Where and How to Adopt Your Pet in Philly

Here’s where to look, and what to consider before you bring home a critter.

Pet adoption in Philly

Pet adoption in Philly: Where and what to know before you bring home a furry friend. / Photograph by Samson Katt

Ready to add an animal pal to your family? Here’s where to look, and what to consider before you bring home a critter.

Need to Know: Your Pet Adoption Checklist

Cory Topel, communications and grants manager of the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, has some tips.


It’s essential to consider everyone who’ll be living with your new addition, including current pets. Adopting an already trained animal may be best for inexperienced caretakers or people with playful pet-residents.

Time constraints

Pets vary in how much daily play, exercise and enrichment they require, but the better each animal’s needs are met, the fewer behavioral challenges owners might face. If you prefer slow walks around the block, a good match for you will be different from that of someone who wants to go on long runs. (For instance, a pug needs less exercise than a Siberian husky.)


Some pets bring on more expenses than others, especially when you account for your specific lifestyle. You might need to hire a dog-walker if you don’t work from home, and if you travel frequently, you may need to budget for a sitter or boarding. Don’t forget food costs, preventative meds (like flea, tick and heartworm), and vet visits.

Living space

A yard is great for high-energy dogs — though plenty of city pups get adequate exercise on regular neighborhood walks. A shy cat may adjust more smoothly to life in a smaller space, but a more confined abode like a studio can present challenges if you want to add a second pet.

Where to Adopt a Unique Animal

pet adoption philadelphia

Stanley, one of the Main Line Pigs / Photograph by Casey Robinson

These organizations help you support or adopt something more one-of-a-kind.


If you want an emotional-support alligator of your very own (remember that Phillies game?), turn to Forgotten Friend in Lancaster County or Christina’s Reptile & Animal Sanctuary, out in Palmerton. Both nonprofits rescue and adopt out everything from snakes and tortoises to chameleons. Pro tip: Before adding a reptile to your family, keep in mind the estimated lifespan, size and cost of habitat, says Forgotten Friend founder Jesse Rothacker.


Ross Mill Farm in Jamison is exclusively dedicated to pet pigs. You can adopt or sponsor one through the farm’s foster-care program, plus meet the residents on a tour with owner Susan Magidson. (Your visit directly benefits nonprofit Pig Placement Network.) Ross Mill also provides short- and long-term boarding, grooming services (think piggy massage and facials), vet care, and transportation.

Villanova resident Casey Robinson’s lifelong love of piggies prompted her to adopt two of her own. Affectionately known as the “Main Line Pigs,” Boris and Stanley — the latter of whom was rescued from Ross Mill Farm — are, according to Robinson, intuitive and independent and love frequent belly rubs. “Their big personalities ensure our days are filled with laughter, even when they get into their usual mischief, like Boris’s ‘accidental’ exploration of the neighbors’ trash cans,” she says. Find them at @boristhemainlinepig on Instagram.

animal sanctuary philadelphia

Horses at Chenoa Manor / Photograph by Christiane Moore/Chenoa Manor

Good to know:

Chenoa Manor in Chester County provides a safe lifetime home for more than 200 farm and exotic animals, including­ cows, donkeys, tortoises and parrots, that were victims of cruelty, subjected to lab experiments, or abandoned. While you can’t adopt from Chenoa, you can get involved via youth education, stewardship and volunteer programs focused on animal care and farm upkeep.

Published as “Animal Farm” in the May 2024 issue of Philadelphia magazine.