Board of Directors



pppets-boardphotos-annDr. Ann Fischer is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine.   She spent her first 12 years as a veterinarian working as an associate at a large multi doctor practice in Minneapolis. After leaving this practice in 2004, she practiced as a Relief Veterinarian at numerous twin cities veterinary clinics. She is a member of several veterinary medical associations including the International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care for Animals.   She is also a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association Academy of Veterinary Medical Practice, which recognizes veterinarians in Minnesota that go beyond the minimal requirement of continuing education necessary for relicensure.   Ann currently serves as the Vice President on the board of the Veterinary Hospital Association, a non-profit veterinary group purchasing and animal cremation facility located in South St. Paul.

A few years ago, Ann worked with a clinical social worker and therapist in the Twin City area traveling to several veterinary practices educating veterinarians and staff on the value of pet hospice and at home euthanasia. Having experienced the value of human hospice first hand, in the care of both her father and later her mother-in-law, Ann has sought to provide the same standard of comfort care for beloved animal companions.

In 2005, Ann became the founder and owner of House Paws Home Veterinary Care, LLC. House Paws is a veterinary practice for dogs and cats that cares for and treats these pets in the comfort of their owner’s home. Along with her passion and commitment to pet hospice and palliative care for terminal pets, she is a strong advocate for humane at home euthanasia, which she has been performing for over 20 years.



Dr. Barbara Fischley graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. After working as an associate in a small animal practice, she opened her own practice in October 1992. The clinic was named Kelley Animal Hospital after her mother who died from cancer in 1991. Dr. Fischley turned a tragedy into a triumph by creating this hospital in her honor. She practiced with great care and compassion for 17 years before retiring for medical reasons in 2009. Her motto in the practice was “The animal comes first no matter what” and she instilled this in her highly skilled staff who provided such loving care. She currently serves on the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine and will complete her eight-year term in the Spring of 2018.

Dr. Fischley is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards where she serves on the PAVE committee. She is very passionate about serving small animals, particularly dogs and cats. She feels these beloved companions have souls and a huge capacity for giving and receiving love. Serving on this board is a great honor for her.



MICHAEL S. HENSON DVM, PhD., Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Oncology

pppets-boardphotosmikehDr. Henson is currently Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota and the Section Chief, Oncology

Education Background:

  • University of Illinois B.S. Veterinary Science 1987
  • University of Illinois D.V.M. 1988
  • University of Minnesota Ph.D. 2005
  • University of Minnesota Diplomat ACVIM Oncology 2010

Memberships in Professional and Scientific Societies include:

  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association
  • Veterinary Cancer Society
  • Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics
  • American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
  • Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

Michael has served on multiple academic committees at the University of Minnesota as well as external committees which include:

  • Veterinary Comparative Oncology Journal reviewer 2010-present
  • Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC) 2010-present
  • Oncology Pathology Working Group (OPWG) 2011-present

He has presented multiple Professional Educational lectures, is responsible for training and mentoring residents, graduate students and post-docs. He has published in Journals, Dissertations, Chapters, reviews and editorials.

Dr. Henson received the Excellence in Course Coordination Award in 2013 and Outstanding Faculty Award in 2014 from the University of MN.



LEONARD LICHTBLAU, PHDpppets-boardphotos-lenny

Dr. Leonard Lichtblau is a Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University and serves as Visiting Instructor at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr Lichtblau has written and published two textbooks, Psychopharmacology Demystified (2010) and Medicine or Menace: Introduction to Drugs of Addiction (2014). He is the author, coauthor and contributing author of numerous scientific articles.

His courses for medical, nursing, veterinary and dental students include “Acute Care Pharmacotherapeutics”, “Introduction to Drugs of Addiction”, Human Physiology”, “Dental Pharmacology”. The Minnesota Medical Foundation has awarded him with both the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Faculty Teaching Development Award.
Leonard served on the Steering, Research and Evaluation, and the Physician Education Committees of the Minnesota Cancer Pain Initiative and became the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors.




pppets-boardphotos-mikekFrom a professional career in education, sales, sales management, marketing management, product management, Mike Kirkwood in 1986 became a principle and professional consultant, facilitator and trainer with Brown & Kirkwood Sales Performance Consulting providing consultative sales training and coaching.

Beginning in 1992, Mr. Kirkwood designed and delivered experiential courses to foster Consultative Skills for internal support teams. He presented over 200 sessions for IBM and Cisco in US, Canada, Latin America, India and Asia Pacific. Other clients include RSM McGladrey Inc., Deloitte & Touche, Wells Fargo Bank, Ameritech, and other enterprises in financial services, health care, professional services and manufacturing.

Mike Kirkwood is a founding member of the International Association of Facilitators.





Miranda Miest is currently a stay at home mom for two children, two senior cats, and one dog. Miranda is a frequent volunteer within Minneapolis Public Schools. She formally worked as an IT Professional at U.S. Bancorp from 1997-2008. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 1996.

Miranda brings to Peaceful Passing for Pets her passion for animal parenting and is our animal owner advocate on the Board. She also provides technical guidance and committee work. Her love for animals and deep desire to see their passing be guided with compassion and honor is what led her to Peaceful Passing for Pets.



Eva Rogness served as Chaplain at Abbott Northwestern Hospital within the Hospice Program, Medical Intensive Care, Oncology and AIDS Service.

