November 23, 2009
Community members are invited to help make the holiday season a bit brighter for the pets of Sacramento-area homeless people by donating toward holiday gift baskets that will be prepared by volunteers at UC Davis' William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
Each year as the winter holidays approach, committee members associated with the hospital's newsletter and veterinary student officers for the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless fill some 130 gift "baskets" with gifts for the pets of the homeless. The decorated boxes, are filled with canned and dry food, treats, toys, leashes and pet-care products. The boxes will be provided to the homeless clients and their dogs and cats who visit the December session of the clinic, located next to the nonprofit Loaves and Fishes facility for the homeless in Sacramento.
The holiday pet baskets will be assembled from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the veterinary hospital and distributed Saturday, Dec. 12, at Mercer Clinic.
"During these unusually difficult times, we especially need monetary donations that can be used to purchase pet toys, which are a real source of joy for both the animals and their owners," said Eileen Samitz, a clinical microbiologist at the hospital. She noted that pet supply companies provide the pet food and some of the other items for the holiday baskets, but other donations for toys and treats come from the community.
Donation checks for the holiday pet baskets should be made out to "VMTH-Mercer Holiday Pet Baskets" and sent to Financial Services, attention Debra Nelson, Room 102 VMTH Administration Annex, University of California, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616. More information about the holiday pet basket project is available online at: <http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/clubs/mercer/donation_holiday.html>.
Since 1995, the staff of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's newsletter, "The Voice," has organized holiday pet boxes for Mercer Clinic, which was started in 1992 by UC Davis veterinary students. Samitz annually uses vacation time to coordinate a team of volunteers that carries out the longtime holiday pet basket tradition. More information can be obtained from Samitz at (530) 756-5165.
Mercer Clinic provides the pets of homeless individuals with basic veterinary care, access to emergency care and pet food, all free of charge. It is open on the second Saturday of each month, staffed by faculty and private veterinarians who volunteer their time and supervise the veterinary students.
In addition to the seasonal holiday pet basket program, donations are welcomed year-round by the clinic, which relies entirely on donations and small grants for funding. All donations are tax deductible. Donation checks can be sent to Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless, P.O. Box 297, Davis CA, 95617. More information is available at the Mercer Clinic Web site at: <http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/clubs/mercer>.
This news released was developed and distributed by the UC Davis News Service.