By Ami Martinez
Such a great way to kick off the summer! On Saturday June 8, 2019, Phinney’s held its Paws in Bloom event outside the Loyal Companion Store in Concord, MA, so customers’ dogs could become artists for a day. For a small donation, dog parents walked away with a unique and beautiful painting produced by their own dogs.
In a process similar to finger paint art, the dog’s paw was first dipped in washable, non-toxic paint, then pressed onto the artist’s paper and rinsed in a kiddie/doggie pool. The kiddie pool rinse must have felt amazing in contrast to the 80-degree weather!
Meanwhile, volunteer Shannon Kircher transformed the cute pawprints into elegant flowers. While she worked, dog owners had a chance to learn more about Phinney’s and complete their pet store purchases. Once dry, the artwork was ready to take home! Finished pieces could be framed as personal wall art or offered as novel gifts. Father’s Day coming up the following weekend offered a perfect opportunity to honor dog daddies! I chose to use mine to dress up my office space so that, when co-workers asked, I could say “my dog made it!”
Small dogs, big dogs, puppies and senior pooches attended, and pet “puparazzo” Jay Sullivan captured all the fun. With the help of several volunteers, some willing canine participants and the graciousness of Loyal Companion employees, the event raised $240 to help pets in need. Loyal Companion even donated discounted items to Phinney’s, so we could have a yard sale as well.
We are so thankful for each and every person and canine who contributed to make this day a success, and especially Loyal Companion, who supported us with open arms. Special mention goes to Puddles — he was as cute as he was cooperative, and produced the very first masterpiece of the day! As a permanent Phinney’s foster doggie, Puddles serves as a reminder of how committed Phinney’s Friends is to each pet family we serve.
Phinney’s Friends has been selected as the first-ever recipient of the Biko’s Gift! PAALS, Inc. bestows this special gift twice a year on an animal welfare organization of their choice.
Phinney’s received $2,500 to cover ten vet visits for beloved pets of deserving low-income Massachusetts residents. The gift includes blood work and preventative medication to screen for and treat diseases before they progress.
“Congratulations! All of us at PAALS, Inc. are thrilled for you, and we hope that this grant will help you continue the incredible work you are doing for animal welfare,” said John Coco, Research & Org Liaison Coordinator at PAALS, Inc.
Phinney’s is so grateful to PAALS, Inc. for supporting not only our cause, but also the causes of many other wonderful animal nonprofits. “We can only do this work together as a group,” said Daniela Caride, president of Phinney’s Friends.
“It’s hard work to fund nonprofits, and it requires an expertise that it’s generally hard to find,” Daniela added. “PAALS brings extra energy into organizations focusing on saving pets, and we all need help to fundraise.”
Watch the official announcement of Phinney’s gift here!
The afternoon of March 24th turned out to be a crispy but sunny weekend day, perfect for biking, hiking or simply window shopping with friends. Nonetheless, some 40 animal lovers headed into the cozy corners of a charming small-town theater in Clinton to watch a documentary about a dog shelter down South.
Maureen Harmonay of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Bolton had scheduled a screening of “Life in the Doghouse” at the Strand Theater in Clinton, MA, as a gift to Phinney’s Friends and to the community.
Many of Phinney’s volunteers showed up to support our cause and to enjoy a nice movie with fellow dog lovers. The theater had a delicious menu that ranged from popcorn and pizza to breaded mushrooms and more elaborate dishes. Even our permanent foster Puddles the dog showed up and made sure to melt as many hearts as possible at the theater lobby, under the shimmer of a magnificent crystal chandelier.
“It’s a bittersweet movie,” remembered Daniela Caride, president of Phinney’s Friends, who identified with the compulsion to help animals in need that rescuers described on screen. “It is so sad to see all those dogs in need of good homes. But it’s also reassuring to witness the rescuers Danny and Ron working so hard to save as many lives as possible down South.”
“We are both small nonprofits trying to do good,” added Daniela. “We sure get quite daunted sometimes by the enormity of the crisis at overcrowded animal shelters. But if we bunch together all the wonderful animal nonprofits out there, working to keep pets safe and happy, we certainly make a huge difference.”
Phinney’s is so grateful to Maureen for organizing the movie day, to all the pet lovers who came, and to the people who donated during the movie screening.
Phinney’s Friends – Godparents Program
Buddy and Paul – Two Peas in a Pod
Paul Aufiero has been with Phinney’s Friends since 2005 and has never looked back. Paul first heard of Phinney’s from a friend, Jack, who was a Phinney’s client because of his two kitties. Paul used to help Jack purchase food and transport his cats to vet visits, and the financial help from Phinney’s made things quite easier. Years later, when Paul got a cat, we began helping him too, with food and litter. Later, when a spot opened, Paul became eligible for vet visits and more care, like Jack.
Upon meeting Buddy 8 years ago, Paul knew he would never part with his cat. Buddy has a certain energy that Paul was drawn to from the outset. To this day, Paul notes that Buddy has not slowed down one bit. Buddy’s energy is demonstrated through his personality, which includes jump around the house — something Paul thoroughly enjoys watching. Considering Buddy’s estimated seven to eight years of age and the so many years of ongoing friendship, it’s safe to say that Buddy’s playful nature is simply a part of his charm.
Since Buddy came into his life, Paul, too, has suffered an injury that has kept him from being able to work. However, when the injury occurred, he knew that all hope was not lost to justly provide Buddy with what was needed to keep him happy and healthy because he could turn to Phinney’s for help. Paul’s neighbor, Linda, has also taken a shine to Buddy and looks after him when Paul has a doctor’s appointment. As anyone can see, Buddy is a happy ball of fur and offers Paul a support system and kinship. In Paul’s words, Buddy makes him who he is.
Phinney’s Friends has provided Buddy with nutritious feline cuisine options on a monthly basis for over five years! To our delight, despite Buddy’s track record of being a “picky eater,” Paul noted that Phinney’s selections of cat food, Fancy Feast and Friskies, are Buddy’s all-time favorites and always result in an empty dish. Phinney’s is proud to foster relationships such as these. We want everyone to not only find but also to keep their own Buddy, and the peace this bonded pair radiates reflects Phinney’s Friends’ happiness in continuing the Godparent’s program.
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.