WND: While millions of people grapple with questions about what really happens when they die, now a brand-new book is probing what might actually happen to people’s beloved pets.
The title of the book asks the timeless question, “Do Our Pets Go to Heaven?” and features biblical analysis of the issue, along with amazing stories of pets that saved people and provided companionship as well as healing.
“I must admit I cannot recount the number of times when, as a pastor of more than two decades and as a public and media personality since, I have been approached by an adult or child – eyes filled with questions – who wanted to ask me very sincerely if I believed their pets would go to heaven,” says Tom Horn, who co-authored the book with Terry James and other contributors.
“It seems to be one of the biggest secrets in Christianity,” Horn continued, “that our Western mindset has made it difficult to discuss what people in other countries as well as theologians down through time believed to be an important and theological question. Most are also usually unaware that the Bible itself has some important things to say about the issue, and that many celebrated theologians and philosophers – past and present – concluded a long time ago based on these Scriptures that our pets most likely will be in heaven.”
Video: Do Our Pets Go To Heaven?
Ironically, the Bible itself doesn’t even say the ultimate reward of saved men and women will be floating on clouds in the sky, but it does indicate Jesus Christ will raise His true believers from the grave, grant them eternal life, return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and rule with them here on planet Earth.
Yet there are plenty of verses in Scripture indicating the presence of animals in the coming kingdom of God.
The prophet Isaiah is famous for this future glimpse depicting people dwelling with animals, whose aggressive nature will have been reprogrammed and tamed by God in the kingdom:
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6–9)
Horn writes in a chapter of his book:
Indeed, we find that God values His living artistry so much that He even made some of the angelic beings to reflect the animal’s faces (see Revelation 4:6–8; Ezekiel 10:14). In addition to their artistic value, God loves the company of these creatures to the point that not even a tiny sparrow falls to the ground that He doesn’t account for (Matthew 10:29). Another amazing example of God’s concern for animals comes from the story of Jonah, in which it appears that the people of Nineveh were spared destruction because God wanted to have mercy on their children and animals (see Jonah 4:11)! Of course, to the delight of my wife, Nita, God is an equestrian and has already filled Heaven with lots and lots of horses (Revelation 6:2–8; 19:11; 2 Kings 6:17). His Son, Jesus, will even return someday on one such horse (Revelation 19:11–14).
It is further written in the Bible that:
- God holds the lives of animals in His hands (Job 12:10).
- He, Himself, feeds them (Psalms 104:21–30; Matthew 6:26).
- They were created for His enjoyment (Revelation 4:11).
- God never forgets about them (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6).
- People who mistreat their pets are judged by Him as “cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
- Those who treat their pets kindly are called “righteous” (Proverbs 12:10).
Horn notes the idea of pets in heaven is not some rogue notion among famous Christians, stating, “Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Mark Hitchcock, Dr. David Reagan, and hundreds of other clergy and theologians agree that the chances are very good our pets will be in heaven.”
When Graham was once asked by a little girl whose dog had died that week whether her pet would be in heaven, he replied, “If it would make you any happier, then yes, he will be.”
Horn also cites verses in Scripture stating it won’t be just resurrected human beings offering praise to God in the future:
Animals are included with men as those who are commanded to praise the Lord! This was true in the Old Testament in places such as Psalms 148:10–13, where we read:
“Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”
And this amazing fact – that animals praise the Lord – will also be true in the future, as they are seen offering praise unto the Lamb of God extending into eternity in Revelation 5:13:
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”
But the idea that pets go to heaven or have a similar reward to obedient human servants of God is certainly not ubiquitous among faithful believers who study the Bible.
Among them is Philip Shields, a Christian speaker and online host of LightontheRock.org, who stresses there’s a clear distinction in the book of Genesis at the time animals and mankind were created.
“Elohim (God) spoke all things – including animals – into existence,” he explained. “But to mankind only did He breathe His breath into. All humans have a spirit in man, and that spirit goes back to God after our death. But not animals’ spirits.”
He cites Ecclesiastes 3:21, which states: “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit (breath) of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”
Shields says, “It is this spirit in man that gives us mind (Job 32:8), enabling there to be an interface with God’s spirit so we can understand godly things, which animals don’t. Animals have their own breath, ruach [in Hebrew], or spirit, but that goes back to the earth. Man is the only one that God did mouth-to-mouth on. That did not happen to hippopotamuses and alligators, or to dogs or cats. I think that’s an important distinction, that they don’t have the breath of God.”
“I’d love to think my beloved Duchess would be resurrected or something, but I don’t think so,” he added.
