Sheridan’s husband at the time was an avid sailor, so when an affordable boat became available in Panama, the pair packed up their stuff and invested in Chuffed – a 37ft aluminium sailboat built in 1990.
Although the marriage did not work out for Sheridan, sailing did, and she has since assumed the role of Captain. Now living aboard, Sheridan travels around the world with her partner offering free veterinary care and education to underserved communities.
“Our mission is to set up long-term improvements for animal welfare and health,” Sheridan says. “Sometimes that’s through education programs with local vets, or helping rural and regional vets form connections to improve their skills. Instead of just coming in and performing tasks for them, like orthopaedic surgeries for example, we want to give them the resources and teach them how to continue the work once we leave.”
Because Sheridan moves locations frequently, paid veterinary work is not possible due to registration requirements in different countries, so she keeps her dream alive by documenting her adventures through her non-profit, Vet Tails, and sharing them with a global audience.
“When I first started with the charity work I realised I was going to need funding, and at the time YouTube was coming into being all of the rage. So we started filming our adventures, and it grew from there.
“YouTube itself doesn’t generate much income, but it gives us a platform to connect with people, and our audience sees what we’re doing and they want to help, so they donate,” she says.
Sheridan is currently traveling around Central America, where she performs specialised surgeries, runs spay and neuter campaigns, provides lectures to wildlife groups, and works to improve the processes and treatments of local animal clinics. Her adventurous life provides a glimpse into one of the many potential pathways for a veterinarian.
“I think the great thing about JCU’s vet school is that it opens your eyes a little bit to other things you can do with your degree, besides the normal clinic work. Because it’s a bit more rural, you get exposed to a variety of different people from different backgrounds,” Sheridan says.
“Although working as a farm vet or a small animal vet with cats and dogs is great, it’s important to be aware of other possibilities. There are lots and lots of opportunities to do some really cool things, like become involved in research, or helping form new policies for the government in regards to wildlife and the environment. It’s definitely not a one-pathway career.”
Want to know where Sheridan is heading next? Keep up to date with all of her adventures.