Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Aug 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Helping Pets 
In Need

blog dogsBirchBark Foundation announces its launch this spring

When pets and their owners grow together over the years, they become more than just human and animal—they become companions and friends. And like all good friends that stick around, pets can become an indispensable part of the family. So what happens if an unexpected illness or injury threatens a pet’s life, but the treatment they need to survive is beyond the owner’s means?


When faced with circumstances like these, pet owners of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties had few options other than payment plans, adoption, or euthanasia—until now.


The recently launched nonprofit the BirchBark Foundation was formed for “people that have the heart, the house, and all the resources to care for their pet, but suddenly face a catastrophic medical problem they can’t afford to pay for,” says Dr. Merrianne Burtch, founder and president of the BirchBark Foundation.

Throughout her 14 years of treating animals at Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Service, which she founded in 1999 and co-owns, Burtch says she ran into these sorts of financial crises all too often. In March of last year, she decided to do something about it. 


“There are a lot of wonderful organizations in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties that help place animals in loving homes, but none that keep those pets in their homes, and healthy,” Burtch says. “My goal with BirchBark is to complement the existing animal-related organizations, and add to what is available.”


Faced with constant time constraints (averaging 60 hours a week at the vet hospital), Burtch turned to her client and friend, Bunny Tavares. At the BirchBark launch event on Wednesday Feb. 6, Burtch called Tavares, “the hand that shaped the clay” of the BirchBark Foundation. Tavares has worked in marketing and communications at places including Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) and BBC Worldwide, but now works as an independent consultant and the executive director of BirchBark.


“We have known each other for 10 years,” Tavares says, “so Dr. Burtch was aware of my background. She came to me last March and said ‘I have this dream, and I think you can help me.’”


Their vision for the BirchBark Foundation goes beyond helping pets with fixable problems, but also encompasses educating pet owners through the foundation’s website, building a community of local veterinarians, and providing hospice, respite care, and grief counseling for owners.

“We are hoping that other veterinarians in the community will join us as guest bloggers on our website, and contribute to our ‘ask-a-vet’ forum for non-emergency questions,” Burtch says. 


The BirchBark Foundation hopes to start giving financial assistance grants to pet owners in need this coming April, but is still  more than 50 percent short of its $200,000 first year budget goal. The foundation runs solely on donations, which they began collecting in May 2012.
To date, they have garnered $75,000. When they reach $100,000, they will begin accepting grant applications. 

“We are always looking for new donors, volunteers, and anybody that can help us out in any way,” Tavares says. 


For more information about donating or volunteering at the BirchBark Foundation, visit their website, birchbarkfoundation.org.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual