We’re diggin’ on Detroiters who are the top dogs in the animal care industry. These entrepreneurs, innovators and educators are what make our community a top notch place to own our pups. We hope you enjoy learning about Detroit’s Dog Bosses as much as we enjoy working with them.
Matt Capitanio, DVM and Richard Siemion started PACE (Pet & Animal Cremation Exchange) in 2015. Their goal has been to ensure pet and animal afterlife-care is a compassionately reliable practice, affordable in price, and expedient in service. Pet and Animal Cremation Exchange was founded to fulfill this direct need in Detroit and the surrounding areas. We wanted to learn more about both of these #dogbosses and how they started their work with animals. Read all about Matt below!
Q: When did you know you wanted to work with animals and how did you get there?
A: Working with animals has always been my life’s passion! I have followed it since I was a little boy and its taken me to some pretty neat places including working with black rhinoceroses in South Africa, hamadryas baboons in Ethiopia and Grauer’s mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
Before I can remember, I have always gravitated towards helping those that cannot help themselves. It has been this mantra that has fueled my passion to work with animals and pet owners alike. The first step for me was becoming a veterinarian. During this pursuit, I was awarded the Morris Animal Foundation Scholarship devoted to advancing the health and welfare of companion animals and wildlife. My career as a veterinarian has been an exciting one which parlayed into a variety of wonderful opportunities outside of ongoing clinical practice including working in zoo hospitals with a multitude of species, working with production animals and exportation guidelines in New Zealand, governmental contract work and volunteering for spay and neuter campaigns in Mexico.
About 7 years ago, I began working emergency medicine in the Metro-Detroit area, where I currently practice today. This opportunity opened my eyes to the dire local Detroit need of pet-support in afterlife care. Working first hand on the front lines, there were countless times I would be called on to euthanize a sick pet and the loving owners were either unable to afford proper cremation options for their pets or they were appalled with the time frame of return: up to 2-4 weeks in some places!
My heart was deeply moved at how many people felt their pets were not being respected and cared for the way that they did so themselves. So I decided to change that. I was fortunate to meet my business partner Richard Siemion and we founded PACE in 2014. The rest has been a beautiful history of care and helping the pet owners of not only Detroit but the surrounding Southeastern Michigan area as well. With something that started as a passion to help others in their time of need, the impact, response and reception has been nothing short of wonderful.
Q: What do you like the most about working with dogs?
A: The variety! Every dog is different. There are some many unique attributes and amazing qualities found amongst all the canine breeds. As a veterinarian at Wilson Veterinarian Hospital, I am fortunate to see and work with just about every breed imaginable. Its amazing that just about every one of the over 200 listed AKC canine breeds is represented in the greater Detroit area! From brachycephalics to herding groups to rescue pups, they are all unique to work with and it is fascinating to practice on them all with their individual breed specificities.
Q: What’s the most exciting thing happening in your organization this year?
A: This is an exciting year for PACE! We celebrated our 5th year and by far the most exciting facet has been our community outreach involvements including pet adoptions, rescue services and spreading awareness of the principles of our organization. The reception by the community has been outstanding! We recently relocated to expand our abilities to continually service the community without compromising our original philosophy.
Q: Favorite dog breed, and why?
A: The Collie has always had my heart. I have many fond memories from childhood growing up with rough coats. My family had several throughout my childhood years. Whether it was running in the yard, chasing the frisbee or simply giving great dog hugs, Kiowa, Nikki, and Kiva were the best!
Q: What’s one thing you want dog owners in Metro Detroit to know?
A: As practicing veterinarian, I know how hard it is to discuss euthanasia and the loss of one’s pet. Its easier not to think about it and easier not to plan for it. But an important concept for the public to become aware of is that if their pet passes away, PACE is here to help. From same day residential or clinic pickups and expedient home returns, PACE will help in your time of need. Pets are like family members and it is my belief that even after their lives end they must still be treated with respect and care.
At PACE, we provide excellent customer service, compassion and care during your time of need, treating every animal as if they were our very own. Our philosophy is pet and animal afterlife care should be a compassionately reliable practice, affordable in price, and expedient in service.