The Well-Being Buddy Blog

#WellBeingWednesday featuring Dr. Cindy Trice, Chief Veterinary Officer at Hound

Welcome to our VERY FIRST post for our guest blog series, where we feature veterinary professionals from all over who share their stories, strategies, and struggles with maintaining well-being while working in veterinary medicine! I have had the honor of knowing Dr. Cindy Trice since 2021 when I first began brainstorming how I could create a business that supports the humans of vet med, and today I am lucky to call her a friend! We recently had the chance to connect in person at the FVMA 2024 conference, where we reflected on each of our journeys, shared the woes and WHOAs of the entrepreneurial rollercoaster, and got excited about big dreams and projects on the horizon for both of us! She has been such an inspiration to me and I know she’s going to be for you too, so I’m so excited to share our guest blog featuring Dr. Cindy Trice!

Tell us a little bit about your vet med journey: How many years have you worked in veterinary medicine? What kind of clinics have you worked in? What do you love most about working in vet med?

Cindy: I came to vet med as a second career. I had what I refer to as my mid-20s crisis where I realized I wasn’t satisfied with my work in video, film, and TV production. I called my bestie – which is highly recommended any time you need support – I mean your bestie, not mine! πŸ˜‰ – and I told her I wanted to work with animals. I didn’t actually know what I meant by that but she gave me the very practical piece of advice to go find a job – any job – working with animals and start there. So that’s what I did! I started volunteering at a marine mammal rehabilitation center and I applied to a job as a receptionist at a local veterinary practice. When I went in for my interview, the vet – puzzled by my resume and lack of any experience having to do with the role – asked me why I wanted to work at his clinic. And I said, “because I want to be a vet.” And that was literally the first time the thought popped in my mind. And I only said it to get the job! But after working there for a few months, I realized I really did want to be a vet! So I started taking all the science classes that I had successfully avoided in my undergraduate years and 3 and 1/2 years later, I found myself at UC Davis Vet School. I graduated in 2004 and after doing an internship have spent most of my career as a relief vet working in GP, ER, shelter, and mobile practices. I learned just a few years into my career that relief practices was the right fit for me since I love serving my colleagues and helping to support their businesses and help them take a break. I also get bored easily and love to wander so the flexibility and variety of relief practice has been perfect for me. I’ve been able to turn it into a lifestyle choice that has allowed me to live in different parts of the country. What I love most about vet med is the people. Of course I love puzzling out the medicine and getting to work with animals, but I also really love all the passionate, wonderful people working in vet med. I even like the clients too! (Most of them, anyway…!).

Wow! I actually never knew that you started out in the film/TV industry before now, so even I’m getting to know you better already! πŸ˜‚ One of the things we are well aware of is the occupational demands that vet med can take on your well-being – do you mind sharing what current habits or strategies you have to support your own well-being?

Cindy: One thing that has really has helped me is to get my head out of vet med on a regular basis. There was a time when I really didn’t do a whole lot else besides work in vet med, look things up on cases, and talk about it to my husband, friends, and family members. It really was my whole identity! This was a mistake and I didn’t mean for this to happen. I think for years, I was so excited about the job and I’m a natural work-a-holic so it was easy for me to slip into this and not notice until suddenly I found myself very burnt out. I still work relief shifts on the ER some weekends, but otherwise I don’t work as much clinical practice as I used to. But even without being in clinical practice all the time, I can still find myself falling into my work-a-holic habits. What I do to offset this tendency is to take myself outside of the world of work and vet med at a regular cadence. I’ve learned to connect with my friends and family in other ways besides talking about my work life. I love novelty so I’ll look for ways to learn something completely new – whether that is through reading books, taking courses online, taking art or dance classes. I just love to sample things, meet different cohorts of people, and get out of my own head. At this moment I’m taking tap dancing lessons, pilates, and gyrotonics – (if you haven’t heard of that, look it up! It’s a great way to exercise.) I’m also reading some great short stories called The Angel of Rome by Jess Walter.

I think that’s something so important that we often don’t talk about enough, is ways to create space for ourselves to remove our “job” hat and engage in hobbies outside of our career and industry! That is something I’m sure some of our readers will takeaway to try for themselves if they don’t already do that! What kinds of suggestions would you like to share with other vet pros about prioritizing self-care and well-being?

I have a confession. I hate yoga. I know I’m supposed to like yoga. Everyone likes yoga! And I’m exactly the kind of person who needs yoga – I’m inflexible (physically, not mentally), impatient, and hyper. This is probably why I hate yoga. And I’ve tried. So. Many. Times. Because it feels like I need it. And society, and to a large degree wellness in vet med tells me I’m supposed to like it. But trying so hard to like it was stressful. So I gave up and admitted to myself that it’s not for me. And don’t even get me started on meditation… All that said, I look for things that I do like and that bring me joy. And I don’t always get it right, but I’m not afraid to try new things. In fact, trying new things is a hobby for me! I give myself no pressure to become an expert at the things I’m learning outside of vet med. It’s just for fun. If I stick with it, great! If I don’t, no worries. And don’t forget, finding the funny, laughing as much as possible, and dancing for no reason are hobbies. Trust me!

I have to laugh at this now, because you skipped out on my Puppy Yoga session at FVMA and now I know why! 😜 Just kidding, but I do love that you highlight a “find what works best for YOU” approach to taking care of ourselves – that is something I tend to say a lot when I’m coaching and presenting!

As we wrap up this guest feature, I’d love to leave our readers with some inspiration and hope among the negativity that we often face. What words of encouragement would you like to share with any vet pros that might be facing a challenging time right now?

Take yourself outside of your norm. Challenge yourself to do something totally unrelated to animal health. Ideally something where you will meet people. This could be classes, volunteer work, meet-ups for whatever type of shared activity. This will help you meet people outside of your world and see different perspectives. It doesn’t mean you need to form new friendships, although you may. (And maybe don’t tell people you are in vet med…we all know where THAT can lead!) Engaging in novelty is a way to jiggle your brain and knock those rolling little balls of not always supportive self-talk, unhelpful habits, and limiting ideas out of their tracks so those ruts can smooth out and you can create some more positive brain paths. It works and it’s fun!

Dr. Cindy Trice’s favorite quote:

Novelty is the great parent of pleasure.

Thank you SO much to Dr. Cindy Trice for sharing those tangible tips and personal examples of how you can take care of yourself while working in veterinary medicine!

And to our readers – we are so grateful for your time and hope you found value from this guest feature! We would love for you to leave a comment with your biggest takeaway from this article and to keep the conversation going!

About our Dr. Cindy Trice:

Dr. Cindy Trice is a multi-state licensed relief veterinarian with over 20 years of experience working in many unique general practice, emergency, mobile, and shelter clinics. She is the founder of Relief Rover, (, a community connecting relief vets and techs to jobs and resources. In 2023, Relief Rover was acquired by Hound and she now serves as their Chief Veterinary Officer. She is also on the Board of Directors of the NAVC. She’s a serial entrepreneur and based on her experiences as a cancer patient, she founded a clothing company called KickIt Pajamas ( that designs sleepwear and other clothing for women battling cancer. She spends most of the year living in Bradenton, FL with her husband and 3 long and low dogs. In her spare time she loves to volunteer, cook, scheme travel plans, and write rap lyrics for hamsters.

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