Rocky is a sweet bull terrier with an infectious smile and boundless energy—a dead ringer for the “Target” dog!   He loves romping on the beach with his owner Rosy and her family, especially her grandchildren. His trusting nature is evident when he rolls over to sleep—his favorite position is stretched out on his back, paws waving in the air! He makes friends easily and hasn’t met a dog he doesn’t like. His smile lights up the beach.


Rocky was adopted as 4-week pup and immediately bring joy and healing to his family, who were still recovering from the heartbreak of losing their puppy Carmelo, who died about a year earlier from an incurable bone disease.

Imagine Rosy’s concern when at 11 months of age, Rocky suddenly stopped eating and became lethargic—acting “raro”.  At first Rocky’s family thought he was frightened by the 4th of July fireworks, but after several days of struggling to get him to eat, they took him to Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Service. It was determined he had ingested something, and it might resolve on its own, so Rocky went home to be monitored.

Despite special soups, home remedies and much TLC, Rocky continued to decline and lose weight.  His health was becoming increasingly precarious. After a quick check at Companion Animal Hospital, it was clear that surgery to remove the foreign object was urgently needed.


 Medical costs by now had outstripped the family’s financial capacity, which was stretched thin not only by Rocky’s treatment but also by Rosy’s recent illness and the death of a beloved uncle and resulting financial difficulties for the extended family.


After failing to qualify for Care Credit, and frantic at the thought of losing their beloved Rocky, Rosy was referred to Birch Bark Foundation, which immediately helped Rosy to organize the care that Rocky desperately needed. Rocky's foreign body obstruction was removed at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital by Dr. Davies.

Rosy and her family consider themselves very fortunate and grateful to have their beloved “amigo” and “angel” Rocky back smiling and in good health.

If you would like to help another pet and their family in need, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible donation today.




Sandy was brought to us by her owner Grace, after the 3-month-old chihuahua/terrier mix puppy fell from a shopping cart. Grace rushed her to our Associate Member hospital, Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Service, where she learned that Sandy would need major surgery to have a reasonable quality of life after breaking her arm in two places. Currently disabled and unable to work, Grace was devastated when she learned that her new puppy's surgery at Associate Member, Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital, would be thousands of dollars. She learned of BirchBark Foundation and knowing that her financial situation was dire, she immediately applied for help. Grace, qualified for financial assistance from BirchBark Foundation. Grace's friends helped raise 25% of the costs of surgery, BirchBark Foundation paid for 50% and the veterinary hospital discounted their fees by 25%. Following a 3-part surgery that helped to ensure the integrity of Sandy's bones through the use of screws and plates, this vibrant young puppy has grown twice her size since the September incident. Sandy is happy, healthy and making incredible progress in physical therapy! Can you help a pet in need today?



Bandit is a 10 month old male Australian Blue Heeler mix. One day, his mom, Kelsey, decided to join a friend at a pet adoption event—just to look. Bandit’s dad said he knew when Kelsey walked out the door that she’d be bringing home a puppy. One look at Bandit and Kelsey’s heart was won over. Bandit was just a month old and now has won the heart of the entire family.


One day in late August, Bandit began vomiting and drinking excessively. He was taken to his regular veterinarian in Boulder Creek and after stabilizing him with fluids and doing some diagnostic tests, it was determined Bandit had a foreign obstruction of unknown origin in his small intestine and needed emergency surgery. He was transferred to BirchBark's Associate Member Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital.

Bandit’s mom had already spent all her available funds at Boulder Creek veterinary hospital, and she turned to BirchBark Foundation for financial assistance. With BirchBark’s help, Bandit was prepped for abdominal surgical exploration and removal of the foreign material. It was a corn cob! Not an uncommon object for dogs to swallow...especially during summer months.

A warning for any family picnic or backyard BBQ—make certain to pick up all corn cobs. Dr. John Davies performed Bandit’s extensive surgery and today he’s at home sharing the love of his family and playing with his canine brother. 

Please donate today to save more pets like Bandit!


Thelma and Louise ride again!


Ten years ago, Norman and his wife took in two little Chihuahua mix puppies, Thelma and Louise.  With the recent passing of his wife, Norman has become even closer with his furry little girls, relying on their love more than ever.


Thelma and Louise were taking Norman on one of their long beach walks when they ran across a fisherman. Norman had taught them to stay clear of fishermen and their gear including smelly, yummy bait. But whatever delicious goodies this fisherman was using had to be explored, dug out of the sand and gobbled by Thelma… hook, line and OH NO!

