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Planning for the Continued Care of One’s Pets

Although it’s a task that we all are happy to avoid, we must consider what would happen to our pets if some problem should make it impossible for us to provide our usual care for them.2nd Chance 4 Pets  (California)                      The mission of 2nd Chance 4 Pets is to reduce the number of pets unnecessarily euthanized each year due to the death or incapacity of the human companions who care for them.  Volunteers work nationwide to provide pet owners with comprehensive information and lifetime care solutions. For more information, please visit

Some ideas on ways to have assistance with pet care if it becomes a physical burden:

Penns Village  …  is a non-profit organization in Center City (the area from river to river, and from Vine Street to Washington Avenue) that provides many kinds of basic services (running errands, rides to doctor’s, etc.) to its members.   Dog walking and pet care during a brief absence are among the kinds of assistance offered.  Although there is a fee to join, financial assistance is available to neighbors with lower incomes.  One of the goals of Penns Village is to help older or disabled residents to remain in their homes for as long as they’d like.   Volunteers are  needed to help with pet care and other kinds of assistance.

My Way   is a ‘chore’ service for persons 55+ residing in  Germantown, Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, East and West Oak Lane, and these Center City/Fairmount zip codes: 19102, 103, 106, 107, 109, 110 and 130.  Pet care is among the things they will do.  Membership in the group is free, and services are billed at a flat hourly rate.  The providers are all pre-screened local resources.   Visit  or call  215-525-5470 for more information.

Seniors Helping Seniors provides pet care among its in-home services.  They have locations in Northwestern Philadelphia    (   ), Bucks county, Montgomery and Chester counties.

A nice idea, but this may not be in existence any longer.  A website called NeighborHire might be a source of  lower cost assistance with pet care tasks for someone who is finding it hard to walk their dog or accomplish other kinds of pet care.  This is the URL for their Pet Caregivers near Philadelphia page  :

Granny’s Helping Hands PA-Inc, in Landsdowne,  does pet sitting.  610-284-4244

Pet Assistance when a crisis strikes  – Seer Farms in New Jersey provides  extended emergency pet care.

PACT (People / Animals = Companions Together) in Narberth has a hospital foster program so that pet and owner can be reunited when the hospitalization is over.  See  for details and eligibility.


Pet ‘Retirement’ Programs

A list of Cat Retirement Communities can be found at .  Because of the costs involved, they will not be a care option for many pet owners.  Another list can be found at

Among the cat retirement programs are:

Home for Life is a special long care animal sanctuary in Stillwater Minnesota.  They give  forever homes to special needs animals.  In addition, they offer a program called Angel Care, which provides a safety net for pets if they should live longer than their owners.  The admission fee is determined by the age of the owner at the time of application.  The rates range from$400 to $1700.

The Sunshine Home in Honeoye, NY offers temporary  and permanent long term care for cats.  From 1 to 4 cats can share a room at the cost of $480/ month / room.   Pick-up of pets is available in a days’ drive of the home.

The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats (Laguna Beach, CA) is a non-profit ‘retirement home’ for cats.  Cats often come there because their owners have died or cannot care for them any longer.   There is a $6500 fee for placing a cat at the Blue Bell Foundation, where s/he will stay for the rest of his/her life.

North Shore Animal League (NY) has a program called Safe Haven Surviving Pet Care.  They will care for pets and find them new homes if the owner passes away before the pet.  The fee for the first pet is $10,000, if arrangements are made while the owner is alive.

Tabby’s Place, a very special refuge for cats at high risk of euthanasia, also has a program to care for cats of owners who become disabled or die.  It is called their Guardian Angel program.  The entry fee is very high,  but hopefully other groups will institute similar programs with lower fees.  Tabby’s Place is in Ringoes N.J.

Assisi Animal Foundation, P.O. Box 143, Crystal Lake, IL 60039-0143; (815) 455-9411; Provides lifetime care for cats if their owners die or can no longer take care of them. Also acts as a no-kill shelter and provides animal-assisted therapy.

Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center  at the Texas A & M College of Veterinary Medicine.

