Reflections from My Time with Dr. Tejinder Sodhi, DVM
By Amanda Ree Ringnalda
Recently, I had the unique opportunity to travel up to Washington to spend two inspirational weeks in the company of Dr. Tejinder Sodhi. As a holistic veterinarian who has practiced for over 30 years, Dr. Sodhi is a pioneer in integrative healing for animals and was the vet who brought Ayurveda into the the AHVMA (American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association) in 1991. He and several of his family members moved from India to the Seattle area in 1985, bringing with them rich knowledge about the healing sciences of the East — Ayurveda, the mind-body health system of life.
My interest in shadowing Dr. Sodhi was to get a peek into the world of holistic healing as it’s applied in the veterinary sense. Being that I’m a teacher of Ayurveda for dogs (as well as humans), and recently founded an organization called Sama Dog which aims to spread the wisdom of Ayurveda into our dog’s lives, there was no better place to learn.
His 2-story office in Bellevue, Washington is a healing hub for beings of all kinds. The upstairs space provides Ayurvedic healing for people, and the downstairs for pets. In his Bellevue clinic, as well in his second clinic in Lynnwood, WA, Dr. Sodhi offers a wide variety of holistic modalities, philosophies, treatments and procedures. He’s not only a doctor of veterinary medicine, but also a trained acupuncturist, a certified veterinary chiropractor, and a trained rehabilitation and homeopathy specialist.
Dr. Sodhi takes time to understand the whole picture and unique story surrounding each individual animal, learning about their background and present circumstances, and combines this with his knowledge of potential outcomes in the future. He touches and examines each furry patient extensively, and it was easy to perceive his “tuning in” to detect what was ailing each one. He was also able, in many cases, to intuitively sense how much pain the animal was in, which was oftentimes very different from what their lovable and accepting faces seemed to convey. Animals are so stoic.
When it comes to treatment, Dr. Sodhi’s training in conventional veterinary medicine allows him to pull from more prevalent healing tools such as medication, non-invasive procedures and surgeries. As an integrative veterinarian, he also applies his knowledge and skills in acupuncture, chiropractic, nutrition and Ayurvedic herbs. As a rehabilitation center, his practice also offers recovery tools such as hydrotherapy, cold laser and massage. One of the highlights for me was to watch all the different dogs, from 6 lbs to 200 lbs, slowly submerge into the warm-water treadmill to walk their way towards healing. And they looked totally adorable while doing so!
In simply observing Dr. Sodhi’s multiple appointments, conversations, phone consultations and treatments, I gained a broader and clearer understanding of what is possible in holistic veterinary medicine. I was continually struck by the willingness of each pet parent to do whatever it took to help their pet heal. And, more times than I would have thought, healing was possible. I heard stories and saw (yes, even in a mere 2 weeks) recovery that was truly exceptional. One who stood out to me, probably because of my affinity for Bernese Mountain Dogs, was Yoshi. This “Berner” had been seeing Dr. Sodhi for relief from his bone, joint and muscle problems. When I first met Yoshi, he was unable to walk without assistance – his loving dog-mom had to carry him in with a sling around his big hips. 3 times per week he was receiving acupuncture with electric stimulation and doing sessions on the underwater treadmill. He was also taking herbal supplements like ashwagandha, boswelia and curcumin. The image of Yoshi walking in unassisted for his appointment 2 weeks later is one that will always stay with me. Once again, I stand in awe of the healing capabilities of the body when given the right circumstances and support.
The body is a healing unit with its own innate intelligence, and every one is uniquely different. This is the essence of Ayurveda. When one understands the overall picture of a particular animal and considers all layers of their being — physical, mental, emotional, energetic — their unique needs can be specifically addressed. If we can pair this deeper understanding of healing with the human companion’s loving intention, our pets can experience vibrancy and total wellbeing.
In addition to fulfilling my intention of learning in a big way, I came away with an admiration for how the Sodhi family is “living” Ayurveda. I came to know Dr. Sodhi, his wonderful wife Sushma, his daughter Rupali who is a third year vet student and several other members of their family during our 2-week visit. By “living Ayurveda” I mean that each of them is an embodiment of conscious living… following the Ayurvedic theory, eating balancing foods, and by observing daily practices and principles which nourish them and their family most.
Dr. Sodhi’s approach to healing truly embodies the essence of “Yoga,” or as it’s defined in Sanskrit, “union.” He serves as a bridge of Western to Eastern healing wisdom. This union creates a unique and exceptionally effective healing opportunity for all. Union is the nature of the Sodhi family and I saw this expressed in the way they have come together with their business and service endeavors; the way the staff (and tag-alongs like me) are treated as part of the family, the way they authentically connect and care for their clients and patients, and the way their overall viewpoint of wellbeing is entirely inclusive. In the end, a deeper understanding of the true essence of Yoga — union — is what I’ve come away with most.
Imagine if we broadened our scope of wellness for all our pets, and “beings” as a whole. Imagine the potential impact that could have on all of us. Our world. Our families and communities. Ultimately, unity is the path to healing.
Gratitude to all those who build bridges and strengthen connections worldwide, and the enormous impact of their ripple.
The referenced clinics are:
Animal Wellness and Rehabilitation Clinic
Dr. Tejinder Sodhi
Bellevue, WA (425) 455-8900
Lynwood, WA (425) 771-6300
Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic (Humans)
Dr. Virender Sodhi