Bella & Sophie’s Story: How We Got Here


Our beautiful black and white 7-year-old Shih Tzu was diagnosed with a heart murmur during her routine wellness visit. She was initially given 9-months to live, due to a failing heart valve, something regularly repaired or replaced in human medicine. After exhaustive research, calling experts around the globe, we discovered we did not have any options.

Approximately, one-out-of-three-dogs are affected by cardiac disease, and there was no veterinary facility or university in the U.S. that could perform lifesaving open heart surgery that she desperately needed. How could this be? Veterinary surgeons are not taught in veterinary school how to perform open heart surgeries.

Although surgical intervention for Bella was not an option, a vision was born to bring world-class cardiac management and open heart surgery to the Americas, and we spent nearly six years fine-tuning our vision, and in 2017 NAVHC and the NAVHC Foundation were opened.


Sophie was our other fur child; she was lost due to an improperly placed breathing tube during a routine dental procedure. Sophie aspirated during surgery, and she developed bi-lateral pneumonia. We learned from Sophie about the significant shortcomings of pet dental procedures with poor anesthesia protocols. Sophie could have survived bi-lateral pneumonia. However, she was taken to a 24-hour emergency practice; she was responding well to her treatment however two days into her stay, she was left unmonitored and on too many IV fluids, which in essence drowned her, sending her into cardiac arrest. Once again, we learned the hard way how our industry is managed and the lack of world-class health care available to pet families.

Bella and Sophie were the catalysts for the NAVHC and the NAVHC Foundation, and we credit them for teaching us so much, bringing better skills, knowledge, equipment, and procedures to the veterinary industry.

Our mission is to provide more tomorrows – today – for families and their fur children. Both NAVHC and the NAVHC Foundation is our legacy and was founded in memory of Bella and Sophie.