Fifty million pets in the U.S. experience a lack of access to even basic veterinary care. Rising costs and other barriers mean these pets struggle to access services such as spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations, and critical medical and preventative care. With as many as 70% of households now including pets, this issue affects families in nearly every community.

PetSmart Charities has committed $100 million over the next five years toward improving access to veterinary care. The “Accelerator” low-cost veterinary care grant program is a key part of this effort.  These grants support the expansion of low-cost veterinary care by funding growth and operations for up to four years for nonprofit clinics looking to expand their services, serve their communities better and inspire other veterinary providers by sharing their experiences.

The grant made to Second Chance Animal Services in the amount of $200,000 will support the expansion of the nonprofit’s surgical center that provides lifesaving surgeries for animals. The anticipated impact on local pets and families includes saving the lives of more pets in need of urgent or emergency care who have nowhere else to turn.

“We are so grateful to PetSmart Charites for their continued support of our work to keep pets in their homes with the people they love,” said Sheryl Blancato, Second Chance CEO and founder. “Second Chance is a place that many turn to for lifesaving surgery to save their pet and to keep the pets with the families that love them.”  Second Chance offers a two-tiered system of subsidized rates for pet owners at their four Community Veterinary Hospitals in North Brookfield, Southbridge, Springfield, and Worcester.  Pet owners who are 150% of the poverty level received a subsidized rate lower than Second Chance’s standard rates.  Those that do not fit in this category pay the standard low-cost rate.  This helps to ensure access to care for all pets.  Second Chance was able to help over 44,000 pets in 2022.

Overwhelmingly, people consider their pets important members of the family. Pets make a significant impact in the health and wellness of the people they love. This grant will enable more families to get the preventative and standard care that ensures their pets thrive at home and stay out of shelters.

“Our veterinary system is in crisis,” said Kate Atema, director of community grants and initiatives at PetSmart Charities.  “Rising costs are putting standard veterinary care out of reach for as much as 50% of pet-owning families. We need innovative solutions that make veterinary care affordable for the families in every community who want the best for their four-legged companions but struggle to meet the cost of vet care. We’re inspired by the incredible work Second Chance is doing to create solutions that will build strong families and a healthy community.”

Blancato says she is heartened by the lifesaving stories her staff shares every day. “Blue is just one of the 44,000 pets we helped last year.  He came to our North Brookfield hospital for emergency surgery to remove bladder stones that were blocking his urethra. He was seen at another hospital, but the cost of an emergency cystotomy was out of reach. His owner turned to Second Chance for help and the surgical team was able to remove the stones and get him on the road to recovery.”

Second Chance has been leading the way in providing access to care for almost a decade.  Our vet hospitals offer subsidized rates for those that qualify, so all pets can get the care they need. For more information on Second Chance Community Veterinary Hospitals, visit