Archived News

Community Pitches in for Student-run Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless 

November 10, 2004

The Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless brings the holiday spirit to pets Saturday, December 11, 2004, when veterinary students will distribute more than100 "holiday pet baskets" filled with  food, leashes, grooming aids, treats and toys at the monthly clinic in Sacramento.

A dedicated group of volunteer staff members from the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and related departments carry on a tradition begun in 1995 by collecting donated supplies, cash contributions and boxes that are wrapped festively during November. Staff members gather on their lunch hour early in December to assemble and fill the "holiday pet baskets" for dogs and cats with items from local pet stores, pet food companies and individual donors. Volunteers estimate that this year's "stuffing party" will net more than 100 holiday pet baskets for students to deliver.

The Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless provides free veterinary care services for the animal companions of the homeless on the second Saturday of each month in Sacramento, California at Loaves & Fishes, an organization that provides an array of services to the homeless. Faculty veterinarians and local practitioners give their time to treat animals and supervise students, who learn hands-on veterinary skills and client relations skills while helping this underserved community. Mercer members treat about 50 patients per session and distribute more than 1,000 pounds of free pet food each month to their clients.

In addition to improving the lives of the pets of the homeless, Mercer Veterinary Clinic works to reduce pet overpopulation by arranging free spay/neuter surgery for patients. Since 1993, Mercer Veterinary Clinic has altered more than 800 animals, preventing the births of hundreds of unwanted litters.

The non-profit organization depends solely on volunteers and donations to cover its operating costs. Tax-deductible contributions help the Mercer Veterinary Clinic continue to reach out to the homeless community while giving veterinary students the opportunity to practice hands-on medical skills.

Because of its ongoing commitment to promote the humane treatment of animals, the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless received the 1998 American Veterinary Medical Association Humane Award and the 2003 UC Davis Human Corps Award for community service.

To donate items for the baskets, please e-mail Eileen Samitz, coordinator of the Holiday Pet Basket program.
To make a tax-deductible financial donation toward this project and other programs of the Mercer Clinic, please send a check payable to "VMTH--Mercer Clinic" and send it to:
UC Davis VMTH Business Annex
Financial Services - Room 110
Davis CA 95616
ATTN: Debra Nelson

For more information about how you can help the Mercer Clinic, please leave a message at (530) 752-1143 or