Goochland Pet Lovers stands by its mission to support residents in need by offering free and compassionate animal care

Submitted by Kat Clark

When Georgia Mitchell first heard about the Goochland Pet Lovers Good Neighbor Fund and Outreach Program (GNO), she knew it was a godsend.

“My disabled husband and I moved into the area and found out about the program through the local free health clinic.

“Everyone at the Good Neighbor Program goes out of their way to treat pets—and their humans—with care, concern, and dignity.” 

The Good Neighbor Fund was established in 2020 with a clear goal: to assist families and individuals by offering them vet care at no cost. This initiative not only keeps pets healthy—and in their homes—but also contributes to the overall health of our community, fostering a sense of togetherness and care.

“I’m not sure we could afford our emotional support dog. It means so much to have needed medications, immunizations, and all the extras,” Mrs. Mitchell said. 

Dr. Lori Elliott seeing a patient at the Good Neighbor Outreach Clinic

Dr. Lori Elliott, DVM, is one of the program’s creators and has strong ties to animal welfare in the greater community. Elliot launched Shady Grove Animal Clinic in Glen Allen and is a founding member and Chair of Goochland Pet Lovers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to fundraising and friend-raising in support of providing education, volunteers, and financial assistance through an innovative public/private partnership with Goochland County.

Elliott, a veterinary volunteer and the unofficial Medical Director of the Good Neighbor Outreach Program, says, “I knew there was a need in the community and got involved because I have a set of qualifications that enable me to help in this situation.” 

The increasing number of pets in Goochland County has led to challenges in accessing affordable veterinary care for pet owners and veterinarians who care for animals.

Veterinary care is in demand with far too few providers for the number of pets in our country. Therefore, the cost of veterinary care has escalated.  With the economic challenges of many of our community members, veterinary care is financially out of reach to many people.” 


“Animals love their family regardless of family income. They did not ask to be loved by someone who is/becomes financially challenged. These are the people the Good Neighbor Outreach Program is helping.”


“If all pets in our community are vaccinated and kept healthy, the overall health of our county’s pet population is elevated. GNO also microchips pets and purchases licenses for all dogs. This helps keep pets out of the shelter,” said Dr. Elliott. 

Technician Vivian holding a cat.

One of several innovative initiatives stemming from Goochland Pet Lovers, the Good Neighbor Program supports Goochland and Powhatan residents experiencing hardship caring for their pets. Residents may be eligible to receive need-based financial assistance for preventative and minor/basic pet care if they live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). In 2024, the FPL is $30,120 for a household of one person. 

Blaine Converse, program coordinator for GNO, learned very early on about the community's extensive need for inexpensive veterinary care. She is typically the first point of contact for residents seeking low to no-cost veterinary care. “I got involved because of my passion for animals and a desire to help those who also love animals but need help providing care. I take the calls requesting to join our program, conduct interviews, fill out the application forms, enter everything in the database, schedule the appointments for the dogs and cats to be seen at a clinic, and oversee the clinics. Unofficially, I am somewhat of a “Den Mother,” responding to client calls when they have questions about medical or behavioral issues with their pets or need information about where to find specific resources. And sometimes, I’m just there to listen.”


“I would like to say how much I have appreciated all the kindness and help financially from Blaine and the GNO staff. This organization has gone above and beyond and then some for veterinary care. It's been an amazing experience. 

Thank you all.” ~ Teresa Vermilyea

Four years have passed since the launch of the Good Neighbor Program. In 2024, the program has served 130 families and provided preventative/basic care to 182 dogs and cats, distributed 76 flea and tick collars, and provided for 16 spay/neuter surgeries. 

Dog getting blood drawn at the Good Neighbor Outreach Clinic

“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished and look forward to a time when we can do even more. We have a wonderful community filled with people who want to help in any way they can – by volunteering, offering their time and skills to clients in need, and donating. But there is still much good work to accomplish. Looking ahead, the program aims to increase the number of monthly clinics, extend care to underserved areas, partner with urgent/emergency care facilities, and increase donations and gifts-in-kind to strengthen and sustain the program,” said Ms. Converse. 

If you are a resident of Goochland or Powhatan and are facing challenges in providing care for your pets, help is available. You can reach out to Goochland Pets Lovers at 804.556.LOVE (option 2) or via email at For more information about eligibility and the approval process, visit

Your one-time or monthly donation can help expand and support the Good Neighbor Fund and Outreach Program and other pet-related Goochland Pet Lovers initiatives. To learn more about giving time or money to pets or pet parents in need, visit