+ 001 0231 123 32



Amir Shanan, DVM, Co-Chair AHPC Certification Program


Dr. Shanan received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985 and has been practicing in Chicago since then. In 1995 Dr. Shanan founded Compassionate Veterinary Care to offer in-home medical, consultation and euthanasia services to owners of geriatric and terminally ill dogs and cats. Dr. Shanan is recognized nationally and internationally as a visionary and pioneer in developing end of life and hospice care for animals.

In 2009 Dr. Shanan founded the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, now the leading interdisciplinary organization promoting comfort oriented care for companion animals at the end of life. Dr. Shanan is a leader in developing practice guidelines for companion animals end of life care, and in  developing the first AHPC Certification Program. He is the primary editor of Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice, the first AHPC textbook (scheduled for  publication late 2016). Dr. Shanan is dedicated to his loving and supportive family, including soulmate Liat and sons Gilad, Avner and Yoram. His interests include nature, animal cognition, and playing rubber bridge.


Shea Cox, DVM, CVPP, CPLP, Co-Chair AHPC Certification Program


Dr. Cox graduated from Michigan State University in 2001. Prior to offering hospice and palliative care, her veterinary career had been spent solely in an emergency and critical care setting for 13 years prior to launching Bridge Veterinary Services nearly 5 years ago. Dr. Cox has since integrated her hospice services into two referral specialty hospitals in the Bay Area and continues to develop this niche in end of life care. Dr. Cox’s change in focus was a natural extension, as life prior to veterinary medicine involved a career as a Registered Nurse. For nearly a decade, she worked first-hand in areas of home health care, transitional care, and hospice environments, giving her an understanding of this service and its importance to the entire family unit.  

Dr. Cox is one of four Hospice and Palliative Care consultants for VIN and has authored nine chapters for two upcoming veterinary textbooks, Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice and Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient. She was also on the panel of experts that developed the AAHA/IAAHPC End of Life Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, which will be released in the fall of 2016.

Dr. Cox currently serves on the Board of Directors for the IAAHPC and holds position on the Executive Committee for the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians.


Kathy Cooney, DVM, MS, Task Force AHPC Certification Program


Dr. Cooney graduated from Colorado State University’s veterinary college in the spring of 2004. She founded Home to Heaven, an in-home pet hospice and euthanasia service in northern Colorado in the fall of 2006.  In the spring of 2011, she completed writing her first book about home euthanasia techniques. In 2012, she completed writing her second book Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques: A practical guide and has been a contributing author to many animal hospice publications, including the IAAHPC’s Animal Hospice Guidelines. Dr. Cooney was a contributing panel member with the 2013 American Veterinary Medical Association's guidelines on euthanasia and is the founder of the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy. She was President of the IAAHPC in 2015 and travels nationally and internationally to speak on her work and the current advancements in end-of-life care.


Tamara Shearer, DVM, CVPP, CVA, CCRP, Task Force AHPC Certification Program


Dr. Shearer is a 1986 graduate of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  In an effort to provide more options for her hospice and palliative care patients, Dr. Shearer has acquired 3 certifications as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, and Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner.  

In 2004, the Washington Post ran a feature that included her non-profit organization, Pet Hospice and Education Center that she founded in 2003 in Columbus, Ohio.  Her hospice efforts were documented in numerous publications including the AVMA Journal and Veterinary Practice News in 2006. She was the recipient of the Ingleheim Behringer Award in for her groundbreaking work in animal hospice and was voted Veterinarian of the Year by the Hartz Mountain Corporation. Dr. Shearer also received the Ohio Animal Foundation’s Award for Community Service.  

In addition to lecturing at national meetings, Dr. Shearer shared her hospice experiences at the First International Hospice and Palliative Care Symposium at UC Davis and organized the first complete Hospice Tract at the 2010 AVMA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.  She was a contributing author for a chapter about hospice care in Dr. Gaynor’s, Handbook of Veterinary Pain Management.  Dr. Shearer was the guest editor and author, Veterinary Clinics of North America on hospice and palliative care.  She was also co-author for the text book Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice. Dr. Shearer is the practice owner of the Western Carolina Animal Pain Clinic where she focuses on rehabilitation, pain management and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine for palliative care patients.  

Dr. Shearer served as 2009-2010 President of American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians and is a member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and the American Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.

Tammy Wynn, MHA, LISW, RVT, Task Force AHPC Certification Program


Tammy Wynn received a Masters in Clinical Social Work from The University of Louisville in 1983 and is licensed as a Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist. She obtained a Masters in Hospital and Health Administration from Xavier University in 1992.  In 2009, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati Veterinary Technician program and is licensed as a Registered Veterinary Technician in Ohio and Kentucky.  She received the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015 for her innovative work in pet hospice and palliative care.

An example of when passion, life’s purpose, and preparation intersect, Tammy founded Angel’s Paws in 2010. Angel’s Paws multi-disciplinary team provides 24/7 service including pet hospice, home euthanasia, private cremation, grief counseling and free pet loss support groups, all under one roof.  Her skills as a Hospital Administrator, Quality Improvement Consultant, Radio Talk Show Host, Licensed Human Therapist and Registered Vet Tech are perfectly matched for this venture.  Her previous work in her successful consulting business, Team Resources, positioned small and large businesses to excel in sales escalation and outrageous customer service through her quality improvement expertise.  As a pioneer in her field, she loves to support and encourage other like-minded adventurers.  She is one of the five member IAAHPC/ AHPC task force, and was invited by AAHA to collaborate with other leaders in the field to create the AAHA End of Life Guidelines for dogs and cats. She serves as the Education and Conference Chair for IAAHPC.


Cherie T. Buisson, DVM


Dr. Cherie Buisson is a 2000 graduate of Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She owns Helping Hands Pet Hospice and founded A Happy Vet, a website dedicated to self-care in veterinary medicine. Dr. Buisson is a Florida Animal Control Association Certified Euthanasia Instructor as well as a featured author at She has been a house call hospice and euthanasia practitioner since 2011. She lectures around the country on hospice, euthanasia and compassion fatigue. Dr. Buisson lives in Largo, FL with her husband, Derek, and their pets.

Jessica Pierce, PhD, M.Div, BA


Dr. Jessica Pierce is a bioethicist and writer. Her research covers a broad span of topics in bioethics, with particular focus is animal ethics and animal welfare. Jessica is the author of seven books. Her most recent publications include The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the Ends of Their Lives, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (with Marc Bekoff), and Contemporary Bioethics. Her newest book is Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets. She holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Religion from the University of Virginia.


Kris August, DVM, GDVWHM

Dr. Kris August received her DVM from Colorado State University in 1991 and earned a Graduate Diploma of Veterinary Western Herbal Medicine (GDVWHM) through the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She owns an integrative veterinary housecall practice in Ames, Iowa, in which her primary focus is geriatric and end of life care, and herbal medicine. A consultant for the Hospice and Palliative Care board on VIN, Dr. August also lectures and writes on topics concerning end of life care, herbal medicine and “caring for the caregiver”. She is a past IAAHPC board member as well as a co-author of the IAAHPC Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Guidelines (2013) and the textbook Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice (2017).

Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D., CAAB

Dr. Suzanne Hetts received her Ph.D. in Zoology with a specialization in animal behavior in 1989 from the Biology Department at Colorado State University. In 1991, she was certified by the Animal Behavior Society as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB).

With her husband Dr. Dan Estep, Suzanne co-owns Animal Behavior Associates, Inc. which provides professional online education about pet behavior consulting to professionals expert services to attorneys, and individual consultations to pet owners. Their website supports behavior and training professionals.

In addition to numerous journal and magazine articles, Dr. Hetts is the co-author of "The Human-Animal Bond and Grief" and of “Pet Behavior Protocols: What to Say, What to Do, When to Refer”, which was one of American Animal Hospital Association’s best-selling titles

Dr. Hetts has developed training programs in animal behavior for non-profits such as the Denver Dumb Friends League, and for various companies in the pet industry. She was one of the co-founders of the CHANGES: Support for People and Pets pet loss counseling program at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital which was the basis for the expanded Argus Institute For Families and Veterinary Medicine

Suzanne is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Forum in Applied Animal Behavior and was the Scientific Director for Delta Society’s publication Standards For Professional Dog Trainers: Effective Humane Principles,

Her personal interests include training for and participating in short distance triathlons, playing steel pans, Spanish lessons, being outdoors for almost any reason, and attending Jimmy Buffett concerts as a devoted ParrotHead.

Gail Pope


Gail Pope is President and Founder of BrightHaven Center for Animal Rescue, Hospice and Holistic Education.  

BrightHaven is a pioneer and leader in the ever-expanding field of animal hospice, and Gail’s experience with hospice-supported natural dying (she’s been present at over 600 such deaths) is distinct and well known. Since 1990, she has helped senior and special needs animals on a journey of holistic healing, all the way through hospice care and transition.

Gail’s work in the world of animal healthcare and hospice is widely acclaimed. She has an international consultation practice and is contacted by many vets and animal caregivers regarding BrightHaven’s natural methods and protocols. She is the author of six books available on Amazon, addressing various aspects of animal hospice and caring for older animals. BrightHaven’s comprehensive education program also includes online learning.

Gail proudly serves on the IAAHPC Advisory Board and was a member of the early IAAHPC Board of Directors, from 2009-2010. Gail also co-authored a chapter on animal hospice with IAAHPC Founder Amir Shanan, DVM, for his book entitled Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice.

In addition, Gail is a faculty member of Holistic Actions! for Companion Animals and serves on the SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) Board of Directors.