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?

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!

Miss Petey

Miss Petey is a one-year-old lovable Pit Bull who was riding in the back seat of a car with two other dogs. She was either pushed or intimidated by them and was forced out of the car window. The resulting injury was an open femoral fracture of her right rear leg. Miss Petey is a service dog for her owner, George. He recently relocated to the region looking for employment after being unemployed for two years. He was unable to cover the costs of her surgery and BirchBark Foundation along with associate member hospital Pacific Veterinary Specialists, stepped in to help pay for Miss Petey’s surgery. She’s recovering well and expected to regain full activity.


Taylor Comer came home from work one day to find her teenage neighbor standing on her front porch. She heard the words no pet guardian ever wants to hear, “Your cat was hit by a truck.” Little 3 year old Kaya, a beautiful tuxedo cat, was on the porch, her breathing shallow and barely able to move. Gently scooping her up, Taylor drove her first to her veterinarian who diagnosed a broken pelvis and transferred her to BirchBark’s Associate Member hospital Pacific Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services. It was then that Taylor discovered the surgery to save Kaya the use of her legs (and perhaps her life) would cost several thousand dollars. On her salary as a special needs teacher, Taylor was unable to cover the costly surgery. She received a grant from BirchBark Foundation along with the discounted care from Pacific and used her rent money to pay for the care to help stabilize Kaya until surgery could be performed.

Kaya is now doing well and will hopefully regain full use of her hip and legs. Taylor is planning a move to live with her sister in order to save money on rent and continue to care for Kaya.


Matsu was born in Alaska on October 26, 2007. When she came to her forever home at six months of age she only weighed 9 ounces and was half as tall as a pepsi can. Now she weighs 3 pounds. She loves everyone she meets, even babies. People always want to stop and take her picture. Her ‘mom’ carries her in a pouch that she wears on her chest. One day, Matsu prematurely jumped out of the pouch when her mom leaned over. The fall caused her to severly fracture her left rear femur. Her ‘mom and dad’ are on fixed income and couldn’t afford the costly surgery to repair Matsu’s leg. BirchBark stepped in along with Associate Member hospital Monterey Peninsula Emergency & Specialty Center to pay for her surgery which was performed at MPESC by Dr. Nick Macy. She is now on the road to a full recovery.


Harley is a 4 year-old Minature Pinscher. He’d been having difficulty urinating, developed bladder stones and infection. For nearly a month, non-invasive treatments with antibiotics, catheterization and other medications and diet change just weren’t helping. The difficulty Harley was having not only was affecting his ability to urinate but could, if not surgically treated, be life threatening. It was determined that surgery to remove the bladder stones was the only course of treatment to save Harley’s life. His dad, Thomas, had been diligent about his care and treatment but was now out of funds. Thomas, is a native of the Monterey Bay area and a plumber for 30 years now living on a disability income—Harley is his sole mate. BirchBark along with Associate Member hospital, Animal Hospital of Salinas, provided the grant needed for Harley’s surgery and removal of the stones. He’s on a special diet and recuperating with his dad at home.


Scarlet is a two and a half year old Doberman. She’s the loving companion and Service Dog for her dad, Nick. Scarlet was having routine spay surgery and post-operatively began hemorrhaging. She was rushed to BirchBark’s Associate Member hospital Pacific Veterinary Emergency. Nick is  a US Army Combat Veteran who served in Iraq. He and Scarlet have been together since she was 8 weeks old. Nick suffers from PTSD and lives on disbility income.  He had already spent every spare dollar he had for Scarlet’s spay surgery. BirchBark Foundation provided the grant for Scarlet to get the special blood and platelet transfusion she needed to save her life. She was able to go home the next day and has recovered fully. Special Note: Doberman’s can carry Von Willebrand factor that may cause a bleedng disorder similar to hemophilia in humans. If you have a Doberman make certain your veterinarian checks your pet for the Von Willebrand factor


Snoopy is a sweet 6 year-old rat terrier. He was playing outside with his ‘friends’ and a new dog visiting the neighbor’s home picked a fight with him. The new dog viciously attacked Snoopy and left him with a severe open laceration on his chest. His ‘mom’ Tina rushed him to BirchBark Associate Member hospital VCA Santa Cruz. Surgical repair would be needed to save Snoopy’s life. Without it he would have continued to lose blood, developed an infection and likely died or need to be euthanized. Tina is unemployed and didn’t have the funds to cover Snoopy’s surgery. She turned to BirchBark Foundation and we were able provide funds to save Snoopy’s life.  He’s healing well and is due to have his stitches out this week.

