Many folks are curious about how I found my way to homeopathy, about my allopathic
training, and about other aspects of my background. In response, here is a bit
of my personal history.
I grew up in northern New Jersey, and decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian by the time I was eight years old. As you might expect, I had all of the usual pets, and a few unusual ones. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for their patience and support through an endless succession of furred, feathered, scaled and shelled critters that I brought home. ("I'll take care of him, Mom. I promise!")
In my teens, I bred and showed tropical fish. This is the earliest experience I can recall that started me thinking more holistically. I discovered that my fish bred more successfully, and were more disease resistant, when fed live food (brine shrimp, tubifex worms) than when given commercial 'fish food'. Hmmm...
In college, I couldn't have a dog or a cat, so I got a boa constrictor named Owsley. I had Owsley for 16 years, and even managed to find him a mate. Imagine coming home from a backpacking trip to find 15 baby boas swarming around the habitat!
I'd like to think that my considerable adolescent rebelliousness eventually matured into a healthy nonconformity. In any case, I've always thought for myself, and so it's not surprising that by the time I finished veterinary school I had already joined the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, and was particularly interested in nutrition. I quickly embraced and studied herbal medicine, and explored kinesiology, electroacupuncture, and other holistic modalities.
None of that, however, prepared me for my introduction to homeopathy. I moved to Santa Cruz, California in 1983, and met Dr. Richard Pitcairn, who was also living there at the time. He encouraged me to learn about homeopathy, but in my youthful arrogance I felt that I was doing just fine, thank you, with my nutrition and herbs. Then came a case that completely stymied my every effort to help. She was a German Shepherd named Halley who was dying from a chronic cough. Seriously! She had been coughing day and night for weeks, could not eat or sleep, had become emaciated, and was headed toward death. Nothing that I did, including allopathic drug treatment, had any effect whatsoever. Finally, Lori, Halley's caretaker, called to ask me if she could try a homeopathic remedy, Arsenicum album, which had been recommended by a human homeopath she knew. To make a long story short, the Arsenicum quickly cured the cough. It turns out that Halley had been treated for heartworms three years earlier, and arsenic is the active ingredient in the drug that had been given. The drug had induced a state like chronic arsenic poisoning. Thus, I had my first lesson in Similia Similibus Curentur: like cures like.
Needless to say, I was blown away. Shortly thereafter, I signed up for Richard's very first homeopathy workshop.
Homeopathy is more than a system of medicine; it is a way of thinking. Learning to think homeopathically is like learning to think in a different language. Not everyone is able to make the paradigm shift necessary to change from allopathic to homeopathic thinking. It turned out that I have a certain aptitude for this very unique system of medicine and thought.
I have continued to study all these years with some of the best teachers in the world. Along with my advancement in homeopathic skills, and, in part, as a result of my own homeopathic treatment, I have also experienced considerable personal and spiritual growth. To paraphrase Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, in the first paragraph of his Organon, it all works together in the wondrous process of living life and striving to achieve one's highest potential.
In terms of allopathic education, I received my DVM from Cornell in 1981. However,
my real education, that is, in homeopathy, began with Richard Pitcairn, DVM
in early 1985. By 1987, I was pursuing more advanced study with Vega Rozenberg,
a master homeopath for humans, and a very remarkable person. Vega was my primary
teacher and my prescriber, as well as a good friend, for nine years.
While still studying with Vega, in 1990-91, I took a year-long course with Paul Herscu, ND, of the New England School of Homeopathy.
Finally, from 1996-99, I studied with Jeremy Sherr, another master homeopath for humans. Upon completing the three-year course, I received a PCH degree (Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy) from the Dynamis School of Homeopathy, with a specialty in philosophy.
Along the way, I have also studied, at least briefly, with George Vithoulkas, Vassilis Ghegas, Lou Klein, Misha Norland, Miranda Castro, Roger Morrison, Amy Rothenberg, and others.
In summary, the vast majority of my homeopathic training has been with some of the most advanced human prescribers in the world. I have translated that training into dog and cat terms (and, more recently, horse terms) in order to help my furry patients. As a result, I have been fortunate to have access to some of the deepest insight and most sophisticated techniques available in the world of homeopathy today.
In addition, for the past five years, I have been teaching seminars in advanced veterinary homeopathy in Massachusetts, Florida, and North Carolina. It is said that you never learn so well as when you teach. I have found this to be profoundly true.
In my seminars, I emphasize case taking by having a live case each day. It is one thing to tell someone how to practice a particular skill, and quite another to show them how. These are real patients and real clients, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
I also study and prepare one featured remedy to teach in great depth, a new remedy for each seminar.
For the past five years, I have been teaching seminars in advanced veterinary
homeopathy in Massachusetts, Florida, and North Carolina. It is said that you
never learn so well as when you teach. I have found this to be profoundly true.
In my seminars, I emphasize case taking by having a new live patient each day. It is one thing to tell someone how to take a case, and quite another to show them how. These are real clients with real patients, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
I also study and prepare one 'featured' remedy to teach in great depth, a new remedy for each seminar. This has been tremendously beneficial to me (and my patients!), as I have gained much greater insight into the remedies that I have studied, as well as many others remedies related to them.