“And where do you draw the line? Are the bad animals – maneaters, for example – burning in hell? Is every cockroach or mongoose or tarantula up there, too, by the billions and trillions? How about the trillions of ants and mosquitoes? And if not, why not?”
Shields also asks rhetorically, “Did Christ die for animals, too? Can animals sin?”
Anyone searching the Internet for answers about pets going to heaven will find no shortage of posts on the matter.
ClarifyingChristianity.com offers a study on the matter, and agrees animals will be present in God’s coming kingdom. However, it points out “the question is ‘Were these animals new creations or do these animals include reborn earthly creatures?’”
By the end of its treatment, the site says, “The Bible is silent regarding an afterlife for animals. However, we do have one hope. The key passage for this question does not deal with animals directly, but rather God’s promise to those who inherit God’s kingdom – those people who have gotten right with God and will go to heaven themselves. For them, the passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 [verse 9] applies:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”
“Obviously, what God has prepared for us is wonderful beyond comprehension. Therefore, love your pets as much as you can while they are here. Those of us who go to heaven will later understand that everything worked out perfectly regarding our pets.”
December 3, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | Billy Graham, books, cats and dogs, companion animals, Dog and God, dog health, dogs and cats, Dr. Alice Villalobos, Dr. Becker, dying pets, dying-well, end of life pet care, for the love of a pet, GOD and DOG, Heaven, JOMP, Just One More Pet, Love, pawspice, pet books, Pet Heaven, pet hospice, Pet Wills, Rainbow Bridge | Leave a Comment
Elwood, the New Jersey canine that was crowned the world’s ugliest dog in 2007 and later became the topic of a children’s book preaching acceptance died. unexpectedly Thanksgiving morning at age.
His owner, Karen Quigley, said the Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix died after having some heath issues in recent months but recently appeared to be doing well.
Elwood was dark colored and hairless, saving for a puff of white fur resembling a Mohawk on his head. He was often referred to by fans as Yoda, or E.T., for his resemblance to those famous science-fiction characters.
Elwood won his crown at the annual ugly dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin County Fair in Petaluma, California a year after he had finished second.
Quigley had rescued Elwood in 2005, when he was about nine months old.
"The breeder was going to euthanize him because she thought he was too ugly to sell," Quigley has said.
After garnering the ‘ugly dog title’, Elwood became an online darling and developed a worldwide fan base. During his life, he appeared at more than 200 events that helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for animal rescue groups and nonprofit animal organizations.
Inspired by Elwood, Quigley wrote Everyone Loves Elwood: A True Story, a popular children’s book that promoted a message that it’s OK to be different. Quigley said the book shares lessons of love, compassion and perseverance and encourages readers to be kind to animals.
"He made people smile, he made them laugh and feel good. It was wonderful," Quigley said Saturday. "He will truly be missed."
Book: World’s Ugliest Dogs
December 2, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Unusual Stories | Book, chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Designer Dogs, dog, dog longevity, E.T., Hairless, JOMP, Just One More Pet, longevity, Love, mutts, Ugliest-Dog, Ugly-Dog, Weird News, Yoda | 1 Comment
Pets… Animals are family too and they are forever, just like children. Dogs are man’s best friend and they would never abandon you!
If you have the love in your heart and the room in your home… adopt just one more pet, or help someone to keep theirs.
And if you really can’t keep your pet(s) find them a new home… do not abandon them or take them to the shelter
November 2, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Rescues, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Outreach for Pets, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences | Betrayal, choices, dogs, dogs and cats, Family, gifts, Love, Pets, Pets Are Family, responsibility | 2 Comments
Tobias the cat was very ill or injured and at a vet clinic for three weeks. Watch as sweet Camila, a yellow lab, welcomes her kitty home.
September 29, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, animals, Animals Adopting Animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love | animals adopting animals, best friends, dogs and cats, kittens, Labrador, Love | 2 Comments
The Pet Lady Blog: We all wonder where our animals go when they die.
In our grief at their passing, we pull out old photographs and clutch at snips of their hair, desperate to prove that they existed, that our relationship with them was real. But deep inside there remains a nagging fear: are they gone forever?
We think we hear them padding down the hall, feel them jumping up on our bed in the middle of the night, or even see fleeting glimpses that disappear as soon as we feel a shiver of recognition.
We start to think we might be going crazy.
That happened to me, too. But I have since learned to welcome the signs of life beyond death, knowing that they are not figments of my imagination. They are quite real.
