3 kids) moved to set up a veterinary practice in Torquay and found it to be such a wonderful place they intend to stay there forever. The clinic started off as weatherboard house with one operation table, an xray machine and a simple table and chair where the consoltaitons took place. With only Denis, and two nurses the clinic was just starting. 21 years on and the clinic today is a busy striking building consisting of four doctors and four nurses who are just as passionate about animals as Denis.

1997, Toruqay Animal House.

1997, A young Denis taking Xrays of a canines jaw.

2014, How times have changed, the Animal House today.


2000, Annies exitment over the demolishment of the old clinic.

I have been working at the Animal House since 1998 – I began Veterinary Nursing in 1988. My career has been filled with many great experiences – including working in Bali as a volunteer nurse with the Street Dog Foundation and as a locum nurse in England for two years. I made the ‘sea change’ to the Surfcoast hoping to find a clinic with a high standard of care and ethical concern. I found this in the clinic that Denis and his wife Darina were establishing. During my time there the facilities have grown from a weatherboard house, into a purpose built extensive hospital. We now have a fantastic team of Vets and Nurses and I am proud to be one of them.

For the last 14 years, Annie has dedicated her Tuesdays nights to teaching owners and their pups.


DR JESS POULSEN VETERINARIAN B.V.Sc Having grown up on the Surfcoast, I moved to Queensland to complete my studies in Veterinary Science. After I qualified I then decided to move to the Central Coast of NSW where I worked in a busy small animal practie for a couple of years, being exposed to various aspects of small animal veterinary medicine and surgery. Deciding to be closer to family, I have recently moved back to the Surfcoast and am now enjoying working with the team at Torquay Animal House. Having worked in both mixed and small animal practices I am delighted to concentrate all my efforts on companion animals. I have a keen interest in preventative health and dentistry in both dogs and cats.


DR MARK YEE BvSc VETERINARIAN I began my veterinary career working in mixed animal practice on the Bellarine Peninsula before deciding to focus on the care of companion animals. This led me to work in busy urban clinics in Melbourne and then in Sydney where I became the head veterinarian and manager. I spent 2008 based in the UK where l worked in a small animal clinic in Romsey, Hampshire and was able to travel within Europe. I started at Torquay Animal House in 2009 and have been able to focus on my interests in surgery, dentistry and care of older pets. I am currently undertaking post-graduate study in surgery. Torquay Animal House is a fantastic team environment and it is a joy to be able to provide high quality pet care with motivated people in a great part of the world.


DR FLEUR SELKIRK Veterinarian Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Hons) Melbourne 2001, IVAS (cert). I Started at Torquay Animal House in April 2006. After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2001 I worked in country Victoria before spending 18 months in the United Kingdom. During my time there, I worked at many small animal clinics, which provided me with a wide variety of experience. Upon returning home, I spent 14 months working in small animal practice in Eastern Melbourne, before making the move to Torquay. In 2008 I completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society Veterinary Acupuncture course. I continue to enjoy all aspects of small animal practice, with a special interest in canine and feline internal medicine and acupuncture therapy. Here at Torquay Animal House I work with a great team of dedicated people providing the best possible pet care.


Veterinary Nurse Lara, is currently studying a degree in Veterinary Science at Deakin University. Lara first began working at the Clinic as a result of High School work experience. She enjoyed this experince so much that she continued to help out at the clinic which soon lead to Lara deciding to Study vetinary Nursing, continuing with veterinary placement at the clinc during Tafe and following graduation in 2007, she spent the nextt seven years working along-side Denis. Having worked as a vertinary nurse at the clinic for several years my co workers encouraged me to pursue a degree in vertinary science. Their support and knowledge has been amazing and I learn everyday here at the clinic. I hope to complete my degree in 2016 and continue working here at the Animal House.


Shannon started out her career grooming dogs at the Animal House in 2004, but her love for animals saw her excel in the nursing field once the opportunity arose. The whole grooming experience helped a lot in gaining animal handling skills. Shannon has been nursing here for over two years now.


Lisa has always had a huge love for animals having grown up on a farm in Northen Victoria she found herself fascinated in preventative health for animals. This passion lead Lisa to study vetinary Nursing and since greaduating in 2000, Lisa has spent the last 14 years caring for animals on the surfcoast.

Bella is about to undergo reconstructive surgery to her nostrils to remove skin to help her breath better. Due to the way French Bulldogs are being bread today, their face shape is changing and as a result these dogs are being born with major breathing problems. This is very fustrating for Dennis and his team to see. Although it brings them work, it is destressing to see these dogs at such a young age struggling to breathe. Many owners are also not aware of how serious this problem and choose not to have the reconstuctive surgery.

Betty 3, about to undergo amputeation to her leg after being attacked by a dog.

Bettys surgery was successful and the recovery process went well with no complications. She is healthy and back to her normal adventourous self.

Moyra 8, suspected abdominal tumour.

Moyra will undergo surgery to remove a large tumour located in her abdomen.

Moyras surgery was successful and her tumour was found to be non meligmant. There was a fear that she may not make it after surgery after such a serious operation. She however suprised everyone and recovered well and is now better than she has been in years.

“Dogs need dentists too� Dr Ryan Denis performs extraction of decaying teeth from a small canine called Frank. Frank has several decaying teeth so will need to come back to have more removed. Today, two teeth are removed and Franks teeth are then cleaned and polished.

Every procedure is documented and placed within the patients history. Throughout the procedures, photos are taken to present to the owners if they wish to see. Denis’ main reason for taking photos during surgery is to educate the owners on the depth of their procedures their pet has undergone, as he believes this helps with post operative care giving the animal the best chance of a good recovery.

“Our number one priorty is our patients� Dr Denis Ryan

At the end of the day, the animals are reunited with their owners. This young pup is very excited to see his!


To Denis and all the staff at the Animal House; thank you for allowing me to capture the love and care you provide everyday to every animal that walks through your doors. It has been an amazing experiece and I have been so lucky to be able to document what you do. You have all been extremely supportive thoughtout the whole process and have all made me feel very welcome. It is great to see people so enthusiastic about what they do.

Animal House- Kate Mussett  
Animal House- Kate Mussett  

The story of a clinic and their love for Animals