Seniors' Pet Assistance Network



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November Delivery

Posted by on November 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (9)

November 12 was a special day for the SPAN volunteers, clients, and pets. The volunteers enjoyed coffee and bagels, then began the work of loading cars and trucks with pet food and some special holiday surprises. Exxon Mobil employees put together and donated goody bags that contained practical items such as paper towels and tissues, and treats-snacks, calendars, and hot cocoa mix for the people, and toys for the pets! Thanks to Sam Samaha for this photo of the event.

NeighborsGO Shares SPAN's Story

Posted by on August 1, 2012 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Editor's Note: Our Website, So Easy A Boston Terrier Can Use It

This week, all 11 neighborsgo covers will feature stories on Making a Difference. In the editor's note, I take a look at what happens when pets hijack their owners profiles, organizations which help seniors care for their pets, and our cover story on Mission East Dallas. I also give a preview of an inside story I've written for this edition on the Wilkinson Center's Shoe Drive.




White Rock | East Dallas editor


Perhaps it’s because my calico cat, Sherlock, is not too bright, or because I’ve always assumed that paws and keyboards don’t mix, but I was a little shocked when I checked last week to find a post from a dog.


More specifically, a post by Wheels, a Boston terrier who lives in Vickery Place, the canine hijacked the account of his owner, Sheila Huffman, to write about the Senior Pet Assistance Network, or SPAN. The nonprofit raises money to help low-income seniors care for their furry friends.


I must admit, the black, white and brindle terrier had better grammar than I expected from a pooch, and he even included a portrait shot of himself. In the post, which you can read online here, Wheels mentioned two main ways to help SPAN continue to provide for the pets of older residents: volunteering and donating. But two-legged friends of the organization may also purchase a cookbook to benefit SPAN, he said.


In 2011, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Vickery Place, Sheila and her neighbor, Kathy Harris, compiled and edited “Recipes and Recollections, Vickery Place Cooking Since 1911.” The cookbook will be reprinted this year, and all profits from the sale will be donated to SPAN. The book’s introduction was written by Rose Mary Rumbley, and features recipes, neighborhood history, old photographs and historical tidbits from old issues of The Dallas Morning News. Copies of the cookbook will sell for $12, and may be purchased at Jimmy’s Food Store, 4901 Bryan St., or by contacting Wheels at 214-827-4568.


SPAN ties together last week’s theme, Pets and Their People, with this week’s theme, Making a Difference. On the cover of this week’s edition, reporter Heather Noel writes about Mission East Dallas, a medical and dental clinic for the uninsured and underinsured residents of the area. Founded in 2002, the clinic wants to move to a larger location so that they can treat more people. Check out Heather’s story on Pages 8 and 9.


I also took pen to paper this week and wrote about a back-to-school shoe drive held by the Wilkinson Center. Started 26 years ago by Carlin Morris, of Lakewood, the drive will provide a new pair of shoes and socks to about 1,800 area children so they can start the school year off on the right foot. Read about it on Page 11.


And, in Sounding Off, we asked you if there were any groups or individuals you felt should be honored for their work with others. Read what your neighbors have to say on Page 12.


As always, I’m happy to talk to you about what’s going on in our part of Big D, and you can post your tales online 24/7 at — if Wheels can do it, you can, too.

SPAN Kicks it With Orlando City Soccer

Posted by on April 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Sue McComb and Janet Watson hopped on a plane to Orlando for the Orlando City Soccer home opener. SPAN, along with a few other non-profits, were invited to help raise money for the organization. Thanks to the over 8,000 fans, we were able to raise over $1,000 to help provide vet services and food to our seniors' pets.

USL even mentioned us in their recap of the home opener, "Orlando City: All Access." Read here for more.

My Sweet Charity: SPAN's Dog Days Of Summer Pet Food Drive Is Helping Humans And Critters

Posted by on January 4, 2012 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (1)

Senior citizens are remarkable people. They’ve lived through wars, tough economic times, political turmoil, changes in trends and in many cases raising a herd of kids and grandkids. But they’re now facing the daunting task of living on limited budgets despite the rising cost of living plus concerns about pricey health care.

Many of these folks live with four-legged and feathered “best friends,” who provide them with devoted companionship. Along with this relationship comes the responsibility of feeding and caring for their pets that can be costly and stressful. In some cases, the senior must do without such necessities as food and medication to take care of their animal.


Many people do not realize the Seniors’ Pets Assistance Network (SPAN) comes through for such situations. Time and time again they manage to provide food, assistance and veterinary support thanks to volunteers and donations.

While the need for help and resources is a year-round situation, SPAN is holding its “Dog Days of Summer Pet Food Drive” right now until Wednesday, August 24. You can donate any unopened dog, cat, bird food and, of course, money.

Here’s a thought: For every can or bag of pet food you purchase for your own menagerie, buy a second order and donate it to SPAN. Yes, of course, you can write it off on your taxes and make your accountant happy in April, but more importantly you can help a human and critter right now that would truly appreciate it.

