Reflections on the legacy of Dr. Sophia Yin - Dr. Marty Becker


Reflections on the legacy of Dr. Sophia Yin

Tuesday, Sep 30th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

The world lost a great champion for animals this week.

I wrote yesterday of my shock at the unexpected death of Dr. Sophia Yin, and shortly afterward heard from her dear friend and colleague — and mine — Jim Wilson, DVM, JD. With his permission, I am sharing his thoughts on this loss, and how we can honor Sophia’s legacy:

You and I are aware of the passing of our dear friend, extraordinary veterinary colleague, and fellow teacher and Fear Free Advisory Board member over the weekend.

When it comes to recognizing and helping us understand the importance of low stress handling of pets, all of us as veterinarians, academicians, pet owners, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, veterinary students, support staff, and the animal kingdom as a whole have lost one of the most important people our profession has ever known.

It appears at first glance that her departure was brought on by her own doing, however, my communications with those closest to her indicate that we will not know whether that is the full story until the end of this week. That is when local authorities will have completed their investigation of her passing. So…lest we jump to conclusions prematurely, let us simply focus at this point on retaining and growing her legacy until all of the facts are known and reported.

You, thousands of other people, and I know that Sophia has produced wonderful teaching resources. As we await the final word, let us continue to promote all of her fundamental low stress findings and teachings. Those materials are and always should be a part of the core educational content of the Fear Free movement.

If we focus on that part of her life and legacy, we can continue to grow her impact and efforts on how animal caregivers recognize and proceed with her life’s dream, i.e., reducing the stresses faced by the animals in God’s kingdom as we, their caretakers, help them. As I see it, this is the only way we can make something positive out of yet another of life’s negative experiences.

With great sorrow,


Thank you for those powerful words, Jim, and know that I will do everything in my power to advance Sophia’s legacy and spread the Fear-Free message!