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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.


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.

BraunWeiss Making a Difference

May 1, 2018

When Shabbeer Syed and his business partner, Eylem Alper, founded BraunWeiss in 2015, they never could have known that three years later they’d be looking through dozens of pet photos. The technology consulting company based in Wellesley, MA, is redesigning Phinney’s Friends website, and they never could have guessed how touched they’d be in doing so. 

After reading one hand-written letter after another, all thanking Phinney’s for saving people’s beloved pets, Shabbeer couldn’t help but tell us: “We never knew that there is such a scope of philanthropic work to be done around animal care. We are grateful to have this opportunity to work with Phinney’s Friends and for the work you do.”

It is Phinney’s Friends, though, who is grateful to Shabbeer and the BraunWeiss team. Phinney’s Friends partnered with BraunWeiss about a year ago as a client of BraunWeiss Cares©, the organization’s charitable arm that provides technology solutions to nonprofits. Through this partnership, BraunWeiss has helped Phinney’s restructure its bookkeeping system on Quickbooks, redesign our website, digitalize our documents, and advise us on technologies to make our processes more efficient — all pro bono.

BraunWeiss’ philanthropic activities started about a year into the company’s founding, when they were looking to provide internship opportunities to students obtaining their master’s degrees in business. They partnered with schools like Babson College, becoming an option for students’ Curriculum Practical Training requirement. Admittance to its internship program is highly selective, and Shabbeer takes the interns’ training seriously. “Students get credit for the program, and we see it as very important that they get real-time exposure and experience.”

Originally, students helped with BraunWeiss’ main clients — primarily Fortune 500 businesses within the Boston and New England market. Then Shabeer realized BraunWeiss could do “double duty” in terms of helping the community by assigning the students to work with charitable organizations. By doing that, BraunWeiss is able to offer an unheard-of six-month, zero-dollar contract agreement with nonprofits.  Within that period, BraunWeiss can deliver as many projects as the nonprofit needs, from digital marketing to website design to financial products.

Phinney’s Friends is very fortunate to be the benefactor of BraunWeiss. “Their help is invaluable, and their dedication inspiring,” says Daniela Caride, Phinney’s Friends president and founder. “Small nonprofits struggle to make things more professional, and every dollar counts. Their work will help us survive the pressures of relying only on donations to help hundreds of people and pets in need every year.” 

Shabeer - Braunweiss

Shabbeer Syed

Springtime Safety Tips for Pets

May 1, 2018

After a long winter season, everyone is probably so excited to finally get outside and enjoy some warm weather. The sounds, smells, and sights of my backyard are a joy to sense after spending lots of time indoors all winter. Chances are, if you had some cabin fever this winter, your furry friend did too! You can relax and know your pet friend is safe by following these tips to have a safe season inside and out.



Buzz Off! We’re all busy, and no one wants an extra trip to the vet. But it’s important to get in touch with your vet to restart heartworm, flea, and tick prevention if you stopped during winter months. Heartworm can be fatal.

Ride safe! I love seeing dogs out running errands with their humans, and it’s more fun for both of them. Your dog may love the open window and wind, but don’t let him stick his head out the window. Insects and dust can cause eye and ear injuries. Instead, keep him restrained while riding in cars with a pet seat belt or in a crate.

Achoo! Like us, dogs and cats can develop allergies. Watch your pet for seasonal allergy signs, even if she’s never had them before. These can be excessive scratching or sniffling and sneezing. If you see your cat or dog with symptoms, contact your vet to discuss safe medication options. There are some human over the counter drugs that you may be able to use after talking with your vet.

Lost and Found Microchip! Losing a dog or cat can be terrifying. Take some time now to save hours of searching and anxiety. Microchipping is the best way to ensure that your dog or cat can be easily identified if they get lost outside.


No Sneaking Out! Some screens only have 2 small fasteners that hold them in the window frame. Getting fresh air into your house is great. First check that door and window screens are securely installed so your indoor cat can’t get out though.

Sparkle and Shine – Most of us appreciate a clean house. When doing spring cleaning, keep products away from your pets. Even natural ones can contain ingredients harmful to cats and dogs. Essential oils can be especially dangerous to cats who often cannot metabolize them.

Now that you know how to keep your pets safe both indoors and outdoors, it’s time to enjoy the warmer weather. Have fun!

Smirnoff the Cat Chills in New Home

May 1, 2018

SmirnoffDana, one of the clients Phinney’s inherited from the MSPCA, when we were a program instead of an independent nonprofit, needed to surrender her cat, Smirnoff, because of the increasing pressures in her life and her state of health. Even though we like to keep pets and people together, we protect and advocate for our pets as much as we do for our humans. So, Smirnoff needed a new home, and we wanted to make sure he’d continue to be safe and happy.

Our volunteer Jill, who has been caring for people and pets for Phinney’s for years, stepped in once more and took Smirnoff for a vet check after lining up a new loving home with a former client of ours who lost her cat a while ago. It turned out the poor kitty was constipated, so Phinneys’ paid not only for his vet check and vaccines but also an x-ray and enema. Smirnoff will need more intense care for a few days, while he is recovering from his procedure. So Jill took him to her mother’s home, who can give Smirnoff his medications and make sure he has a smooth transition to his new home in a week.

Donate Needed Supplies from our Wish List

February 20, 2018

By Ann Mazzoli

Some people prefer donating items that fulfill an immediate need rather than money. Are you one of them? If your answer is yes, you might like to take a peek at  Phinney’s Amazon Wish List. On our Amazon Wish List, we have items that pets need, or that we need for our office or an upcoming event. So, check it regularly!  

Our top needed items are:

Buying supplies from our Amazon list is super easy. Just click on the items on the Wish List you’d like to donate and ship them to Phinney’s Friends, PO Box 425, Lincoln, MA 01773.

Thank you for the many ways you support Phinney’s Friends!