Mt. Airy 'Queen' giving free pet food to those in need

Posted 5/27/20

Adina Silberstein (middle), owner of Queenie’s Pets, 7174 Germantown Ave., is seen with Montgomery Jones (left), retail manager, and Hannah Babcock, operations manager. (Photo by Stacia Friedman) …

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Mt. Airy 'Queen' giving free pet food to those in need

Adina Silberstein (middle), owner of Queenie’s Pets, 7174 Germantown Ave., is seen with Montgomery Jones (left), retail manager, and Hannah Babcock, operations manager. (Photo by Stacia Friedman)

by Stacia Friedman

Every local business has been hit by the pandemic. Queenie’s Pets in Mount Airy, is no exception. “We lost 80% of our dog walking business,” said owner Adina Silberstein. What Silberstein, 44, hasn’t lost is her dedication to the community and her love of animals.

“We understand that many people are unemployed and afraid they cannot afford to keep their pets. So starting on May 7, we launched Queenie’s Kibble Kitchen, a no-contact, drive-thru, free food pantry for dogs and cats,” Silberstein said. “Every other Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., pet owners can drive to our West Mount Airy Street entrance, remain inside their car, tell us what kind of pets they have, and Kibble Kitchen volunteers in masks and gloves will load food and litter directly into your car.”

The service will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Walk-ups are not permitted in order to maintain safe social distancing.

“The goal is to provide food and supplies for the dogs and cats that provide crucial emotional support during this time of crisis,” said Silberstein.

Queenie’s Kibble Kitchen is funded by online donations from the community.

“We set up a Venmo account at @QueeniesKK,” Silberstein said. “We have received donations ranging from $5 to $500. Before the end of the first week, we had raised $1,000.”

This effort reflects her company’s mission: “Making the lives of pets and their humans better.”

For Silberstein, this is an opportunity to give back to the community that has supported her since she first launched Queenie’s Pets from her home in 2006, now located at 7174 Germantown Ave., next door to McMenamin’s Tavern.

“I attribute my success to the community,” she said. “When I first started my dog-walking service, I had eight clients. Now I have 18 employees.”

Previously a middle school teacher and manager of catering services at Cresheim Cottage Cafe, Silberstein traces her love of animals back to her childhood.

“I grew up in Mt. Airy and have always been obsessed with animals,” she said. “When I got married, I vowed to love my husband as much as I loved my cat.”

These days, Silberstein is the owner of a Rottweiler-Scottish Terrier mix named Melodrama and four cats, all rescues.

What started as a dog-walking and pet-sitting business has evolved into a full range of services designed to meet pet owners' needs at every stage. Queenie’s Meet-n-Greet is a prerequisite to all services they offer. A store manager and a potential walker or sitter come to the client’s home for an hour to meet the pets and “sniff” each other to make sure they are a good match.

Their Wedding Bells Package transports your furry friend to and from the wedding venue, plus an overnight for up to two pets. They also offer Labor & Delivery Packages to make sure your pets are in good hands while you are making your own special delivery. Plus a Newborn Relief Package for sleep-deprived new parents who would like to be relieved of morning dog walks. 

Queenie’s Pets opened their storefront in 2015, carrying just a few items like leashes and some toys.

“It wasn't until last summer that we added pet food, including brands such as Verus, Acana, Fromm's, Blue Buffalo and Taste of the Wild. We can also get big brand names like Purina and Royal Canin,” said Silberstein.

“We also offer a crate rental program for those fostering dogs or who aren't sure what size they will end up needing, and we do harness rental programs for growing puppies.”

Don’t see what you want? Queenie's will custom-order for you. They also stock flea and tick protection and can make I.D. tags in their shop.

Among the many advantages of buying from a local business is their ability to deliver faster than corporate companies.

“Chewy is behind three weeks in deliveries, and we are not,” said Silberstein.

“Queenie's is a great neighborhood resource,” said Ann Mintz, of Mt. Airy, who donated to the Kibble Kitchen. “I’m proud to help launch an initiative that will enable our neighbors to take care of their beloved pets.”

Mintz, who has four dogs and three cats, has been using Queenie’s for almost 10 years.

“Our dogs adore their Queenie’s caregivers,” she said. “They go ballistic with joy when we run into one of them in the park.”

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