In the hustle and bustle of Veterinary practice, amidst the flurry of patients, paperwork, and procedures, there exists a quiet yet profound opportunity for compassion and connection. In recent times, the importance of genuine human interaction has been underscored by none other than Elmo, the iconic red monster from “Sesame Street.” His simple question, “How’s everyone doing?” resonated not only with the estimated 216 million viewers, but also holds significant relevance within the Veterinary community, emphasizing the importance of kindness and empathy towards colleagues.

In a video message aimed at the American public during a time of collective uncertainty and stress, Elmo’s sincere inquiry touched the hearts of viewers of all ages. His message transcended screens and reached into the core of human emotion, serving as a poignant reminder of the power of genuine concern for one another’s well-being.

In the context of Veterinary practice, where the demands of the job can be physically and emotionally taxing, the act of asking a colleague how they are doing takes on added significance. Behind the scenes of animal care, there exists a network of dedicated professionals whose tireless efforts often go unnoticed. Amidst the challenges they face—whether it’s the loss of a patient, the strain of long hours, or the burden of administrative tasks—a simple expression of kindness can make all the difference.

Beyond mere pleasantries, asking a colleague how they are doing signals empathy and solidarity. It acknowledges the humanity of those we work alongside, inviting them to share their joys, fears, and struggles. In a profession where compassion fatigue and burnout are all too common, this gesture of genuine concern can serve as a lifeline, reminding colleagues that they are not alone in their journey.

Moreover, the power lies not only in asking the question, but also in being present and actively listening to the response. In a fast-paced environment where time is often limited, offering a colleague your undivided attention can be a rare and precious gift. It creates a space where people feel heard, valued, and understood, fostering a sense of camaraderie and support.

Research in psychology consistently demonstrates the therapeutic effects of feeling listened to and understood. When Veterinary professionals feel that their experiences and emotions are validated by their peers, it can lead to increased resilience, improved job satisfaction, and enhanced overall well-being. In essence, the simple act of asking “How are you doing?” and genuinely listening to the answer can be a powerful form of emotional support within the Veterinary community.

Furthermore, showing kindness and empathy towards colleagues can break down barriers and strengthen relationships within the practice. It fosters a culture of compassion and understanding, where Veterinary professionals feel safe to express vulnerability and seek support when needed. In a profession often characterized by high levels of stress and pressure, these moments of genuine connection are invaluable for promoting mental health and professional fulfillment.

Incorporating this practice into daily interactions within the Veterinary practice can have far-reaching effects, both on an individual and organizational level. By prioritizing empathy and genuine human connection, Veterinary professionals contribute to a workplace culture that values well-being and mutual support. They create environments where colleagues feel seen, heard, and valued, ultimately enhancing job satisfaction and patient care.

As we recognize Mental Health Awareness in May, take a moment the next time you interact with a colleague in the Veterinary practice to ask them how they are doing. And when they respond, listen with an open heart and mind. You never know the difference a simple question can make in someone’s day, or even their career. As Elmo demonstrated, sometimes all it takes is a little kindness and genuine concern to brighten someone’s day and remind them that they are not alone in their professional journey.

(Photo Credit: VIAVAL TOURS/