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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Real-Life Fox and Hound Will Mend Your Childhood Broken Heart

Mashable: The only tears you’ll shed over this real-life fox and hound friendship are from the joy of knowing that the Disney classic responsible for wrecking your childhood could have a happy ending after all.

Tinni the dog and Sniffer the fox found one another in Norwegian woods and frolicked together ever since. Photographer Torgeir Berge captured the adorable duo to share with the world. The photos will be used in an upcoming book by Berit Helberg to "spread their message about fur and friendship."

Berge wrote on his website that the book will include a number of short stories suited for children of all ages, including the grown-up kind. An English version of the book will be released sometime next year.

In the meantime, take a look at some of the adorable shots of these two furry friends.

Fox-and-hound-01Image: Facebook Torgeir Berge

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Image: Facebook Torgeir Berge

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Image: Facebook Torgeir Berge

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Image: Facebook Torgeir Berge

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Image: Facebook Torgeir Berge

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Image: Facebook Torgeir Berge

December 11, 2013 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, Animals Adopting Animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Unusual Stories, Wild Animals | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meowsa! Do our pets go to Heaven?

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.”

Related:

Pets and Heaven 

Heaven and Pets

Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

Rainbow Bridge

Sometimes “Rainbow Bridge” Prayers Are Answered

Critter for Christmas Gift… Not Best Idea!

Pet owners cut back on gifts… but not for their cuddly dogs and cats

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Soul Remains Unawakened’ 

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Pet Age

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

Adopt a Senior Pet…

WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

Heaven and Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Tails of Love

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

And God Created Dog…

Dogs Know

On the First Day God Created the Dog!

A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

GoD and DoG

Dog, truly a gift! 

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Tribute to Brendon Griffen… 

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Books

Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

December 3, 2013 Posted by | 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elwood, Crowned World’s Ugliest Dog in 2007, Has Died

world's ugliest dog diesElwood, 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."

Related: 

BEHOLD YODA: CHINESE CRESTED-CHIHUAHUA MIX DEEMED ‘UGLIEST DOG’

Book: World’s Ugliest Dogs

December 2, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Betrayed… Frightened…Confused… He Would Never Do This To You!

We Would Never Do This To You

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

Pets… Animals are family too and they are forever, just like children.  Dogs are man’s best friend and they would never abandon you! 

Homeless With Pets – Choosing Pets Over Shelter

Where there is a will…

Economic Forecast: One Million Pets May Lose Homes in the U.S.

Just How Bad Is The Economy??

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 | 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 | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dog Waits at Gate for Cat to Come Home [video]

Video: Dog Waits at Gate for Cat to Come Home

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 | Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, animals, Animals Adopting Animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Celebrating Animals in the Afterlife

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Guest contributor: Maureen Harmonay

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.

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Kim Sheridan

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.

AnimalsintheAfterlifeLogo

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.

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Joanne Gerber

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.

Related:

Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Pet Age

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

Adopt a Senior Pet…

WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

Heaven and Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Tails of Love

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

And God Created Dog…

Dogs Know

On the First Day God Created the Dog!

Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

And God Created Dog…

Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

GoD and DoG

Dog, truly a gift!

Rainbow Bridge…

Books

Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends’ Journey Beyond Death (Kindle)

Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

September 7, 2013 Posted by | 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 | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Story at-a-glance
  • 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.

Video: Dr. Karen Becker Interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos

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
    Happiness

    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.

    Related:

    Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

    Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

    The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

    Pet Age

    The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

    World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

    The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

    How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

    Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

    Pet owners turning to non-traditional

    A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

    ‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

    Adopt a Senior Pet…

    WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

    Heaven and Pets

    If I Should Die Before My Dog…

    Tails of Love

    ‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

    Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

    And God Created Dog…

    Dogs Know

    On the First Day God Created the Dog!

    Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

    A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

    And God Created Dog…

    Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

    GoD and DoG

    Dog, truly a gift!

    Rainbow Bridge…

    Books

    Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

    Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

    August 30, 2013 Posted by | 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

    A Soldier Reunites With His Dog After A Six Month Deployment

    Video:  A Soldier Reunites With His Dog After A Six Month Deployment

    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 | 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 | , , , , | 2 Comments

    Incredible: The Moment a Woman’s Dog Emerges from Rubble During TV Interview Right After She Describes Losing Him

    Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Barbara Garcia Finds Dog in Rubble During CBS News Interview

    (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!”

    Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Barbara Garcia Finds Dog in Rubble During CBS News Interview

    (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 | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

    Dogs Welcome Home Soldiers

    Dogs reunited with their soldier…

    Video: Military Reunions with Man’s Best Friend: Dogs…

    Cross-Posted at Ask Marion

    April 4, 2013 Posted by | 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 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments