On this episode of Wellness, Inc. Dr Mike Moreno has a fascinating conversation with animal advocate and creator and star of Street Vet, Kwane Stewart.
The two have an emotional conversation about the 6th sense of vets and Kwane’s journey from shelter vet to movie set vet to the famous Street Vet. They talk openly about what they think about homeless people being pet owners and Dr. Mike shares his personal story of what his pets meant to him after a difficult divorce.
You won’t want to miss Kwane’s incredible story about how he escaped being attacked by a pit bull by using this Jedi mind trick!
Mike: All right, hello and welcome to Wellness Inc, I’m Dr. Mike Marino, and we are taking a deep dove into the big business of wellness. After 25 years practicing medicine, I’m fascinated with the booming wellness industry. And I’ll be exploring apps, gadgets and discoveries, everything new to help us get and stay well.
And my guests today, I mean, I can’t say enough about this guy. Ray told me he’s my hero on the down low. Yes, he is.
But this guy has done it all. I’m going to give you a little bit of a rundown on this gentleman, and then you’ve probably already heard of him, but he has been a practicing veterinarian for about 23-24, almost the same amount of time as I’ve been doing medicine started in San Diego.
My hometown climbed to the ranks of chief medical officer for vet go hospitals, which I know well because I’ve donated to them. This guy has worked with the likes of Disney Company, United Airlines, you name it. He has this new show, Street, that we’re going to get into that later.
Please welcome Dr. Kwane Stewart. How are you?
Kwane: Good sir. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mike: Listen, I’m fired up to talk to you for so many reasons. I mean, animals to me and I think those are you listening, will agree that they are family. They touch our lives.
They are there when our family’s not there, when our friends are not their animals, that that term, unconditional love says it all. And what you do is amazing. But and we’re going to get into that.
But let’s talk a little bit about what got you into being a veterinarian.
For those guys don’t know, becoming a veterinarian is more difficult than becoming a medical doctor. There are very few schools. There are only a couple of which you’re from you to Colorado, which is very, very well known.
I know Davis is another really well known school, but there are not a lot of veterinarian schools. So talk to us. Let’s go back to Doctor Baby Corn Stewart. Where does this all come from?
Kwane: You know, when you ask this question, you’ll get different answers.
But I think they boil down to a moment or a couple of moments in time in our youth where we sort of have that lightning strike moment or feeling. Right.
And and for me, I’ll quickly tell you, there was one specific moment, and it revolves around a movie. My mother took me to a movie when I was seven. I sat there starry eyed at what she said. She recounts a story I barely remember.
But she says, You sat there. Kwane cried. You laughed for the whole two hours. And when we were walking out, I was holding her hand and I looked up at her and I said, When I grow up, I want to be an animal doctor.
I don’t know what a veterinarian was at the time, but I knew. I knew watching that course on that screen with that boy and I’m going to try and take a stab at the bull
Mike: Yeah it is killing me. I’m trying to think.
Kwane: Yeah, I knew I wanted to have that ability or power to kill an animal and that set my path ablaze.
Mike: All right. Now, the obvious question, what is this then? You and I are almost the same age because I’m 51. So I can trying to think it was my era. I’m trying to think what it was.
Kwane: It’s about a majestic black horse and a boy.
Mike: God, I’m thinking like Black Beauty or something like that.
Kwane: You’re close, The Black Stallion.
Mike: I know. Yeah, of course. Okay, yeah.
Kwane: Still one of the best movies ever. A classic. But that was, that was it for me. I started you know, she said after that I took a big interest in science and animals and reading and my grades improved. We were always around animals.
My mom was an animal lover to dogs and cats, horses, everything growing up. So Yeah, you know, and I just had an aptitude for science. So for me, the path was pretty easy.
Mike: Well, I know we all and I said this before, it is every time I meet someone’s a veterinarian. Unfortunately, with one of my felines, as of late, I’ve known a lot of veterinarians.