Which is what Norman thought when he saw the fishing line hanging out of Thelma’s mouth. Taking his beloved Thelma to her regular veterinarian at Adobe Animal Hospital of Soquel, Norman was told he would have to go to an emergency veterinary hospital.

Upon initial examination at Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services, Dr. Akol thought Thelma may have to go over the hill to San Jose for surgery costing perhaps $4,000 – an impossible situation given Norman’s recent closing of his business and finances.

So Dr. Akol wanted to try something first, a scope procedure down Thelma’s throat where she might be able to extract the hook from Thelma’s gullet. 

Can you find the fishhook in Thelma?

Can you find the fishhook in Thelma?

While the cost of this procedure was considerably less than major surgery, it was still more than Norman could manage. When Care Credit turned him down for a loan, Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services staff told him to contact BirchBark Foundation for assistance.

The application process went quickly and the Dr. Akol was then able to successfully scope and remove the fishhook from Thelma’s throat.

Norman’s appreciation for BirchBark’s help in covering a substantial portion of the bill is deep and emotional. After the loss of Norman’s wife, losing Thelma was another nightmare not to be contemplated.

Thanks to Norman’s commitment to his best friends, the work of specialists at our Associate Member hospitals, and donors like you, Thelma and Louise ride again!   

Please make your 100% tax-deductible donation today!



Chloe is an exuberant, lively, healthy 4-year old golden retriever-lab mix. Her exuberance was halted when she fell off a cliff. While out on a hike with her owners, Chloe misjudged her path and fell 20-feet onto boulders and concrete. Both of Chloe’s front legs were severely injured in the fall. Without costly surgery, she would never regain full use of her legs and may have needed to be euthanized.

Chloe's family was unable to cover the cost of surgery for her. BirchBark Foundation provided a grant for Chloe and her family, along with discounted care from Chloe’s associate member veterinarian. BirchBark Foundation helped save Chloe the use of her legs and her family a potentially painful decicision.


Meet Lacie. She is an adorable two and a half year old Shih tzu. Lacie exuberantly ran into the street to greet a family member and was struck by a fast-moving truck. After rushing her to an overnight emergency hospital, her mom was referred to BirchBark Foundation and she transported Lacie the next day to our associate member hospital, Pacific Veterinary Specialists. It was determined that Lacie had sustained several pelvic fractures and would need extensive surgery. Lacie’s mom and dad are both workers in Castroville and did not have the income to get Lacie the necessary surgery to save her the use of her legs and perhaps her life. BirchBark and Pacific Veterinary worked together with Dr. Tom LaHue to get her the surgery she needed on both her right and left side. She’s now home and recuperating with her loving family.

If you’d like to help BirchBark help other pets and their families please donate today.


Gus is an 8-year-old pit bull who started coughing and was not responding to treatment. He’s a Katrina survivor and was adopted by the Grolnick family in November 2012 with the hope of training him to be a service dog. Gus’ mom, Fran has limited mobility due to muscular dystrophy and her son also suffers from muscular dystrophy. After Gus’ preliminary diagnosis was determined, Fran came to BirchBark for help to pay for more detailed, extensive diagnostics for Gus. It was determined that he had a heart condition. Because of the special nature of Gus’ service to the Grolnick family, BirchBark paid for extensive diagnostics and three months worth of medication. Although his prognosis is guarded, it’s greatly improved.  Healthier and stronger, Gus is now able to provide support and love to his forever family.

Update August 26, 2013

Gus was amazing! Along with his 'mom' Fran and 'brother' Dennis they bravely fought the challenges of his heart disease. We had all hoped the incredible work by Dr. Mandi Kleman along with Gus and the Grolnick's determination would give him more time. Sadly, we had to say good-bye to him last Thursday.

Gus received his Service Dog certification last month thanks to the work of SPCA trainer Amanda Mouisset. He was so proud of his new Service Dog harness and was truly remarkable in his service to Fran. Dear sweet Gus, you will be dearly missed.


Molly is a 6 year-old Maltese who was exhibiting signs of lethargy and wasn’t eating for about a week. Then, she started bleeding and collapsed. Her mom, Norma, rushed her BirchBark’s associate member veterinary hospital, Los Coches Animal Hospital in Soledad, and it was determined that the uterine hemorrhage was due to a miscarriage and possible uterine tear. If Molly didn’t have emergency surgery, she would likely bleed out and die. BirchBark’s veterinary review board quickly conferred and agreed to provide the grant to help pay for the complete hysterectomy that would save Molly’s life.  She’s recuperating and doing great!