By: Gini Kaufmann
In any typical morning, I awaken to the warm, alternating purrs and meows of my cat, anxious for me to get up and start the day. After filling her food and water bowls, I take a cup of coffee outside to the porch, where I am greeted by a jazz-like cacophony of whistles and songs. As I sit, marveling at the variety of birds dashing, darting and soaring in the sky, my neighbors walk by, returning from their morning walks with their trusted canine companions.
Beth Jones, DVM, knows first-hand how animals enrich our daily lives, even if we don’t personally share our home with any. But when we do, the love that we share goes really, really deep. “Animals love us as a child loves a parent,” she smiles warmly. It is a proven fact that people who reap the unconditional rewards of a loving pet live richer, happier, longer lives.
In and around Asheville, it is apparent that we are passionate about many things. At the top of many a list are animals and natural healthcare. Now, Dr. Beth has wholeheartedly created a space to accommodate and nurture these favored passions in our lives. Recently opened, her new clinic, Animal Acupuncture and Pain Relief is a quiet, healing space where animals get intentional, one-on-one attentive, alternative care.
Dr Beth explains that she had to work for a month to make her place conducive to patients and healing. “The walls were lime green,” she explains and the bathroom was purple!” Now painted in rich, warm tones, as you enter the space a lovely expression welcomes you. It says: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” This is a philosophy that Dr. Beth practices and teaches, especially to her two children, Caleb, 16, who will be attending AB-Tech Early College and Ivey, 14, who is starting Asheville High’s School of Inquiry and Life Sciences (SILSA) program in the fall.
Dr. Jones accurately describes herself as a “very friendly, independent spirit who is really happy to be here.” In addition to family and animals, she also loves music, the outdoors, hiking, picnicking and politics. On her wrist she had the word “Imagine” tattooed; she says to give herself encouragement and to remind herself, “I have a lot of life to live and what matters is what I’m doing and what I think of myself.”
Dr. Beth Jones has been a veterinarian for the past twenty years. Originally a graduate of Asheville High, Dr. Jones graduated with her veterinary degree from NC State. She also holds a BS in Biology from Furman and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. She says, “in college you learn to think… to develop puzzle-solving skills.” That is also where she developed an interest in politics and public policy. Several years ago, while living in Caldwell County, she actually ran for the North Carolina Senate. She said the area needed representation after “hurting for so long.” She thought she could “do something… by offering a woman’s voice.” In the end, she said, after not winning, it actually worked out much better for her personally.
After graduating, on her way back to Asheville, she took her first job and “I was delayed for 20 years,” she laughs. In early 1999, as a new vet, she purchased the Lenoir Veterinary Hospital, which she owned for 12 years. She also had a horse farm with six horses and various cats. She sold three horses to people with kids who could enjoy them. One horse was actually the grandson of the famous Triple Crown winner, Secretariat. Currently, Dr Beth and her children share their new Weaverville home, with Ebby, a 4-year-old rescue dog and two African Grey Parrots, Tango and Gracie.
Ten years ago, Dr. Beth became a practicing acupuncturist. She says it is a very safe way to approach problems. “Though you can’t cure all… it is a good option for a lot of conditions,” she said.
Currently, Animal Acupuncture & Pain Clinic primarily treats dogs and cats, though Dr. Jones is trained on, and still owns, horses. “I’m not set up for that yet,” she says. Her facility mainly focuses on pain, using acupuncture and, if needed, prescriptions. “Needles are a misnomer; they are not spears. They are actually very tiny. With the proper technique every animal tolerates them well,” she says. She approaches each animal individually, knowing that each has its own personality. “It’s really neat when they are in pain and you watch it melt away in their eyes. They relax and get off the table and shake. It’s like they are saying thank you.” She knows then that she has “…made a friend and helped a person as well. It’s very rewarding.” Even animals that seem “difficult up front” come around because they feel better.
But, no matter what, she says she almost never turns an animal away. When asked to perform a C-section on a chinchilla, “I did refer them out to an exotics person in the next town,” she adds. In addition to traditional acupuncture, Dr. Jones offers electro-acupuncture, Moxa—a natural method of providing heated-acupuncture, herbal treatments, as well as conventional medicines. She also will teach pet owners the appropriate channels and points, so they can perform acupressure (a soothing approach without needles) at home.
Dr. Beth says that often people assume pets are getting old when actually they are in pain. Lethargy, poor appetite, spirit changes, not enjoying things they used to like anymore, can all be indications that a pet is in distress. She says in all these cases acupuncture is a good method of relief. “Pain-free pets are happy pets!” is printed on the clinic’s brochure.
Occasionally, someone will actually bring in an animal that is deceased. She says in those cases, she offers comfort and counseling. And though she doesn’t do it herself, she will help people get their beloved pets to cremation. Dr. Beth does offer to euthanize in terminal cases. She says, “People make their own decisions and my clinic offers them a more intimate setting. How we handle the end time is the kindest for the pet and the person. It has to be the right way at the right time.”
Animal Acupuncture and Pain Relief clinic, located at 959 Merrimon Ave, Suite 102 (next to and behind the North Asheville Ingles). It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 5 PM, by appointment only, and on weekends for emergencies only.
You can contact Dr. Beth Jones at 828-450-0851 or you can learn more from her website: animal-acupuncture-asheville.com.
Gini Kaufmann is blessed not only with the love of her husband, Daniel and her daughter, Bridget, but also Luna, her “just a bit north of crazy” cat.