It is difficult to go that route. And once you get to that route, you know, I’m always fascinated when I take my cats to the veterinarian and they they assess them and they handle them with such care. And it’s. But yet this animal doesn’t talk to you.
I mean, I know that’s probably a question you get all the time. Do you think there’s some sort of sixth sense or what? How do you go through this process with animals? I mean, what would you say it is?
Kwane: Yeah, as far as assessing it, that’s really everything. I mean, I say we’re probably most likened to a pediatrician. Right.
Our patients can’t talk. We rely on the owner or the mom or the dad to provide the history in the background. The problem is a lot of pet owners, not a lot.
But, you know, owning a pet is still different than owning a child. You I mean, your focus, your daily routine revolves around your six month, over one year old child.
They’re eating stuff we don’t. Always know what they’re getting into, so you talk about the success I really got out of that school, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. And I’m guessing a lot of medical professionals are going to say, you’re spot on right on that you get out and you think, wow, I just went to school forever and I don’t know, I’m in the room with this client.
I don’t know what to do right now and start sweating. And yeah so you have these panicky moments, I think, early on at a school, but really doing a comprehensive exam. And then it’s just experience and time, and that’s what they call it, practice.
So, you know, 23, 24 years into it. I do. You do, I think, develop this sort of sense to pick up on little tiny cues, you know, probably just been embedded in our subconscious over years and years of practice that it just snaps like this is it.
And I’m almost amazed owners when I pick up on things, you know that. Yeah, you’re right. I I’ve been saying that forever.
And, you know, in five minutes you notice that. So the whole debate between veterinary school and medical school, it people always say that it’s much harder to get into vet school and that schools much tougher than I don’t know, I didn’t go to medical school, but my best friend, who I grew up with since I was nine, we we agreed we were going to follow the same path we were going to go to. We were going to be doctors and had this dream of moving the same city and doing all this.
When we got to undergrad, he started going down the, you know, the medical path. And I always knew I wanted to be a vet, but we were such close friends, we thought we’re going to do the same thing.
Yeah, it was cool. Still very tight today. You see our doctor in Portland. And we do have these comparisons sometimes like we’re actually going through medical school and that school we’re going through at the same time, I think with school, like for you, and it’s like I’m grinding it out.
And I was like, you know, man, I feel like I’m kind of coasting and I don’t know why that is. I know look, you can relate to this. You spend so many years in school studying English and history and all these things that that really aren’t your thing.
And then you finally get to the point where it’s like I get to focus on learning about anatomy and physiology, how this is you know, all those things have been jogging in my mind for so long and I don’t know, it just felt like it came really natural to me. And so that school was fun.
Mike: All right, let’s get into this thing, because this is the coolest thing, you know, and I had told a few people that I was going to be talking with you and I told them about what you do. And they’re like, are you kidding? Because it’s so amazing.
So let’s talk about Street I let’s talk about how that came about. You know, I know you worked in San Diego. I know you did some some work in Modesto. I’m from Visalia. So I know that area very, very well.
But take us through the evolution of street that and tell everybody a little bit about this, because this is really this is like gut wrenching, how amazing this is.
Kwane: Okay, I’ll give you the quick and dirty I. I grew up in New Mexico, went to school in Colorado, Colorado State, graduated 97. And I always had this big dream of practicing on the beach.
I wanted to be near water. I grew up in the dusty desert and I wanted to come to the coast. I packed up my old Mustang right after school, drove straight to San Diego without a job and planted my roots and had been in California since. And I was a traditional associate for a lot of years. You’re finding your place, what you’re good at, what you like was critical care, was it preventive medicine? And then, you know, you find your spot.
And I did that for a number of years, then became sort of rose the ranks quickly. I was chief medical officer for Bedco. And then I, you know, about mid career. So this is going back. About 12 years ago, I, I decided to become, of all things, a shelter, that county veterinarian
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