Philadelphia & Surrounding Areas | South Jersey
All services are provided in the comfort of your home.
Includes a brief examination by the veterinarian, a full assessment of your pet's quality of life, and a custom treatment plan to help you care for your pet and monitor their condition.
Includes a discussion with the veterinarian, medication to ensure comfort, gentle euthanasia, pawprint impression keepsake, lock of fur, and Lap of Love's Eternal Pawprints booklet. The additional cost for the varied cremation services are detailed in the Aftercare Pricing section.
Includes a brief examination by the veterinarian to help explain your pet's condition, discuss symptom management including pain and anxiety, and prepare an end of life care plan using the appropriate quality of life scale to manage your pet along with your family's needs and desires.
There may be an additional charge for extended travel (see Service Area below), holidays ($50 - $100), pets over 99 lbs, appointments outside normal business hours (when arranged), aggressive pets, and some exotic species.
Although we mainly see dogs and cats, some of our veterinarians can assist you with other species such as pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, birds, fish, and goats. Call for pricing and availability.
With this option, your pet is cremated privately at a licensed crematory. The ashes are contained in a lovely wooden urn with an engraved nameplate and will be returned to your primary care veterinarian within two weeks. They can also be made available directly from the crematory or mailed to you for an additional fee.
This option is for families that don't wish to have their pet's ashes returned nor wish to bury at home. Pets are respectfully cremated with other pets at a licensed crematory and ashes are scattered at Nonantum Vet Clinic in Landenberg, PA.
There may be a fee if additional assistance to safely carry your pet out of your home is needed.
We are here to answer your questions every day, from 7am - 11pm. Appointments are scheduled throughout the week, please call for availability.
Sometimes, pets take a turn for the worse overnight, so we do our best to accommodate same day appointments with a few hours notice when possible.
If this is a medical emergency, please contact your local veterinarian or one of the emergency clinics listed in the Local Resources section.
Let us introduce you to the amazing hospice veterinarians in your area.
Brad Bates, VMD
People often ask me why I do what I do. For me, the ability to help pets and their loving families through a difficult time, and in doing so provide more comfort for everyone involved, is more than enough reason. It is a huge honor to help pets spend their last days or weeks or even months in more comfort, and with their families by their side. Everyone speaks of the difficulty of providing hospice care, but for me it is never difficult. Each and every pet and family I help shows me a deeper appreciation for the human animal bond. I feel the love between a family and a pet every time I step into a new home. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of, and to make a difficult situation better is exactly the reason I became a veterinarian.
I received my veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Although I have experience in a wide array of small animal care, end-of-life and hospice care has truly been a calling for me. I'm so grateful that I can share my experience and understanding to you.
Like most veterinarians, my home consists of many pet children: I have 3 cats and a chinchilla. Like most pet parents, I understand the fear involved when they are sick. The fear of not knowing what to do, how to help, what is too much and most importantly when is it an appropriate time to let them pass peacefully. These are tough decisions, and you need the assistance of someone that will focus on you and your pet specifically. I offer the service I would want in return when those sad days happen to me. Being at home, surrounded by loved ones, and a peaceful goodbye.
One thing I’ve learned after being blessed with such great pets in the past, is that you have to enjoy the time you have with them. Time is less important than quality of time. I remember my little Laker. He was a sickly kitten, born with FeLV infection. He was sick with a severe respiratory infection due to his diminished immune system. His mother had to push him away from the litter. I cared for him and nursed him to health and he became a happy healthy kitten. But at aged 2 he developed lymphoma secondary to FeLV. Poor Laker was quite sick and I tried to help. But there was no medicine that could make him better. Once I thought his quality of life was diminishing and not improving, I let him pass peacefully with the help of my colleague. It was the most difficult day of my life, and that time was the most difficult time of my life to this day, and probably forever. But the thought of him suffering or becoming sicker was worse. I thank the stars every day that I was able to let him pass peacefully before he suffered to death. He will be in my heart forever.
Spoil your pets and enjoy the laughs they bring when they are silly. Honor and remember them when they have passed. I never think of the day I will be without my pets. It helps that every day they make me laugh and smile.
Dr. Brad - In the News:
Abigail Shearin, VMD, PhD
I have wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I could remember and it was never a stronger calling than when having to make the difficult decision to euthanize one of my family’s beloved pets. As a teenager, I bottle-raised a sick puppy who had many congenital defects that eventually led to the decision to euthanize. He was my puppy and at the age 14 years old, it was my decision. That was one of the hardest days of my life, but it was never clearer to me that veterinary medicine was the right path. A peaceful passing, surrounded by their loved ones, is one of the greatest gifts we can give our pets when they are struggling. Now, through Philadelphia’s chapter of Lap of Love, I am proud to offer this as an in-home service, making it that much more loving, peaceful and meaningful.
