HCE Exclusive Chat with Australia’s New Bondi Vet – Dr. Alex Hynes!

8 Aug 2018

Our exclusive chat with the new Bondi Vet: 

If you didn’t get the memo, there is a new Bondi Vet in town and she is serious #inspo #lifegoals!

We are talking about the inspiring, fit, SuperMum – Emergency vet and director of  Animal Emergency Service, Dr. Alex Hynes. When she’s not saving lives in the emergency room, she’s pursuing her other major passion, health, and fitness. She’s all action, what ever she is doing.

 

What does it mean to you to be the new Bondi vet? 

For me this is the opportunity to bring people behind the doors of one of the busiest veterinary hospitals in the country. The passion I have for animals and the ability to share that with the world is an opportunity I’m incredibly grateful for. The spirit of being a Bondi vet is celebrating the close relationship that Australians have with their pets who are part of the family . We also have some amazing wildlife here in this country including some endangered species where their habitat is being threatened by urbanisation and predation by domestic animals. Bondi vet has done so much over the last decade to increase awareness about this and I’d love to be part of that into the future.

 

What motivated you to take the role? 

When the search for the new Bondi Vet  started my first thought was about how great it would be to have a female step into the role although I wasn’t really thinking about me personally. 80% of veterinary graduates these days are female and part of my motivation is being able to show those future veterinarians about what’s possible for them in their careers. I am asked frequently if you can have a fulfilling career as a vet and balance that with family and personal wellbeing. My answer is overwhelmingly yes absolutely!

 

How much does health and wellbeing play a part in your life? 

Health and wellbeing play a huge role in my life.  People ask me where I get my energy from- I believe it comes from taking care of myself first and foremost.  It means I’m so much more ready to then be able to devote myself to taking care of others- my family, my team at work, the sick animals in the hospital. I schedule time every day to work out for at least an hour and the people around me understand this is not negotiable. I train with my partner  so that’s also quality time that we love spending together and we make it loads of fun. The rules are that we don’t talk about work (he is also my business partner) and we don’t check our phones! I had struggled with health issues several years ago and when I was diagnosed as coeliac, along with removing gluten from my diet it made me clean up my diet and think about what I was fuelling my body with. Shift work is tough on your body so its essential that I give myself time to rest and recover and not fall into bad habits like late night take away when I’m working in the hospital.

How do you go about keeping Tori healthy and happy?

I’ve always tried to include her in my life and the work that I do.  Being a vet and running one of the busiest veterinary hospitals in Australia is not a 9-5 job so sometimes that means Tori spending time with me at the hospital or in meetings depending on my schedule. I love the time we spend together when its just her and I so I try to let her pick what we do- last weekend we made  slime- eeew!

I did try to encourage Tori to join up to traditional kids sports like basketball or tennis but she has begged me for ages to let her start muay thai fitness at my gym Hiit Australia so I finally gave in this year. Seeing how much she loves it  and her determination to improve every session made me realise that its important to listen to your kids and not try to make decisions for them.

What would be your top tips for healthy living? 

I truly believe that  investing in your own health is the best decision you’ll ever make. The key is always in the balance- your body will thank you for eating healthy  but have the flexibility to indulge from time to time. If you are going out to dinner then make a choice to  enjoy it to the max by having something you love instead of picking the healthiest thing on the menu.  Movement is life- there’s so many ways to incorporate it into your day even if exercise is not your thing . Climb the stairs instead of taking the lift or walk to the corner shop instead of driving.

Lastly- take time for gratitude because it is the true secret to happiness. Find something to be grateful for every day and I guarantee it will change the way you think about your life.

How important are wellbeing factors like diet and exercise in animal wellbeing? 

Diet and exercise are absolutely key factors in the wellbeing of an animal.  It makes me sad when I hear people feed their dogs cheap food. Cheap dog food is cheap for a reason and that’s usually because it contains lots of filler or low-quality indigestible ingredients often lacking essential vitamins and minerals.  We wouldn’t do that to our children so why is it acceptable to feed pets rubbish food? In the long run it can lead to all types of health problems including obesity which is a major issue facing the pet population today. Just like for us, regular exercise is essential for a pet’s mental and physical wellbeing. For dogs in particularly, a daily walk is not only a chance to burn off calories but often also part of their social routine when they have the opportunity to interact with other dogs. .

I really believe that when you bring a pet into your family it comes with a responsibility to feed them a high-quality diet and a commitment to exercise them regularly.

Dr Alex Hynes BVSc (Hons) MVS MANZCVS (Emergency and Critical Care)

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