Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 22, 2015

MVNews this week:  Page 9



Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 22, 2015 




A True Sierra Madre Treasure

Meet Mr. Holmes! Holmes is a handsome domestic 
short hair mix, 1 . years old and weighing 3 pounds. 
He has a soft silky short black coat and beautiful green 

 Holmes came to the shelter when he was about 12 
weeks old in May of 2014. The day before another black 
kitten was brought to the shelter and Staff named them 
Sherlock and Holmes. Sherlock has been adopted; 
Holmes patiently waits for his family.

 He is a friendly, sweet, and 
affectionate teen cat. He likes toys, 
especially if there is a volunteer or 
staff person playing with him. He 
is very fit, agile and athletic. He 
is a very social boy, not only with 
his kennel mates, but also with his 
humans. He likes to curl up in a lap 
and be petted and will rub up next 
to your legs for attention.

 Holmes has a simple and elegant 
appearance that does not require a lot of grooming. He 
will be an ideal family pet. The Domestic Shorthair can 
even be a child’s first pet because they are known to be 
friendly with both adults and children. He would also 
be a great companion for someone living alone, who 
would love a pet that will follow them around and will 
snuggle with them and sit on their lap. 

 This playful boy has a lifetime of love and affection to 
share and would be a great addition to a lucky family.

 He currently resides at the San Gabriel Valley 
Humane Society located at 851 E. Grand Avenue in San 
Gabriel. We are located off San Gabriel Blvd., north of 
Mission and south of Las Tunas. 

 To celebrate National Black Cat Appreciation Day, 
all black cats are available for the special reduced 
adoption fee of $25, which includes spay/neuter surgery, 
a microchip, first vaccinations and a free wellness 
check-up at a participating veterinarian. Please come 
in to meet Holmes and his friends in person. They will 
charm you with their feline antics and playful natures. 
If a black cat is in your future, you 
won’t want to miss this limited time 

 To arrange a ‘Meet and 
Greet’ with Holmes, please stop by 
any time from 10:00am to 4:30pm 
Tuesday thru Sunday. If you are 
interested in meeting Holmes or 
any of the other available animals 
at the shelter, visit the San Gabriel 
Valley Humane Society at 851 E. 
Grand Ave., San Gabriel, Calif. 91776. We are open 
10:00am to 4:30pm Tuesday thru Sunday. For more 
information, call (626) 286-1159. See our website at for information and photos of all 
our wonderful pets. 

 Readers are invited to join the San Gabriel ‘Strut 
Your Mutt’ dog walking team to raise funds for 
shelter animals. The walk is Saturday October 10th 
at Exposition Park. Go to the shelter’s website at for more information and how to join 
the team!

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

Long gone are the days when doctors paid house calls 
to tend to their patients’ health needs. And, few and far 
between are animal doctors who make house calls to 
provide veterinary care for domestic pets in the comfort of 
their own homes. However, did you know that we actually 
have a veterinarian right here in Sierra Madre who makes it 
her practice to do just that?

 Deborah Smith, DVM is one unique pet vet whose 
practice, Treehouse Holistic Veterinary House Calls, is 
(in my own words) a fusion of philosophies including 
mainstream veterinary medicine, acupuncture and 
Chinese herbal medicine, all combined and designed to 
address whatever may ail your animal.

 On a personal note, my dog Molly had distemper as 
a puppy and Fredrick Alfaro, her owner at the time had 
no idea what was wrong with her. The shelter where he’d 
rescued Molly had told him she had kennel cough, but 
it soon became clear that whatever she had was much 
more serious than that, and Fred was determined to get 
the help she needed. Fortunately, Dr. Smith was able to 
diagnose Molly’s problem and begin the appropriate 
treatment that saved her before it was too late. Not long 
after that, Frederick himself passed away, may he rest in 
peace, and Molly became a part of my family. Ever since 
then I have been grateful to Dr. Smith for keeping our 
little girl alive so we could enjoy her for many years to 

 I caught up with Dr. Smith last week and thanked 
her again for what she did to help Molly. We then had a 
conversation about the good work she is doing now in 
the veterinary field. I was quite intrigued with the unique 
nature of her approach to pet medicine and she was 
kind enough to take the time to satisfy my curiosity by 
answering several questions I had. I was so impressed I 
decided to share it with my readers because I truly believe 
her expertise and her style of practice is yet another Sierra 
Madre treasure that we, as pet owners can benefit from.

 HT: Tell me a little about your background.

Dr. Smith: I have been practicing progressive medicine 
for 26 years. I have a Zoology degree and DVM degree 
from UC Davis, completed an Internship in Small 
Animal Medicine and Surgery in Los Angeles and have 
completed Veterinary Acupuncture training and two 
programs in Veterinary Chinese Herbal Medicine. I have 
been practicing Integrative medicine including Chinese 
Medicine, Homeopathy, nutritional and supplemental 
therapy, and Class IV Cold Laser for 9 years.

 HT: How did you get involved in making house calls?

