Veterinary community stunned by Sophia Yin's unexpected death


Prominent veterinary behaviorist died of suicide Sept. 28.

Dr. Sophia YinMembers of the international veterinary community are stunned and saddened by the unexpected loss of Sophia Yin, DVM, MS, an applied animal behaviorist, trainer, author and lecturer. According to her obituary in the Sacramento Bee, Yin, 48, died of suicide on Sept. 28 in her home in Davis, California.

An announcement on Yin's official website and Facebook page states, "It is with deep sadness and heartfelt sorrow that we announce the passing of Dr. Sophia Yin ... She enriched many lives and improved the relationship amongst pets and their owners/guardians. She is, and will continue to be, sorely missed." The announcement received thousands of shares, comments and notes of condolence on Facebook.

"America's veterinarian" Dr. Marty Becker wrote a tribute to Yin on his blog, stating that "Sophia was brilliant, passionate, and dedicated to easing the stress and fear that pets feel at the veterinary clinic or in shelters, and this is a major loss to animals. Sophia and her team were revolutionizing animal handling with her 'Stress Less' materials and teaching, and I think the greatest gift all of us could give her is to honor her memory by working doggedly to make sure her vision becomes reality."

Andy Roark, DVM, also posted on Facebook: "It was with shock and heartache that I learned last night that Dr. Yin passed away. She was a champion for pets and for veterinary medicine. She changed the way I handle and treat patients. She made me, and countless others, better healers. The lessons she taught will not be forgotten." And certified animal behavior consultant and author Steve Dale also wrote a heartfelt tribute to Yin on Monday, telling readers, "It was an honor and pleasure to know Dr. Yin. I admired her as a presenter and communicator ... If she only knew how profound her impact was and will continue to be."

According to her official website, Yin's mission in life was to improve our understanding of animals and their behavior so that we can care for, appreciate, and enjoy our time with them better. Her animal behavior modification and training programs were based on the science of learning, and she was dedicated to helping people communicate with pets in a positive, scientifically sound way.

Yin earned her veterinary degree at UC-Davis in 1993, and later her master's in animal science with an emphasis in animal behavior in 2001. She authored many books and textbooks, including Low Stress Handling, Restraint and Behavior Modification of Dogs & Cats; The Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook; How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves and Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right. She was an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for five years and had her own publishing company, Cattle Dog Publishing.

She has consulted for several zoos and served as a behavior expert for TV shows such as Animal Planet's Dogs 101 and Weird, True & Freaky. Yin also served on the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Handling Guidelines Committee and served on the executive board of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. She was a valued contributor to and has given numerous lectures at CVC. 

Click here to visit Dr. Sophia Yin's author page on

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