Please donate! Your gift can help BirchBark save other pets like Snoopy and all our Success Stories!



Pelusa is a one and a half year old female Terrier Mix. In early September she ran out the front door and was hit by a car, leaving her with an open fracture on her right rear leg and the risk of infection. Pelusa’s ‘mom’ Christina is a student and was unable to cover the cost of the surgery. With some financial help from Christina’s brother, BirchBark Foundation provided the grant for Dr. Tom LaHue at Associate Member Hospital Pacific Veterinary Specialists to repair Pelusa’s leg. She’s now recovering well at home.

Pelusa came to be part her family in 2012 after a psychologist recommended the family get a dog to help the seven year old daughter deal with the trauma of her parents’ divorce. Pelusa’s presence not only helped the little girl but gave joy to the entire family and extended family. Then, Pelusa’s ‘dad’ was relocated and his daughter was sent to live with her mother in Mexico. Shortly after, in order to not give Pelusa up for adoption, his sister Christina, decided to take care of Pelusa and keep her in her loving home “…because she is an important member of the family.”


Batman is a sweet 5 year old male cat who developed an abcess on his neck that wouldn't heal. He needed it to be surgically cleaned, drained and closed. Batman's mom, Linda is a glass artist and needed assistance to pay for the surgery. BirchBark Foundation along with Associate Member hospital VCA of Santa Cruz provided the grant and care that saved his life. Batman is now at home recovering with his loving mom, Linda.

Gurdie, AKA Birdie

Gurdie, AKA Birdie, is a four-year-old female boxer who came to live with her mom Katherine at the age of ten weeks. Last month she was outside one day with her mom and was hit by a car and suffered a severe fracture to her right front leg. Rushing her to the emergency hospital, Katherine soon realized she didn’t have the financial capability to cover the costly surgery to save Birdie’s leg and perhaps her life. Birdie’s leg was splinted to stabilize it while Katherine frantically searched for the funds. Birdie was in a lot of pain. Katherine was told about BirchBark from the SPCA of Monterey County. BirchBark Foundation put Katherine in touch with Veterinary Partner, Nichols Veterinary Care, where Dr. Cynthia Nichols brought in Veterinary Partner Surgeon, Dr. Jim Roush to perform the surgery to save Birdie’s leg and life. She is now healing quietly at home and loves her post op visits with the caring staff and doctors at Parkview.

Something quite special about Birdie…When she was about a year old she began randomly nibbling at her mom’s leg and making a squeaking noise. It took Katherine (a diabetic) a while to realize (with her doctor’s help) that Birdie was able to smell when Katherine’s blood sugar was off. Birdie goes everywhere with Katherine. Her gentle manner and intelligence attracts the attention of young and old. Thanks to BirchBark Birdie will now have many more years of taking care of her mom!

Please make a gift to BirchBark today! Your donation can help us save other pets like Birdie!


Charlie is a sweet male kitty, approximately 1 year-old, who ‘invited’ himself into the Solis’ family yard one day in January 2013 and never left. Clearly preferring to stay outside, the family made Charlie a bed on the front porch but he seldom wandered very far. Charlie’s new family lives in the country, and in late September he must have wandered onto the neighbor’s field and apparently was kicked by their donkey. Miraculously, Charlie made it back to his home. Immediately, the Solis’ saw that had Charlie had sustained life-threatening injuries. They rushed him to their veterinarian at associate member hospital Harden Ranch Veterinary Clinic where emergency treatment was performed to try and stabilize him. Charlie had incurred 3 broken ribs, a punctured lung, signs of internal bleeding and a broken leg. The doctors at Harden Ranch recommended that Charlie be transferred to a specialty hospital where he could be monitored 24/7 and further diagnosed. They told Ken and Dianne Solis about BirchBark Foundation.

Ken and Dianne and their family had recently fallen prey to difficult economic times and after the emergency treatment at Harden Ranch, they were unable to cover the costly care and ultimate surgery Charlie would need to survive. Charlie was monitored closely over the ensuing days for his internal injuries. BirchBark Foundation along with associate member hospital Pacific Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services helped pay for Charlie’s care and surgery. When it was medically safe, Dr. Tom LaHue performed the necessary surgery on this tough little guy to repair his broken leg.

The Solis’ joke and call Charlie a ‘cat dog’ because he sits, stays and lays down on command and loves to ride in the car. We hope that it won’t be long before Charlie can resume his activities. He is now home and recovering and will likely become and inside kitty.

