I have been a client at SHVH since 2004. I went here for the first time when my old vet closed down - immediately, I saw the difference between this vet and any other vet I have been to. I have worked with several doctors there, and aside from Dr. Meister (who is very competent but ridiculously busy and hard to get a hold of) I have found them all to be very attentive, thorough, and accessible. The doctors have email addresses and are great about answering questions between visits. The staff are pleasant and very helpful. As long as I live in Philly, I will never go anywhere else.
I have interacted with SHVH in pretty much every situation one might encounter having dogs. I recently got a puppy, and have gone through that whole process (they were extremely helpful in teaching us everything we needed to know about taking care of her). She had a UTI and they were very helpful with that as well, both in terms of squeezing her in for an urgent appointment, and in terms of following up to make sure she was doing OK at home.
I also have a middle-aged dog with Cushing's disease (which, by the way, my previous vet missed completely), and have worked with SHVH to manage his symptoms through diet and medication. For years, SHVH imported a medication for his Cushing's that was not yet FDA-approved for use with Cushing's but is used off-label (it has since been approved). Prognosis for Cushing's with standard meds is not great, but using this medication, he has lived a happy, relatively symptom-free life for many years. I greatly appreciate being offered that option by SHVH.
I also went through the process of losing a dog to old age with SHVH to support us through it, and I have no complaints. Our dog had developed a brain tumor and SHVH worked with us to balance what she needed with what we could afford. When it was finally time to put her to sleep, they made the process as painless as possible. They let us leave through the back entrance so that we didn't have to be seen crying by people in the waiting area, and we were not rushed or pressured at any stage of the process.
One sort of morbid but necessary thing to consider, however, is that it is not automatic for you to receive ashes, nor is it at all affordable (apparently, wherever they send them, it's a communal cremation). I don't think this is normal; I have had a dog die before at a hospital and it wasn't even an option to not get her ashes. They did give us a card with her paw print and a lock of her hair, which is kind of cooler than ashes in my book, so I was not that torn up over the ashes thing, but if ashes are important to you, make alternative arrangements.
Lastly: one way in which I would NOT recommend using SHVH is for emergency care. I hear about them doing emergency surgeries sometimes, so I know they do it, but frankly, if it's an emergency you should go the emergency room. Penn's emergency room is ridiculously expensive, but at least you can be sure your pet will receive immediate care. SHVH is a smaller clinic and they work by appointment, so it's not the best idea to rely on them to see you immediately.
My only complaint about my experience at SHVH is that a few times, I have called in a med refill and the person I talked to never processed the order (or did so incorrectly). However, upon discovering that this has happened, they have always overnighted the meds to my home free of charge. That makes up for the oversight in my mind - and saves me a trip to the vet.
Pros: Great staff, very competent, convenient parking
Cons: Not great for emergencies, occasional organizational problem