Animal Emergency Service Underwood Client Care Specialist Emily Wonka on a horse

Emily Wonka

Client Care Specialist

Emily holds the role of Client Care Specialist at our Underwood hospital. Surrounded by animals and pets growing up, it’s no surprise Emily’s childhood dream was to become a vet. Finding herself on a different path, Emily’s journey saw her complete a Bachelor of Business at university, then going on to spend over 10 years running her own retail business.  Her love for animals remained strong as she developed her career as a business owner, and she always had pets in her life. These days, nothing beats taking her fur babies to the beach. Her Pugs Ellie and Jethro just love the water and swimming, even though they are not the most athletic little guys!

Her love and curiosity for the vet industry has always been there, and she feels her role at AES has matched her passion and career skill set perfectly. She may be a fairly new member to the AES team, but her relationship with AES goes back 12 years when Dr Rob (Vet Director) delivered her beloved Pugs via emergency Caesarian. Emily says the service back then was first class – and it was something she never forgot.   

Emily is in awe of the team she works with and the service they provide: “I have such an incredible level of respect for our emergency vet team and all vets in general. It’s often a tough industry with long hours. When we take an emergency patient out to our hospital, just watching our vets in action is truly awe inspiring. Even if the outcome is not great, the lengths they go to save our clients’ loved family members is remarkable.  Animals can’t tell us what they are thinking, feeling, or hurting, vets close the gap and facilitate communication between animals and people. They give a voice to the voiceless.” 

We asked Emily about the most thrilling case she’s worked on and why it meant so much to her: “My role as client care is not so much of a clinical position however we do get to interact and assist our Vet & Nurse teams. Being emergency it’s quite common that we see pets when they are critically ill. It is such an emotional time for our clients when their loved one is very ill, we see miracles and fantastic journeys of survival every day though. One particular patient that is memorable for me; his name is Limo and he’s an adorable senior Dachshund. We have actually seen him a couple of times over the past few months from different unrelated complaint – most recently he had GDV surgery, I triaged him out to our vet team and will admit I was very worried as he looked so sick. It made my week, coming back into shift a few days later to see he was doing so well! His owners are so dedicated and clearly love him so much, I love to give him a cuddle when I see him getting checked out by the VSS surgeons.”

Emily says being an Emergency Clinic environment at AES, no shift is ever the same and each day they see such a variety of cases. Her most memorable (and unusual) case was when, on one of her first shifts, a large Mastiff was admitted after ingesting a bag of marijuana. 

There is rarely a dull moment working at AES. Emily arguably has one of the funniest AES stories to tell among the team at Underwood. She describes one shift when she was in a kennel with a lovely stray Staffy that had been brought into the clinic. Emily made her a comfy bed and was taking some great photos of her to post onto social media to reunite her with her family. As she bonded with the dog, she realised she had accidentally locked herself in the kennel. Not realizing that the door could only be unlocked from the outside, she was lucky she had her phone on her! To add to her embarrassment, her rescuing colleague was sure to snap a few pics of Emily snuggled in a cage with the lovely stray Staffy!


What drew you to helping animals?

I’ve forever had a love of animals and I think we have a lot to learn from them. Animals love unconditionally. Animals live freely. Animals will always give you their all to make you happy. We need more people like this in the world, who are just so in love with life and living, that they can only pass it on others.


Tell us about why you like working for Animal Emergency Service.

Animal Emergency Service sets the bar for the standard of excellence for providing first class vet care in the country. Seeing extraordinary survival stories come down to our teams of the very best emergency vets and highly trained nurses in the country, these teams are giving their all and their best during the night when everyone else is sleeping. it’s not just what Animal Emergency Service does in our hospital that makes us so great, it’s what we put back into the industry – from running training events for our primary vets and participating in community events such as RSPCA surgery days.


What do you do for fun outside of work?

My life pretty much revolves around animals! I have three of the cutest Pugs and a 78kg Mastiff named Chance who is a rescue dog and had a pretty rough start to life. His career now is a superhero in our clinic, saving lives by donating blood.

I was fortunate enough to grow up on an acreage and have been riding since I was three years old. I currently compete in showing and dressage my beautiful Warmblood mare Dicavalli Diamonds who I bred, and am having an absolute ball competing on her. We are sharing some fantastic wins but the journey we are on is the best part, from seeing her being born to actually riding her and competing is just an incredible experience!