Naughty dogs do have all the fun!  This Salt Lake City based emergency and surgical aficionado also runs a relief company called Bad Dog Veterinary Relief Services.  While appreciating a streamlined workflow, Dr. Arshiya Sayeed-Smith also loves the exhilaration that last minute calls and emergency surgery bring.  Understanding the importance of a first impression, she is always prepared with scrubs on hand, as preparation is key but jumping in is where the fun is!  Please welcome her to your Utah relief community.


What inspired you to become a veterinarian?

My interest in science, medicine, and, of course, love for animals, have shaped who I have become as a veterinarian.


What states are you licensed in and/or states you are working to obtain licensure within?TX (not renewing, expired)

Utah and Illinois and am interested in Washington


What roles have you had within the veterinary profession? How about outside of this industry? 

Having been a full-time emergency veterinarian, a rotating intern, and a surgical intern, I am currently a business owner of my own relief veterinary business.


What made you switch to relief practice?

A desire for flexibility and the ability to be answerable to myself led to my venturing out into the relief work world.


What are your favorite things about being a relief vet?

I love having the ability to choose where and when I work, while also being able to maintain a safe distance from hospital politics.  There is a freedom that comes with relief work.  I like that I can choose my rates, choose how often I schedule myself, and choose to allow time for vacations.  The flexibility increases my work-life balance.


What are your least favorite things about being a relief vet?

The stress of the unknown – not finding shifts until they are actually booked and scheduled.


How do you feel that relief practice supports the veterinary profession as a whole?

Relief work hugely supports the profession, especially in underserved areas such as my location (Salt Lake City), and especially during this pandemic when a lot of people have adopted pets and need veterinary care.  Working relief allows me to help fill the gap where the need arises.


What supplies or equipment do you bring with you on the job?

Everyone needs their stethoscope, their favorite pair of hemostats, and a good attitude.


What do you look for in a practice when deciding to cover shifts for them?

I look for quality medicine with a high standard of care in a practice where the culture and atmosphere are nice and welcoming with a good organizational flow.


Have you picked up any unique practice tips while being a relief vet? These could be related medicine, workflow, practice organization, or anything really.

I have developed a strong appreciation for excellent workflow and organization, especially with curbside service during COVID.  My appreciation for primary care veterinarians has increased exponentially.


What is your most memorable relief job?

I am still early in the game but jumping in last minute for urgent need shifts or jumping in to help with surgical emergencies are unforgettable.


What advice would you give new relief vets? (Alternatively, what advice would you give someone who is thinking about being a relief vet?)

Market yourself well – build a strong brand image by creating a clean and sophisticated website, business cards and interpersonal skills. Set up in-person meetings with all potential clients and be well dressed – but keep scrubs in your car just in case. Most importantly, have a super strong contract to protect you from liability in addition to obtaining not just malpractice insurance, but also business insurance and a good accountant.


How has the global pandemic affected your relief practice?

I am booked to the hilt – tons of demand in my area!


What are your hobbies/passions outside of work?

I enjoy scuba diving, horse riding, tennis, all things fitness, and reading.


Anything else you’d like to share?

Be open and nice everywhere!  And contact me for any information or mentoring that I may be able to provide you.



To learn more or contact Dr. Arshiya Sayeed-Smith click here.