I delve into the finer points of homeopathic philosophy, primarily from Hahnemann's Organon and Kent's Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy. I present a variety of tools that I have found useful in enhancing pattern recognition and a gaining a deeper understanding of remedies. I share clinical techniques, tricks of the trade, you might say, that I have learned from my teachers or developed on my own. Basically, I try to convey that which I have found to be of value in my own evolution as a homeopathic healer.
I have been blessed with great teachers who taught me not only the nuts and bolts, but also the creative side of homeopathy. Not only the science, but the art as well. The vital force is dynamic, and disease is dynamic, so healing must also be dynamic. Having received this great gift, I feel that I have a responsibility to share what I have learned with others, that they may heal their patients more effectively. It is, I believe, an example of what Hahnemann refers to in the Organon as a healer's highest calling.
I have been practicing veterinary homeopathy exclusively since 1985. My practice is national in scope, which is to say, I have clients all over the country. As you might imagine, my consultations are primarily on the telephone. Even local clients, after the initial work-up, usually prefer the convenience of telephone follow-ups. Office visits are always available, however, and encouraged for initial work-ups. The choice is yours.
If, like many people, you are not especially familiar with homeopathy, I encourage you to read a bit about the basic theory and principles. There is only one good book on veterinary homeopathy, which is "Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs" by Don Hamilton, DVM. My office has copies of Don's book for sale, or you can borrow a copy for a month at no charge. Alternatively, you could read about the basic theory and principles in any introductory book on homeopathy for people. The principles are exactly the same regardless of the species of the patient. Another alternative is to go to the website: www.beyondflatearth.com, and download the book "Beyond Flat Earth Medicine" by Tim Dooley at no charge.
The next step is to gather as much information as possible on your pet's medical
history. Ideally, this should include copies of the original handwritten medical
records from any veterinarians who have seen him/her. In addition, it would
be helpful for you to write down anything you can think of regarding the medical
history that might not be in the veterinarians' records. This might include
symptoms that you treated yourself or that were not treated, patterns of symptoms,
or emotional factors that have had a lasting impact.
Finally, if we will be working together over the telephone, it would be helpful if you could send a photograph of your pet. This is not critical, but it's nice for me to have a visual image of your pet as we're talking about him/her. Photographs do not fax well, so they should be sent by mail or e-mail.
71 Ashfield Road
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Once you have sent the historical information, we're ready to schedule an appointment for the initial work-up. Please call the office so my assistant, Betty, can arrange a mutually convenient time for us to talk. This is usually a 90-minute appointment, although it doesn't always take that long. I will review all of the historical information in preparation for the work-up.
The purpose of the initial work-up is for me to establish a comprehensive base of information about your pet, and to determine the best remedy with which to begin treatment. Homeopathic treatment, though, is an ongoing course with the goal of improving your pet's health on the deepest possible level. As such, follow-up appointments are necessary at appropriate intervals so that I can interpret the response to the prescribed remedy, and make recommendations regarding ongoing treatment.
My assistant, Betty, is available to take telephone calls on weekday mornings, except for Wednesday, from 9:00 until noon, Eastern time. Betty's number is (413) 283-6699. The main number for the practice is (413) 268-3000.
I charge for my time, and my consultation rate is $160 per hour. The charges are prorated to whatever amount of time is spent, including review of medical records. Payment may be made by check, or applied to a MasterCard or Visa. After the initial work-up, subsequent charges (follow-up consultations, remedies, etc.) are billed monthly.
If I am going to be helping you with your pet's health care, we will have a doctor-client relationship that we both want to be mutually beneficial. Any relationship, professional or otherwise, is by definition two-sided. I would like for us to be clear about the nature of our relationship, and our respective responsibilities.
It is my responsibility to do my best to apply my knowledge and experience in veterinary homeopathy, nutrition, herbology and allopathic (conventional) medicine in helping you to improve your pet's health. At the outset, I will explain the proposed treatment, as well as any potential risks or discomforts to be anticipated. I will give you my estimate of the chances for a successful outcome in your pet's case, and discuss with you any treatment alternatives. After the initial work-up, I will provide ongoing guidance in remedy selection and implementation of the treatment. During the course of treatment, I will make every effort to be respectful of your needs and desires, and to answer any questions that you may have.
The ultimate responsibility for your pet's health is in your hands. Whereas
I will make many recommendations, you have the final say in all decisions.
It is your responsibility to call me with progress reports at appropriate intervals so that the treatment can progress. By the same token, you have the right to discontinue treatment at any time.
I am depending on you to carefully observe your pet for changes in response to the prescribed treatment. The detail and accuracy of your observations will directly affect our chances of success. I suggest that you keep a journal to record any changes as you see them.
Finally, you are responsible for making payment in a timely manner. All invoices and statements specify a date by which payment is due, and I ask that you honor that request.
Many of the animals I treat are seriously ill, and others, while not in a life-threatening state, are nevertheless complicated by virtue of previous treatment, or are for other reasons difficult to treat. Homeopathic medicine is both a science and an art, and as with any system of medicine, there can be no guarantee of results. So even in the unfortunate event that the results of the treatment are disappointing, you are still responsible for payment of the charges accrued.
If you have any questions about any of these policies, please speak with me about them. As I said, I would like our relationship to be one of mutual respect and mutual benefit. Most of all, I would like to assist you in having a healthier and happier pet.
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