Dr Jean's Senior Friends

UCSC professor and passionate animal lover Dr. Jean Langenheim understood that age is just a number, and that animals, like humans, have a lifelong supply of love to share. Jean’s vision was to change the lives of both older animals and senior citizens for the better. That’s why, to honor her cat Blackie, she generously established the Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends Program at the Santa Cruz SPCA.

What makes senior people and senior animals a great combination?

  • Pets make us healthier and happier. Animal companionship can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promote healing, reduce social isolation, ease the grieving process, and give us a sense of security amidst the challenges of aging.
  • Animal companions keep us active. Walking, grooming, even petting — all can strengthen the heart, improve circulation, and slow the loss of bone tissue.
  • A senior animal can be a better match for the pace of a senior human. An energetic puppy or kitten can be overwhelming for older people with more relaxed lifestyles.
  • A senior companion animal is typically easer to train, requires less rigorous exercise, and needs fewer routine vaccinations. Many senior animals want nothing more than a warm pair of feet to lie on or a lap to snuggle in.
  • Because senior pets are often the last to be adopted, bringing home a senior cat or dog often means saving a life.

What does Dr Jean’s Seniors Friends do?

Dr Jean’s Senior Friends Fund is a two-part program where recipients can benefit from one part or both!

Part one connects senior people with senior pets and provides a waived adoption fee when a great match is found!

Part two provides veterinary care assistance to seniors living on a low income through our twice-yearly preventative care Wellness Days or through private diagnostic and treatment appointments available all year long. Please note: Dr Jean’s Senior Friends does not fund dental procedures.

Read the tabs below for more information!

Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends encourages senior people to adopt senior pets by waiving adoption fees when a senior-to-senior match is made! Adoption includes the first set of vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchip, a free vet exam, and educational literature.

To qualify as a Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends adopter, you must be over the age of 62, on a fixed or low income, live within Santa Cruz County, and submit an approved adoption application. Dogs and cats adopted through the program must be 6 years of age or older.

To learn more or apply for adoption through Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends, email adoptions@spcasc.org or call 831-465-5000.

To donate to the Dr Jeans Senior Friends Fund, please enter your details into the form below:

If you are you a Santa Cruz County senior struggling to keep your pet healthy on a low or fixed income, the Santa Cruz SPCA is here to help! Your cat or dog (of any age) may qualify for financial support for a veterinary visit through Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends.

The program offers two annual Wellness Days, preventative care clinics that can help you keep your pet up to date on vaccinations, parasite management, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and yearly exams.

For seniors who are facing more significant health challenges with their pets, Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends provides the opportunity for a (non-dental) veterinary care assistance grant of up to $1,000 to help with diagnostics and treatment.

To benefit from Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends, you must be: 62 years of age or older, on a fixed or low income, able to provide proof of income, and willing sign a contractual agreement.

To receive assistance from Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends Wellness Day preventative care clinics, email programs@spcasc.org to be added to our Dr. Jean’s E-News list and find out about upcoming clinics and available appointment slots! 

To apply for a veterinary care assistance grant, please fill out the application below and a representative will contact you with further details.

Questions? Please email programs@spcasc.org or call 831-465-5000.

Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends is a Santa Cruz SPCA giving program that provides financial support for senior adopters as well as qualified senior pet owners.

Your support of Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends makes it possible for us to waive adoption fees for qualified seniors who adopt senior animals from our shelter. Additionally, your generosity also enables Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends to provide veterinary care assistance to senior pet owners living on a fixed or low income.

To make your gift to this vital fund, please enter your details into the form below:


How do I apply to receive assistance from Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends?

If you are a senior pet owner, aged 62 years or older and live on a fixed income, you may be eligible for Dr. Jean’s Veterinary Assistance and/or  Dr. Jean’s Wellness Clinics.

To apply for Dr. Jean’s Veterinary Assistance, fill out and submit the Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends Veterinary Assistance application online.

To participate in a Dr. Jean’s Wellness clinic, email programs@spcasc.org to be placed on our communications list. You will then be notified when these clinics are scheduled and given info on how to schedule an appointment. 

Once I’ve applied for assistance, how long until I hear back?

On average, you should typically hear back within 48 hours of application submittal as to whether your application has been accepted or denied. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept every application that comes to us due to limited funding. Our decisions are based on the severity of the pet’s illness(es) and the likelihood of a positive outcome.

What kind of medical care does Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends cover?

Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends Veterinary Care is designed to assist in the costs associated with the diagnostics and treatment of injury or illness. This part of the fund does not cover the costs associated with general dental care or preventative care (annual vaccines, deworming, flea treatment, general dental cleanings , etc.).

Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends Wellness Day clinics are held twice a year and are designed to assist pet owners with the administration of basic medical exams and preventative medicine, such as annual vaccines, flea preventative, deworming, nail trimming, anal gland care, and microchipping. These clinics do not address diagnostics or administer treatment for injury or illness.

Can I choose the vet?

Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends clients must use the veterinarian contracted by the SCSPCA. These veterinarians have agreed to discounted pricing which will allow the $1,000 limit to go further!  All appointments associated with the initial application will be made by SCSPCA staff, however, we will work hard to make sure appointments work well with the applicant’s schedule.

What if the care costs more than the $1,000 limit?

Our partner veterinarians work hard to keep the cost of necessary diagnostics and treatment to a minimum, but there are times when the quoted cost of treatment exceeds $1,000. It is important for the applicant to understand that the SCSPCA can only commit to the $1,000 limit and will be unable to cover anything above that amount. If the applicant chooses to move forward with a more expensive procedure or treatment, the remaining balance is their responsibility and must be paid prior to retrieval of the animal.

Shelter Location

2601 Chanticleer Ave.

Santa Cruz, CA 95065

(P) 831-465-5000 (F) 831-479-8530


Hours of Operation

Mon & Tues - CLOSED

Animal Browsing Wed to Sun 11am - 5pm

*PET FOOD PANTRY - Sundays 1:00pm - 3:00pm

The Santa Cruz SPCA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of animals. We receive no government funding, and depend solely on financial support from our friends. Our organization is not affiliated with any other SPCA or Humane Society.

Tax ID: 94-6171565

© 2024 Santa Cruz SPCA