Pets That Rescue Us

During the pandemic, many of us found substitutes for our normal routines. Instead of meeting up with friends, we Zoomed. Instead of dining out, we learned how to make bread from scratch. And instead of going to concerts, theater or sporting events, we spent more time with our furry friends. In retrospect, you have to wonder. Did we rescue them? Or did they rescue us?

“Oscar, our tuxedo cat lives in the office,” said Solo Real Estate president Deborah Solo. “He wandered into my backyard when I lived in Northern Liberties and found his forever home.” Deborah has three more cats living in her apartment above the office. “They are all named after detectives: Morse, Hercule Poirot, and Falco named after a Roman detective series.”

Two of Deborah’s cats came from a neighbor who rescues animals and two from sheer chance. They wandered into her yard. She contributes to Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) the City’s largest rescue partner and low-cost wellness clinic that is leading Philly to become a no-kill city. The pandemic is helping PAWS reach that goal. “For the first time ever, PAWS has more people interested in adopting and fostering dogs than it has actual dogs,” said Melissa Levy, executive director of PAWS.

Pet adoption is on-trend. According to Rover.com, 49% of Americans adopted a new dog during the Covid-19 pandemic. 93% said that their pet improved their mental and/or physical wellbeing and made working from home more enjoyable. This recent increase in pet ownership has had an impact on the real estate market. “Not all rental properties are pet friendly,” cautioned Deborah. “Whether or not tenants can have a pet is determined by the individual owner whose properties we manage. Some of them don’t allow pets.” 

Fortunately for the Solo Real Estate team, their office is pet-friendly. Bookkeeper, Denise Piechoski, used to bring her “doodle” Hobey to the office just one day a week. “Now, since Covid, he comes each time I go there,” she said. “He is very curious about Oscar and wants to be friends but he is afraid. His favorite thing to do is look for squirrels in Rittenhouse Square.”

If every Solo team member were to bring their pets to work all the time, they would need to hire a zookeeper. Julian Chiti Makarechi, Solo Office Coordinator, adopted two kittens – Basil and Tarragon – ten months ago, just as the pandemic was starting. Solo Property Manager, Cameron Johnson, has a dog named Django.

Alejandro Franqui and Becca have a frisky pup named Hansi and a cat named Spicy, who was rescued by Deborah Solo from the lot they later built Kensington Yards on. Spicy was found with four kitten siblings, who were also rescued and placed in loving homes.

Adoption Centers

Philadelphia has many animal shelters, including the city owned Animal Care and Control (ACCT Philly) Shelter, but we want to give a shout out to some of our favorites. 

First up is PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society), the city’s largest rescue partner. They have three no-kill shelters and provide affordable basic veterinary care for pet owners and rescue organizations that cannot otherwise access it. Check out the adorable pups and kitties seeking foster care and adoption, as well as opportunities to volunteer, at the PAWS Adoption site. 

Morris Animal Refuge is America’s oldest Animal rescue. Created when founder Elizabeth Morris began housing and caring for animals in Philadelphia in 1858 and the rescue was founded in 1874. They are the only privately funded open admission shelter in Philadelphia (one of the few remaining in the country), and maintain a 97% save rate. You can look at the pets available for adoption, and learn more about their programs on Morris Animal Rescue’s website

Brenda’s Cat Rescue is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the rescue of stray and abandoned cats. You may view their adorable kitties online and see them in person at the PetSmart in Plymouth Meeting.

Coffee, tea or meow? Make a date to meet the kitty of your dreams at Le Cat Café in Brewerytown. Operated by Green Street Rescue, a no-kill shelter, Le Cat Café is like speed dating, but instead of conversing for ten minutes, you can get down on all fours and get to know the personalities of a dozen lovable cats. If you find one you like, you can fill out an application for adoption or foster care. FYI – Le Cat Café is not a shelter, but a meet-and-greet for adoptable cats. While you are there, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, along with a feline snuggle. Reservations strongly recommended.

Dog Parks

Philly’s dog parks are not just places to let your pup get some exercise. They are true community centers that add value to our neighborhoods. In many cases, they are membership organizations where enhancements are made for the wellbeing of dogs and their owners. Here are three standouts.

