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San Diego (619) 324-8610

Orange County (949) 245-1813

Hospice pet care and compassionate home euthanasia

About Our Team

DVMElizabeth 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.

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.

Dr. Chapman (1)Dr. Chapman, DVM

Dr. Chapman started off in the veterinary world as a technician in Columbus, Ohio. She went on to graduate with an Animal Sciences degree from The Ohio State University. Following her undergraduate degree, she completed four years of veterinary school at The Ohio State University. She spent her internship year in Albuquerque, New Mexico and then practiced emergency and general medicine in Sacramento, CA for two years. Now in beautiful San Diego she serves the town of Encinitas as an emergency and general practitioner. Dr. Chapman has always felt that pets are most comfortable at home with family and friends, so she feels grateful to be able to provide services to the wonderful pets and their families in San Diego.

At home she has three dogs; an English setter, an Australian shepherd and a long-haired miniature dachshund. She and her fiancé love taking the dogs to run on the beach. She also enjoys woodworking, hiking, and running.

Dr. Garnett, DVM

Dr. Crystal Garnett grew up in the Midwest but always knew she would end up in California. After graduating veterinary school from the University of Missouri-Columbia, she eventually made her way to the West Coast and hasn’t left since. She has dedicated her career to caring for geriatric patients and has always respected and honored the human-animal bond.

The ability to allow a peaceful ending in the comfort of a pet’s home, surrounded by those that love them is an incredible service to offer and honors that special bond to the very end. While that decision is one of the most difficult and dreaded in a pet owner’s life, it is a gift we have as veterinarians to ease any pain and discomfort experienced by our beloved 4 legged family members.

She joined Paws into Grace shortly after landing in San Diego once she witnessed how grateful her clients were to have this option for their animals.

When not working, Dr. Garnett enjoys spending time with her 3 unruly dogs and has a minor obsession with dachshunds. She is an avid reader and stays active with yoga, indoor cycling and running.

DVMJessica 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


Nicole Stanclift, DVM

Dr. Nicole Stanclift grew up in the small mountain town of Lake Arrowhead, California, where animals were always part of her family. Her love of science and travel combined when she attended The University of Edinburgh’s Royal Veterinary School in 2009.

Dr. Stanclift believes that euthanasia is one of the most sacred and selfless acts that we share with our pets. Following veterinary school, Dr. Stanclift returned home with her husband, Michael and cat, Panda to settle in North County. They have recently adopted Murphy, a rescue Shih Tzu and had their first child.


Vidhya Pandi, DVM

Dr. Pandi obtained her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego. After earning her Veterinary degree at the prestigious Royal Veterinary College, in London, she returned to San Diego to practice medicine. Dr. Pandi chose to work at a busy emergency hospital where she developed expertise in surgical and diagnostic skills.

Dr. Pandi lives with her husbandand two children in San Diego. They share their home with their dog Boy Oh Boy, who earned his name from having eight different medical conditions. Having recently lost her heart dog, Betty boop, Dr. Pandi understands the struggles in making the final decision.


Dawn Love, DVM

Dr Love served in the United States Marine Corps as a second Lieutenant and traveled extensively doing logistics and civil affairs support. She graduated from Western University College of Veterinary Medicine and joined an equine practice in Southern California.

After a few  years Dr. Love made a natural switch to companion animal medicine as a dedicated advocate for preventative care and wellness. She believes deeply in protecting the human-animal bond and that every animal should have a chance to spend their last days in comfort and surrounded by their human and animal family.

Dr Love currently resides in Oceanside, California with her husband, four dogs, a cat and three tortoises. When not working she enjoys spending time training with her two horses and staying active with the many outdoor and water activities San Diego has to offer.


Toni Calomfirescu, DVM

Dr. Toni Calomfirescu (pronounced call-um-fir-es-que) is a Southern California native whose passion to become a veterinarian started at the age of 9. She dedicated herself to the veterinary field since the age of 16, completed her undergraduate degree from California State University Long Beach, and received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the prestigious Colorado State University in 2014. 

Dr. Toni is dedicated to helping relieve pain and discomfort in our companion animals. Most recently, she has become certified in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture and is on the path to becoming certified in animal physical rehabilitation. 

In-home euthanasia is a valuable service that allows a pet to transition peacefully in the loving comfort of their home. Dr. Toni is honored to be part of such a sacred moment. 

In her free time, Dr. Toni enjoys being outdoors, gardening, and spending time with her cockatiel bird Woody and Sadie the cat.

Katherine Makowski, DVM

Dr. Makowski is a native of Buffalo, NY.  She earned a B.A. in English Literature from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and spent a year studying at Oxford University in England.  She then went onto pursue her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.  She worked for one year in general practice and emergency medicine in the Adirondack Mountains near Lake Placid, NY and then moved to Boston and worked in general practice for four years.

Dr. Makowski is passionate about end-of-life care and believes a pet’s final moments should always be in comfortable and familiar surroundings. In addition to working with Paws Into Grace.  She oversees the welfare of research animals at University of California, San Diego and provides veterinary care for the animals at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.


Michael Ishida, DVM

Dr. Ishida was born and raised in Orange County. He grew up in a house that had animals as a part of the family. He started off his higher education career by attending the California State University, Fullerton while majoring in biochemistry. He then went on to attend the University of California, Davis where he obtained his doctorate of veterinary medicine. While there, he learned about the different fields in veterinary medicine and one that he found particularly inspiring and close to his heart, was in home euthanasia and hospice care. He believes that each loving companion deserves a dignified and peaceful transition in the comfort of their own home.

Dr. Ishida lives in Orange County with his two Labrador Retrievers and two cats.  He not only enjoys spending time at home cuddling with his cats, but he also enjoys playing board games, photography, and traveling, although it is hard for him to go even two days without missing his pets.


Animal Reiki PractitionerDr. 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.

Grief SupportElizabeth Allen, Family & Grief Support, RScP

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 writes books about her life with animals and likes to blog on animal related topics. http://elizabethmjallen.com/blog/

She is a Vibrational Therapist and sound healer, specializing in grief relief and has over 12 years experience counseling pet parents.

• 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)

• Licensed Spiritual Practitioner (Emerson Theological Institute)

Karissa Whitman, Administrative Manager

Born and raised in San Diego, Karissa always knew she wanted to work with animals. She attended a Veterinary Technician program and landed an externship at The Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Marcos. There she became the lead ER Technician for four years and continued her work in the field. Just recently she has found her way to Paws Into Grace, where her years of expertise with people and their beloved animals make her the perfect person to help with end of life and the difficult decisions people have to make. Her gentle demeanor and compassionate energy are balms for the grieving pet parent.

Karissa spends most of her time outside of work with her husband and their two dogs (Bella & Buddy). Karissa is a home-body who enjoys spending quality time with family, working out in their garage gym and helping her husband with DIY projects around their home. 

Whitney Roop, Client Care Specialist

Being in love with animals her whole life, Whitney began working as a Neurology and Surgery RVT at a leading Specialty & Emergency Hospital in 2013. She found her true calling as an Emergency and Critical Care RVT in 2015. In 2018 she and her husband started a family.

Whitney crossed paths with Paws Into Grace and knew it was where she was meant to be. Her professional experience, driven attitude, and compassion make her a wonderful addition to assist and support grieving pet parents during their most difficult times.

In her spare time Whitney enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter on their farm, hiking, and riding their horses.

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