When I opened my first practice as Alga Pet Hospital in 1995, I provided patients and clients with veterinary services based on what I called “The Mischa Principle”. Mischa was that once-in-a-lifetime dog that we have all been privileged to share a portion of our lives with. He was a beautiful Yellow Labrador that my wife Jill and I gave to each other for our first wedding anniversary, and we brought him over from South Africa with us when we immigrated to the USA in 1990. He was our first child and our children’s first best friend. He was our guardian as much as we were his. He was simply the greatest dog that ever lived.
“The Mischa Principle” means that I aim to offer my patients the same level of care that I offered the greatest dog that ever lived. Veterinary medicine has come a long way in the 40 years since I graduated, and the different options available to us today are staggering. Diagnostics and treatments that we once only dreamed about have become routine and common place, and in most cases can be performed with much less stress and aggravation than in human medicine.
My decisions for my patients and their owners are based on the simple question: What would I have done for Mischa? I offer my patients the ultimate in terms of the latest veterinary techniques and information available. If I am uncomfortable with my ability to provide the best service under specific circumstances, I am quick to refer to a variety of specialists when necessary. In short, I exhaust all possibilities so that I can provide the best treatment for all my patients. I utilize my experience, wisdom, professional expertise, and compassion.
However, because “The Mischa Principle” guides my decisions in all that I do, I disagree with performing the maximum just because the maximum is available. I would never have put Mischa through an extensive series of procedures simply because these options were available, if it meant that the ultimate prognosis would remain unchanged and he would suffer needlessly. I do believe that there comes a point where life extension and resuscitation are superfluous, expensive, and are carried out without the best interests of the animal in mind. This is the time when a compassionate conversation about quality of life issues with the patient’s guardian becomes necessary.
This veterinary philosophy has guided my decisions in surrounding myself with talented, compassionate, professional, warm human beings as associates. Dr. Kenney, Dr. Dvorchak, and Dr. Harrington uphold these same values and I would have entrusted any of them with the care of Mischa. Today, as Bressi Ranch Pet Hospital, we continue to answer the question “What would you do if it was your dog, Doc?” with empathy, sensitivity, and honesty. We consider it a privilege to play such an instrumental role in the lives of all of our closest companions.