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'Tis the Season to Help Needy Dogs and Cats

November 23, 2010

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November 23, 2010

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 staff volunteers from the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Each year around Christmas time VMTH “Voice” newsletter committee members and
student officers of the  Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless  fill some 130 gift "baskets" with gifts for the pets of the homeless. The “baskets” are actually decorated boxes filled with canned and dry food, treats, toys, leashes and pet-care products for these special animal companions.

To see what Mercer Clinic is all about, visit the "Photo Gallery" on the Mercer Clinic website at:

The holiday pet baskets will be assembled from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, at the veterinary hospital on the UC Davis campus and distributed Saturday, Dec.11, starting at 8 a.m. at the Mercer Veterinary Clinic at 1321 West C St. in Sacramento,
next to the nonprofit "Loaves and Fishes" facility.

"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 the animals as well as their owners," said Eileen Samitz, a clinical microbiologist at the veterinary teaching 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.

Donations for the holiday pet baskets should be made out to "UC Regents -Mercer Holiday Pet Baskets" and sent to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of the Dean, P.O. Box 1167, Davis CA, 95617-1167, Attn. Mercer Holiday Pet Baskets. More information about the holiday pet basket project is available online at:

Since 1995, the staff of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's newsletter, "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 the event recruiting a team of volunteers that carry out the longtime holiday pet basket tradition. For more information contact Eileen at or call (530) 756-5165 (evenings).

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 practitioners 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 Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless, P.O. Box 297, Davis CA, 95617. More information is available at the Mercer Clinic Web site.

Media contact:
Eileen Samitz, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, or call (530) 756-5165 (evenings).