Hood Canal local Dr. Anna Maria Wolf recently sat down with me to discuss her career as a holistic veterinarian, creating a life in Brinnon with her family, and her passion for wildlife photography.
Note: I have pulled information from an hour-long interview in September of 2023 and Dr. Wolf’s website www.PetSynergy.com. Please contact her directly at email@example.com with inquiries.
How does a holistic veterinarian work?
Dr. Wolf practices acupuncture, cold laser, homeopathy, western and chinese herbs, reiki and other holistic modalities and is available for housecalls and telemedicine consultations.
“It just makes so much more sense to treat the body and make it healthy than just to use drugs and surgery to suppress the body. Through these experiences and my extensive travels I have learned about holistic health practices and have incorporated them into my daily vet practice. The true healer knows that what they do is to help the body heal itself, and this is what holistic medicine aims to do.
I feel privileged to be able to live my dream this way and know that the modalities I use have healed many animals which conventional treatment can no longer help. Every day I see animals like this and my joy comes from being able to participate in their healing and restore their innate health.”
Dr. Wolf has loads more info available on her website- please check it out here.
Why did you shift your practice to holistic medicine (from traditional)?
“All our animal companions are special, but some are more special than others, leaving indelible paw prints on our hearts. Isis was one of those dogs.” After the joyous, energy-filled initial months with her beloved dog Isis in Hong Kong, Dr. Wolf eventually diagnosed her with two fatal tick diseases as she watched the life slowly drain from her dog.
Distraught after traditional medical solutions failed, Dr. Wolf tried her first holistic methods at the urging of a friend. “Trained in rigorous scientific dogma, it was alien to me, but I studied holistic healing, traveled to Tibet, watched the monks pray and absorbed much… I became a full-time holistic vet, able to help other animals, who perhaps could not be helped by more traditional means, knowing I was following the path I was meant to, but never would have found without Isis.” Read more about Dr. Wolf’s journey with Isis here.
How did you come to make your home in Brinnon?
“Originally from England, I moved to the West Coast after vacationing here in 1999. I fell in love with Washington State! It was a quiet, nature-filled area to raise and homeschool my child who was born in 2004 and is now almost 20! Although I never planned to be a mom, one evening my future child came to me in a dream and asked me to be their mother. It turned out to be a really rewarding part of my life! I’m proud to see my child making their own way in this world as a young adult now.
I love where I live- the nature, beauty, solitude, quiet. In 2013, I moved from the Canal Tracts to my current home close to the national forest where I frequently have wildlife in my yard.”
What is something you’re really bad at?
“Public speaking. I am definitely an introvert. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I don’t mind the isolation of Brinnon. I can make my own entertainment in this small community (or in Port Townsend) and the conveniences are certainly more accessible than when I lived on Orcas Island!”
How did being a holistic veterinarian impact your role as a parent?
“Naturally, I treated my kid the same way- with homeopathic remedies. I even had a natural birth with hypnotherapy! In fact, on walks with my young child, I started photography as a hobby I could manage and incorporate my love of animals.” Read more about Dr. Wolf’s journey through parenthood here.
What is your daily schedule like?
“While I regularly travel around the Olympic Peninsula in my car to visit ailing animals, I also offer teleconsultations, write articles for local publications, and manage a shop for supplements on my website. I do spend a lot of time in my car, but the scenery here is much better than Dallas! It makes it worth it that my clients are wonderful and appreciative of my work.
Like many, I had a tendency to overwork during the social isolation of the pandemic. Now, I try to better balance my life. Frequent walks in nature with my camera in hand are essential to my mental health. Some of my favorite local walks are along the Duckabush, at Ranger Hole, Dosewallips beach, and Seal Rock.”
Who has been an inspiring figure to you?
“My mom has always been a big supporter that believed in me. Our parents always encouraged my younger sister and me to follow our dreams. Both my parents loved hiking and we hiked a lot growing up in England.”
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
“Hard-working, honest, kind.”
What message do you wish you could share with people about caring for their pets?
“Care for them as holistically as possible. Value them while they’re here- life is too short.”
What are some of your dream travel locations?
“Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Australia, dog-sledding in Alaska. I am finally making the last one come true when I get to meet the Iditarod dogs in February! I like to visit places with unique wildlife. Sometimes I can even arrange education-based trips that are tax-deductible!”
Why do you photograph wildlife?
“It’s a healing, therapeutic passion for me. I get to spend time in nature connecting with animals. While I have done some photography for environmental groups, AirBnB, and trades, I prefer to keep it a spiritual practice and time to connect with nature. I’m not sure when I will retire from being a traveling veterinarian, but I will likely use the time to take more photography classes. I would like to learn more techniques like night photography and do a lot more traveling.”
In addition to being a veterinarian and photographer, you are quite the writer. What do you have in the works now?
“I am working on a book about pet astrology. Basically, the same as for people, but extrapolated to animals.”