During my training to become a veterinarian, I also received a PhD studying Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. This led to a deeper understanding of the management of chronic diseases and evoked a number of critical questions regarding quality of life. Our pets are often too stoic for us to detect when there is an underlying disease and they can sometimes fail rapidly, even with medical interventions.
Currently, I have two cats who require significant care for their chronic health issues. This has further deepened my understanding of the emotional resources that come with managing chronic diseases. Eventually these diseases will lead to a poor quality of life for one of my own, and one again, I will be faced with the decision of when to euthanize. It brings me a great sense of peace and reassurance that when this time comes, my cats won’t suffer and they will pass quietly in my arms at home.
I look forward to offering that same peace to pet families by enabling my patients to pass as stress-free as possible at home. I am honored to provide these services to the pets of loving owners in Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey.
Anne Mitchell, VMD
I grew up in Chester County and have lived here all of my life. My aspiration to become a veterinarian began at an early age, as did my tendency to collect pets (dogs, fish, birds, hamsters, and eventually cats and horses also). I spent many wonderful years working as a veterinary technician prior to making the decision to apply to vet school. I completed my undergraduate work at West Chester University then proceeded on to University of Pennsylvania for my veterinary degree. Since graduation, I have spent most of my time working in general medicine at a private practice in Montgomery County, prior to joining Lap of Love.
My first dog as an adult was a young rescue German Shepherd who taught me so much about veterinary medicine and the human-animal bond. We were together for almost 14 amazing years before he earned his wings with me by his side. Allowing him to pass peacefully was one of the most difficult life choices I ever had to make but it was also one of the most important decisions. I was able to give him the gift of a planned, pain-free journey.
I am honored to have the opportunity to join Lap of Love and I hope to help you and your loved ones through those difficult times.
Samantha Souther, DVM
I have wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. From career day in 4th grade, when I wheeled in a wagon of bandaged stuffed animals, all the way through the rigors of veterinary school, animals have always been my passion. I received my veterinary degree from Western University of Health Sciences in California. After veterinary school, I completed a one year rotating internship at an emergency and specialty hospital in San Diego, where I found my calling in hospice care and helping patients with special needs.
During my work as an emergency veterinarian, I was confronted with hard cases and very sick pets. I was drawn to helping the sickest of pets towards the end of their lives. My pets are my family, and I realized my dream was to help other families through hard times with their fur children. Allowing a family member to pass is never an easy decision, but I realized my role as a veterinarian is to help these special pets live comfortably until their time and to pass with dignity. I want to be there to help your family navigate these hard times and decide when the time is right for you and your pet. And I want to help your pet pass in dignity, at home, for their comfort and yours. While it is never easy, I believe one of the most beautiful gifts we can give our pet is to let them pass peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones. Trips to the vet can be hard on some of our pets, but it is a true honor to be able to come into their home, where they are at ease, and help them pass at peace.
As part of Lap of Love, I want to make difficult times as stress-free as possible and strengthen the bond between you and your pet through their last moments. In addition to helping families as a Lap of Love doctor, I am completing a veterinary residency at the University of Pennsylvania, working with pediatrics and difficult genetics cases. I live in Philadelphia with my husband and our two fur-babies, Maddy, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Agouti, our rescue cat.
Brad Bates, VMD
"I had never heard of Lap of Love until this past Friday when I called my vet about my poor Bogie. Because of his size, I was not sure how I was going to get him to the vet. The receptionist at Stoney Creek Vet Hospital mentioned Lap of Love. From the moment I placed the phone call and to speaking to Karen, I knew I was making the right decision. It was probably one of the hardest decision I had to make but I definitely know it was the right one. Dr. Sam came to the house and walked me through the entire process. She made me feel better and she showed so much care and compassion to our Bogie. My husband, daughter and son in law were all there to say good bye to Bogie and Dr. Sam offered comfort to each and everyone of us. I hope I never have to use this service again but in the event I did, I definitely would recommend it. Thank you Lap of Love and Dr. Sam for letting me spend the last few seconds with my Bogie before he made his journey over the Rainbow Bridge."
Nancy WebsterFolcroft, Pennsylvania
"The decision to let go of my Shemp was one of the most heartbreaking I've ever had to make. He had been been Dx with a large soft tissue sarcoma invading the bone at the back of his nasal cavity and into his throat only a week prior with only minor symptoms manifesting even a week and a half before that. It was ultimately determined that because of its location and how quickly/severely it had affected him (unable to eat and drink on his own) that any treatment would be palliative at best.
