Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice



My “miracle dog,” Shayna. See a video overview of the book I wrote about her here.

Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice describes itself as “a network of veterinarians around the country whose goal is to empower every owner to care for their geriatric pets.  Our philosophy centers around the human-animal bond and the need for that bond to be as undisturbed as possible during this most difficult time.  The desire to bring this important service to families across the United States is slowly being realized as additional veterinarians begin working under the same philosophy.”

I became aware of Lap of Love in December 2012, shortly after my beloved dog, Shayna, collapsed and was diagnosed with incurable heart cancer.  (I had just spent the past five years writing my first book, describing how she helped to save my spirit, and my life, after 9/11.)

While I very much wanted to tap into Lap of Love’s phone consultation services, the cost of Shayna’s medical care and pharmaceuticals put a severe strain on my very limited income and work ability (due to fibromyalgia).

LapOfLove - Existing websiteUpon looking at Lap of Love’s website at the time, I identified several major problems that I felt I could help the firm to appreciate, and hopefully resolve, some of which were:

1) The front page (at right) had way too many link options, and was intimidating to the newcomer – almost all of whom are, by definition, in severe trauma.

2) The video that was promoted on the front page as being a sort of self-promotion piece (see “Watch Our Video” at bottom of page) had nothing to do with Lap of Love, specifically, but rather, was a generalized piece about the love that companion animals and their owners share.

We agreed to a barter

After conveying my professional qualifications to Lap of Love’s co-founder, Dani McVety, DVM, I proposed that in exchange for her phone consulting services, I would perform (up-front) a complete inside-out review of the website, and make recommendations on how to improve it – from my perspective as both a multimedia designer, and the “dad” of a “miracle dog” who had just been given a death sentence.  Dr. McVety accepted my offer.

Within a week, I provided a detailed, candid report to Dr. McVety.  I found that while much of the content on the site was well-constructed from a structural standpoint, it was presented in a cumbersome and overly-complicated way.  I made a number of key recommendations, including:

  • Dramatically simplifying the menu options on the front page, and hiding the many technical items behind drop-down menus (which ultimately required creating a new information architecture).
  • Creating a completely new corporate video, that takes the traumatized pet parent inside the business itself – what it offers, and what makes its vets so special (see “Why We Do This”).

The result, for Lap of Love

“Jon’s candid thoughts about our site and suggested improvements were very helpful as we updated our content.  He was very responsive, helpful, and appropriately targets with all his suggestions.”

– Dani McVety, DVM

Over the next year, Dr. McVety and her colleagues guided the site through a complete makeover, in part with the report I produced guiding their way.  The result is a far cleaner, more user-friendly front end:

LapOfLove - New website

Lap of Love also produced a completely new corporate video, which profiles Dr. McVety on an actual in-home visit to a geriatric dog under her care:

The result, for me (and Shayna)

In return, I received the incalculable benefit of Dr. McVety’s critical input on Shayna’s care, and most acutely, her help in better understanding end-of-life issues, and how to prepare myself to deal with the single most agonizing decision of my life.  Looking back, I cannot even imagine how much more difficult Shayna’s and my final journey might have been, had we not had the compassionate, professional, focused attention of Dr. McVety.  She truly is a gift to the profession and clients she serves.

20June13 First swim hug - small

Shayna’s first swim after heart surgery, in June 2013. Dr. McVety helped us to understand the risks and prepare for our future.








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