An interview with Asheville’s holistic vet: A Lesson in Listening



Dr. Laurel Davis, Asheville’s holistic vet, offers Stories from a Holistic Veterinarian, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.

Have a question for Dr. Laurel? Send it in.

Want comprehensive or detailed dog or cat advice? Schedule an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype consultation.

An interview with Asheville’s holistic vet: Lesson in Listening


For Asheville’s holistic veterinarian, Dr. Laurel Davis, listening to dogs and cats is a way of life.


Have you ever felt like your furry companion has a message for you, but you’re unsure how to fully understand their needs? Do you wish to connect with your pup or kitty friend on a deeper level? Asheville’s holistic vet, Dr. Laurel Davis, shares her tried-and-true techniques, implemented in her practice, Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic.

This week, to shake our blog format up a bit, we here at Sunvet did an interview with the good doctor! As Sunvet’s staff, we get to see Dr. Laurel in action every day, and her deep connection with the often well-hidden needs and wisdom of our animal clients is truly mind-blowing. So…we asked her our own burning questions about how she does it!

We hope you enjoy this two-part interview, which provides you with tools to connect with your fur babies on a deeper level. In our experience, Dr. Laurel reminds us that mindfulness is not a journey to take solely on your own; instead, we can all integrate our practices of deep listening and connection into our relationships with our beloved dogs and cats.


the Sunvet team: Billie, Linda and Crystal


In your opinion, what are the three most significant differences between the ways in which, animals communicate and listen with one another versus the ways humans communicate and listen with one another?


First of all, animals communicate sincerely: they say and do what they mean. And, wouldn’t that be great if all people did the same? Because of this, animals listen cleanly, believing every message their fellow beings send out to them. Thirdly, animals communicate with pure emotion: frustration, fear, joy, etc. We people are known to mask our true feelings for various reasons.


What are some ways humans can listen to their animals through physical means such as body language, vocalizations, subtle changes in behavior, etc?


When I am in Sunvet’s consult room with an animal, I pay close attention to their behavior, how they move and what they do during our time together. These actions during our time are just as important as the ideas and words that are floating between their people and me. I watch for where they choose to seat themselves and at what point in the conversation they choose to become more animated. When this occurs, I dig deeper. Most times we uncover key aspects related to answers to a presenting problem. Discussions of food will inevitably unleash movement, noise, and joy.


What is the most valuable thing you have learned from listening to animals? 


I must present myself in a certain way if I am going to even make contact. I must be well hydrated and grounded. I achieve this by deep breathing, letting go of all ties to everything outside of the consultation room. Additionally, I let go of anger and fear in order to be present and in the moment. I am then fully committed to serving my patients with ultimate dedication. This allows me to be aware of the divine and how we ARE a part of one another. All these things I have learned to make a part of me if the exchange between me and my patient is going to move forward. I pray that I will someday be able to conduct myself outside of the consultation room in the same way.


Perhaps the most valuable thing I have learned from listening to the animals is to ‘be here now.’ To be smelling the breeze, feeling the rain or the sun’s rays, stretching out in the grass, or playing in the creek.


How do listening to and connecting deeply with companion animals help humans listen to one another better?


In order to listen to and connect deeply with our companion animals, we must be truly available. This means no cell phones or other paraphernalia, letting go of all other agendas, slowing down or speeding up to match their certain energy level. Let them become your total focus, it’s gift for both you and your furry companion. Allow yourself to become caught up in the physical sensations that go along with the sincere connection. It’s incredible how much they are warmer than we are. As their whiskers tickle, they are willing to let time stand still. They are not in any hurry to move on, as they are fully in the moment. It’s fulfilling to soften ourselves without expecting anything. I invite you to be open to everything, to be aware of and not afraid of the love that comes bubbling out of that connection.


Stay tuned…our interview continues in next week’s blog post!


Learn more about Dr Laurel Davis. 


Asheville's holistic vet

Dr. Laurel Davis is Asheville’s holistic vet offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinicRead more patient stories.

Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.

Do you have a story about Dr. Laurel’s dog advice or how she helped your dog or cat? Please leave it in the comments below or write a Google Review.


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