RICHFIELD: If you don’t believe your medical treatment should be one-size-fits-all, why would you want it for your pet?
Ideally, our doctors give us individualized medical advice suitable for our ailments. But, we also want them to see us as whole persons, recognizing that a problem affects more than just a broken wrist, a sore back or a migraine headache.
Let’s face it. When we hurt we want a compassionate person to help our minds as well as our bodies heal.
Don’t our pets deserve the same kind of treatment?
Stephanie Sivula, a veterinary technician at Dancing Paws Animal Wellness Center, is the Beacon Journal’s newest pet expert. She will answer your questions dealing with issues of animal wellness using integrated medicine that treats both.
Sivula is the wife of veterinarian Dr. Neal Sivula, who opened the practice in 2009 in Richfield.
The clinic specializes in blending traditional and holistic therapies to help pets live better, longer, pain-free lives.
“Owners that come here go above and beyond. They are incredibly committed to their pets’ needs — profoundly dedicated and willing to explore things other people may not,” she said.
The practice does not offer primary care, but is tailored to each animal’s needs, be it cancer, nerve problems or joint pain, to name just a few of its services.
Treatment in an animal’s individual plan might include acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, and geriatric therapies as well as cancer care. Dancing Paws is the only clinic in the state to offer pulsed signal therapy that helps the one in five adult dogs suffering from degenerative joint disease.
Stephanie Sivula and I met two years ago when cat and bird lovers waged a war of words over feral cats. She was a gentle voice of reason over an issue that pitted bird lovers who claim feral cats are killing millions of birds each year against proponents of Trap, Neuter and Release as a way to manage feral cats humanely.
As the manager of two feral cat colonies, I soon learned to respect her calm demeanor in the sea of anger.
The same can be said of the office she manages.
When I visited Dancing Paws last week I noticed soothing music quietly playing in the background.
There were no loud voices, no ringing telephones (even patient owners are requested to turn off their cell phones), and the office was devoid of the sterile medical atmosphere one usually sees in a veterinary clinic.
Sleepy kittens snoozed in a large pen. Born feral and retrieved from a mom that had outsmarted a cat trap, the kittens will be placed for adoption when they are ready.
Sivula said only three of seven feral cats remain that were living behind the office when it opened four years ago.
“That just proves TNR works,” she said.
Bags of high-quality dog and cat food lined shelves and a freezer held frozen raw food. What you feed your pet is a big part of helping your animal live a healthy life, she said.
“Nutrition is often glossed over in animals,” Sivula said.
“When I eat junk, I feel bad,” she said, adding that animals do, too.
Animal patients are ushered into individual rooms where scents that might excite or frighten a pet are kept to a minimum and there are plenty of animal-friendly items to engage pets.
People who call the practice may be put off by the fact that an answering machine fills in for a receptionist.
“Not having a reception staff helps keep our costs down,” Sivula said. Technicians return calls after office hours so they can “intelligently discuss the patient’s problem,” she said.
For more information on Dancing Paws Wellness Center, 4646 W. Streetsboro Road, Richfield, visit www.dancingpawsawc.com or call 330-659-3441.
Other animals in the news
Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinic — Low-cost rabies vaccinations for cats, dogs and ferrets will be given 1-3 p.m. today at the Silver Park Jaycee Pavilion (by baseball fields) at 2930 S. Union Ave. in Alliance. Cost is $12, $7 for Stark County residents. Cash only. Pets must be leashed or in a carrying case, be at least 3 months old and in good health. First-time shots will protect an animal for one year. Thereafter, a vaccination protects for three years. Vaccines will be administered by licensed veterinarians. Stark County dog licenses will also be available for purchase.
Paw Project film on declawing cats — Cripple Creek Ferals & Friends will present a film on the controversial practice of declawing cats at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Movies 10 Theatre in North Canton. The Paw Project is a documentary by Dr. Jennifer Conrad on the dangers of declawing. Ticket price is $11 with 5 percent going to further the efforts of Cripple Creek Ferals & Friends. Purchase tickets at www.tugg.com/events/5602.
Halloween special — One of a Kind Pet Rescue is hosting a Halloween special 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the adoption center, 1929 W. Market St., Akron, by offering a 10 percent discount off all treats for the holiday. Staff and animals will be wearing costumes and treats will be available for customers.
National Pit Bull Awareness Day and Adopt-A-Thon — Humane Society of Greater Akron, 7996 Darrow Road, Twinsburg, is offering special prices on adoptable animals from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Dogs between the ages of 6 months and 6 years will have a reduced adoption fee of $55. An incorrect fee was provided by the HSGA for the item listing the event in the Oct. 19 column.
Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to email@example.com.