I was sitting drinking my coffee this morning, talking to my family, and trying to come up with an idea for the blog. Both of my adult children were home and we were chatting about ideas concerning leadership, positivity and self-improvement. As we batted around these ideas, my younger dog Parker pooped right in front of us on my living room carpet. He has been house trained for at least eight months now and never pulls this kind of stunt, but I recently changed his yard routine – I fertilized his backyard and have been taking him out in the front yard. I guess he is thinking, you change my routine I poop on your carpet.

As I cleaned up the odiferous mess, my daughter jokingly said, “Life be like that some time.” Then I added, “Everything comes down to poo.” Referring of course to the “Scrubs – My Musical” episode that aired in 2007 featuring a song about poo.  If you have not seen the episode, look it up and listen to it on YouTube. It is funny and so relatable to veterinary medicine. 

The talk and laughter that ensued as we listened to that song again, got me thinking about how a veterinarian’s and veterinary team’s life involves a lot of poo – both literally and metaphorically.   If we can retain the correct attitude about it, we can remember to laugh and enjoy our job in spite of the fact that much of our job revolves around poop.   

Veterinary life is like puppy poop on your carpet.  A blog is born…

There are so many opportunities to deal with literal “poo” in our profession and we actually make some money as we deal with it. We have the fecal smear, the fecal flotation, fecal gram stain, and fecal culture. We deal with dog poo, cat poo, rabbit poo, lizard poo and the ever so frequent bird poo on my white lab coat.  

Everything does, indeed, come down to poo. We also deal with a lot of other negative stuff (poo) daily.

Poo is inherently negative, right? Wrong! Our thoughts about it can be negative. Sorry, I keep using the “poo” as a metaphor and you are probably tired of reading that word. What I really mean is that the negative thoughts you choose about your day cause your feelings of stress and negativity. 

You can choose to think about anything differently in order to experience better feelings.

When something happens, it is a fact. It happened and you can’t change it.  You get to choose how you want to think about it. If you think the fact is sad or negative in some way, you will create sad, negative feelings in your body. If you find a different way of looking at it, thinking a more positive thought, you will feel more positive about it.  

For example, a client’s dog is severely ill, and you don’t think you can save it. That is a sad fact. You can either choose to feel helpless and sad, or you can change your focus to one of helping the client navigate the decisions that need to be made. Focus on your talent for working with clients, not saving the patient. If you can focus on the conversation and counsel the client and your abilities therewith, you will feel useful, not useless. If you focus on what you can’t do, you will feel helpless. If you focus on what you can do for the client, you will feel helpful.

Remember that every veterinarian and veterinary technician has insecurities. It is totally normal to feel negative emotions. Just realize that the negative emotions come from your thoughts about any given situation.  You get to choose those thoughts. Your brain is powerful!  

This is your life and you are in charge of your satisfaction. If you are not happy, work to change your mind. You may not be able to change your situation, but you can change your thoughts about your situation. 

If you are experiencing difficulty seeing the humor in the “poo” in your life reach out for help. We all get stuck and need someone to help us out of our negative emotions. There are plenty of great therapists and life coaches that would love to help you get through it. Taking care of yourself is always your first priority.

So, thank you to Bridget, Tristan, Scott and of course Parker for interrupting our blog brainstorming session to poop on the carpet. You saved me some time by giving me a great example for creating positive thoughts.  

Stay positive this week! 

“I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive.”  – Joan Rivers

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.


Dr. Cappel works as a small animal and exotic pet veterinarian, certified leadership and life coach. She has been a practice owner for over 20 years running a five doctor veterinary practice in Warren, Michigan.  She authors a weekly blog, “The Veterinary Life with Dr. Julie Cappel” and a weekly Podcast, “The Veterinary Life Coach Podcast.” She has works published in DVM 360, Firstline and The Michigan Veterinarian. She has served on multiple veterinary committees, school boards and was an executive committee member for the Southeastern Michigan Veterinary Medical Association serving as their president in 2006. She has also served on the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association executive board serving as their president in 2015 and continues to work as an advisor for the MVMA “A team,” MVMA Power of Ten group and on several other committees.