Unique pet hospice facility opens

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SAN DIEGO — A unique pet hospice facility called Into the Sunset opened this week in Sorrento Valley. It’s the first of its kind in the country according to industry professionals.

“We’re the first brick and mortar facility dedicated to all aspects of end of life care,” said Into the Sunset owner Vivianne Villanueva.


17 year-old cat “Little” receives acupuncture

Villanueva said clients are walked through the entire process from the diagnosis of their pet to the end of life celebration.

“A death is a big event,” she said. “There are weddings there other big markers in our lives and this is the same.”

When Ken Wilson’s beloved dog “Ash” had a stroke and kidney failure, he became the full time caregiver.

“It was tough times taking care of him,” said Wilson. “I had to give him hospice myself because there was really no opportunity like that, and so I was watching him 24/7 and had to take him to work with me.”

When Ash passed away Wilson offered a suggestion to pet crematory owner Vivianne Villanueva.

“I said it’d be great if there was someone who could watch him during the day,” he said. “It would have been very helpful because then I wouldn’t have had stress on me.”

The idea for Into the Sunset was born.   The facility offers a pet shop for disabled animals that includes special harnesses and wheelchairs.  The facility has partnered with a local photographer to offer final tribute photo sessions.  Grief counselors and chaplains are also on hand to help with the loss.

“We’re really taking this to the next level,” said Villanueva.

There is also a clinic area for pet treatments.

“We’re intending to provide high-end pain management procedures,” said Medical Director Sarit Dhupa.

That includes herbal treatments and pet acupuncture.  Villanueva’s ailing 17 year-old cat if their first client.

The process begins with a $250 to $300 consultation and then a customized plan from there for each pet.

For Ken Wilson, the loss has been difficult.  He has not gotten another pet.

“I don’t know if I’m going to,” he said. “I don’t know if I want to go through that process again. It’s difficult.”

He’s glad to know if he changes his mind, there is now a service to help.

For more information on Into the Sunset click here.

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