A New Year's Message from BirchBark's Founder


            When I was a child I had a theory that the odd numbered years were never as good as the even numbered years. So many memorable events for me seemed to fit into the even years.  The amazing success and launch of BirchBark Foundation—a 10-year dream— has completely disproved that theory.

            The slower pace of life during the holiday season has allowed some reflection on these ten months since our February, 2013 launch. I realize our central coast community has come together—individuals, businesses, veterinarians, pet stores, artists, wineries—to donate, contribute, support, guide and publicize BirchBark foundation. Such generous contributions created a successful launch and first year. To ALL of you, we say THANK YOU!

Over the years of my practice, I’ve watched families struggle with the decision of whether to risk their financial stability to save their pet. Then, one day in 2011 a long-time client helped give shape and financial support to the dream and I was able to move forward with the idea.

 I want to thank all the wonderful people who met with us during the year of development in 2012 year and encouraged us emotionally, financially and with ideas to move forward and create a community where medical advocacy and education is the focus. Special thanks goes to all of our early supporters and providers and especially to all of our Associate Member veterinary hospitals for your participation in our BirchBark community. In particular I thank Bunny Tavares, BirchBark’s Executive Director, who took the raw clay of this dream and molded it into a beautiful piece of art.

April 15, 2013 brought the dream further to fruition as we began accepting grant applications from pet owners. Working closely with our Associate Member hospitals— from our very first case, Chloe to our most recently funded case, Jasper—we have so far saved sixteen pets and supported families with grants and education thereby supporting our mission.  The web site and our social media has been a wonderful source of information and education and I’m especially pleased when people let me know they learned something new about keeping their pets safe or monitoring their health. I also enjoy being able to post photos of pets I have known and cared for over the years. We look forward to getting updated stories and pictures of them as well as BirchBark grant recipients.

I am incredibly thankful that others see the value of this dream and support us in so many ways. As we look forward to 2014, I’m excited about all of our BirchBark plans. I’m grateful to each and every one of you, and wish you a Happy New Year and a healthy 2014 for you and your pets.

Blog Post Author: 
Merrianne Burtch, DVM, DACVIM