Passionate about animals and our San Diego community, Vivianne Villanueva Dhupa and Sarit Dhupa have devoted their lives in helping animals and their owners live life to the fullest.
apl: What inspired both of you to get into the pet industry?
Sarit – I come from a family of physicians, I am the 42nd Doctor in my family! My decision to pursue animal medicine was largely based on childhood experiences with animals as I was born and raised in Africa.
Viv – I am an only child and grew up surrounded by animals. They provided company and a lesson in compassion. When I lost a 17-year-old cat, I found out that instead of being cremated, my cat was sent to a rendering facility. Sarit encouraged me to start my own pet cremation company, Peaceful Paws where we assist families to cope with their loss.
apl: Willow Center offers a wide variety of therapies and devices for pets struggling with pain and mobility. How can an owner know which therapy serves their pet best?
Sarit – Willow Center was created as an extension to traditional veterinary care. Based on over 20 years of treating pain and mobility cases, I saw the need. Treatments include allopathic modalities, Traditional Chinese Medicine, rehabilitation, orthotics, prosthetics and mobility aides.
apl: What inspired you to open Into the Sunset?
Viv – I had owned Peaceful Paws for 5 years and dealt with grief and loss daily. We had a beautiful Chocolate Lab, by the name of Lily. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of 5. She survived exactly one year with aggressive, comprehensive cancer treatment. Before Lily died, I was an emotional owner colliding with a clinical veterinarian. I lived in a constant state of anxiety and was hyper vigilant to any changes. When we finally euthanized her, I felt the weight of the world off my shoulders. We both concluded that if we struggled this much and dealt with death and dying daily, what must people without experience or resources feel. Into the Sunset is meant to be a safe environment where a family can walk a journey with compassionate veterinary professionals guiding them every step of the way.
apl: What advice would you give to pet owners after a difficult personal experience of losing their pet?
Grief is as individual as your DNA. No two people will grieve in the same way. I recommend surrounding yourself with people that understand the human-animal bond. I also suggest setting up a memory table in a focal point of your home. Photos, bowls, toys, collars, the urn etc. can be placed on the table and helps alleviate. You may also memorialize them with a special urn, memorial jewelry or artwork.
apl: What are the funniest things that your pets do?
Sarit- Vivianne plays hide and seek with Jax, our 1 year old Burmilla. They take turns chasing each other and hiding behind doors. We call our cats Jax and June “twinsies” because they are always together and even walk in unison around the house. Ziggy a 10-year-old “doodle” mix has a special two-legged dance when a treat is coming his way and Olivia an 8-year-old Brussels Griffon leaves “presents” for Sarit in his shoe, bathroom scale or work bag if she perceives being wronged by her dad.