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A Quarter-Century of Care

August 31, 2018

Though much loved, Susan’s 13-pound, 12-year Siamese Ace–named after his human great-grandfather who was a card shark–can be little difficult to take care of sometimes.  He suffers from diabetes and asthma and needs to get his medications of insulin and prednisone administered to him daily.  All four of his paws are double-pawed, which also means he needs a special (very expensive!) pellet-like litter.

Fortunately for Susan, Phinney’s has her (and Ace’s!) back—and they have for more than 25 years.

“25 years?!“ you say? That’s right. Susan is Phinney’s longest-running client.


A quarter of a century ago, Susan heard of an animal welfare organization with a funny name from her vet. Susan had been having trouble affording the care for her pets, and she reached out to Phinney’s in hopes that they would be able to assist her. What began as a simple financial assist blossomed into a partnership where Phinney’s had the great pleasure of helping Susan care for several beloved pets. Over the years, we have provided her not just with financial assistance, but also pet care (including litter box cleaning and nail trims), and client care, where we give advice and provide emotional support.

“I could not have had my pets if it weren’t were for Phinney’s … it’s just been wonderful because I’m on a fixed income and having Phinney’s has really changed my life. I am really, really grateful.”

Now, Susan relies on Phinney’s to help with the regal-looking, but high-maintenance, Ace. “He’s very hardy and healthy, and as long as he’s on his medications, he’s just fine,” says Susan.  “But the fact that he’s high-needs has made Phinney’s a life-saver for me.”

Phinney’s is thrilled to have been able to impact Susan and Ace’s lives in such a positive way. And Phinney’s can continue to do so—with your help. Ace is in need of a Pet Godparent and would love your support. If you’d like to adopt Ace as your godcat, let us know!


The Yummy Guide To Pet-Safe Treats You Can Make At Home

August 31, 2018

Who likes treats? We do! What about you and your furry friends? We all like to have a treat once in a while, so why not whip up a healthy homemade treat for your 4-legged friend today? Whether you have a dog or a cat, we’ve got some recipes for you. And if you’re not a whiz in the kitchen we’ve got some one ingredient treats too!

Doggy Bags

We couldn’t write a story about dog treats without including some peanut butter based recipes. For those warmer days, how about a Peanut Butter Pup-sicle? With only 3 ingredients, you don’t even need to go to the store for this one.  Grab some silicone molds to make some fun shapes or simply use a baking sheet. If your pup isn’t into chilled treats, try a Peanut Butter Crunchie for a cookie-style treat instead. Just watch out because human family members might think the treats are for them!

If there’s a peanut allergy in the house, or if your dog doesn’t like peanut butter, try Sweet Potato Jerky instead. If you’ve got some sweet potatoes and a couple of hours then you can make this one.

Not into cooking? You can still provide healthy snacks for your dog. Many dogs love baby carrots, bananas, or apples.


Okay, there’s no catsup or ketchup here. How about some Kitty Croutons instead. With tuna and catnip in them, your cat is sure to love them. For a tuna-free treat, try making Chewy Cat Treats instead. This tender recipe uses baby food to achieve a softer consistency which some cats prefer. If your cat likes to eat grass, she might enjoy “Better than Grass” Salad for Cats, with sweet potatoes, spinach and more in it.

No kitchen skills? Buy a cat grass plant and let your cat enjoy the freshest treat around.

Once you’ve prepared one of these tasty treats for your pup or kitty, feel free to experiment with the ingredients he or she likes best. Be sure to check the list of foods to avoid before swapping in new ingredients; check with your vet to make sure the treats will fit into your pet’s special diet if need be.

Although it can take a little longer than opening a package of milk bones, nothing beats a homemade treat for your pet, especially since you know exactly what’s going into them: healthy ingredients and a whole lot of love!

Seeking auction items for Paws for the Holidays Festival on November 11th at Pierce House in Lincoln

August 31, 2018

Phinney’s annual Paws for the Holidays Festival is fast approaching!  This signature event—a favorite of volunteers and clients alike—is your one -stop destination for holiday fun, featuring delicious food, gift baskets, pet toys and clothes, artisanal crafts…and, of course, the silent auction!

We’re currently seeking items for the silent auction, and we’d love your help. We’re in need of both big-ticket and small-ticket items. Here are some examples of past auction items that have been great hits:

  • hotel getaway weekends
  • tickets to amusement parks
  • ski lift passes
  • summer cabin usage
  • gift cards to restaurants, salons, book stores, grocery stores, repair shops

You can also donate your own services, such as photography sessions, tech support sessions, music and tennis lessons, pet grooming, vet services, etc.

What do you do once you have the auction item? Let us know by contacting us at

We are so grateful for your help!

The “Ex-Con” Dog Who Stole the Heart of Our Client

August 31, 2018

After months of looking, Brendan finally got the call. The Lowell Humane Society had just gotten a spirited Boston terrier puppy, described by the staff as a “handful.” In fact, the terrier’s previous owners had just abandoned her because she was too much for them to handle.

She was not, however, too much for Brendan. Immediately enchanted by her, Brendan, who was a dancer, named her Roxie after Roxie Hart, the ex-con character in the musical Chicago. He felt the name befit her because she had been thrown out of her previous home—and because … well, Roxie doesn’t take any nonsense from anybody.

Now 3 ½ years old and a plump 27 pounds, Roxie continues to call the shots.

“I live in a dog house,” Brendan says.  “She rules it, not me.”

Roxie’s big personality has overtaken more than just Brendan’s apartment, however. She’s stolen his heart as well. Brendan suffers from chronic health conditions and reports that whenever he is sad or scared, Roxie is always there for him, cuddling him, nuzzling him, and sleeping in his bed.

And he’s not the only one Roxie’s touched.

“She’s the talk of the building,” Brendan says.  “She loves other people and other dogs, and she stops at other people’s doors all the time. She’s friends with all of my neighbors.”

All of this has led Brendan to the philosophy that he doesn’t own Roxie, but that he is merely “borrowing” her.

Though Roxie is healthy, Brendan needs financial help with getting her food and regular check-ups and vaccinations, and for Phinney’s help with such matters, Brendan is so grateful: “Phinney’s has been so good and wonderful and patient with me,” he says.

Would you like to become the godparent of Roxie, the loveable ex-con dog?  She’s likely to steal your heart too.

My Life in Foster Care

August 31, 2018

By G.C. Rowlands, the Golden Retriever

We do not live life hoping to live in Foster Care. I had a great life, and for reasons beyond my control, I ended up in foster care. Foster care is sometimes an interim place where a vulnerable child or animal must live.  I was not able to take care of myself, so I had to find a new living situation. As I was no longer “cute” and showed signs of advanced age that were undeniable, finding a foster living situation had become difficult.  I had been in foster care a few times in the past and knew how tough it was to grow attached to your foster family when you never knew when you would be moved. In March of this year, I was once again in need of a foster family because my living situation had become uncertain.

I know that there is something called love at first sight. Is there love at first thought? My new Mom loved the idea of foster care (and me!) upon first reading of my plight.  My happy fate was sealed—but it I didn’t know that at first.

Leaving my home was not easy. I loved my mom, had been with her for all my life, and she was in need of me now more than ever. But she was more in need of care herself and this is why I had to go into foster care. Knowing that my mom had friends at Phinney’s Friends was a comfort to her.  I am not able to imagine the pain she felt at having to leave me. She was so brave when I left home.

My new foster mom was nervous when she came to pick me up that day. I left my old home with nothing but the clothes I had.  She led me to her car. I cautiously climbed in and every nerve was shaking hence the hair on the back of my neck was sticking straight up. Where was I going, would they be kind and treat me like one of their own?  I was grungy, dirty, and this was out of my control. It seemed that my ginger hair had not seen a comb in weeks. My own stomach was so nervous that I was sick.  What would they think of me? I was uncharacteristically quiet on the ride home.  She spoke to me the whole way home, sensing my anxiety.

I met my three new fur-brothers first. They were all younger than me and nosy. Wanting to know everything about me at once. I felt like I was naked once the interrogation was over. They soon grow disinterested and that’s when I knew I was accepted. When dinner came, we shared our first meal together. From then on, life seemed seamless.

At first lots of people came to visit me. Many bringing me new clothes and gifts. People who did not even know me – shared kindness.  I had grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. I had a new family tree with branches overnight.

My days now had purpose again as they had before. I was accepted for who I was and did not fear having to be something I was not – young.  There was a daily routine and new things to do. Life was a new journey.

I felt comfortable and my personality started to shine. I loved sports, and my new family fostered my athleticism. I loved to play soccer with my sister. I had exceptionally good hand and mouth coordination and playing with any sort of ball sport made me smile. My family brought back the sheer joy of swimming. I was a natural in the water.  Look out Michael Phelps – here I come!  In the water, I was young again and was able to move without out pain and with more confidence.  I started swimming lessons in April in a warm pool with a physical therapist and then graduated to the pool in our back yard. I became the Guardian of the backyard pool.  Day by day, my stamina increased. My family swam with me and played with me in the water.  I never minded being the monkey in the middle as I was blissfully happy.  It was these simple pleasures that I shared with my family.