Please make a gift to BirchBark today! Your donation can help us save other pets like CHARLIE!


Maya met Jasper on her way to the animal shelter. It was the very day she had officially begun looking for a dog. Jasper had wandered away from his house and had no collar on. They connected instantly and Maya took care of him while trying to find his home. Then one day at a party Jasper ran up to a girl who said, "Oh my goodness this is the dog that's been missing from my house." Jasper was being fostered by this girl’s family while they were looking for a new home for him. Maya talked with them and she and Jasper have been happily bonded ever since.

Last month Jasper began vomiting and showed signs of lethargy. Maya’s regular vet recommended that he be taken to an internal medicine specialist. At Veterinary Partner, Pacific Veterinary Specialists, Jasper was put on IV fluids and medications and kept for 2+ days for observation and evaluation. Cholangiohepatitis, a disease of the liver and biliary system was the diagnosis. Maya spent all the money she had on Jasper’s emergency care. That’s when she heard about BirchBark Foundation.

Jasper was going to need to be on an intensive course of several expensive medications for at least 6-8 weeks—perhaps longer. BirchBark approved Jasper’s case and paid for his medication for two months.
Today, Jasper is just finishing his first month of treatment and is doing much better. We’ll evaluate his case at the end of two months and we’re all crossing our fingers that he’s out of the woods and just needs a little more time to be his sweet Jasper-Roo self!

Please make a gift to BirchBark today! Your donation can help us save other pets like JASPER!

Mr. Biggles

Mr. Biggles is a 3 year-old male tuxedo cat. His ‘mom’ Ariel noticed he was howling in severe pain and straining in the litter box. She took him to Associate Member Los Coches Animal Hospital and he was diagnosed with a urethral obstruction. Ariel was not able to afford the treatment necessary to help Mr. Biggles. If his obstruction wasn’t unblocked he would likely not survive. BirchBark Foundation was able to help pay for the treatment and Los Coches was able to secure five cases of special urinary diet from the Iams representative for Mr. Biggles. He’s recovering beautifully and hopefully will not need further treatment.

Mr. Biggles came into Ariel’s life at a very timely moment. She and her 4 year old son had been searching for months and wanted to adopt a black female cat. Then, searching on Craigslist, she noticed a beautiful, young, male tuxedo cat that had been posted for almost a month. She was certain after a month he'd be gone. Ariel was somewhat skeptical about having a male cat. But when she saw that the ad said Mr. Biggles would be going to the pound the same day she found him online she called right away. The person who answered the phone told her they were on their way out the door to take him to the pound right then and they'd be even happier to take him to a new home. Thanks to Ariel, it was a timely rescue. Now Mr. Biggles is part of a loving family.


Sweet, beautiful four-month-old Kilah (pronounced Kee-la) is a lab-pit mix. Thanks to the quick action of her new dad, Lionel and the help of BirchBark and Associate Member hospital Pacific Veterinery Specialists she beat the odds with Parvo. In early January, Lionel rescued Kilah after he heard from a customer where he works that she’d been living in a car. Lionel knew he had to save this adorable puppy. It was love at first sight.  He brought her home to the house he shared with several of his UCSC friends.  Within a couple days he noticed she was very ill…vomitting and with diarrhea. In addition to being a student, Lionel works part-time at Safeway.  He left work and rushed her to the hospital. His roommates banded together to help pay what they could for Kilah’s initial care. Kilah was going to need hospitalization and isolation for possibly up to a week. Lionel was panicing because he knew he couldn’t afford it. He was told about BirchBark and contacted us. BirchBark helped cover Kilah’s care for several days.  His housemate Kyle and the others they live with all stepped up to help too. Kilah came through the crisis is now home and doing great—enjoying her puppy life in her new home.

A personal note from Lionel:

[getting BirchBark funding was…] …the best news I could ever hear! I was so scared that Kilah wasn't going to make it, and honestly without the Birchbark Foundation Kilah wouldn't be sleeping next to me right now. I can’t explain how grateful and happy I am! This was a dream come true, and it happened over night. The BirchBark Foundation saved Kilah’s life and we both really love you all and hope for the best for you!

A special note about Parvo Virus: Parvo is a deadly virus that mostly affects puppies under six months of age. If not treated quickly, the mortality rate can be as high as 90%. Lionel’s quick action to get Kilah treatment saved her life.

Please make gift to BirchBark today! Your donation can help us save other pets like Kilah!