In the spring of 2008, I prepared for what I knew would be the imminent death of my revered golden retriever, Ashley, who, as she approached her 16th birthday, had been diagnosed with kidney failure. She had been the perfect dog, and it was going to be very difficult to lose her. I sadly and silently admitted that it would only be a matter of time before I had to release her spirit, and as the days wore on, I cried.
On a perfect sunny morning in early June, Ashley simply laid down on the grass, looked up at me, and clearly communicated that she was really done this time; she was ready to go.
I called my vet’s office to let them know I was on my way, and gently set Ashley in the backseat. I held her paw as I tearfully reminisced with her throughout the entire 45-minute drive, knowing that this was our last ride together. She slipped away peacefully, and though I knew that it was what Ashley wanted, my heart ripped open with the pain of having lost a treasured friend. It was noon when I got back in the car for the long journey home, alone.
About six hours later, I saw her. She was facing in my direction, calmly walking toward the kitchen. In a second, she turned the corner into the kitchen and with that, she vanished. I never saw Ashley again, but her appearance was vividly real, and I knew I wasn’t imagining it. It brought me great peace, as if Ashley wanted to say, "I’m still here."
I don’t think I would have been open to Ashley’s after-death apparition if I hadn’t read Kim Sheridan’s groundbreaking book, Animals and the Afterlife, which had been published a few years before. Kim spent years compiling true stories of visitations by spirit animals from witnesses who saw them and even touched them, not always recognizing that they were interacting with forms from an ethereal dimension.
Kim stretched my formerly rigid boundaries of what was possible. She’s not a medium or a mystic, and neither are the people whose experiences she describes. But in story after story, she demonstrates that our animals remain accessible to us after they slip out of their physical bodies, and like people, they continue to live on in spirit.
On November 3rd, 2013, Kim Sheridan will make a rare east coast appearance to deliver the keynote address at the inaugural Conference on Animals in the Afterlife, in Boxborough, MA. She is a radiant messenger of hope and healing for anyone who has experienced inconsolable grief after the death of an animal companion.
The one-day Conference, sponsored by Animal Translations, will also feature noted paranormal investigator Jeff Belanger of GhostVillage.com, who will discuss ghostly encounters with paranormal pets; Alexis Brooks, host of CLN Radio’s Conscious Inquiry, who will discuss what she believes is the reincarnation of her cherished cat, "Clover"; and Maureen Harmonay, an animal communicator who will share chillingly compelling details of what animals in spirit have told her about their lives, their deaths, and even their awareness of events that occurred long after they shed their physical bodies.
Respected psychic medium Joanne Gerber will make spontaneous connections with the spirit families of some of the lucky attendees, in the fervent hope that departed spirit animals will come through during this dramatic finale to what promises to be a thoroughly amazing day.
Whether you come as a skeptic or as a believer: join us. You’ll leave knowing that these afterlife connections are possible for you and the animals who have meant so much to you, no matter how many months or years it’s been since you said good-bye.
Attendees will be entered to win one of several prizes, including autographed copies of Animals and the Afterlife, complimentary animal communication consultations with Maureen Harmonay, and a custom acrylic portrait of an animal of their choosing by popular animal artist Kerrie Ascoli.
For a complete agenda, topic descriptions, and registration information, visit The Conference on Animals in the Afterlife website.
(Maureen Harmonay is an Animal Communicator who uses telepathy and compassion to connect with animals. You can reach her at AnimalTranslations.com.)
Disclosure: (as required by the FTC) This is a paid sponsored post from The Conference on Animals in the Afterlife.
September 7, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | best friends, books, for the love of a pet, God and dogs, Love, Pets and Heaven, pets and the after life, Rainbow Bridge, until you have loved an animal | 3 Comments
- Dr. Becker interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos, a veterinary oncologist and leader in the field of end-of-life care and pawspice (pet hospice).
- Dr. Alice, as she is known, realized as a vet student that veterinary oncology was the field she wanted to practice in. She also saw a tremendous need for end-of-life care services for companion animals. When she went into private practice, Dr. Villalobos made the decision to care for each of her patients all the way through their illness to the end of their lives.
- Dr. Alice created the term “pawspice” to distinguish the goals of hospice care for pets from what happens in human hospice. She also developed the HHHHHMM quality of life scale for pets with cancer that has gone viral.
- Since the publishing of Dr. Villalobos’s textbook in 2007, the subject of pet hospice and end-of-life care is being covered in an increasing number of veterinary schools. In fact, it is currently the fastest-growing specialty service in veterinary medicine.
- One of the ways pawspice differs from hospice is the incorporation of palliative medicine, which is geared toward alleviating symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. It involves using standard medicines in different ways to help trigger temporary remission without adverse events in the patient, thereby improving quality of life and happiness for pets at the end of their lives.
Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos regarding veterinary hospice.
By Dr. Becker
Today I have a very special guest chatting with me via Skype — Dr. Alice Villalobos. “Dr. Alice,” as she is known, is a University of California-Davis graduate, the director of Pawspice in Hermosa Beach, and she also runs the Animal Oncology Consultation Service in Woodland Hills.
Dr. Villalobos is a founding member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, the Association for Veterinary Family Practice, and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She’s also the past president of the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics and founder of the Peter Zippi Memorial Fund for Animals, which has found homes for 14,000 pets since 1977, primarily cats.
Dr. Villalobos is editor-in-chief for several veterinary-related journals, and she has authored textbooks including Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle). She also writes a column titled The Bond and Beyond for Veterinary Practice News.
Dr. Villalobos has received the Leo Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award, the UC Davis Alumni Achievement award for her pioneering role in bringing oncology services to companion animals, and a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice award. She lectures worldwide on veterinary oncology, companion animal quality of life issues, and “pawspice,” or veterinary hospice, which is the topic of our discussion today.
Dr. Villalobos made the decision when she entered private practice to see her cancer patients through to the end of their lives.
I asked Dr. Alice, since she has been a veterinarian for many years, how soon into her career she realized there was a huge gap in end-of-life care services for pets.
She explained that she was still in veterinary school when she decided to practice oncology, and her animal patients had their end-of-life experiences right there at UC Davis. So Dr. Villalobos was able to see the gap in services first-hand while still a vet student.
When she went into private practice, she made the decision to see her patients all the way through to the end of their lives, unlike what happened back in those days (1970s) in human medicine, when no one wanted to discuss death. This predated the human hospice movement and the concept of helping people die peacefully, without pain.
Dr. Alice decided to work with her animal patients and their families right through to the very end of the journey. Fortunately, we are able to help pets have a very peaceful passing because society condones euthanasia for animals. Dr. Villalobos made it a point to talk about the subject with each family from the first day she felt euthanasia was inevitable for their pet.
Next I asked Dr. Villalobos who she sought counsel from originally, since back in the 1970s there weren’t any mentors or role models for treating pets at the end of life. She answered that in the late 1960s and early 1970s at UC Davis, there was a very special pioneer in the field of animal oncology, Dr. Gordon Theilen.
Dr. Theilen wrote the first two textbooks on veterinary cancer medicine. Dr. Alice considers him a great role model who is filled with compassion. She mentions Leo Bustad as a role model as well. He was also a part of the UC Davis team and was responsible for the term “human-animal bond.”
Dr. Villalobos noticed that pet owners would come into her practice wanting to keep their dog or cat with them for as long as possible. They didn’t want a replacement. They wanted to get treatments for their pets and when the time came, they wanted to insure their animals were able to pass on in the right way – at home, with the best of care, surrounded by their human family.
Dr. Alice looked into what was being done with pediatric oncology. She interviewed human patients and asked questions like, “You have this cancer. How does it feel?” Part of the reason for her research was because at vet school, she was taught animals don’t experience pain on the level they actually, in fact, do. Back in those days, rather than being given pain medications, animals were restrained for procedures and prevented from moving after surgery. Fortunately, all that has changed.
As a member of the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management, Dr. Alice knows that veterinary hospice practitioners must have extensive knowledge and expertise in pain management, because it is one of the biggest problems for cancer patients (both human and animal) at the end of their lives.
Taking treatment of terminally ill pets and end-of-life care to the next level.
I asked Dr. Villalobos if, when she first got started, she was met with conflict. Were her colleagues confused? Did they question her? She replied, “Dr. Becker, I’m still pulling the arrows out of my back.” I asked her to expand on the conflicts and confrontations she has encountered.
Dr. Alice explained that back in the early 1970s, treating a cat with both leukemia and FIP was “almost blasphemy.” People thought, “What is she doing?” But at UC Davis, they treated cats with lymphoma, and the most likely cat to have lymphoma was also positive for the leukemia virus.
Dr. Theilen was the doctor who isolated the three subtypes of the leukemia virus that ultimately resulted in a vaccine. UC Davis was working extensively with leukemias and lymphomas in felines. In fact, Dr. Niels Pedersen of UC Davis is the person who characterized the FIP virus and discovered the feline immunodeficiency virus.
Dr. Alice explains she was surrounded by fantastic researchers and a wonderful atmosphere. When she finished vet school, she was actually in the midst of a “mock” residency with Dr. Theilen who wanted to put a veterinary student through a clinical oncology program. So Dr. Villalobos actually began her residency while still a sophomore in vet school, and she continued that work for Dr. Theilen through her next three years of school.
