Skip to content

Six Summer Safety Tips for Your Four-Footed Family

August 7, 2019


by Maia Wentrop

Ah, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! Beaches, BBQs, hikes, and all other kinds of fun in the sun. Also, fireworks, hot cars, burning pavement, and bugs. Our furry family members love to spend time with us during the summer months, so let’s talk about some ways we can strike a balance to keep them safe and healthy.

  1. HEAT – Animals can get dehydrated as easily as we can, so access to water is key to keeping them healthy and safe! Always make sure your dogs and cats have plenty of water available, both inside and outside. On really hot days, you can even throw in some ice cubes for good measure. Make sure your dogs have shade when you go camping or swimming.
  2. HOT CARS – We know most dogs love a good car ride, and we love to bring them along to see their blissed-out faces. However, it takes almost no time for a car parked in the sun to become lethally hot, even with the windows cracked. If you are planning to head places where your dog isn’t able to join you, please leave them home where it’s cool and safe, rather than putting them at risk of heatstroke in your vehicle.
  3. FIREWORKS – So many summer celebrations – not only Independence Day – include the use of fireworks. The loud sounds and flashes of light terrify many pets. Don’t bring your pets near fireworks, crate them if that makes them feel secure, or simply be home to help them stay calm. Some pets also receive comfort from thundershirts during fireworks and other anxiety-provoking times. You know your pet best, and you can decide the best measures to make for their comfort and safety.
  4. PAVEMENT – Ouch! Pavement and even cement can get painfully hot. If you cannot walk in bare feet comfortably, chances are your pet cannot, either. If you find that the sun has heated the ground up where you are walking, try to find grass or a dirt path to keep your dog’s pads from burning.
  5. BUGS – Mosquitoes, black flies, horseflies, and ticks…oh, the ticks! Find a pet-safe bug spray and use it on your furry companion. Like us, they can get pretty nasty bites. Check out the variety of natural sprays available. Your pet will thank you.
  6. FOOD – We enjoy lots of fun, tasty foods in the summer. You can share a watermelon with your pup as long as it has no seeds, which can cause blockages, especially in smaller breeds. Remember not to share anything with chocolate when you and your pups are hanging out around that backyard campfire, where you engage in the gooey marshmallowy ritual of toasting S’Mores. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to your dog. Also, too much fat could lead to pancreatitis, so it’s better to not share the fat from your grilled meat, no matter how big those puppy dog eyes get when they beseech you in your BBQ Expert apron! Keep rib and chicken bones away from dogs to avoid choking and intestinal blockages that could require an emergency vet visit and possible surgery–don’t take the risk.

Let’s all have a safe, fun and happy summer and enjoy our furry friends!


Paws in Bloom with Phinney’s Friends

July 30, 2019

Puddles making art!

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 Receives PAALS, Inc. Biko’s Gift

May 21, 2019

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!




Buddy and Paul – Two Peas in a Pod

May 15, 2019

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.

Movie, Popcorn & Inspiration

May 15, 2019

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.

A Lifelong Love of Pets

April 19, 2019

elizabeth and morty

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.”

From Macy the Biter to Macy the Charmer

April 19, 2019

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.”