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Vets4Pets Braintree

Meet the Braintree Vet Team

Samantha Baker JVP

Samantha Baker

Veterinary Surgeon & Partner

Having originally trained in New Zealand, I graduated from Massey University in 1995, and during the 19 years that have flown by since then, I have gained a wealth of knowledge in small animal practice. I have been practising in the UK since 1998. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my career so far, during which time I have developed a passion for canine and feline medicine and therapeutics and a great enthusiasm for working with small furries (rabbits, guinea pigs & hamsters). I now relish the challenge that having my own clinic will bring, along with the chance to develop and nurture my fabulous team, some of whom I have worked closely with before.

At home I have two cats – Jack and Tom - as well as a rabbit called Lieutenant Dan and a dog named Bali.

When not at work, I enjoy the outdoors, live (rock) music, theatre, cinema and travel. At Vets4Pets Braintree, clients can be assured of receiving the best level of both clinical and customer care. I shall endeavour to instil an atmosphere where they feel welcome, nurtured and respected and where their pets are treated as though they were part of our family.


David Taylor

Veterinary Surgeon 

I qualified at the Royal Veterinary College and have worked in small animal (dogs and cats) equine and farm practices variously, along with brief experiences with zoo animals, so a real mixed bag of experience. I had my own practice for many years based in Hockley near Southend and saw it grow from being single handed to 3 vets and two surgeries before selling it and working part time.

My interests in the small animal field include surgery, where I am happy performing many orthopaedic procedures, and I particularly like some of the more challenging soft tissue surgeries, correcting abnormalities in anatomy and dealing with large tumours. I supported and was involved in dealing with dog and cat behaviour problems and after I sold my practice the two nurses I worked with, went on to establish a very successful behaviour and pet training business in this area, and continue to do very well.

My wife Denise and I have bred Dalmatians for many years, specialising in producing calm and sane pets for families with children. I have competed nationally with horses in carriage driving trials winning at Royal Windsor and have been awarded National Champion on a number of occasions with horses in tandem.

I have grandchildren, a number of which fortunately live close by, such that we are able to spend a lot of time with them as they grow up which we both find very rewarding.

We have three Dalmatians of our own and my daughter has a Pug. We also have ducks, chickens, a pony and horses at home, so we have a very animal orientated home life.



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Sophie Brown

Veterinary Surgeon

Since graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011, I have practised all over Essex, London and on occasion further afield. Alongside a role in charity practice, honing my long term medical management and critical care skills, I have been fortunate enough to work with the team here, at Braintree, since the practice opened over 2 years ago. Now a permanent member of the team, I look forward to building a good rapport with all clients and their pets.

My other joys in life are my husband, our two Labradors and tea and cake!

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Katharine Sewell

Part Time Veterinary Surgeon

After graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2008, I have worked in a few locations around my home county of Essex. I started with traditional mixed animal practice in Harlow (everything from small furries, cats and dogs to pigs, goats, cows and horses!) before deciding to concentrate on small animals. I spent almost four years working with pets in Tiptree before joining the Vets4Pets Braintree team in April 2014 and now splitting my time between the Maldon and Braintree branches.

Clinically I enjoy surgery, and the challenges and rewards that this discipline provides. I also like working with small mammals, with a particular soft spot for ferrets.

Outside of work I am very keen on martial arts, and make the time to train several times a week. At home I have a cat, Elsie, who is always very badly behaved whenever she needs to come into the clinic!

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Gemma Rudd

Head Veterinary Nurse

Having been brought up on a dairy farm, working with animals has always been part of my life and I could never imagine doing anything else. Every day is different and just as rewarding as the next.

I began a work placement at Companion Care Chelmsford in 2007 and I was then lucky enough to join the team to train to become a nurse. I have been nursing now for seven years and qualified as an RVN in 2011.I am also a trained clinical coach, so I can pass on my knowledge and skills to other nursing students, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Outside of work, I have two guinea pigs, Toffee and Lola, of which I share ownership with my younger sisters. I enjoy the usual things in life: seeing friends, eating out, films, music and reading.


Nikki Baker

Registered Veterinary Nurse

From a very young age I knew I had always wanted to work alongside animals in one way or another, as it is a huge passion of mine. I started my career and training in Chelmsford where I gained much of my knowledge. I have been nursing since I was 17 years old, and qualified in 2015. I thoroughly enjoy nursing, we see so many amazing and exciting procedures and no two days are ever the same.

At home I own my gorgeous American Bulldog called Kylie, two Guinea Pigs, an Alexanders Parakeet, a Bearded Dragon, and lots of chickens. In my spare time I enjoy playing netball, walking the dogs with friends, going to the cinema, and when I get chance jetting off on holiday.

