Elizabeth first learned about Phinney’s after receiving help to care for her pup, Morty.
“Morty developed sudden stones in his bladder and needed very expensive surgery,” remembers Elizabeth. “Daniela took us to the emergency vet, and Phinney’s was able to foot the entire bill. I’ve been so grateful for Phinney’s,” Elizabeth said.
Witnessing how much good Phinney’s can bring into a home inspired Elizabeth to reach out. When she asked for Phinney’s help to rehome Morty, and he was transferred to a lovely family who could give him the exercise he needed, Elizabeth became a Phinney’s volunteer. She coordinated all the emergency requests.
A medical condition forced her to resign from that position, but she was happy to volunteer as a foster parent, which is a much-needed task. Most of Phinney’s volunteers already have a house full of pets, so it is difficult for the organization to find loving homes for the animals who lose their owners.
“I was always getting cats from Phinney’s. I’ve probably had about ten cats from them,” Elizabeth said.
When asked why she does it, Elizabeth stated that it’s because animals have always been an important part of her life. She keeps a picture on her living room wall of her older brother and her with their old dog Bruce.
“I was only two,” she reminisces about the picture. “I can’t imagine life without animals. They’re part of the family.”
Life wasn’t always easy for Macy before Phinney’s collected him from an animal shelter in the Boston area
Five years ago, Macy’s mom contacted Phinney’s because she was homeless, and her cat, Macy, had been boarded at a shelter for six months, within the confinements of a wire crate. Her cat needed a friendly place to stay while she looked for housing.
“He was a mess when they got him out,” said Elizabeth, Macy’s permanent foster mom (Phinney’s fosters forever the pets in the program who are unadoptable). “He had little contact with people and no social life,” remembered Daniela Caride, president of Phinney’s.
After placing Macy at a temporary foster home for a few weeks, Phinney’s asked Elizabeth if she would take him in. At the time, Macy was quite the mystery — no one knew much about his background, personality and needs. Elizabeth had no idea what to expect.
At first, having Macy was tough.
“He had issues — he had forgotten how to be affectionate, he never ate, and he bit. Huge huge bites,” Elizabeth remembers.
Elizabeth made a breakthrough by employing patience and compassion. Now she refers to Macy as “quite the charmer.”
“He learned really quickly. He’s very affectionate now, rubbing on everyone who comes in to visit,” she added.
Macy feels deeply bonded to Elizabeth. When she returned home after being hospitalized, he made sure to give her the stink eye, “like ‘how dare you leave me!’” Elizabeth said.
Macy’s cherished daily routine includes his favorite pastimes of watching TV and peering out the window. He and Elizabeth also spend a lot of quality time playing.
“His favorite toy is that inexpensive dancing one, that dancing cat. We play for at least 45 minutes every single night. He plays with the toy with me, then he gets brushed, and when the lights go out, he goes to sleep,” Elizabeth says.
Now one of Macy’s greater charms is his demeanor, as he has relaxed and learned that he can count on love.
Elizabeth has changed Macy’s life, and Macy has made her so happy in return. Like most older pets, he is so grateful for his loving home and sense of security..
“I highly recommend people not be hesitant to take in older animals,” Elizabeth added. “He brings joy into my life. Particularly as one gets older and you have fewer responsibilities, it’s wonderful to have one or more other creatures.”
Jan Johnson, who has been Phinney’s Friends Treasurer for six years, used to come
to Lincoln every Monday to meet with Daniela, our President, to advance the
financial and administrative areas of the nonprofit.
“We had a lot of fun working together and became fast friends, both us and our
dogs,” reminisces Daniela. “I still remember the day we were walking our dogs after
a day’s work and Jan told me she would eventually retire to South Carolina. My heart
The two friends continued to walk their dogs together even when Jan Johnson
changed jobs and could no longer come on Mondays for Phinney’s work. “The
Finance team grew and we began meeting at my house every month. Daniela’s dogs
were always invited, and everyone had a great time,” remembers Jan.
Last year, Jan finally decided to start her new life at beautiful Hilton Head Island,
and the entire Board was already missing her and thinking that a replacement for
her would be very hard to come by.
Fortunately, our sadness didn’t last long. Jan asked the Board if she could continue
as our Treasurer, even moving down South.
