First True Pet Hospice Facility Opens in San Diego

Local Certified Pet Loss Provider, Vivianne Villanueva, and Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon, Sarit Dhupa, Open First Brick and Mortar Center Dedicated to All Aspects of End-of-Life Care for the Dying Pet and their family

Mar 17, 2014, 09:00 ET from Into the Sunset

SAN DIEGO, March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Much like the death of a human family member, the loss of a pet can be a truly devastating experience, as pets have grown to become an integral part of the family unit. This leads us to the next evolution in pet care, Into The Sunset Pet Transition Center. Into the Sunset is the first specialized pet hospice in the country, closely mirroring human hospice by offering services dedicated to making a pet comfortable as they enter the final stages of life, as well as counseling to assist pet parents with coping with the imminent loss of a pet.


Into the Sunset was founded by Certified Pet Loss Provider and San Diego resident, Vivianne Villanueva, and her Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon husband, Dr. Sarit Dhupa. Together, they saw a need for this type of unique animal facility after the trauma of losing their own dog, Lily. Determined to make a difference in how pet loss is handled and cater to the "new normal", the husband and wife duo opened Into the Sunset March 10, 2014 to help others deal with loss of their pet – before, during and after. Unlike other pet hospices, which are focused on in-home euthanasia, Into the Sunset's staff consists of human, veterinary and pet loss trained specialists and offers a variety of unique services:

  • Dr. Sarit Dhupa, co-founder and Medical Director, has extensive training and several years experience in advanced pain management techniques, palliative surgical care, orthopedic disease and oncology treatment
  • A personalized care plan, beginning with a two-hour consultation with Into the Sunset family care specialists and doctors to ensure a pet's last days are as peaceful and pain-free as possible
  • Into the Sunset offers numerous services including veterinary acupuncture, homeopathy, food therapy, high level pain management, grief companioning, home assessments, medical daycare, cremation services, memorialization and celebration of life ceremonies.
  • The facility offers a mix of Western and Eastern medicine to accommodate different beliefs and lifestyles
  • Funeral services and high end memorialization such as commissioned bronze statues or man-made diamonds made from pet ashes or fur
  • State-of-the-art, human grade medical equipment
  • Part of their advisory group includes a human pain management specialist and human Intensivist specializing in end-of-life care
  • Partnerships with social workers, chaplains and human hospice to support and counsel pet parents during the various stages of grief
  • Space dedicated to providing supplies to help with management and care of handicapped pets

As the name implies, Into the Sunset, is a transition center where they walk the grief journey with the pet parent(s). The center aims to take the dying process out of the clinical setting and relocate it to a warm, tranquil environment that not only provides hospice, but also transitions the pet through death and memorialization in a soothing, comfortable environment. Into the Sunset will also provide home management if the pet parent chooses, meaning pets will not have to be transferred to the facility and endure additional stress and potential pain.

For more information on Into the Sunset, please visit

About Into the Sunset:
Into the Sunset is a hospice facility for pet parents who are looking for more options when faced with a terminal prognosis of their beloved and ailing pet other than euthanasia. At Into the Sunset, the primary focus is the pet parent, where a team certified in pet loss walks the journey of grief with the entire family, helping them to cope and ultimately understand their emotions of anticipatory grief to the inevitable loss and those deep feelings.  At Into the Sunset, options are offered that regular Vet Care Facilities aren't equipped to handle such as in-home assessments, highly technical pain management, advanced surgical techniques to facilitate palliation, feeding tubes, etc.  The caring team at Into The Sunset's goal is to make sure the pet is comfortable and pain free at the end stage of their life, all the while companioning and educating pet parents and their family on how to deal with the loss of their beloved pet.

About Vivianne Villanueva:
Vivianne Villanueva is a 20 year resident of San Diego and has spent the past 11 years working in the veterinary world.  As an only child, Vivianne spent her formative years surrounded by animals that acted as surrogate brothers and sisters.  Vivianne's first experience in veterinary medicine came as an Account Executive for a large reference laboratory. A terrible experience losing one of her longtime pets prompted Vivianne to open Peaceful Paws Pet Cremation and Memorials in 2005.  Peaceful Paws has grown into one of the largest cremation providers in the country.

Vivianne is a member of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA), Certified in Grief Companioning, a Certified Pet Loss Provider (CPLP) and is on the Standards and Definitions committee of the PLPA.  She has done extensive training in pet loss and is passionate about walking the grief journey with each individual pet parent or family.  Vivianne and her husband have a young son. Her pet family includes a Brussels Griffon, Olivia and a senior cat Little.

Contact: Krista Lamp – West PR

SOURCE Into the Sunset