Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
This veterinary internal medicine specialist digs deep for answers to tough cases referred by family vets. He’s a die-hard sci-fi fan who's seen the original Star Wars at least 50 times.
Growing up with "dogs and cats, mostly cats," Josh’s healing talents showed early.
"As a kid, our family veterinarian really encouraged me to be a vet, but I never thought I could euthanize a pet.” But researching biology in college showed him the harshness of death in nature. "I changed my thinking. I came back to veterinary medicine, and within a year found internal medicine. That was 16 years ago and I've never looked back. I love my job! When I can make a pet's life better, or change a family's outcome, that makes my days totally worthwhile." And every day is different, “all over the map,” he smiles.
Serious and committed at work, in private Josh is hilarious. "I love puns and goofy humor!”
Recently asking his son if he was different as Dr. Elliott at work than when I’m Dad at home, “He cracked up and said ‘yes, you're totally different.’"
"I used to groan when my dad made puns and jokes, now my kids groan at me."
While he may be serious at work, his passion for it — and for pets and people — shines.
"People inspire me. My business is to take care of pets, but it's not just that. I help people understand what's going on with their pet, equip them to make decisions, help them comprehend the situation."
Guilty pleasure? “A good pajama day! Tuned out and off the grid, off the phone; relax and not have to do anything," he grins.
After predictable So Cal weather, "I enjoy Oregon's changes — I love it when it rains, the coolness and the pitter-patter of raindrops. I even love the frenetic spring where it’s hot and sunny and then lightning in the afternoon."
The shoe that is so him hearkens back to childhood. "I would call them my slippas — some people call them flip-flops. I honestly hate having shoes on. Having grown up in Hawaii, these are my favorites."
Josh treasures his young business, SunStone Veterinary Specialists, "I'm incredibly proud of what we're building, we started with just my partner and I, and we're up to 10 employees now. I'm really proud of what we've accomplished in our first year. We're growing steadily. We also have cardiology and surgery."
At home with family and fur-kids, he decompresses.
"My cat is usually at the door screaming at me to give her dinner, and if I don't do it quickly enough she comes back to get me again," he laughs. "Home is my place to disconnect from work, or try to, as I don't do that well with that. But sitting down to dinner and connecting with my wife and two kids — I look forward to those moments of peace."
"A lot of veterinarians have significant others who say "no more pets," but my wife is a big softie," he chuckles. "I have the little Tabby, Penny, and Boston mixes Brownie and Blouie who are big characters — short-faced crazy little monsters, running around the house, wrestling. Goofy little hooligans."
"Labrador Josie is basically my wife's dog, and really doesn't want anything to do with me. If my wife is out for the evening Josie will often put herself to bed. Sometimes it hurts my feelings a little."
If he won the lottery, Josh would "Go to Antarctica, and pay off my student debt! Antarctica reminds me of the marine animal research I did during college, I'd love to go there."
Smiles come "when I can send a dog home all better. Every once in a while there are diseases I can fix and just send home a whole new dog. Recently a dog came in who had swallowed a sewing pin. When his people greeted him, his rear-end started to wiggle ... I love that feeling — it's just such a joy."
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Hunter live in Sherwood.
Christy Caballero bought a new sofa and still doesn't have enough room for herself, although the three BIG RagaMuffin kitties and Mojo the retired greyhound are pretty impressed. Meeting new friends via People in the Neighborhood interviews makes her day!