CALL US AT (757) 774-7040 - Serving Hampton Roads and areas of Northeast,NC
CALL US AT (757) 774-7040 - Serving Hampton Roads and areas of Northeast,NC
When it comes to advocating for our pets , it is an extremely emotional and somewhat vulnerable position to be in. There can be a feeling of helplessness as we want to do everything possible, but have to rely on professionals to provide treatment and offer appropriate recommendations. When you have never met the veterinarian, who is now coming to your home - this feeling of anxiety and uncertainty can increase ten-fold. While we can't erase the fear of the unknown, we can say that usually by the time we leave our first appointment with you - it will feel like we have known each other for many years. But until then here is a letter from the heart. I hope it makes me feel a little less than like stranger.
Let me begin by writing, that I am honored to join the Angel Pets team!
How did I get here?
My journey and love of pets pretty much began at birth. If there is a genetic code for veterinarian, I definitely have it. I can remember the first “make believe” games I played as a child. They always involved me being the veterinarian and tending to all of my stuffed animals. As soon as I was able to work as a teenager, I was always working at either an animal shelter or a veterinary hospital.
In 2009 my dream of becoming a veterinarian became a reality! I graduated from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The following year I did a rotating small animal internship at a busy emergency & specialty hospital in northern Virginia. After completing my internship, I worked in both general practice and emergency medicine. All of these professional experiences allowed me to explore who I wanted to be as a veterinarian and what I was most passionate about. I gained a deep appreciation for preventative care, which would later be one of the driving forces for me to begin my eastern medicine training.
6 Years after graduating from vet school I had discovered quite a few things. I was frustrated by the limitations of western medicine. Often, I would have pets where a client would have followed all of the recommended diagnostic tests and treatments, and their pets still succumbed to bad disease. Why was this happening if clients were being so proactive with preventative care? Another frustration was the limited options that were available for palliative care. There are good pain medications available, but many of these medications come with side effects such as drowsiness and tummy upset. I wanted to devise a palliative care plan for pets, where they could feel good in their body and do the things that made this world joyful, and I was frustrated by the options available. Lastly, I discovered that although “new puppy exams” were fun, they were not my favorite. What really brought me joy and deep satisfaction was being a part of the grey faced “old man” and “old lady” appointments. These older pets had so much wisdom. They had made so many lasting memories throughout the years and brought so much joy to their family. I felt a deep sense of honorand purpose to be able to serve these pets and support their families.
In 2015 I discovered that veterinarians were practicing exclusive hospice & palliative care and almost instantly I knew I had found my calling. Being able to be a part of a pet’s end of life journey sounded incredibly special and I knew I wanted to join this group of veterinarians. For the last 7 years I have practiced exclusive hospice & palliative care and I am confident that I am doing exactly what I was meant to do. The ability to support pet families through one of the hardest decisions that they will make throughout their life is a responsibility that I take very seriously and hold dear to my heart.
What do I love most about pet hospice? I love getting to hear a pet’s story in the comfort of their own home. One of the things that I found so limiting in brick & mortar private practice, was not having enough time to devote to senior pets and their pet parents. Being a mobile hospice veterinarian, I am able to give every family the time and attention they deserve. We are able to have a conversation that allows an individualized plan to be created that is tailored to each pet and family’s needs. No matter what the unique needs are, the goal for every pet is that their days are comfortable, with as minimal challenge as possible and they are able to receive joy from the things that make this world joyful. The things that make this world joyful can vary from pet to pet. Some pets find joy in snuggling with their pet parents 20 hours daily! And others find joy in as much physical activity that can happen in a day. One thing that unites all pets is their desire to find joy in their family, and it’s one of my top priorities to preserve this. When working with a pet family to create a palliative care plan, one of my goals is to help the client be an active part of the healing process. So rather than just giving a pet medication, there are many ways clients can support their pet at the end of life, that preserves the bond that they have shared throughout the years. It is my wish for every pet to leave this world feeling as comfortable as possible, in a safe place, surrounded by the people & pets that they love.
So where does eastern medicine fit into all of this?
I had multiple experiences from childhood through my veterinary internship where I saw the benefits of pet acupuncture. I knew this was something that one day I would want to pursue. After practicing veterinary medicine for several years, I became more aware of the limitations of western medications and knew that it was time to learn this eastern treatment modality. What I did not know when I started my acupuncture training in 2017, was how deeply in love I would fall with eastern medicine. It offered so many treatment possibilities that could help preserve a good quality of life with minimal side effects and allow a pet parent to be an active part of their pets healing process, while in the comfort of their own home. Eastern medicine opened doors that would allow me to better support pets and their families.
Have I experienced pet loss?
Growing up in Long Island, New York I had many family pets. I have experienced both the deep love a pet brings to the family and the equally painful loss in making an end-of-life decision. The first pet that I adopted as a “grown up” was a 1 and ½ year English Bulldog, Armani. He had a rough start in life, but I made a full commitment when rescuing him to making his days as comfortable and as easy as possible for the rest of his life. Armani traveled with me from undergrad in New York, to vet school in Kansas, to my internship in northern Virginia and then ultimately our final destination to Hampton Roads in 2010. Armani was my family and we supported each other through all of life’s transitions. The loss of Armani was incredibly painful, and it took me a long time to work through all the emotions that came with this loss. I am grateful for all of the joyful memories and the challenges I was able to experience with him throughout the years. He taught me so much and helped shape the doctor that I currently am today. Although his death was one of the hardest experiences, I have gone through in my life so far, I believe that when we go through hard experiences it allows us to support and connect with people better that are going through similar experiences.
I treasure all of the pets and their families that have welcomed me into their homes throughout the years and I am thankful to be part of their pet’s end of life journey.
In Loving memory of ARMANI........
Jeanette Wilson, DVM, certified TCVM Practitioner
Dr Jeanette and Armani at graduation.
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Angel Pets - Hospice and Euthanasia Hampton Roads