“I love Phinney’s, and as a C.P.A. I felt I could still help from afar, even though some
things I wouldn’t be able to do anymore, such as deposit checks,” adds Jan.
Adapting was not a problem. We shuffled some things around so she could continue
to be part of Phinney’s. Everyone was so happy, and we stayed in touch via email,
text, phone and monthly conference calls.
“I miss my friend a lot, but knowing we are still in touch and still share issues about
Phinney’s makes me very happy because we have more opportunities to get in
touch,” says Daniela.
“We are all very excited about her move, and Hilton Head is such a beautiful place,”
Daniela adds. “And we feel so special that she still felt a strong connection with
Phinney’s mission. The Board is so grateful for all that she did and does for our
When it comes to stellar volunteers, you don’t have to look much further than Phinney’s Director Starr Maxwell. A gardener, avid hiker, chef and animal lover, Starr has been donating her time for over two decades. And during that time, she’s helped a lot of people keep their furry friends close by.
Starr first started volunteering when Phinney’s was an extension program of the MSPCA. As a devoted animal lover, and dog mom herself, helping strangers keep their pets was what truly drew her to the program. Her first client, a blind man with HIV, needed assistance keeping his dog with him throughout his treatment, and Starr was more than willing to help make that happen. The experience allowed her to connect with a new community of people, and although a little scary, her compassion and desire to help was what truly shined and helped her continue on.
Being involved with an organization for as long as she has is sure to bring up some great memories. Her favorite part about volunteering with Phinney’s Friends? Getting to directly interact with the clients and their pets. She loves that she gets the opportunity to both meet new people and keep animals safe, happy and most importantly, out of shelters.
When she’s not volunteering with Phinney’s Starr enjoys spending time at home with her two dogs. Tristan, a 12-year-old Cavelier King Charles Spaniel, is a retired therapy dog for Pets and People Foundation with over 300 visits to nursing homes and other venues to offer people comfort. I guess you can say that helping others runs in the family! Her other pooch, Siri, is a 3-year-old terrier mix rescued from an illegal puppy mill by the MSPCA. For her troubled past, her silly, friendly, active demeanor shows how much of a warm, comforting home Starr has made for her.
It’s because of loving and dedicated volunteers like Starr that Phinney’s is able to do what we do and keep people and their pets together. We’re thankful and grateful to all of those who donate their time to help others in need!
Hope you are enjoying winter outside with your dogs, snuggling by the fire with your cats, and enjoying all your pets from the warmth of your home.
After a very successful holiday festival, which brought $15,000 in revenue to help people and pets in need, we are gearing up for more. We celebrate our victories but do not rest! 2019 is here for us to conquer. :)
We have recently welcomed Alyssa Cohen to the Board of Directors to spruce up our fundraisings. And if you saw the Food Room at the festival, you know what she is capable of. Wasn’t it beautifully decorated? And she brought many colorful treats to add to the delicious sweets our volunteers baked and brought.
While we are developing new fundraising programs and events, remember you can also help by doing your own fundraiser to benefit Phinney’s. A simple idea can go a long way!
If your birthday or wedding is coming up, you could ask for donations to the nonprofit in lieu of gifts, or you can even create a campaign on Facebook for your birthday and watch the donations pour in.
Attending our events and bringing your friends is also great to spread the word about what we do. I hope you can come to the fabulous historic Strand Theater in Clinton MA for a one-off screening of a movie in March to benefit Phinney’s. (You can read all about it below.) We’d love to see you!
Phinney’s Friends President
By Daniela Caride
I remember when I first saw a sign at Carol’s apartment door while on my way to the elevator after visiting a longtime Phinney’s client at a low-income housing complex in Boston. It said something like “Please keep the door shut. Keep my cat safe.” I was so moved by her resolve to properly care for her cat (then Smokey) and not have him roaming the hallways unattended.
I slipped a Phinney’s card under her door with a note that maybe we could help her financially. That was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. We prolonged Smokey’s life by years, as he soon needed to have a cancerous eye removed. He was a happy, loving cat to Carol up until the very end. And when he passed away, Carol became very lonely.
We tried placing another Phinney’s cat with her, but he was terribly afraid of the wheelchair, so we moved him to another home. When Jasmine was having a hard time at home, being bullied by her kitty brother at the home of yet another Phinney’s client, we offered to rehome her with Carol.
