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Help send warm holiday wishes and coats to pets of the homeless

By Pat Bailey on December 4, 2013 in

If pets of the needy and homeless in our region could write to Santa, their wish list might include a new sweater or coat to ward off winter’s chill.

Community members now have the opportunity to help Santa deliver on those wishes through the Mercer Clinic holiday pet basket drive, annually coordinated by a team of staff volunteers at UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Monetary donations are needed to help the volunteers fill 130 holiday-wrapped boxes with toys, treats, leashes, food and pet-care products, as well as sweaters and coats. The boxes will be distributed on Saturday, Dec. 14, to pet owners attending the monthly Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless in Sacramento.

“Our Holiday Pet Basket program is celebrating its 18th year, and we are grateful to members of the public for the generous monetary donations that have allowed us to continue,” said Eileen Samitz, who coordinates the holiday basket program.

“We are reaching out again for help to continue providing pet coats and sweaters, which are a more recent addition to our program and are so needed to help these beloved pets of the homeless get through the cold winter months.”

While pet supply companies provide the food and some of the other items for the holiday pet baskets, monetary donations for the coats, sweaters, toys, treats, clinic supplies and operational costs are still needed. 

Checks, made payable to the UC Regents - Mercer Holiday Pet Baskets, can be mailed to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of the Dean, P.O. Box 1167, Davis, CA 95617-1167, Attn: Mercer Holiday Pet Baskets.

Donations also can be made online by choosing the “Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets” option.

For more information about how you can help the Mercer Holiday Pet Basket program, please contact coordinator Eileen Samitz, (530) 756-5165 (evenings),, or visit the program's website.

About the Mercer Clinic

Since 1992, the Mercer Clinic has provided the pets of homeless individuals with basic veterinary care, access to emergency care, and pet food, all free of charge. The clinic is open on the second Saturday of each month, staffed by faculty and practitioners who volunteer their time and supervise veterinary students, who run the clinic. Veterinary students also gain valuable experience as they apply their studies and work alongside veterinarians to learn veterinary responsibilities and client communication skills.

In addition to improving the lives of the pets of the homeless, the Mercer Clinic works to reduce pet overpopulation by arranging free spay/neuter surgery for the animals.

The clinic takes place at Loaves & Fishes, 1321 West C St., Sacramento. The Mercer Clinic has received the American Veterinary Medical Association Humane Award and the Sacramento SPCA “Humane-itarian” award for its work with this special population of animal companions.

Media contact(s)

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640,

Eileen Samitz, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, (530) 756-5165,