Though I loved all members of my new family, I loved my sister the best. We had a common connection – we were both red heads, and I had such a soft spot for her. I decided that I was going to be her one and only and tried to be by her side or have her in my sights whenever possible. I took over her bed and room but made sure that I put my toys away. She was messy, and I did not want her to be mad at me by contributing to the mess.  I sat with her while she did her homework. I would wake up early, have breakfast, and then find her as she liked to sleep in when she could. My day started when she started.  I lived to love her.

She left for camp at the beginning of the summer. But then three days later, had a bike accident and was home. I was so happy to see her and to take care of her. When she was in pain, I held her hand. I just wanted her to get better.

My sister was getting better day by day. It had been a great day – playing all day with family and friends, swimming, enjoying the summer heat. I went to bed but I woke up in pain in the middle of the night. The pain subsided in a flash.

Foster care was never conditional for my family. It was never about numbers as we went from 12 paws to 16 paws, and it was a seamless transition. I became a family member upon entering the car.  I was loved again and had been blessed each time I was in foster care. My new family did not leave me. But I had to leave them.  It was easier this way. I made the decision of when to leave and not them.  Hopefully they know I left due to my age and not for my lack of loving them. My time with them was conditional—but my love for them was anything but.

Foster’s Note:  G.C. Rowlands was a 13-year-old golden retriever with the largest capacity to love. He arrived with arthritis, a whitened wizened muzzle, and eyes to melt. He was under care of a foster family through Phinney’s Friends, a non-profit that helps low-income people keep their pets during times of hardship. Foster care is just one way in which Phinney’s continues to nurture the human-animal bond.

G.C. was adopted by his foster family and he is so greatly missed by his two-legged and four-legged family. We loved you for the briefest of times, but you radiated pure sunshine and your ability to love was so impactful.  If you have room in your heart – remember those in need of fostering benefit the most. They say love cannot be purchased but it can be rescued.

~ J Rowlands, Phinney’s Friend Volunteer


Letter from our President

May 9, 2018

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Dear friends,

Even though spring is here, everyone at Phinney’s Friends is still rejoicing in the wonderful Phinney’s Holiday Festival we had back in November. The Pierce House and its huge tent held all sorts of fun activities, from arts, crafts, and a silent auction to live music, Santa pictures, and baked goods.

Because of your support, we raised $12k, compared to $8k in 2016. These funds will help a lot of pets in need this year!

It was a delight to celebrate the holidays and Phinney’s accomplishments with you. We got so excited, we already booked the mansion again and rented heaters to make sure the tent will be toasty. Mark your calendars, folks! November 11, 2018, is the date.

Please take a moment to share your feedback and ideas on the festival, so we can make it even better this year. After enjoying flowers, cats basking in the sun, and dogs romping outside during this the warm weather, I promise we’ll have another round of festival fun. Looking forward to seeing you there.


Daniela Caride

Getting to know Phinney’s Volunteer Nitin

May 1, 2018

Phinney’s Volunteer Nitin

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

 Sure – I wear 2 hats, one of a scientist and another of a photographer. I started doing portraits and fashion photography and then added the flavor of photojournalism which I realized was a great combination to shoot weddings. I love working with people. I am now a wedding photographer primarily but also do fashion and portrait projects to keep the creative fire burning. I established my company – Photos By Nitin in 2014 and have never looked back. Since last 15 months, I also started my Studio in Lawrence, MA in a beautiful mill building. You can also check out my Facebook and Instagram pages to see what I do.

What is your current role for Phinney’s?

At Phinney’s I volunteer on photography projects. I photograph the pets and their families to contribute for the website, blogs and newsletters. I have also photographed various fundraising events for Phinney’s Friends including Pets with Santa, Phinney’s Festival, Bike Rides and catalog products. Apart from that, I offer photoshoots to raffle during annual fundraising that can be used towards family portraits or portfolio shoot. I have met some amazing families as I do this. I absolutely love the Phinney’s family! 

How did you get involved with Phinney’s Friends?

It started with a Craigslist posting. I was looking to volunteer some time to do something I love while being worthwhile for a noble cause. As I browsed, I found Phinney’s posting and I thought this is some work I have to see if I can get involved with. I responded to the ad and Daniela wrote back which was very exciting and I started working with families right away. I have made many invaluable friendships and I am just glad I took that step.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

Working with awesome people, animals and contribute my knowledge to this great cause. It gives me a sense of being a part of a bigger community and sharing something I treasure, rest assured that doing so will only help it grow and spread in a positive way.

Do you have any fun stories about clients or pets you’ve worked with that you can share? 

Yes, I want to mention a cat named Ace. Ace is a very active cat who did not want to stay still. I was with another volunteer, who loves being with cats. I was trying to get a good angle since Ace looked royal.  Finally, she gave it some catnip and I was amazed at the power of catnip. Ace was suddenly calm and quiet and I had almost lost hope that I was going to get a good shot to do justice to Ace’s personality.