Imagine a place where you can go to find the perfect pet to add to your family. Or how great would it be to find a place to take your buddy so he or she can get everything needed to stay healthy.
That place is having its grand opening Friday. Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, better known as PAWS, is opening its third city location at 1810 Grant Ave.
The 5,700-square-foot facility will comprise two sections. The first will be a massive adoption center where potential families can come and spend time with adoptable dogs and cats. Most of the animals will be pulled from Animal Care and Control Team in Hunting Park and will be moved into PAWS’ no-kill shelter.
The second part will consist of a wellness clinic that will serve basic needs for animals who need medical care. The featured service offered will be low-cost spay and neutering, which will mean fewer homeless dogs and cats in the future.
“When we opened our location in Grays Ferry (four years ago), we knew our next one would be in the Northeast,” said PAWS Executive Director Melissa Levy, a South Philadelphia native. “There’s a need for it there. There are a lot of people who would want to add a dog or a cat to their home, and there is a need for people to get vet care.
“It’s not a soup-to-nuts operation, but it’s a place where you can get spay or neutered or basic needs for pets.”
Basic needs include all vaccinations, upper respiratory infections or various other common ailments pets pick up. The reduced costs of altering cats will be $60, while dogs will cost between $90 and $175, depending on the size of the animal. All include shots and vaccinations.
“Sometimes, people don’t have the money to get their animals the care needed,” Levy said. “The last thing we want people to do is to surrender an animal because they can’t afford medical care. This keeps pets in a loving home.”
PAWS has done a lot since it opened its first building six years ago. Two years later came the Grays Ferry low-cost clinic. The reason the group is able to do this is because of generous donors. In fact, the nonprofit is funded solely by supporters.
“Our goal is to make Philadelphia a no-kill city. But shelters take in a lot of dogs. Our goal is to help as many as possible,” Levy said.
PAWS says its goal for the Northeast location is to find homes for 1,000 animals the first year and provide health care for 7,000 pets. It opens Friday, and to start, it will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.
“We will soon be open seven days a week,” Levy said.
And while the health care will be nice, PAWS will be the first shelter in the Northeast that houses pets.
Levy said the large space at the new location will provide people a place to come to meet potential pets. You won’t have to see the dog or cat in a cage. You’ll be able to interact with them and get a good idea if the pet is a perfect match. It will also give the animals a chance to pick their adopter. After all, that’s just as important.
“You want to have a good fit, and this will give them a chance to find out if it is,” Levy said.
And while Philadelphia still has a lot of work to do before it becomes a no-kill city, PAWS’ expansion will likely help put a big dent in the number of animals who face euthanasia.
“There are a lot of great people, volunteers and others who are doing everything they can to save as many animals as possible,” Levy said. “I’m proud to see how far it’s come.
“I’m very happy to see how seriously so many people take this, and I’m very happy it’s coming to the Northeast. Everyone is excited about it.” ••
For information on PAWS, visit www.phillypaws.org