Humans Enriching Animals’ Lives -
Helping Pets With Owners Who Care

Introducing Guardian HEALS


Throughout the decades we’ve been practicing veterinary medicine, we’ve witnessed, understood, and appreciated the special sustaining bond that develops between pets and their owners. But unfortunately, this rewarding experience has a dark side.

As veterinary professionals also see wrenching heartbreak, stress, and anxiety when pet owners surrender or, even worse, euthanize their beloved companion animals simply because they lack the financial means to pay for medical and surgical care.

This troubling trend rapidly escalates in a down economy when many pet owners are forced to face unforeseen economic hardships.

These sad cases affect us profoundly. Inspired by our love of animals, we’re dedicated to doing something about it.  To help reverse this troubling trend—and save pets’ lives—we’ve established Guardian HEALS, Humans Enriching Animals’ Lives, a charitable 501c3 organization. Our primary mission is to help financially needy owners pay for veterinary care to save their pet’s lives.    

Guardian HEALS is truly a unique program. Other sources of such funding are few and far between—and the need far outstrips the available resources. 

Our goal is to end economic euthanasia and animal surrender due to the inability to pay. We endeavor to keep qualifying owners and their pets together longer and enjoy a better quality of life.

Guardian HEALS is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Meet Our Founders

Dr. Jason Berg - Chairman of the Board

Jason Berg, DVM, DACVIM (Internal Medicine/Neurology) is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Guardian Veterinary Specialists. A highly respected board-certified veterinary internist and neurologist, he has devoted his decades-long career to practicing veterinary medicine with a difference—doing more, providing more, and caring more. His compassionate and sensitive approach has earned him the loyalty of thousands of pet owners and referring veterinarians alike. His dedication to advancing the field of veterinary medicine has garnered national, even international, recognition.

Dr. Berg received his DVM degree from Texas A&M University. He went on to complete his internship and residency training in veterinary neurology and internal medicine at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. He received board certification in neurology in 2000 and in internal medicine in 2002.

A seasoned business founder and owner, Dr. Berg previously launched Animal MR, Animal Specialty Center, and Bloodhound Laboratories. In 2017 he founded Guardian Veterinary Specialists, opening a 29,000-square-foot advanced emergency critical care and specialty hospital in Brewster, New York.

In 2020, he acquired and improved an emergency practice in Middletown in Orange County, NY, and renamed it Guardian Veterinary Emergency. In 2021, he purchased an established primary care hospital in the Bronx, NY, which is now known as Armory Dog and Cat Hospital, A Guardian Veterinary Practice. Demonstrating his long-standing commitment to helping animals in need, in this same year, he established Guardian HEALS, an independent non-profit organization, which provides financial assistance to qualified pet owners who can’t afford the cost of veterinary care. 

Dr. Berg has received many awards for his work with the animal shelter and rescue communities and has served on the advisory board of the Westchester SPCA.

Also committed to advancing veterinary medicine, Dr. Berg has held multiple positions with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is past president of the Westchester Rockland Veterinary Medical Association. A sought-after lecturer and instructor, he’s published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, including those of the American Veterinary  Medical Association and Veterinary Internal Medicine, and American Animal Hospital Association. Read some of his scientific publications here.

Bernadette Vinci, MS, LHEP
Chief Executive Officer of Guardian HEALS

Bernadette Vinci, MS, has acquired an impressive track record during her career as a management professional in the veterinary industry. She has launched three successful veterinary emergency and specialty hospitals and is currently building a non-profit organization to assist pet owners in need under the auspices of Guardian Veterinary Specialists.

Ms. Vinci initially served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Guardian Veterinary Specialists from 2016 to early 2021. During this time, she played a significant role in growing the practice from 30 to 180 employees. Under her leadership, revenue grew by 350%. She was also involved in acquiring two additional Guardian practices in Orange County and the Bronx. Some of her additional responsibilities in this position were strategic and financial management, operations, and human resources.

Building upon these accomplishments, leadership asked her to launch a new non-profit organization, Guardian HEALS, Humans Enriching Animals Lives. Assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer of HEALS in early 2021, she’s responsible for all aspects of initiating this charity organization, including all budgetary, business, fundraising, and IRS considerations; strategic management; operations and human resources; community impact; resource development; and ensuring that its mission is carried out. She continues to serve on the Guardian Veterinary Specialists Executive Team.

Ms. Vinci is a Licensed Human Element Practitioner (LHEP) with the goal of attaining personal and professional achievement through the development of new life skills that build confidence, improve communication, enhance understanding of others, and create a pathway for a fulfilling, lifelong career.

Prior to joining Guardian Veterinary Specialists, Ms. Vinci was Director of Operations at Newtown Veterinary Specialists in Newtown, CT, from 2012 to 2016. In this position, she was responsible for overseeing all hospital operations, including financial management. Previously, she helped found the Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers, NY, where she played a key role in its conception and development, serving as an administrator, overseeing daily operations, and managing a staff of more than 100 employees from 2005 to 2010.  

Earlier on, Ms. Vinci founded BRV and Associates, an insurance and financial services firm that provided benefit solutions to veterinary groups.  She started out her career at AT&T, where she worked for 18 years, becoming Global Account Manager and supervising a large staff in implementing business solutions for Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies in the veterinary field.

She received her undergraduate degree in accounting from Pace University in New York and her master’s degree in business management from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. A big believer in giving back, Ms. Vinci is an advocate to find a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and is the New York State Representative for the National Caregiver Society.

Guardian HEALS

Our goal is to end economic euthanasia and animal surrender due to the inability to pay. We endeavor to keep qualifying owners and their pets together longer so they can enjoy a better quality of life.