So in addition to the stigma attached to treating viropositive animals, Dr. Villalobos also had a passion for helping them die well. I asked her what kind of response she received. She answered that most of her colleagues felt they were already doing that – providing animals with a good end of life experience. But as she further explains, it requires a certain expertise. Palliative medicine is a specialty. She expects at some point it will become a specialty in veterinary medicine just as it is in human medicine.
Dr. Alice goes on to explain that hospice is another area of expertise. She views it as, “The types of psychology that we need to know to help comfort the bewildered, bereft, grieving, and the anticipatory grief that comes through, even suicide. People feel that they can’t go on another day.”
When a pet dies, veterinary professionals need to be well versed in all these forms of psychotherapy, comfort care and grief counseling. It’s a necessary service, but in a busy practice, when a DVM isn’t accustomed to working with end-of-life care patients and clients, it just doesn’t happen.
Dr. Alice’s “pawspice” concept and the HHHHHMM quality of life scale.
End-of-life care hasn’t been taught in vet schools. Students are taught how to euthanize animals, but that’s about it. I do think palliative medicine is coming, though, and certainly pain management is even farther along, thankfully. But putting all those pieces together to offer truly thoughtful, heartfelt support isn’t there yet.
I asked Dr. Villalobos if she thinks vet school courses are addressing some of these skills today. She replied she believes they are coming along. She says that after her textbook arrived in 2007, vet schools quickly took the book into their libraries, and some of the programs that were developed even taught pawspice.
Dr. Alice explains she wanted to call pet hospice “pawspice” because the word hospice is actually very confusing for those who want to adapt the concept for veterinary medicine. She says that in human hospice, the arrival of death isn’t slowed down. Patients receive pain management, but what everyone is doing is simply waiting for the patient to die.
In veterinary medicine, we can apply a quality of life scale to each patient. In fact, a scale that Dr. Villalobos proposed in 2004 went viral. It went everywhere. It’s the HHHHHMM scale. It’s designed to be easy to remember. The five H’s are for:
… no Hurt
… good Hydration
… no Hunger
… good Hygiene
Hurt, Hydration, Hunger, Hygiene, and Happiness. These are the five basic areas that pawspice professionals must be able to talk to their clients about.
The first M is for Mobility. This is extremely important for large pets, for example, Great Danes. If a Great Dane can’t move around on his own, it’s over unless there are some very strong family members who can physically move the dog as often as necessary. In smaller animals, mobility isn’t such a huge factor. On the quality of life scale, they can have a score of 0 all the way up to 10 and still be okay. It’s similar to people in wheelchairs – they can have great quality of life even though they don’t have full mobility.
The second M is for More good days than bad days. This is something the pet’s family has to focus on. Is this a good day for Buddy? Or is this a bad day? If there are more bad days, say two or three or four in a row and no really good days, it’s time for the family to consider the gift of euthanasia.
Our pets only think in present time. They exist in the now. Even if you’re five hours late coming home, they are still full of joy and not mad at you. They’re just happy to see you now, because they exist in the now. If they’re suffering now, that’s all they know, and if there are too many times of suffering, frustration builds up.
Sometimes people don’t understand this. It can be difficult to understand things from a pet’s viewpoint. When there are more bad days than good days, our pets welcome the gift of euthanasia. They don’t need to live for the graduation of a niece or nephew. They’re not looking back with regret and hoping to reconcile with someone before they die. The human hospice philosophy simply doesn’t apply at the end of an animal’s life. They’re here to enjoy the moment. It their quality of life is poor, it’s up to us as their protectors not to make them endure further suffering.
This is the way Dr. Alice talks to her clients, “You are his protector. Buddy needs you to make the decision to help him, you know, change worlds.” She says Barbara Myers, a pet loss consultant, uses that beautiful phrase, “Let’s help them change worlds.” It’s often comforting to families to use euphemisms like “transitioning,” or “crossing the Rainbow Bridge.” It’s not necessary to use tough words when talking about the death of a beloved companion animal. Families, and especially children, welcome thoughtful, loving words to describe what will be happening to their pet.
End-of-life care/pet hospice is the fastest-growing specialty in veterinary medicine today.
Next I asked Dr. Alice about her passion for teaching and consulting other professionals and vet schools about end-of-life care for pets. She explained that she has taught all over the world, and her textbook is translated into Spanish and Portuguese. When she goes to Portugal, Spain, or South America, she’s treated like a celebrity!
