Brooker Gretz Memorial Fund

The Cause

The unimaginable has happened and war was at your front step. On the brink of destruction and facing impossible choices, you flee with those closest to you, including treasured pets that are a source of never-ending comfort. Your family is together, but you find yourself in need of support as you acclimatize to life in a new country that is around the world from your homeland.

Enter Berkeley's Place Foundation. Berkeley’s Place is an animal support network of like-minded animal lovers that offer a forum to honor all aspects of our pets’ lives and our relationships with them.

The Berkeley’s Place Fresh Start Emergency Fund was created in 2014 and provides aid to families displaced with pets during times of personal tragedy, which comes in many forms and can present a tremendous amount of stress for pet guardians. The fund was renamed, in late 2020, to the Brooker-Gretz Memorial Fund in honour of Jerry Brooker. Jerry was an avid animal lover, rescue foster home provider, and then adopter of his shy, timid foster puppy who was found in a small-town dump. Jerry, a diehard Edmonton Oilers fan (even in the bleak times), named his sweet pup, Wine Gretzky, Gretz for short.

Suddenly in November 2020, at the age of 48 years old, Jerry passed away while outside the backyard with Gretz, who was learning his house training at the time. Jerry’s family chose to honour Jerry’s deep love for Gretz and asked for memorial contributions made to Berkeley’s Place in his honour.

Berkeley’s Place believes that relieving the financial burden surrounding food and supplies for guardians worried about their homes, finances, families, and pets helps set everyone up for success. The only requirement to apply for help from the fund is the need for assistance when tragedy strikes.

Support from Berkeley’s Place is from snout to tail, replacing everything a companion animal may require. In the case of exotics, this can consist of bird/parrot cages, ferret nations, reptile enclosures and habitats, specialty food and other required items for that animal’s species.

Often families flee a fire with only their pets, and often the things we take for granted, like a leash or food bowl, are things that require immediate replacement. Berkeley’s Place believes that if the pets’ needs are taken care of, it helps guardians focus on what’s important – rebuilding their lives – because everyone deserves a Fresh Start.

Who Will it Benefit?

The unprovoked war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine on February 24, 2022 has generated a historical mass outflow of people fleeing the conflict. Many Ukrainians are coming to Canada and settling various provinces. This year, we have had the honour of assisting 10 families and their companion animals in their Fresh Start in Edmonton and surrounding communities.

As Ukrainian families settle here, we want to ensure they are treated with respect as they navigate a new country and discover where to go to shop for supplies, especially for their companion animals. Being able to direct them to our partners ensures the transition will be smooth when it comes to navigating pet supplies in a new country. Berkeley’s Place believes that simple items that we may take for granted, such as leashes or food bowls, are critical for the health and wellness of our pets and, by extension, ourselves.

Our most recent family helped is a mom and her son who have moved eight times since the beginning of the war and have kept their two dogs safe with them the entire time. She arrived in Edmonton 1.5 months ago and had run out of dog food and was very low on funds. Our Foundation was able to provide the specialty medical food needed for one dog, a large bag of high-quality food for the other dog, as well new leashes, beds, toys, treats, grooming supplies and other accessories for her pets.