When Sarah Maher was told she should be a vet when she grew up, she scoffed at the idea.
The prompt started when Sarah was in school and diagnosed as dyslexic.
She was told to find something outside of school to be passionate about. So she chose the farm. Her family had a commercial cattle property and a goat stud where she spent a lot of time helping, and turning down her dad's idea to be a vet.
"My dad was always like 'you should be a vet, I think you'd be really good at it' and I was always like 'no, that's gross. I don't want to deal with blood and guts. That's gross'," she said.
"And then one day I thought 'maybe I should be a vet'."
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From the farm in Maitland, Dr Maher went to university in Wagga Wagga - where she did her honours - and spent eight months as a veterinarian in Coonabaranbran.
At the start of July, she became the district veterinarian for the Central West Local Land Services, based from Dubbo.
Dr Maher's work covers two main areas: diagnosing why livestock have suddenly died or gotten sick and giving people advice on their ideas, such as using a new feed.
"So much of the job is building connections with farmers so that they know that we're here if something goes wrong," she said.
"People will have multiple sick animals or dead animals and they ring me up and say 'I've had three cows die this morning and I'm not really sure why' and we go through and ask a whole bunch of questions about what they're doing, what they've been eating, where they are in pregnancy."
If the animal hasn't been dead for too long, Dr Maher will conduct a postmortem.
Unlike a private vet, she doesn't treat any of the animals.
"We're more on the diagnostic side of things. Once we know what it is we can help with your management plan and tell you what we need to do to treat it. But we don't actually do treatments," Dr Maher said.
We're excited to introduce Sarah Maher as our new #Dubbo district vet. Sarah previously worked in Coonabarabran as LLS district vet, before transferring to Dubbo in July.— Central West LLS (@CentralWestLLS) August 3, 2019
She's looking forward to supporting producers in the district and can be reached on 0428 270 802. pic.twitter.com/a9FinTVnx0
Covering everywhere from Peak Hill to Trangie to Dunedoo means the district vet deals with a wide range of issues.
"Every farmer is different so you just can't have one overarching solution. You need to work in with what they can do and get creative," Dr Maher said.
"There are some people who have a bit of crop at the moment and are doing quite well but there are other people who still have nothing and are struggling. Where you're at really changes what you're thinking."
But one thing affecting everyone is the drought.
"The drought is hard. Everyone in the industry experiences it and you really feel for the farmers a lot of the time. People ring up and their sheep are dying and they're trying their best but it's still not going their way. They've spent their money and they don't have any crop or green feed to put them on," Dr Maher said.
"Sometimes those ones are really hard. I'm definitely glad that I'm a vet and not a farmer right now."
After only working in drought, Dr Maher said she was hoping for rain and the learning experiences it would bring to her new job.