Dr. Villalobos is also well known in the U.S. for being one of the leaders of the pet hospice movement. She says her decision to treat pets with cancer in vet school was pivotal in creating a specialty service for animals in the final stages of life. She says it’s the fastest-growing specialty service in all of veterinary medicine. New veterinarians in particular are really embracing pet hospice.
Dr. Villalobos says one of the reasons for its popularity is that DVMs can set up an independent practice. They can do house calls. This is especially attractive to young DVMs who may not be able to find a practice they really like, or who work at a practice in which the owners want them to work more hours than they can handle while raising a family. Going the house call route has worked out very nicely for many of these young vets.
Dr. Stephen Withrow of Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center has incorporated hospice and end-of-life care chapters written by Dr. Villalobos in his textbook, and she says his students call her all the time for help. She says CSU has set up a wonderful hospice service, as have a number of other veterinary colleges in the U.S. It’s also a growing movement in Canada, South America and France.
Helping pet owners give their animals a good quality death.
Dr. Villalobos is also passionate about using the term “pawspice” for pets to alleviate the confusion and negative impression many people have of hospice services for humans.
As she explains it, when a pet owner has arrived at those final moments, she or he is often paralyzed with doubt or fear about causing the pet’s passing by making that final decision to euthanize. Dr. Alice sees her job, and the job of all professionals in the specialty, to help comfort those pet owners by letting them know it’s actually a vet’s duty by the oath he or she takes to prevent suffering.
In my practice, I tell clients that the decision to help their pet transition is, of course, the most difficult decision they may ever make. But I also explain that as their veterinarian, the most important thing I can do is to help their pet die well rather than poorly. I ask them, “Do you want to rip the Band-Aid off really fast, or really slow?” I explain that they will be heartbroken either way, but for their pet’s sake, we can help by offering a good and peaceful transition. A good quality of death.
Dr. Villalobos believes quality of life/quality of death questions should also apply to humans. She says that if any of you listening or reading here today have a family member or a child with a terminal disease, you should advocate for a quality passing for that person.
In human medicine, it’s all about what can be done – we can do this, and we can do that, and we can do something else. Even at the end of the road with, say, a cancer that has been resistant to all forms of treatment, someone will come up with yet another treatment that is usually more risky. The patient has an adverse reaction, winds up in the ICU, and has a bad death.
One of the things I’m so grateful to Dr. Alice for is helping veterinarians understand it’s okay to tell a pet owner, “We’ve pushed this animal far enough.” It’s human nature, especially for optimists like me, to say, “We can try this and this and this” when our patients no longer want to keep going and their bodies are tired. I tell my clients that sometimes the body becomes a cage for the soul, and the body doesn’t work, so they need to think seriously about setting the soul free. Animals can become frustrated or depressed, and there comes a point where we should stop pushing, which actually takes all the pressure off the pet.
Sometimes we need to give clients permission to say, “You know what? We’re going to stop and we’re going to voluntarily withdraw all treatment.” Instead of trying to cure or change the disease situation, we’re going to switch our focus to helping the animal have a peaceful, good quality death.
The role of palliative medicine in end-of-life care.
Dr. Alice has really helped veterinarians understand and be able to talk about dying well versus just euthanasia. There’s a gap between the two. When we have a terminal patient and we know euthanasia is coming, there are things we can do to prepare the family, the pet, and our hearts. Dr. Villalobos has paved the way for veterinarians in this regard and I’m really thankful to her for that.
She explains that one of the reasons pawspice is different from hospice is that it incorporates palliative medicine, which is a very misunderstood area in human medicine, especially in the U.S. There’s this idea that palliative medicine is “giving up,” but it is not. It is simply taking care of symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. Dr. Villalobos stresses that we use standard medicine inside palliative medicine.
She says that when a pet patient is diagnosed with a life-limiting cancer, with pawspice what she does is select standard therapy for that patient that will hopefully bring a period of welcome remission. But the therapy isn’t one that will be hard on the animal. It will be something that brings only good days – and few if any bad days. Dr. Alice avoids medications, therapies, treatments and regimens that will result in adverse events for the patient.
For example, she may use a strong drug, but split it to give in two doses instead of one. The techniques she uses are in her textbook, and many DVMs are adopting them. Dr. Villalobos says it has evolved into something called metronomic therapy, which is a continuous low-dose treatment that reduces the formation of new blood vessels, which all tumors need in order to grow. Sometimes she just tries to control the tumor, maybe slow down the growth a little, while preserving the patient’s level of happiness and quality of life.
Thank you, Dr. Alice!