PAWS in Lynnwood WA also offers a Lifetime Care Service for pet cats and dogs in return for a substantial financial donation.

The Animal Adoption Center in Lindenwold NJ has a Golden Paw Group which provides long term care for pets of someone who has died and has included the agency in their estate plans.  856-435-9116

A resource that can make having a pet easier as one’s mobility decreases is the availability of a mobile or house-call vet.

There are now home visits vets who serve Philadelphia.  Health In Home Veterinary Service  is located in East Falls  .   They operate on Sunday and are closed on Friday and Saturday.  Learn about them at:  . There are a couple home visit vets in the Mount Airy area.   One is Dr. Jennifer Muller of  House Call Vets,  215-704-9009  or .  Call  to find out if your address is within the area she serves.   Another is Dr. Thomas M. Pickard VMD of Allpets Housecalls is at  6712 Lincoln Drive Philadelphia, PA 19119   215 – 843 – 1780.  He will make house calls from Tacony to South Philadelphia.  Holistic vet Natasha Kassell, VMD, at 155 West Durham St in 19119 (Mt Airy) also does housecalls.    215 – 407 – 4535. [FYI – There is  database of  American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association members at ]

Dr. Wendy Zimmerman of  Door To Door Pet Doctor is located in   Chester Springs, Pa 19425,  484-342-0505 , email: DrWendy@doortodoorpetdoctor.  Her service area includes many parts of Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties.  She offers a 10% Senior Citizen discount for pet owners over 55.

HousePaws mobile veterinary service is based in Mt. Laurel NJ, but travels to Burlington county, Camden county, Gloucester county and to North, South, Northeast Philadelphia and Center City.  Email:   or call  856-234-7719.  They will also set up “community days” (with discounts) when a number of residents of the same neighborhood want vet visits for their pets, on the same day.

Dr. Marvin A Baynes Jr DVM is a vet in South Jersey who practices at 6717 North Crescent Boulevard, Pennsauken, NJ 08110 and has a mobile veterinary service.   He can be reached at  (856) 254-0507

There are other ‘house call’ vets in the area, but they are located in the Philadelphia suburbs.  They should be called to ask if they will travel to your area.

Dr Linda Stahl                  Buckingham         215-794-3379

Dr. Francis Descant         Chalfont                 215-822-2364

Dr  Jeanne Ludlow         Doylestown          215-343-0325

Dr Amy Lloyd                   Doylestown          215-822-5464

Dr. Mark  Johnson          Feasterville          215-914-0966

Dr. Karen Collins               Newtown              215-504-9097

Dr. Karen Gates                  Yardley                 215-736-8885

Dr Karen Detweiler    Bucks County Mobile Vet     215-892-3328

Liberty Vet Pets               Chester County       1-888-458-8587                 Serves parts of Philadelphia, Chester county and the Main Line

Ask the Cat Doctor             Main Line               (610) 449-CATS (2287)    Serves parts of Delaware and Montgomery counties

Lap Of Love   End of life care – hospice & euthansia    (267) 317-8110

The Vet Locator website might offer other souces of mobile veterinary service.

A new Emergency and Specialty Vet center opened on February 4,  2013 in Pennsport.  Called “Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center” or VSEC, it is located at 1114 South Front St. ,  267 – 800 – 1950

A way to make one part of pet care simpler – buying pet food online.  Some of the major purveyors are Pet Food Direct , Pet Flow, Chewy and Wag.  A good way to keep the cost of home-delivered pet food reasonable to watch for  free shipping offers or perhaps share an order with another nearby pet owner.


CLOSED  5/2015 — The Temple University Intergenerational Center operates the Time Out Respite Program, to help relieve caregivers of some responsibilities.  Students are trained to provide companionship and may assist with light chores such as laundry, meal preparation or grocery shopping.  The cost is $8 per hour.   In some cases, a limited amount of pet care might be possible, for example, walking with the elder as s/he walks the dog.   Call 215 – 204 – 6970 for more information.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 21, 2014 7:19 pm

    I am luckey to find this great, imformatiove article, Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

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