Archived News

A Dream Come True for Mercer Clinic

May 2, 2016

Dianne Kendall speaks with supporters at the grand reopening of the Mercer Clinic.

Dianne Kendall speaks with supporters at the grand reopening of the Mercer Clinic.

Contributed by Eileen Samitz, a long-time supporter and volunteer with the Mercer Veterinary Clinic

Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless celebrated the grand opening of their new facility on April 9 in Sacramento near the Loaves and Fishes campus. The new facility honors the late Dr. Tom Kendall and is now known as the “Tom Kendall Teaching Clinic.”

The reopening was the realization of a long term goal of having a larger, more adequately equipped facility after 24 years of working in different temporary locations and conditions, even under canopies and tarps back in the early days. 

A few UC Davis veterinary students who wanted to help the pets of the homeless started mercer Clinic in 1992. Since then, a team of volunteer veterinarians and UC Davis veterinary students hold a monthly clinic on the second Saturday of every month. Dr. Alissa Burnett and Dr. Laurel Gershwin both have headed up the program for many years, with the help of many volunteer veterinarians. Dr. Tom Kendall played a lead role with Mercer Clinic from its inception and spearheaded the efforts to have improved facilities since the need for the clinic’s services has grown over the years. Sadly, Dr. Kendall passed away last year of pancreatic cancer, but he lived to see the facility almost complete before he died. His memory will live on with the new clinic building bearing his name.

Dr. Kendall’s wife, Diane attended the celebratory event with friends and family along with many other Mercer volunteers and supporters. Her thoughts were very appreciative in commemorating her husband.

“Tom loved teaching and working with the students and looked forward to coming to the monthly Mercer Clinic,” she said. “He was inspired by their dedication, intelligence, kindness, and compassion that they communicated to the Mercer Clinic clients and their pets.”

At Mercer Clinic’s monthly clinic, the veterinary students, while being overseen by veterinarians, have the opportunity to get hands-on experience examining the pets of the homeless who are brought in by their owners. The pets are given vaccinations, provided flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Spays and neuters are arranged for these pets, all at no cost to the homeless clients. 

For over two decades, Mercer Clinic has provided a great service to the greater community by helping to control diseases and parasites, and preventing pet over-population in the pets of the homeless. Mercer Clinic plays a valuable role in helping prepare the veterinary students to work in a clinical practice after they graduate. Since Mercer Clinic does not receive any public funding it relies primarily on the generosity of the public. Therefore, the Mercer Clinic Non-profit Organization does outreach for donations all year round for its fund to support the needs of the clinic.  In addition, a separate outreach is done annually to raise funds for the Holiday Pet Basket and Winter Pet Coat and Sweater program fund, which occurs around the winter holidays. 

Mercer Clinic now has a new goal to achieve with the need for more donations to make its new facility fully operational. That is to complete the clinic’s surgical suite which needs costly equipment and instruments to eventually provide some surgical services as well.

At the Saturday event, Dr. Alissa Burnett, who is now the CFO for Mercer Clinic, spoke to this new goal: “With today's dedication of the new Mercer Veterinary Clinic facility to Dr. Tom Kendall, we honor the time he spent helping Mercer Clinic, both teaching vet students and treating the pets of the homeless which would not have had access to veterinary care elsewhere.  We will strive to fulfill his vision of a fully operational vet clinic with surgical teaching facilities, which is our next fundraising goal.”

To learn more about Mercer Clinic, go to  The website also features videos and a photo gallery of Mercer Clinic in action.  If you would like to help the Mercer Clinic Non-profit Organization and/or the Holiday Pet Basket and Winter Coat and Sweater Program, information on how to donate is available on the website.  Donations for both funds are accepted on-line or via mailed check.