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Louise Hards

Registered Veterinary Nurse

I started my veterinary career in 2001 when I graduated from Writtle college with an NVQ in Animal Care. I was lucky enough to do my work experience in a vet clinic close to home. I trained and qualified as an Animal Nursing Assistant (ANA). I eventually managed to secure a job at a training practice and got the chance to fulfil a childhood dream. I graduated from Myerscough College as a qualified Veterinary Nurse in 2007.

Since qualifying I have gained experience in a number of practices and have been involved in training some amazing student nurses. I hold an Assessor and Clinical Coach qualification so I am able to train future nurses. I have also undertook courses in Animal nutrition and recently, whilst on maternity leave with my youngest, completed a year long certificate in Feline Nursing.

I live in Chelmsford with my husband, my two young children Emily and Oliver, a crazy Labrador called Bentley and my two rescue cats Lenny and Barry.



Maldon Vets4Pets Philippa Cooper

Philippa Cooper

Registered Veterinary Nurse

From as young as I can remember, I have always wanted to work with animals. I filled my summer holidays from the age of 11 working in pet shops, kennels and catteries and helping out at rescue centres, until I was old enough to start my Veterinary Nursing course as Writtle College when I was 17.

I qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in July 2011, and since then have worked in mixed animal practices in Essex.

I love all aspects of nursing and have a particular interest in emergency nursing, nurse clinics and keeping my working environment clean and organised.

I have worked for Vets4Pets since 2011, but joined the Braintree team in April 2017 after returning from maternity leave. I live in Chelmsford with my husband, son and my 3 dogs - Lolly, Brody and Django; in my spare time, I enjoy socialising with friends, dog walking and going to the gym.


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Holly Ralph

Student Veterinary Nurse

I have loved animals from a very young age and could not imagine not working with them every day. In 2011 I studied Animal management at Writtle College for 3 years which I enjoyed thoroughly and this heightened my knowledge in caring for and handling animals.

In November 2016 I applied to become a Veterinary Care Assistant here at Vets4pets Braintree. I enjoy coming to work every day to work with a brilliant team. I started my training to become a Veterinary Nurse in September 2017 at Writtle College in Chelmsford. At home I have rabbits, guinea pigs and three dogs Murray, Roxy and Rosie. In my spare time I like to socialise, go to the cinema, concerts and go on holidays!


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Emily-Jade Gruender

Student Veterinary Nurse

I first aspired to become a Veterinary Nurse at the age of 4 after developing a love for animals. I worked hard through school to achieve good grades in order to help me get this goal. I had many pets as I grew up which really helped me understand how to care for them, such as cats, fish and hamsters which I adored.

I started working at a retired Greyhound kennel in 2012 when I received my first dog, called Danny, as a Christmas present from my Grandparents. Since then my love for Greyhounds has grown and my family now owns 3, Brian, Merlin and Buzz Lightyear being my own.

I’m currently studying at Writtle University to become a qualified Veterinary Nurse and have been at Vets4Pets Braintree since February 2016. I enjoy working with all animals and my favourite thing to do is care for inpatients. I hope to enhance my learning here and gain skills that I will need in order to become fully qualified.

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Brandon Burgess

Veterinary Care Assistant

I graduated from Bangor University with BSc in Zoology with Marine Zoology in 2013. Before that I had gained experience working at Pets At Home stores and completing my National Diploma in Animal Management.

After University I once again worked for Pets At Home and had the opportunity of working at the Royal Veterinary College caring for animals. Whilst at the RVC I developed my knowledge working with all types of animals from mice to cows but realised I wanted to work in a more veterinary environment. I applied for the job as a Veterinary Care Assistant here and was over the moon when I got the job.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, playing guitar and video games as well as caring for my five pets who keep me busy.



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Hollie Sawyer

Head Receptionist

My interest in animals began when I was a small child and I was thrilled when my parents bought me a puppy Westie when I turned 13. I walked him, bathed him, trained him and spent every spare minute I had with him.

Two years ago I applied for a weekend receptionist job at a veterinary surgery and was over the moon when I got the job. I loved my time there and gained my interest in the veterinary industry. I am very excited about my new venture as a full time member of a veterinary team and meeting lots of new people with their furry friends in the Braintree District.

I live in Chelmsford with my boyfriend and we have Alfie the Westie and Florence the cat who are the best of friends. I enjoy socialising with friends and family, cinema (especially horrors) and have recently taken up knitting.

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Jenny Wakefield


I grew up in Essex on a smallholding in a wood so have been around animals from a young age. In the past I have worked in retail and Pharmacy but I am excited to be working on Reception meeting and greeting people with their pets and alongside such a great team.

My favourite animals are Guinea Pigs and I currently have 8, I also have 2 Hamsters. I love to learn about Guinea Pigs and I successfully passed the British Association of Rodentologists Rodent Health advisory training course in 2014.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, family and friends and I love going to my allotment as well as baking.