Since not all veterinarians are providing hospice care, I asked Dr. Alice where my Healthy Pets listeners and readers can go to learn more about end-of-life care. She invites everyone to visit her Pawspice website, where you can find lots of information and links to other resources.
I so appreciate Dr. Villalobos taking the time to speak with me today. I’m grateful for all the work she has done and continues to do for sick and terminally ill animals.
August 30, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal Related Education, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | cats and dogs, companion animals, dog health, dogs and cats, Dr. Alice Villalobos, Dr. Becker, dying pets, end of life pet care, for the love of a pet, Love, pawspice, pet hospice, Pet Wills, Pets | 5 Comments
After a six month deployment, this soldier returned to his dear friend. “Who says animals have no feelings, no souls? If this doesn’t move you, there’s something wrong with you.” …Rob Miller – Joshua Pundit
July 24, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | dogs love, for the love of a pet, Love, reunions, Veterans | 2 Comments
Incredible: The Moment a Woman’s Dog Emerges from Rubble During TV Interview Right After She Describes Losing Him
(Photo: CBS News)
Amid the tragedy in Oklahoma, one woman who lost everything says God answered both of her prayers.
CBS News spoke with Barbara Garcia in the wake of the devastating tornado Monday, the woman’s suburban neighborhood now nothing more than flattened homes and rubble. Badly shaken but resilient, explains how she is okay but that her dog was torn from her.
“I was sitting on the stool holding by dog — this was the game plan all through the years, [to] go in that little bathroom,” Garcia began. “The electric went off in the bathroom about the same time I felt the stool come up out of the floor. And I rolled around a little bit, and when it stopped…that fresh stove cooker is what I saw.”
Garcia’s arms appear to be badly cut in multiple places, but she spoke first of her dog.
“I hollered for my little dog and he didn’t answer, didn’t come, so I know he’s in here somewhere,” she said, scanning the apocalyptic landscape.
Garcia then addressed the tornado itself, saying it came and was gone in a flash.
“I thought, ‘well, I’m okay!’ And I had some stuff on top of me and I started wiggling…” she said.
Interviewer Anna Werner interrupted: “Are you able to comprehend what happened here?”
“I know exactly what happened here!” Garcia responded. After a beat she added, “This is life in the big city.”
But that’s when the most incredible thing happened. One of the CBS crew says in astonishment, “the dog!”
(Photo: CBS News)
The camera then pans to an enormous pile of a rubble, the little dog whimpering and trying to burrow his way out.
Garcia immediately rushes to the area, trying to move bricks and what appears to be mangled electronic wiring off of her pet.
“Help me!” she pleads, and one of the crew rushes to do just that.
Beginning to cry as she pulls her dog to safety, Garcia says “thank God” with inexplicable relief at seeing her dog relatively unscathed.
“Well I thought God just answered one prayer, to let me be okay, but he answered both of them,” she remarks with a smile, petting her dog. “Because this was my second prayer.”
Watch the remarkable video from CBS News.
To check for lost or found animals from the Moore Oklahoma tornado, go to Facebook.com/OKAnimals
May 22, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, Success Stories | faith, for the love of a dog, for the love of a pet, God, Love, Miracles, Oklahoma | 3 Comments
Dogs reunited with their soldier…
Cross-Posted at Ask Marion
April 4, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | animals, coming home, dog war, dogs soldiers, Love, man's best friend, Pets, reunited | 2 Comments
Abby, who also happens to be blind, went missing for more than a week during super heavy snowstorms in Alaska. Luckily, she managed to find her way home for Christmas. (A Christmas miracle!!!)
Image by McKenzie Grapengeter / AP
After Bailey, a little Chihuahua mix, went missing for two months, his owner opened a newspaper and found him featured as the shelter’s pet of the month! Just another reason to own a newspaper subscription, folks.
Puzzle went missing while on a walk in a Seattle park, and returned home nearly a week later. The funny part? Puzzle’s owner left the backdoor open, and Puzzle just happened to walk in.
The 8-year-old Shih Tzu went missing for just over a week, and here’s the thing: Ruca was a gift from an Iraq soldier to his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Brittney. So, when Ruca dug a hole under the fence and escaped, a real-life Ace Ventura pet detective was hired to find her. Voila, home safe and sound!
This fellow 8-year-old Shih Tzu was found with the help of a microchip after being lost for four months. Awww!
The Chihuahua-dachshund mix (Chiweenie) was missing 18 months and wandered all the way to New Mexico before being reunited with her owner in Kentucky. A handy microchip’s to thank for that!
