Critter Doctor Animal Rescue Trust Joins Forces With Merrill Gardens To Raise Funds For Needy Pets

TARP2It’s a rare moment when a retirement community approaches a veterinary clinic with an offer to raise thousands of dollars for the clinic’s “pet project,” but that’s exactly what Merrill Gardens, a retirement community in downtown Kirkland, did. And it was quite literally for a “pet” rescue/rehabilitation project.

In what ended up being an unexpected but very pleasant surprise, Merrill Gardens called Critter Doctor to say that they wanted the proceeds from their annual fundraiser to go to the Critter Doctor Trust for Abandoned/Relinquished Pets (TARP). Each year, as part of its commitment to involvement in the community, Merrill Gardens holds an auction for what it deems is a worthy charitable organization. We were more than a little surprised. Stunned might be a better word, and we couldn’t help but ask: Why us?

It turns out that Head Merrill Gardens chef and long-time Critter Doctor client, Dana Bietz, had  heard about the trust and decided she wanted it to be this year’s recipient of the auction proceeds.  Critter Doctor was thrilled and touched by this organization’s offer to help rescue pets and Dr. Wendy Bernstein, (Critter Doctor owner) pledged to help make the event a success any way she could.
And that she did. Critter Doctor spread word of the event to all its clients, created a brochure (pictured here) explaining the TARP’s mission and detailing some of the fund’s recent recipients, attended a promotional event with Merrill Gardens at the downtown Kirkland Gazebo last summer, and coordinated a guest appearance by John Doe Dog (pictured here in his “tux and tail.”), a former trust fund recipient, with his owners, David and Lesli Zielke.

Critter Doctor veterinary assistant and artist in residence, Theresa Simer, also organized a ceramic art tile table for the event where interested parties could create their own pet-related tile art.  For many years now Critter Doctor has had the tradition of creating tile art in exchange for donations to the trust fund.  These tiles now adorn the walls in almost all the every section of our reception area, as will the tiles created during the event.

The evening kicked off with Doc Wendy explaining the TARP’s mission and highlighting the fund’s most recent success: restoring motor skills to Harley, a senior member of the mastiff breed who had recently lost control of his legs because of a back injury.
With invaluable help from therapy specialist, Dr. Sean Sanders, from Seattle Veterinary Specialists (SVS), and the funding made possible by the Merrill Gardens auction, The trust fund was able to supply the critical resources and expertise needed to put Harley back on his feet.  But that’s another story.  (See the trust fund section of our website for details.)

Next came a “meet & greet,” during which Merrill Garden residents had the opportunity to snuggle with Marshmallow the guinea pig, Thor, the short-haired cat, and several cuddly canines, including two former trust fund recipients, “Jasper” and “Buddy.” With over 200 guests, a lively presentation by Dr. Bernstein, the art tile table, a live band, a 4-course gourmet sit-down dinner prepared by none other than renaissance chef Dana Bietz, and a silent auction that raised over $4,000 for rescued pets, the event was definitely a success.