The arrangement worked perfectly. Carol took her in with open arms, Jasmine was OK with the wheelchair and became very attached to Carol. She is so comfortable now that she even gained a few extra pounds. According to the vet, whom she visited a couple of weeks ago, she is still on the chubby side and in need of some more dieting.
You wouldn’t expect a cat with her history to be so calm, but her confidence is apparent at her vet check-ups, where she snuggles up to one of Carol’s towels, relaxed as ever. Thankfully, through Phinney‘s, Jasmine is able to keep up with her regular vet appointments and continue to keep Carol company.
We are so excited to announce a special screening of the movie Life in the Doghouse on March 24th at the Strand Theater in Clinton MA. The screening is free and donations will be accepted on-site to support Phinney’s!
The movie screening is being sponsored by Maureen Harmonay of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Bolton as a gift to Phinney’s Friends and to the Community.
March 24, 2019
The Strand Theatre
58 High Street, Clinton, MA 01510
Doors open at 1 p.m.
Movie screening starts at 2 p.m.
ABOUT THE MOVIE LIFE IN THE DOGHOUSE
Life in the Doghouse tells the inspiring life story of Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta, who, through their remarkable work at Danny and Ron’s Rescue, have saved more than 10,000 dogs. Heralded by the Boston Globe as “heartwarming and thought-provoking,” this amazing movie is one you don’t want to miss! http://lifeinthedoghousemovie.com/trailer.html
PLEASE RSVP BY MARCH 17, 2019
If you are planning on attending (and we hope you are!), please RSVP by March 17 to Judy Bell (email@example.com).
Phinney’s is grateful to Maureen Harmonay for sponsoring what is sure to be a fun and memorable event!
We hope to see you there, supporting Phinney’s and enjoying this wonderful movie. Thank you!
Phew! Thanks to wonderful supporters in Lincoln Massachusetts, Phinney’s has been able to purchase and donate two more pet oxygen mask kits to the fire department, one for an ambulance and one for an engine truck. Now all the town’s emergency vehicles in the Fire Station are equipped with oxygen masks for pets.
Although we don’t have official numbers by the U.S. Fire Administration, industry and sources estimate 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires, most succumbing to smoke inhalation.
“If we ever have any fires in Lincoln and pets are rescued, the firefighters will be able to help them with oxygen masks that actually fit their snouts and give them a higher chance of survival,” says Daniela Caride, president of Phinney’s. “Pets are often more vulnerable to smoke inhalation in fires because they hide, and human oxygen masks don’t fit properly on animals.”
Phinney’s is so happy to be able to provide safer measures for all pets in the town of Lincoln, where the nonprofit is based. Hopefully, we will be able to extend this program to many other towns nearby in the near future. And maybe, who knows, far and wide as well.
Puddles has left a mark – on Carlotta’s heart and her kitchen floor! Puddles is a Maltipoo who traveled to Carlotta by plane from Texas to Boston. Now, 14 years old, Puddles happily sits in Carlotta’s lap and watches the news with her.
Regardless of the comforts of sleep, Puddles will jump to attention when he hears the fridge door open. Puddles is a people poodle and has made many friends for he and Carlotta walking around the Fenway. One chihuahua has managed to win his heart, and their park meetings result in a dance. Phinney’s has helped Puddles get groomed and ready for his next social encounter.
Despite Carlotta’s dedication to his 3am bathroom routines, the Puddles name holds true to this day.
The halls of Lincoln’s Pierce House Mansion were decked with boughs of holly on November 11, 2018, when its doors opened to the public for the town’s most unique holiday festival, Paws for the Holidays. This event – 100% of the proceeds went to local non-profit Phinney’s Friends mission of helping low-income people keep their pets in times of hardship – was made jolly through delicious food, live music, holiday shopping from local artisans, and a lively silent auction. Dogs were welcomed too!
Thanks to a lively crowd of shoppers and revelers, this Festival was the most successful holiday fundraiser Phinney’s has had to date, raising a record $15,000. All proceeds will go to helping people keep their pets in 2019.
We are so excited about the Festival’s success that we plan to do it again next year! So watch for the announcement on our website phinneys.org.
And, it’s not too late to still make a year-end tax-deductible donation to Phinney’s Friends. Thank you!