Seger Dog Park at 11th and Rodman started a clean-up initiative to keep litter off the streets and out of the waterways. They partner with small businesses and local musicians to offer services and entertainment to park members. Seger Dog Park hosts community events and encourages neighbors – and their pets – to get to know each other.

Schuylkill River Park Dog Run at 25th and Spruce is the fanciest of all Philly’s dog parks with stunning river views. It is equipped with a nice drinking fountain and separate sections for big and little dogs. The synthetic grass courtyard keeps puppy paws clean.

Dog Park at Bok in South Philly is a small gravel lot but on Sundays, you can take Fido up the elevator to Bok Bar for food, drink and sky-high views of the City.

Solo Real Estate understands the attachment you have with your pets and will help you find a rental or forever home where you and your menagerie will thrive. Whether your priority is a big yard for your dog or a place where your cats can lounge, we’d love to help! Contact us at info@solorealty.com to get in touch with an agent. 

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

While we’ve been in winter seclusion, your house has been busy responding to the elements. Rain, sleet, and snow may have caused leaks in your roof and cracks in your foundation. Uninvited guests could be nesting in your attic, chimney, or gutters. Now is the time to do a Spring maintenance check-up to keep your home energy efficient and structurally safe during the warm months ahead.

Examine Roof Shingles

Replace shingles that are cracked, buckled, loose, or are missing. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer. Watch for signs that critters have created an entry into your home.


Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris. Consider installing gutter screens or protectors to help keep debris out of the gutters.


If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? This signals water infiltration. Look for white deposits that indicate your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it.

Exterior Walls

Whether you have stucco or brick, look for trouble spots, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff. 


Inspect the exterior of your home from top to bottom for masonry cracks and caulk over any small cracks. Hire a professional to come to take a look if you notice large cracks in your concrete foundation walls. 


Check all windows to make sure they open easily and close tightly. Leakage around windows will raise air conditioning bills in the summer. Check that all caulking and weather stripping is intact. Wash windows, inside and out, to remove pollen, dust, and grime. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double or triple-glazed windows during the winter, the weather seal has been compromised and you need to replace the glass or the window.

Air Conditioning

Make sure air conditioning units are in good working order. Change the filter, check hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely. Vacuum any dust that has settled on the unit and connections; over time it can impact the air conditioner’s effectiveness. If you have an outside unit, hire a qualified cooling contractor to clean the coils and change filters.

Replace filters

Replace all filters including range hood, air vent, dryer vent, air purifiers, etc. A clogged clothes dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.

Clean faucets and shower heads

Unscrew the faucet aerators, sink sprayers, and showerheads, and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with warm water.

Test alarms

Test smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors, and change out batteries as needed. It’s cheap, only takes a few minutes and could save your family’s lives.


Dampness in your basement indicates inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. Check the base of poured-concrete walls for cracks.  Use a flashlight to examine exposed framing for tunneling on the wood. If it’s there, call a pest control company.  


Search for signs that insects, bird nests, and other critters. Also, search for mold. Proper insulation and ventilation will deter mold growth, so take action now to prevent the problem from developing in the warmer months ahead.

Look for obstructions over vents, damaged soffit panels, roof flashing leaks, and wet spots on insulation. Keeping a good airflow will save you when it comes to cooling costs. When you’re rooting around, wear long sleeves and gloves to protect yourself from insulation.


Check under the kitchen and bathroom sink to make sure connections on pipes and hoses are properly sealed, and look for any wetness around the dishwasher that could signal a problem. Check washing machine hoses for cracks, bulges, or dampness. The same is true for hot water heaters, which may show signs of corrosion and leaks.

Outdoor water systems and grills

Make sure outdoor water systems—pipes, faucets, and in-ground sprinkler systems—are in working order. If you have a deck, look for warped, loose, or splintered boards. If you have a gas grill, check burner jets for clogs and obstructions, and be sure that gas hoses and connections are sound and secure. For charcoal grill owners, make certain your grill is clean of ash and free of grease residue.