Born in Philadelphia, Dr. Ken Gorczyca has a diverse background, life experiences and interests. He graduated from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and started practicing in the Castro District of San Francisco at the dawn of the AIDS Pandemic in 1984. Ken learned to be a death doula by being with many of his friends and clients at the end of their lives.
Ken is a recent graduate of the University of Vermont’s (UVM’s) Companion Animal End-of-Life Certificate Program and the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy. He is also a graduate from the Foundation of Shamanic Studies Three Year Program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing and is a regular participant and assistant at the School of Lost Borders which uses wilderness vision fasts for personal development, healing and ceremony.
During the past 25 years. Ken has worked tirelessly to build a more inclusive and stronger veterinary profession through his advocacy work at the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association, (now Pride Veterinary Medical Community). He received the 2010 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award and the 2020 University of California School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Achievement Award for his human-animal bond and his LGBTQ advocacy.
Ken helped establish Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) in San Francisco in 1986 which provides volunteers, financial support for veterinary care, a pet food bank and pet-associated zoonoses education for pet guardians with HIV/AIDS, and has since expanded to assist low-income people with disabilities, who are homeless and who are aged. He led the national effort to establish similar organizations throughout the county.
Ken was introduced to painting, gardening and animals by his maternal grandfather, sparking lifelong passions. He has studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and UC Berkeley Extension and paints plein air nature scenes and pet portraits in memoriam and life.
Ken resides in San Francisco with his husband and dog companion, Kira, where he works as an at-home veterinary euthanasia practitioner at A Gentle Rest.