 Dr. Smith: In 1980, before vet school, I read a great book 
called “All My Patients are Under the Bed” about an 83 year 
old vet in New York City, Dr. Camuti, who saw only cats. He 
did 30 house calls a week and the book had great anecdotes. 
He was still practicing at the time the book was written. I 
thought “I would love to 
do that”. Now many of my 
patients are under the bed, 

 Two years ago we 
decided to sell the practice 
I co-owned. I desired a less 
hectic pace where I could 
practice in a way where 
I could develop a closer 
relationship with my clients 
and patients and take a 
more thorough approach 
with my patients and also 
in educating the clients in 
preventative care. I started 
this practice in early 2014. I have two assistants, Sarah and 
Erin. We typically spend an hour or more with each visit. 
In my hospital, I could barely afford 20 minutes. I find it 
very satisfying and I like that, so far, all my clients seem to 
really appreciate the service. We do calls 4 days a week and 
provide extensive written reports. Custom appointments 
are available in the evening or on a weekend.

 HT: Why would folks want a house call vet?

Dr. Smith: Some of my patients are older dogs that have 
trouble getting in the car or cats that are too stressed in a 
carrier or the car. Some clients are just busy and don’t want 
to waste time transporting the pet and waiting to see the vet 
to just have a 15 minute visit with the doctor.

 We also have a handful of celebrities or others in the 
entertainment business and they have crazy schedules so 
we will go to the studio or locations and see the pet there. 
That is a lot of fun! 

 Many clients find me because they are looking for a 
holistic or integrative veterinarian through the American 
Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and are referred 
to me. They weren’t looking for house calls but once they 
found how easy it is, they wouldn’t go back.

 HT: Are there limits to what you can do without the 
usual high tech equipment available in most hospitals?

 Dr. Smith: Yes, I don’t take x-rays, perform ultrasound, 
do emergency work or hospitalize patients. I work with a 
network of specialists and if a client needs services I can’t 
provide, I can tell them where to go. I am very accessible 
by email to my regular clients, like a concierge doctor, 
something I was unable to do at my clinic.

 HT: What services do you do the most?

 Dr. Smith: Acupuncture, Cold Laser, geriatric and cancer 
support. Also a lot of wellness and prevention care. We offer 
anesthesia-free teeth cleaning, which is popular, but all pets 
are not good candidates. A vet should always examine your 
pet before teeth cleaning because some patients need a full 
dentistry with x-rays and possible extractions, others only 
need tartar removal and polishing, which is what we do.

 HT: Is a house call a lot more expensive than a regular vet 

 Dr. Smith: Not really. There is a travel fee of $75.00 within 
10 miles. The rest of the fees are the same or less than the 
average quality vet hospital. It often evens out, especially 
if we see more than one pet at a visit. I have yet to have 
anyone feel the fees were high, usually they express that it is 
a great value for how much time we spend with them. All 
veterinary care, like medical care, is expensive so clients 
should get a thorough return. Pet insurance covers our 

 For more information about Dr. Smith and her practice 
or to make an appointment, call 626-355-7682 or visit her 
website at: Enjoy your beloved 
pets, keep them healthy and happy, love and let live!


A little lady needs your help! Meet Charmaine (A4863444). 
Charmaine is a damsel-in-distress 9-year-old reddish 
brown (with beautiful age icing) spayed female Miniature 
Greyhound mix who was surrendered to the Baldwin Park 
Animal Care Center on August 5th because 
her owners have lost their home, are living in 
their car, and have no way to continue feeding 
and caring for their beloved girl. Additionally, 
Charmaine’s sister, a Maine Coon cat 
named Simone [A4863447—see below], was 
surrendered at the same time for the same 
reason. Weighing 18 lbs, Charmaine is, quite 
understandably, anxious and frightened at 
being in the shelter, separated from her entire 
family. She is a gentle, cooperative girl. She walked well on 
leash for her handler, and she went nose-to-nose with other 
dogs her size but then sort of retreated, seemingly reluctant 
to engage when she had so much more important stuff on 
her mind. Volunteers that had her out can say she gets along 
with cats, of course, since her sister Simone can attest to that. 
Given how bonded Charmaine and Simone are, and their 
mutual history and newly lost human family, it would be 
absolutely awesome to see them exit the shelter together. If 
that can’t be, however, love, affection, and the warmth of 
people who care about her should encourage Charmaine to 
trust again and to let her inner-puppy shine through! To 
watch a video of Charmaine, please visit the following link:

 To meet Charmaine in person, 
please see her at the Baldwin Park Shelter, 
located at 4275 N. Elton, Baldwin Park, 
CA 91706 (Phone: 626-962-3577). She is 
currently available now. For any inquiries 
about Charmaine, please reference her 
animal ID number: A4863444. The shelter 
is open seven days a week, 12 pm-7 pm 
Monday-Thursday and 10am-5pm Friday-
Sunday. This is a high-intake shelter 
with a great need for adoptions. For more information 
about Charmaine or the adoption process, please 
contact United Hope for Animals Volunteer Adoption 
Coordinator Samantha at Samantha@hope4animals.
org. To learn more about United Hope for Animals’ 
partnership with the Baldwin Park Shelter through its 
Shelter Support Program, as well as the many dogs of 
all breeds, ages, and sizes available for adoption in local 
shelters, visit

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: