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angel’s paws

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Two master’s degrees and a career change later, a local pet parent was inspired to launch her own hospice care for animals after the loss of a parent and a pet. Read on for her heart string-tugging story.

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If you have a pet, or have ever had a pet, then you know how hard it is when it’s time to say goodbye. Pets are a part of the family and losing one of them can feel very similar to when a loved one passes away.

To help make the loss a little easier, Tammy Wynn and Angel’s Paws offers complete end-of-life service for pets as well the people who love them.

“We offer pet hospice, home euthanasia, private cremation, free pet loss support groups, and one-to-one grief counseling,” explains Wynn.

Back when Angel’s Paws opened in 2010, it was the first business of its kind in the country to offer these services by a single provide. In the six years since their doors opened, Angel’s Paws has now helped more than 3,500 pets and their families.

Wynn says that she was inspired to open Angel’s Paws after she experienced the loss of her cats.

“Cagney was failing and I knew we were approaching the time to say ‘goodbye’ but I was hoping my vet could help me with some criteria to better know when it was time,” she says.

The vet wasn’t able to provide her with additional information, which led to the process of losing her cat even more painful. A year later, in 2004, Wynn says her father was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and they then dealt with hospice care for the last six months of his life.

Tammy Wynn, Founder of Angel's Paws.
Tammy Wynn, Founder of Angel’s Paws.

“It was amazing and made his passing manageable,” Wynn says. “A day after my father’s death, two words, animal hospice, were given to me with divine inspiration and I realized that that was what I had needed the year before with Cagney.”

Looking back, she realized that she needed a Registered Vet Tech, or animal nurse, to visit her home and address the animal there. “She never behaved the same at the vet’s office as she did at home,” she adds.

There, she says, Cagney could have received pain management and symptom control, and Wynn could have received the education and emotional support she needed during this time.

As she began to put it all together in her mind, Wynn decided to google the words “pet hospice.” But nothing came up.

Thanks to the entrepreneurial genes she inherited from her father, she immediately thought, “OK, I’m supposed to invent this,” she says.

“So I took the next six years putting it all together,” explains Wynn. “I went to work for Hospice of Cincinnati as a social worker to really learn hospice so I could mirror it for the pet world.”

While she was there, Wynn was able to see the crucial role that nurses play when it comes to hospice care. “The are the eyes and ears for the doctor at the patient’s home,” she says.

So to give the pet world what the human world already had, Wynn chose to go back to school at the age of 50, and after already receiving two master’s degrees, and become a Registered Vet Tech.

Following her graduation and after passing board exams in 2009, Wynn opened Angel’s Paws in April 2010 with the money from her retirement fund.

Today, Wynn works with 85 local vet hospitals and a strong volunteer community of clients who have rallied to help Angel’s Paws become what it is today.

Through Angel’s Paws, Wynn wants to help make the hardest part of being a pet parent a little easier. “Losing a pet can be a very isolating experience,” she says. “With our services, pets are able to stay home for the last part of their life and allow medical care to come to them, including that final transition with home euthanasia.”

The range of services from Angel’s Paws is all-inclusive of similar services you’d find with human hospice care. They provide pet hospice, including pain management and symptom control as well as emotional support and education for the human family, home euthanasia, private cremation, free pet loss support groups, and one-to-one grief counseling.

Clients who are enrolled in the Pet Parent Peace of Mind Program are able to access Wynn’s services any time of the day, 365 days a year.

Wynn says that Angel’s Paws is growing in popularity in Cincinnati, despite being the city’s best kept secret for years. “Our clients love the attentive, loving service we provide,” she says. “We hope to duplicate and grow in other cities to help pets and people everywhere.”

To learn more about Angel’s Paws, visit www.angelspaws.com.

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