Click here to read the article by Jeanne Prejean on her blog My Sweet Charity.

Advocate Magazine: SPAN keeps pets and seniors together

Posted by on January 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (2)

September 2011 Issue



A neighborhood nonprofit helps a man and his pets stay together


Poquito, a 9-year-old Chihuahua mix, lives in an aging apartment complex at Northwest Highway and Abrams with his best buddy, Gerald Lowe, an avid volunteer, stroke survivor and admitted pushover. Poquito, warily eyeing his visitors, snuggles into a well-worn La-Z-Boy chair next to Lowe, who tells us how he and Poquito got themselves a cat (she made a brief appearance and is successfully hiding somewhere in the one-room unit).

“She brought her kittens right up to the door,” he says, pointing to a shady front porch. “I went outside to see what the commotion was about, and there they were. I couldn’t let them die. What could I do? I told you I was a pushover.”

Thanks to Seniors’ Pet Assistance Network (SPAN), Lowe and other senior citizens who have trouble, physically or financially, caring for their pets, receive help. White Rock area resident Adelle Taylor founded SPAN a few years ago when a friend who volunteers with older adults at East Dallas’ Senior Source told her that financially strapped clients were being forced to give up their pets, who were often their sole companions. Taylor says that there is a tremendous amount of research showing that pets help people in a lot of ways, mentally and physically. “I like to think of SPAN as not just a pet and people helper, but also a prescription for better health,” she says.

Lowe, who suffered from a stroke a few years ago and who struggles financially, had been participating in the Senior Source’s “foster grandparent” program that puts seniors to work volunteering in elementary schools, when he learned that SPAN could help him. They found veterinary help for the litter of kittens and had the mother cat, who Lowe named Momma-psy (“a combination of Momma and psycho,” he says), spayed and domesticated, so that he could keep her. SPAN also helps with veterinary care and food for Poquito, who is a vital member of the household.

“He’s in charge. He wakes me up in the morning and tells me when something’s going on that is of interest,” Lowe says. “He might be just nine pounds, but he’s a good guard dog.”


Learn more about SPAN by calling 972.655.8906 or visiting

Click here to read the article by Christina Hughes Babb on the Advocate Magazine website.


Chicago Tribune: Helping elderly keep their pets

Posted by on January 4, 2012 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

August 10, 2011 By William Hageman, Tribune Newspapers

Anyone in the pet rescue or animal welfare communities has sad stories to tell. Adelle Taylor is no different.


She is the founder of Seniors' Pet Assistance Network, an all-volunteer nonprofit that helps low-income seniors in the Dallas area hang onto their pets.


"We find they have often outlived all their family or all their friends, or they're estranged from their families," Taylor says. "(Their pets) are their family."



SPAN's goal is to keep the human-pet bond intact by working with veterinarians or donating food. In 2009, it added a pet food pantry.


"We're not a rescue, we don't find homes for pets, we don't offer spay and neuter," Taylor says. "We help with basic veterinary care. Shots, flea and heartworm meds, and clients can apply for the food delivery route."


That tightly focused mission is the rule rather than the exception. Small groups such as SPAN ( carry much of the load around the country.


"There's not a lot of (national) stuff," points out Dianne McGill, executive director and CEO of Banfield Charitable Trust, a Portland, Ore., nonprofit that helps keep vulnerable populations united with their pets. "There are localized, smaller efforts, but on a national basis I know a couple or three. The (small) ones on the ground around the country, they're very engaged. We as an organization fund grants for other pet charities that focus on programs that keep seniors and pets together."


Two Banfield initiatives are national in scope: Pet Peace of Mind and Meals on Wheels Pet Food Distribution programs. Pet Peace of Mind enables hospice patients to keep pets home in their last days.


"We are hearing amazing stories of having the value of having people with their pets at the end of life," McGill says. "So many hospice patients hang on until they are absolutely certain there's a place for their pet to go to."


The Meals on Wheels program deals with the primary cost of pet ownership: food. McGill says that what usually happens is that rather than surrendering the pets, seniors will go without the things they need so they can keep their pets.


"The tragedy is no one gets what they need," she says. "Seniors go without food or other necessities to pay for the care of their pets. It's not so much surrendering the pets that's a problem, it's seniors going without that's the larger problem."


Banfield partners with the Meals on Wheels Association of America to provide food and/or funding so seniors don't have to share their meals with their pets.


McGill says Banfield (, 503-922-5801) is always looking for shelters to help and can be a source of information for those in need.


"Our mission is to fund programs that keep people and their pets together," she says. "If we don't have a program, we will work to facilitate solutions for families. We can't always find the right program, but we will always give it a try."


Keeping pets at home

Seniors and their pets can be kept together. Sometimes it takes a little digging, though.


