One story circling social media is “The Story of Two Wolves”. In this story a boy walks with an elder and begins telling of a struggle. Two wolves are fighting within him. The first wolf is made up all negative emotions; anger, hate, ego and maliciousness.

The second wolf encompasses positive emotion; love, kindness, compassion and empathy. The boy asks his elder which wolf will survive. The elder simply replies, “The one you feed.”

Deep stuff right there. A wonderful story to remind us that our energy contributes to our emotions. But if you’re not into philosophical musings because you are busy in real life, I would like to break this down for you.

These wolves do not just represent our human emotions. They represent small situations we deal with every day. The evil wolves of vet med can be an angry client, coworkers who treat you like crap, 1-star ratings, or a toxic environment.

The good wolf is the client who brings you donuts, the parvo puppy going home after hospitalization, a coworker who teaches you or learning something new. Any life situation or clinic situation has their own versions of evil and good.

So now let’s talk about feeding them. We’ve all had our victories. Seeing a patient who was critically ill respond to treatment walk out the door is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. In those moments we feel like we created magic and our faith in goodness is restored. But it’s fleeting at times.

We experience it and then we move on. We talk to our family about it with dinner. But then the day ends, and we forget about it to a degree.

We all have that one client. The one who doesn’t want to comply with recommendations and is downright rude to the staff. A client who seems to enjoy talking down to others and completely ignoring any attempt to help their pet. The client who gets the team in a tizzy and then staff needs to vent. So, they talk about how awful this person is or how rude they are. And then, one more staff member joins in and then another.

Now we have a full-on venting session that has taken up a huge chunk of our time and no one has left feeling any better.

What wolf do you feed? Do you feed the wolf who encourages, is kind or makes you realize you have the best job in the world? Or do you feed the wolf who leaves you feeling angry, irritated and losing your faith in humanity? Which one do you talk about more? Who do you think of when your head hits the pillow at night?

When we deal with these wolves, it is so important to remember that we get to choose how we feel. We can look at our victories, our amazing work, or our little moments of happiness. Or we can focus on the inconveniences and problems we deal with every day.

We choose where we invest our energy and where we invest it is important in getting through this crazy world of vet med. The battle will always be there.  Look for your blessings and remember that we determine what wolf lives in us.

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


Jade is a licensed technician of 9 years who lives in Port Orchard, Washington. She enjoys emergency and critical cases, dentistry and creating a bond with her clients and team. During her off time she is busy keeping up with her two crazy Basenjis!