Elizabeth Benson, DVM
Dr. Elizabeth Benson grew up in a small town along the Chesapeake Bay. From the time she was a small child she dreamed of helping to comfort and heal all animals. She moved to New England graduating from University of New Hampshire and then completed a degree in Veterinary Medicine at Atlantic Veterinary College.
Following veterinary school she completed an internship, where she was given the opportunity to practice with board certified surgeons and internal medicine specialists. She then moved to beautiful San Diego where she accepted a position as an emergency veterinarian.
Dr. Benson loved treating her patients but soon realized that many were frightened just by walking through the clinic doors. There were so many strange smells in their unfamiliar surroundings.
She believes all veterinarians need to offer a peaceful transition for pets in those last moments. So she then started “Paws into Grace” to provide pet euthenasia at home to help provide pets the opportunity to leave us with grace, surrounded by those they love.
Often times, a few local veterinarians offered appointments during regular business hours, but there was not much available to the client who required evening and weekend service. This was where the idea for “Paws into Grace” originated.
Jessica Vogelsang, DVM
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang is a native New Englander, hailing from a small town in northern Massachusetts. She spent many days as a child helping her grandmother tend to all the neighborhood cats and birds before moving to San Diego and deciding to pursue a career as a veterinarian.
After attending UC Davis, Dr. Vogelsang moved back to San Diego and has been practicing for over a decade. When she’s not working she is either spending time with her husband, children, and pets or volunteering internationally with World Vets, providing veterinary care for underserved communities.
Dr. Vogelsang is also a prolific author. As one of the few certified veterinary journalists in the nation, Dr. Vogelsang frequently contributes to veterinary publications on the topics of family, pets, and end of life care.
As a certified pet loss bereavement counselor through the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, Dr. Vogelsang cares deeply about easing the transition of a beloved pet. She has seen the way hospice makes life better for both people and pets and is committed to this part of the human/animal bond. Dr. Vogelsang joined Paws into Grace in 2013.
Dr. Vogelsang’s professional affiliations include: American Veterinary Medical Association, San Diego Veterinary Medical Association, American Society of Veterinary Journalists, Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.
Follow Dr. Volgelsang’s Blog – http://pawcurious.com/topic/blog/ and Check out here new book on Amazon – All Dogs To Kevin, Everything Three Dogs Taught Me That I didn’t Learn In Veterinary School
Vidhya Pandi, DVM
Dr. Pandi completed her Bachelors of Science degree at UCSD and moved to London, England to pursue her Veterinary degree from Royal Veterinary College. When the cold and rain eventually got tedious, she moved to sunny San Diego. She has been working as a small animal practitioner in San Diego since 2006. She initially met Dr. Benson while working together at a busy practice and has been with Paws into Grace since late 2011.
She currently lives in San Diego with her husband and two fantastic dogs.
Having experienced a very emotional loss of her own dog, she understands the clients concerns and questions. Pet euthanasia at home is the hardest decision most people have had to make, and Dr. Pandi empathizes with each family.
Elizabeth Allen, Family Support
Elizabeth Allen was born in Dublin, Ireland and moved to the US via a Green Card in the Lottery in the early 90’s. She feels blessed to have found many passions along the path of life, including writing and animals. She loves to help educate pet owners on any subject regarding their pet’s health and well-being because she truly believes educated pet owners have happier, healthier pets.
She speaks and writes on the subject of grief both human and animal and supports pet owners with pet hospice education, compassionate and intuitive counseling and end of life planning for animals. She is a poet and a novelist, with a background in holistic veterinary medicine, animal nutrition and pet environmentalism. She is author of “Love Crosses Over” and “Manifesting Mongrel.” She is a member of several hospice organizations and has had extensive training in grief counseling including the following:
• Member of APLB – The Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement
• Board Member for PPAW (People Passionate About Animal Wellness) in Association with ACVIM
• Completed the San Diego Human Hospice Volunteer Training 2007
• Member of IAAHPC (International Association of Animal Hospice & Palliative Care)
• Certified through Stanford University School of Medicine & Sharp Healthcare – Compassion Cultivation Training 2013
• Volunteer for AHELP (Animal Hospice and End of Life Project)
Dr. Silvia Farfan, Animal Reiki Practitioner and Family Support
Silvia Farfan studied and obtained her degree in Sophrologie in her native country of Colombia. After graduating she moved to France to complete her Master’s and PhD in Clinical Sophrologie. Dr. Farfan established her practice in Paris in 1991. For the next 20 years she treated patients, taught at the University of Paris and conducted well-being seminars in France and Italy. During that time she kept enriching her knowledge by studying a variety of holistic approaches focused on achieving a healthy balance of body, mind and emotions.