Image by Jeri Clausing / AP
7. Beethoven (probably)
This big guy was missing less than a week, thankfully, otherwise who would those adorable children cling to?!
Aka spent two years away from her family before being located more than 20 miles from home at an animal shelter. The reason the Alaskan mix was returned? A microchip.
Ginger flew the coop for 10 years. Yes, you read that right, but the story gets even stranger. Because when the basset hound’s owner lost custody of Ginger as part of a divorce agreement, he never thought he’d see her again. So, imagine his shock when he opened a paper and saw the dog listed as part of an adoption center’s listings! Looks like she’s back with her dad for good, though.
It was over four and a half years before Oreo was found. He ran away while in the backyard, and his family had all but lost hope that they’d ever see him again. But he was found wandering the streets, thanks to a microchip.
During Hurricane Sandy, 1-year-old Buster escaped in the chaos of the storm. After searching for close to a month, they found him: On a shelter website where he was due to be euthanized the next day. Luckily, they were able to reach the shelter just hours before he was scheduled to be put down.
Shorty disappeared seven years ago from her Louisiana home during Hurricane Katrina. At the age of fifteen, she was found with a microchip, wandering through North Carolina. It’s unclear how she made it into a different state, but for now she’s back with her family.
Image by WCNC
The 10-year-old military police dog, who served two tours, went missing from his yard. Even though it was only for a day, the family had serious cause for concern: Nick suffers from a serious genetic medical condition that affects his hind legs and requires medication. Luckily, the dog was spotted in a different neighborhood and returned safely to his family.
This mix breed pit bull disappeared from her home in Virginia back in 2003, and was found eight years later in California. That’s roughly 3,000 miles from her home! She was reunited with her elated family on live TV. Pretty emotional homecoming!
Poor Earl. This loyal German shepherd was stolen from his Virginia home and lost for nearly a month before he was found. Turns out that two men took him from his yard and began train hopping with the dog! Earl was found when the men were arrested for illegal train hopping in North Carolina, and he was immediately returned to his family.
Source: Brittany Randolph/The Star
Lizzy had been lost for over a month, not a great thing considering she’s blind. Yes, a blind rat terrier. But an anonymous man, who called himself Santa, dropped her off at a Michigan City animal shelter. The rest is adorable history.
Image by Matt Fritz / AP
April 2, 2013 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, Animal Rescues, animals, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Success Stories | dogs are family, for the love of a pet, lost pets, Love, Pets Are Family, reunification | 1 Comment
Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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- Tippy the Fainting Squirrel Has Internet Dying To Find Diagnosis December 4, 2013Bing Video: Tippy the fainting squirrel HuffPo: This candid video above, titled "Tippy the Fainting Squirrel," has slowly become the talk of the Internet this week. The short clip with no information provided by poster Honor Via depicts a squirrel appearing to eat a nut while standing, only to suddenly freeze, tip over for a […]justonemorepet
- Meowsa! Do our pets go to Heaven? December 3, 2013WND: While millions of people grapple with questions about what really happens when they die, now a brand-new book is probing what might actually happen to people’s beloved pets. The title of the book asks the timeless question, “Do Our Pets Go to Heaven?” and features biblical analysis of the issue, along with amazing stories […]justonemorepet
- At the Dog Park: Red Alert Behavior Series: Tail Tucked Plus Risks to Small Dogs December 3, 2013Video: At the Dog Park: Red Alert Behavior Series: Tail Tucked Plus Risks to Small Dogs NoDogAboutIt: Over the holiday weekend, my dogs enjoyed daily visits to the dog park. They loved getting to walk in the woods every day and to meet up with some of their old friends and hang out. Daisy is […]justonemorepet
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- Elwood, Crowned World’s Ugliest Dog in 2007, Has Died December 1, 2013Elwood, the New Jersey canine that was crowned the world’s ugliest dog in 2007 and later became the topic of a children’s book preaching acceptance died. unexpectedly Thanksgiving morning at age. His owner, Karen Quigley, said the Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix died after having some heath issues in recent months but recently appeared to […]justonemorepet
- Advent Advent Christmas Dog December 1, 2013Video: Advent Advent Christmas Dog Advent – The Season of Anticipation and Hope – WoC 2013justonemorepet
- Rescued Pit Bull Saves Adoptive Mom from Javelina Attack December 7, 2013
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- RT @AskMarion: Saul, Herod, Obama wp.me/p1dXJI-4N2There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 12 hours ago
- RT @Rand_Paul__2016: RAND PAUL FOR PRESIDENT! is out! paper.li/VOTE__RonPaul/…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 12 hours ago
Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!
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