Julie Burge, DVM, recently received a $300 cash prize after a local pet owner nominated her for Kansas City's FOX 4's "Pay It Forward" award. Carl Bryant, the pet owner who nominated her, did so because of Burge's dedication to birds.
"She goes out in situations and bird mills, just like puppy mills, she's called in to go in and basically rescue birds," Bryant told Fox 4.
Fox 4 asks its readers to nominate people for their "Pay It Forward" award. The purpose of the award is to "show us what happens when someone you don’t expect steps up at just the right time to make someone else’s life a little easier." The chosen nominee gets $300.
Burge is an avian veterinarian, and runs Burge Bird Rescue, along with the Burge Bird Services veterinary hospital. The avian-only veterinary practice was open in 1990, and offers a number of services, including grooming to complex medical and surgical case management.
Why did Burge start rescuing birds on top of treating them? In a BirdChannel article titled "Meet The Veterinarian Behind Burge Bird Rescue," Burge said:
"As an avian veterinarian, I was often asked to help people who could no longer keep their bird, or in some cases they could not afford extensive medical or surgical care for their pet … I did not want to see these birds turned loose, euthanized, left to suffer and die, or be passed along to a poor quality home. So I started taking in birds, addressing their health care needs, and helping them find forever homes.”
The $300 will go toward helping Burge build a bird sanctuary for the parrots she cannot adopt out for behavioral or medical reasons.