Check with your local senior center. It may have a pet food distribution program or it may recommend vets that it works with to hold down pet care costs.


Contact local shelters. Many offer low-cost pet care programs (routine shots, heartworm medicine, etc.) or can connect you with organizations that can help.


Will your vet negotiate? It's worth asking, says Adelle Taylor of Seniors' Pet Assistance Network. "I have one vet here (who gives) AARP members a 10 percent discount. And I'd be real direct with my clinic: 'I want to take care of my dog but I can't do every test. What can I do to take care of Buster's basic needs?'"


Studies consistently have shown the health benefits of pet ownership. Purina's Pets for Seniors program works with more than 150 animal welfare organizations nationwide to offer free pet adoption to qualified seniors over 60. More details at


The California charity 2nd Chance 4 Pets ( instructs people how to provide for their pet's care after they are gone.


Read this article here on the Chicato Tribune website. 

Vickery Place Cookbook Makes Contribution to SPAN

Posted by on December 19, 2011 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On December 14th the Vickery Place Centennial Cookbook,Recipes and Recollections,Vickery Place Cooking Since 1911, contributed a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to Senior Pets Assistance Network (SPAN).

SPAN is a group of volunteers donating and delivering pet food and often subsidizing veterinary services for the pets of low income senior citizens.

Pictured are (L-R) Mark Rieves, 2012 President of the Vickery Place Neighborhood Association, Adelle Taylor, founder of SPAN, Shelia Huffman and Kathy Harris, co-editors of the cookbook, and Sue McComb, 2012 President of SPAN.

Several four legged residents of Vickery Place posed for the photo to show their support of the worthwhile charity. Left to right are Georgie, Phoebe JoAnn and Wheels.

If you would like to know more about SPAN or are interested in volunteer opportunities visit their website,

Click here to read the article by Sheila Huffman at 


NeighborsGo: Seniors Pet Assistance Network Hosts Pet Food Drive

Posted by on October 23, 2011 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (1)

When Adelle Taylor heard there were low-income seniors who were giving up their own food to feed their pets, she wanted to help. And that’s exactly what she did.

“They were sharing their Meals on Wheels,” said Taylor, 80.

Taylor quickly realized she needed to create a nonprofit organization to make it all happen. So, she put together a group of volunteers, applied for nonprofit status and formed Seniors Pet Assistance Network.The group started accepting clients in 2008, focusing on basic veterinary care, heart and flea medications and food.

Today, SPAN is assisting more than 40 pets, including two birds, in Dallas County with hopes of increasing the number as more funds are raised. SPAN’s current project is the Dog Days of Summer Pet Food Drive, which will run from Sunday through Aug. 24 with five local drop-off locations.

The demand for assistance has increased since the group’s inception, increasing the need for more volunteers and financial donations. Often, the seniors’ pets are seniors themselves and many times the only family member the pet owner has, Taylor said.

Pantry coordinator Sue McCombs, who lives near White Rock Lake, said she enjoys getting to know the clients on her bimonthly delivery route.

“I just feel like this is so little compared to what so many others do,” said McCombs, who mentioned a client she’s worked with for the past year whose health is declining. “She [the client] definitely counts on us.”

Most of the donations are one-time only, but all are greatly appreciated, said SPAN secretary Jann Horswell, who has been with the organization since its founding.

“I like to work with seniors and pets,” Horswell, 63, said. “So, the pairing of it is the perfect thing for me.”

In 2009, one donor made a significant contribution in honor of a favorite aunt who had passed away. SPAN honored the donor by naming the Aunt Louise Pet Pantry in Lake Highlands after the donor’s aunt.

Some area animal clinics work with SPAN to negotiate the cost of basic health care for pets in the program. These clinics include Love Freeway Animal Hospital, Cedar Hill Veterinary Clinic, Preston Road Animal Hospital, East Dallas Veterinary Clinic, Southern Oaks Animal Clinic and VCA Loop 12 Animal Hospital.

Taylor is quite the animal lover, housing several birds, which she trains to do tricks, and a dog that she lovingly said has “ADD.” Taylor and her husband, Jim, 80, have been married 58 years. He graduated from Highland Park High School in 1949 and she graduated from North Dallas High School in 1948.

The couple believes pets are an important part of life and are happy that what started out as an idea to collect money from pet-loving friends has blossomed into an organization helping a number of seniors and their furry companions.

“We kind of have our own meals on wheels for pets,” Taylor said.

Neighborsgo reporter Jana J. Pruet can be reached at 214-977-8349.




When: Sunday through Aug. 24

Drop off locations:

The Wellington, 600 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson;

Monticello West, 5114 McKinney Ave., Dallas;

Lucky Dog Barkery, 8320 Preston Center Plaza, Dallas;

Sandy Lake Rehabilitation, 1410 E. Sandy Lake Road, Coppell;

Accessible Home Health Care, 10300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 468, Dallas

For more information on SPAN, visit

Click here to read the article on