I knew I did not want to take him to a vets office and put him in more distress in and unfamiliar place and I was aware that there were vet services that came to your home. I was referred to Lap of Love through VSEC in Levittown, Pa.
I cannot express how grateful I am for Dr. Sam. She explained everything that was to happen but also gave me (and my parents) the time to say goodbye and when I was ready. She was so lovely and compassionate with him and with us. I don't think he could have passed over the Rainbow Bridge more peacefully. Knowing he was in his fur-ever home surrounded by warmth and love was a comfort.
Thank you Lap of Love and Dr. Sam. You are a blessing."
Jaime BuddPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
"On what could have been a deeply sad and depressing day, Dr. Samantha brought a great sense of peace and comfort to our entire family as we said goodbye to our beloved 20 year old cat. She brought a deep sense of empathy and kindness to her care, both for our pet and for our entire family as well. While we knew it was time, Dr. Sam helped us to better appreciate how important and appropriate our decision was and the peace that it would bring to our beloved pet. Having experienced a farewell to another great pet several years ago--one that was incredibly painful despite the kindness of the staff in our vet's office--we cannot express enough how wonderful the Lap of Love service was for all of us. Being at home, in safe and comfortable surroundings, and with Dr. Sam being a patient and compassionate guide, saying goodbye brought a true sense of closure to everyone and all of us felt that a very bad day was absolutely as good as it could have been. For families who deeply love their companion animals this is an amazing support that we cannot recommend highly enough. A huge thank you to Dr. Sam, and to Lap of Love (including the great phone rep who helped us make the arrangements with great compassion herself). While we could never do the work that you do, it's amazing that there are people willing to help families in the way you do."
Jason RabbinoBala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
"I have had a pet sitting business for 17 years. Many of my clients have worked with , and really love Dr. Brad. Yesterday, it was my cat Tuesday's "time" Dr Brad was patient, caring and professional. He treated her gently and with complete respect. He is also a wealth of knowledge regarding end of life care. My experience from beginning to end was wonderful. I highly recommend this service for anyone who is facing the end ( and all that goes with that) with their beloved pets"
Gina DownsPHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania
"We adopted Lenny almost 8 years ago ,as an adult cat ,from the pound in Atlanta GA. Lenny had been returned to the pound twice. I have no idea why bc he's was the sweetest boy and made sure there was never a rodent or bug alive in our home. It was less than a month ago We noticed swelling in Lenny's mouth . He had oral cancer and it was very aggressive. We made the decision to let Lenny go as he was deteriorating quickly. This was all so fast and devastating, leaving me with a lot of guilt and not much time to process. Dr. Sam arrived at our home and I was instantly at peace. She reassured us we were making the right decision. I can't say enough nice things about the service Lap of Love provides and the experience we had with Dr. Sam. Lenny passed so very peacefully and I have felt nothing but peace since. Dr. Sam truly has a gift and we couldn't be more grateful for the experience she gave us."
Michael and Amanda EilandPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
"It was so hard to let Molly go. Our hearts are broken, we miss her so much. I keep expecting her to walk into the room wagging her tail to say good morning. Dr. Anne was tremendous. She was with us every step of the way on this very difficult journey with Molly. She was so respectful, kind and compassionate. She shared with us a story about her own dog which meant so much to us. We didn't feel alone in how we were feeling about letting Molly pass in peace. Dr. Anne gave us plenty of time to talk about how we were feeling and about the options that we had. We were so thankful to have the time to really understand what was happening. We truly hope that Dr. Anne knows how much her skill, kindness and compassion meant to us and to our Molly girl.
The Bonnell Family"
Maureen BonnellGlenolden, Pennsylvania
Pet Life and Loss Support Services
U Penn School of Veterinary Medicine
VSEC: Philadelphia, PA
Day by Day Pet Support
Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware: Newcastle, DE
VSEC: Levitown, PA
Metropolitan Veterinary Associates: Norristown, PA
Keystone Veterinary Emergency and Referral: Havertown, PA
Helping families in the following areas:
We proudly serves the Greater Philadelphia area, including parts of New Jersey. Travel fees ($30-$100) may apply based on distance traveled from our veterinarian.
Preferred methods of payment are check (made to 'Lap of Love') or cash. All major credit cards are accepted.
Most pet insurance companies cover Lap of Love services. Please have any paperwork ready for the veterinarian to complete so that you can submit it for reimbursement.
Lap of LovePO Box 63583Philadelphia, PA 19147