When the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute was founded at ANW, Eva was instrumental in the evolution of the Hospital wide Pain Program, Outpatient Cancer Pain Clinic, the Piper Breast Center and Life Choices in Healing. Within Life Choices in Healing Eva created and developed the Complementary Therapy component. In each program she made sure the whole person, body-mind-heart-spirit, was addressed. Eva was chair of the Interfaith Clergy Committee of the Minnesota Cancer Pain Initiative. Eva is a lecturer on numerous subjects including; Pain Management: Treating the Whole Person, Death and Dying, Grief Support and Ethical Issues in Healthcare. She was a contributing author to Pain Management: An Interactive CD Rom for Clinical Staff Development and has authored multiple publications within the arena of spiritual focus. She is a professional staff educator, lecturer, counselor and leader of varied support programs and groups throughout the Twin Cities area.




Paula Sallmen is founder, President and CEO of Peaceful Passing for Pets. Prior to her work with Peaceful Passing for Pets she spent four years as hospice case manager with Allina Home, Hospice and Palliative Care and prior to that was Supervisor and Manager of Pillars Hospice House with HealthEast.

For twelve years, Paula was the Program Director of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute of Abbott Northwestern Hospital. During her years at the Cancer Institute she worked to create and develop Abbott Northwestern’s Cancer Pain Service and outpatient Cancer Pain Clinic, the Piper Breast Center and “Life Choices in Healing” a program which incorporated the best in Conventional Oncology Care combined with Complementary Therapies, Arts and Humanities and the Living Room Cancer Resource Center.

Paula was the cofounder and coordinator of the Minnesota Cancer Pain Initiative. This Initiative was a voluntary statewide effort by health professionals, educational institutions, clinical care facilities, and regulatory agencies working to overcome the knowledge deficits, attitudinal factors, and barriers in the health care system that prevented pain management for cancer patients.

Paula’s career as a nurse started in open-heart surgery then turned to oncology and hospice, always with a focus on the whole person: body, mind, heart and spirit.

It was through insights in the care provided to human patients that she saw the value and service of what hospice care could mean to pets and pet owners.




Dr. Soucheray is founder and owner of Dr. Soucheray’s At Home Veterinary Care, LLC, which provides high quality mobile veterinary care to canine and feline patients in the comfort of their homes. She is certified in Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, a program that recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skills and abilities in those areas and has met specific eligibility requirements including training, experience, and education and has passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination. She enjoys providing wellness care and preventive medicine as well as end of life care to all her patients. She graduated from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and also has a B.A. in Art History from the University of St. Thomas. Prior to starting her own business, she worked as an associate in many of the Twin Cities premier veterinary hospitals. She was also the resident teaching veterinarian for the Minnesota School of Business, Veterinary Technician Program. She is a member of the International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care for Animals, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association. She has a passion for providing end of life care that started in veterinary medical school, where she was awarded the Rupert Memorial Scholarship, which is given to the student with “special sensitivity to the care of older dogs.”






pppets-boardphotos-marnieMarnie Hensel has had numerous leadership roles within the community.

She served as Board Member Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical & Cultural Research and as Chairperson of Minneapolis Orchestra Symphony Ball. She has been a Speaking Ambassador for the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing and an instructor for the Elder Learning Institute at the University.

Marnie is currently President of the Colonial Dames of America in Minnesota.

Following her son Carlie’s diagnosis and passing away from lung cancer at the age of 35, Marnie devoted herself to helping others facing a similar challenge. She became a Board member of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute and was recruited to participate in multiple focus groups and planning meetings for the Cancer Institute as it established programs. Along with her husband Carl, Marnie volunteered in every opportunity that presented itself throughout the evolution of the Cancer Institute.

Marnie has won numerous awards for downhill racing and has been a “poster child” for Hennepin County Medical Center Orthopedic Program. For some 14 years, Marnie has been a physical therapy coach and instructor at “The Marsh Center for Balance and Fitness”.




pppets-boardphotos-rbDr. Rebecca McComas is a graduate of Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Minnesota the following year. She took a position with VetSmart Pet Hospital and Health Centers (now Banfield the Pet Hospital) in the Minnesota region shortly after finishing her internship and practiced there for several years as an associate doctor and Chief of Staff/Hospital Director. She also spent several years on the field leadership team developing and managing their national student extern program.

Teaching has always been a passion for Rebecca and during her time with Banfield, she maintained a close relationship with the University of Minnesota designing and teaching the Elective Small Animal Surgery senior rotation. Eventually she took a full time faculty position at the University focusing on professional and communication skills, clinical skills and curriculum development.

In 2010 Rebecca became the founder and owner of “Minnesota Pets – Gentle Euthanasia at Home”. MN Pets provides a peaceful, private, dignified way to say goodbye to a beloved pet in the comfort and serenity of the pet owners’ home.




Dr. Margaret McCrae is a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Oncology. She is a former president of the Minnesota Medical Alumni Society and is an American Cancer Scholar.

One of Dr. McCrae’s primary areas of expertise and focus has been in the care and treatment of breast cancer patients. She has played a primary role in care of cancer patients’ at the Piper Breast Center of Abbott Northwestern Hospital. She has been listed in the Minnesota Monthly magazine as one of the state’s best doctors for women for the treatment of breast cancer.

Dr. McCrae received the Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato, in two different categories: humans and animals. Humanitarian awards go to graduates whose lives exemplify service to humankind, and who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to humanitarian causes.

Many years ago, Dr. McCrae had a patient who was dying. The major concern of the patient was “who is going to take care of my dog”.

Dr. McCrae told her patient that she would adopt her dog and, so began, the first of many adoptions that were referred to her by oncologists, social workers, nurses and others who found patient’s in similar situations. As the population of adopted pets grew, Dr. McCrae started a nonprofit, “Angels’ Pet Sanctuary” in Eagan that has been the home for over 300 dogs, 150 cats. She has also several trained therapy dogs, which she has brought to clinics and various events to provide comfort to her patients ‘and patients’ family.




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