After 24 years her journey has brought her to expand her practice by learning Reiki techniques from a well-known Reiki Master in San Diego, California. Reiki is a holistic system designed to channel healing energy that is used for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. The principle of Reiki is harmony and balance.
Dr. Farfan continued her studies with more specific training on animal Reiki at the Animal Reiki Source in Santa Rosa, California. She has completed level 3 which certifies her as Shinpiden and Animal Reiki Teacher Training.
Currently Dr. Farfan treats her clients in a series of 4 to 10 sessions of 30 to 60 minutes each according to the specific needs of the animal. The purpose of applying animal Reiki is to create a healing space where a person or animal can enhance the healing process at a physical, mental or emotional level. Her ultimate goal is to improve quality of life by freeing the patient from pain, anxieties and emotional imbalances.
Dr. Sarah LaMere is originally from Austin, Texas. She wanted to be a veterinarian from the time she was a small child and never dreamed of any other profession. She loves all species and sought to work with animals of all shapes and sizes from a very young age.
After graduating from the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, she came to San Diego to study wildlife disease while also entering practice to work with dogs and cats. Dr. LaMere initially became interested in hospice care for animals during her volunteer work with the Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana, where she frequently encountered animals that had been run over by cars across the border and were living with chronic pain and disabilities as a result. This interest became further solidified as she faced the end of life care for her own family’s dog, Cidni, who required numerous interventions during the last year of her life in order to keep her comfortable.
Cidni was extremely difficult to medicate and reacted terribly when taken in to a clinic, so Dr. LaMere really began to appreciate the difficulties that owners faced with end of life care for their senior animals. Her own experiences with Cidni made her realize just how much owners could use the option of in-home hospice care, and Dr. LaMere sought to provide this service one day so that owners wouldn’t have to face these struggles alone. She has enthusiastically joined Paws Into Grace with the hope that she can help owners through this difficult time and ease their pets’ transition at the end of their lives.
Summer Griffin, DVM
Dr. Summer Griffin is a native San Diegan who graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2003. She then attended Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, California. Dr. Griffin graduated as a member of the charter class from Western University in 2007 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM). Dr. Griffin is currently a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). During vet school she was able to work with all creatures great and small. From dairy cows in Central California to horses at Santa Anita racetrack to mice at the City of Hope in Los Angeles to sea turtles in Hawaii. After school Dr. Griffin returned to San Diego and her true love of treating dogs and cats. She has been working as a small animal practitioner for the past 9 years. She developed a love of bonding with clients and their pets. Good communication skills are an important part of practicing quality medicine. Dr. Griffin believes that pets of every age deserve the best medical care possible. After experiencing home hospice with her father, she wondered if that same level of home care and one on one patient attention could be carried over to her terminally ill veterinary patients. That is how Dr. Griffin found Dr. Benson and Paws Into Grace. Paws Into Grace works with your primary veterinarian in the final stage of your pet’s life. Dr. Griffin believes that a peaceful home euthanasia is one of the most difficult decisions we can make, but one of the greatest gifts we can give to our beloved pet.
Julie Brown, DVM
Dr. Julie Brown attended the University of Northern Iowa, and graduated with a BS with highest honors in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She received her DVM from Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine before moving to San Diego, where she completed a rotating internship at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital. She has been practicing as an emergency veterinarian since the completion of her internship in 2010, and currently works as an emergency clinician at VCA Animal Specialty Group in addition to providing compassionate end of life care with Paws Into Grace. In her free time, she enjoys playing the trumpet as a member of the San Diego Concert Band, hiking, camping, enjoying the beaches of San Diego, and spending time with her husband and their 2 dogs and 2 cats.
Dr. Brown believes that every animal should have a chance to spend their last days at home while comfortable and surrounded by their loved ones, and appreciates the opportunity to provide this type of care through hospice. Although end of life decisions can be difficult, she believes strongly in helping pets to transition peacefully in their own homes without the stress of visiting the hospital.
Charity Mason, Office Manager
Charity Mason joined the Paws into Grace team in early 2014. She resides in Riverside County along with her Husband and 2 beautiful children. Charity’s passion for animals began as a child. At the age of 17 she was employed at her local animal shelter. From personal experience with pet loss, she understands that grief comes in many forms and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. She believes all animals are special and unique. When Charity is away from work, she enjoys spending her time with her family.