First True Pet Hospice Facility Opens in San Diego


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 husband, Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon 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 on 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 begins 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 also offers a mix of Western and Eastern medicine to accommodate different beliefs and lifestyles. Families can opt for traditional funeral services or high-end memorialization, such as commissioned bronze statues or man-made diamonds made from pet ashes or fur. Into the Sunset uses state-of-the-art, human-grade medical equipment.

Part of their advisory group includes a pain management specialist and intensivist who specializes in helping humans with end-of-life care. Into the Sunset maintains partnerships with social workers, chaplains, and hospices to support and counsel pet parents during the various stages of grief. There is also 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 employees walk the grief journey with the pet parents. 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 also provides 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.

SOURCE: Into the Sunset,