NoVa - Northern Virginia

Beth Meadow, DVM

My main goals as a young child were to convince my parents to let me have a dog, and to convince wildlife and stray cats to make a home in my family's yard in San Antonio, Texas. I grew up memorizing dog breed standards, reading James Herriot stories, and eventually was allowed to get a little rat terrier puppy I named Tootsie. As the oldest of four siblings, Tootsie was my constant companion and adventure buddy when my parents were busy with my sisters and brother. Though I loved her dearly, Tootsie was a terrier, and thus often disobedient by nature. In obedience school I received high marks for "excellent corrections,” but despite these efforts, Tootsie would often escape from the house just to chase down and bark ferociously at some friendly, easy-going labrador. One of her more humorous transgressions was to steal freshly-baked goods and hide them around the house. She was fiercely loyal, brave, and like most terriers, a little too smart for her own good. Due to my love for her, the animal kingdom, and curiosity about the natural world, I decided I wanted be a veterinarian when I grew up. 

In addition to animals, I also enjoyed music and art as a child, taking piano lessons, playing in my middle and high school orchestras and bands, and singing in my college choir. I attended Austin College, a small liberal arts college in northern Texas, where I majored in Spanish and minored in Art and Biology while completing my pre-veterinary curriculum. I spent a wonderful semester in Granada, Spain, which was "like a dream," just as my professors had promised. My college jobs included veterinary technician work during school holidays, and weekly animal caretaking duties at the biology lab. I spent a year with Americorps working for Heifer International on a farm in Arkansas before graduating from veterinary school at Texas A&M in 2013. After vet school I spent three and a half fulfilling years in primary care and will always treasure these patients and their families in my heart. 

Both in my personal and professional life, I have seen the comfort that in-home euthanasia and hospice care can bring to a grieving family. My first dog was terrified at the vet so letting her pass on at home was a gift for her and us at the end of her battle with cancer and heart disease. Some of my most tender and sacred moments in practice have been during end of life home visits for clients and friends. Our animal companions truly touch and enrich our lives in such meaningful ways. My goal is to help honor that gift of love and meaning by making their transition out of this world as peaceful as possible. 

Christine Shibly, DVM

Growing up with a constant influx of rescue animals into our home, I knew as a young child that I wanted to be a Veterinarian. I spent as much time as possible helping my mom with all sorts of animal activities; from working with retired Greyhound racers and the Weimaraner rescue to helping with the occasional stray. I even assisted with a Beagle that gave birth during the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. I remember always wanting to be around animals even during their final moments before passing away. We lost our family greyhound Bogie to bone cancer when I was about fifteen years old and I vividly remember sitting on the floor of the veterinarian’s office holding him in my arms as he slowly passed away. I feel that every family should have the opportunity to be with their pet, providing comfort and support during their final stages of life.

With a budding interest and determination in helping animals, I decided to attend the Veterinary College at the University of Florida. I simultaneously worked as a veterinary technician which allowed me to learn many of the technical skills necessary for a career as a Veterinarian. The hospital I worked for performed many house calls, mainly for in-home euthanasias, which provided me with an introduction to an important aspect of the Veterinary field which most have not been able to experience. Preparing the doctor’s bag for the euthanasia procedure was surreal, but I fully understood the reality and seriousness of the circumstances the minute I entered the family’s home.

I assisted with many euthanasias in various locations, from the family’s special garden or a soft blanket on the floor of the living room to a pet’s favorite spot in the backyard. The one thought that is synonymous with each location is the how in-home euthanasia can help bring a little peace to a family during a very stressful time. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet can be one of the most difficult things in life. My hope is that I may be able to make this transition a little easier by allowing the family members to say farewell in the peace and comfort of their own home.


Dr. Christine Shibly in the News:

Nora Glaser, DVM

As a child growing up in a rural area outside of Richmond, I had two obsessions: cats and horses.  In fact, the first word I ever spoke was “Kitty!” I was naturally a bit shy as a child and I could always find some peace and comfort from cuddling with my cat Sheba or Paddington. Horseback riding helped me to gain confidence as there is something so special about grooming and caring for such a large and powerful animal. Not to mention galloping through the woods! 

Our first family dog also turned me into a major dog lover. We adopted a retired racing Greyhound when I was a freshman in high school. The push to rehome these delicate and sweet dogs had just started, and many people we knew were wary of her as they had never seen one before. Evie soon won them over, however! She was a loving, gentle dog. She seemed to forget that she was supposed to chase smaller animals, and absolutely loved our cat and even wanted to groom and cuddle with my rabbit. 

When Evie was 12 she developed Thyroid Cancer. She did very well after the surgery, and outlived her expected survival time by a year and a half. Sadly, she probably developed a metastatic lesion in her brain and suddenly showed signs that looked like a severe stroke. It broke my heart to let her go as she was such a special dog, but with the support of my family we made sure she had a peaceful passing. 

Animals have meant so very much to me that I decided to dedicate my life to improving theirs. 

After college at William and Mary, I went to the Royal Veterinary College in London, and had many experiences similar to my childhood hero, the writer James Herriot. An important part of my education was to reduce pain and suffering. I strongly believe that part of our responsibility to these amazing creatures in our care, is that they depart their earthly body surrounded by love and free from fear.