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Phinney’s will be at the Eastern States 20 Mile Run

February 4, 2015

logo1Would you like to do a different kind of volunteer task, while helping PF raise much needed money? Join several of your PF friends at the finish line of the Eastern States 20 Mile run in Seabrook, NH, to hand out finisher’s medals to the runners. Several folks from PF did this last year and had all kinds of fun. The runners are all joyous and thankful at the finish, and you will be the recipient of a lot of that joy and thanks!

In addition there is a great get together with food and drink at the Ashworth Hotel in Hampton afterward.
It is a short drive from the Boston area, and only involves a few hours of volunteering.
Come join us; you will have a great time!

The run is on March 29th, and the Phinney’s team plans to be there at 12:30 pm and will be leaving at 4:30 pm.

For more info on the race, visit easternstates20mile.com

People and pets — scientifically a better life together

January 12, 2015

What a great column published in the Boston Globe today! At Phinney’s Friends, we help maintain the human-animal bond. And science (finally) figured out we can have a better life together – people and pets – as a family, help each other through tough times and enjoying ourselves during the good times.

Check it out….

Psychological effects of pets are profound

I once faced a sickening defeat. After a day and a half of an intensive scuba class, diving too deep, too fast produced pressure in my ears, causing dizziness and nausea. I was forced to quit. Next, I realized I was too vertiginous to drive home.

Despairing, I lay down on the blanket that protects our car’s upholstery from our border collie’s dirty paws. As I inhaled Sally’s scent, calm washed over me. Within a half hour, the dizziness eased enough for me to drive.

We animal lovers have long known that, no matter what life may bring — sickness, sadness, or radiant health — pets make us feel better. Numerous studies have documented astonishingly wide-ranging effects. Cat owners enjoy a 30 percent reduction in heart attack risk. Watching swimming fish lowers blood pressure. Stroking a dog boosts the immune system. Now researchers can explain the source of our companion animals’ healing powers: Our pets profoundly change the biochemistry of our brains.

“This is science that supports a truth the heart has always known,” Meg Olmert writes in her book “Made for Each Other,” a synthesis of more than 20 years of work on the biology of the human-animal bond. She singles out one neuropeptide: oxytocin, a brain chemical long known to promote maternal care in mammals.

Oxytocin levels rise in a mother’s brain as she goes into labor, and produces the contractions that deliver the baby. Once her infant is born, just the sight, smell, or thought of the baby is enough to trigger milk letdown (a fact that has caused many a new mother to ruin a blouse.) Humans have known for millennia that this affects animal mothers, too: Ancient Egyptian tomb art shows a kneeling man milking a cow with her calf tethered to her front leg.

But oxytocin’s powers are not, as once thought, limited to mothering or triggered only by labor. Nor is it confined to females, to mammals, or even to vertebrates. Even octopuses — who not only lack breasts, but die when their eggs hatch — have a form of oxytocin called cephalotocin.

Oxytocin causes a cascade of physiological changes. It can slow heart rate and breathing, quiet blood pressure and inhibit the production of stress hormones, creating a profound sense of calm, comfort, and focus. And these conditions are critical to forming close social relationships — whether with an infant, a mate, or unrelated individuals — including, importantly, individuals belonging to different species.

In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last June, Japanese researchers sprayed either oxytocin or saline solution into the nostrils of dogs, who then reunited with their owners. The owners were told not to interact with their dogs, but those whose pets inhaled oxytocin found them impossible to ignore. Statistical analysis showed the oxytocin inhalers were far more likely to stare, sniff, lick, and paw at their people than those who had saline solution.

Oxytocin is not the only neurotransmitter companion animals call forth from our brains. South African researchers showed that when men and women stroked and spoke with their dogs, as well as doubling the people’s blood levels of oxytocin, the interaction boosted levels of beta endorphins — natural painkillers associated with “runners high” — and dopamine, known widely as the “reward” hormone. These neurochemicals, too, are essential to our sense of well-being. A later and larger study by University of Missouri scientists also documented that petting dogs caused a spike in people’s serotonin, the neurotransmitter that most antidepressants attempt to elevate.

So it’s no wonder that pet-assisted therapies help troubled children, people with autism, and those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and drug addiction. Pets help normalize brain chemistry.

“By showing how interacting with pets actually works,” says the Missouri study’s lead author, Dr. Rebecca Johnson, “we can help animal-assisted therapy become a medically accepted intervention” — one that could be prescribed like medicine and reimbursed by insurance.

All animals appear to have cells directly under the skin that activate oxytocin in the brain. So gentle touch — from grooming your horse’s coat to making love with your spouse — is a powerful trigger. But so is simply thinking about someone you love, whether it’s a person or a pet. And in fact, a small study published this fall at Massachusetts General Hospital found that MRI scans of women’s brains lit up in the same areas when shown pictures of their pets as when shown pictures of their children.

But here’s the best part: It’s mutual. We effect the same physiological changes in our pets as they do in us. As I lay on that blanket in our car, soothed by Sally’s scent, I remembered how my best human friend, Liz Thomas — whose column you will read next week — once quelled desperation and fear in another border collie named Tess, Sally’s beloved predecessor. I was away tending to my dying mother when Tess, a rescue with separation anxiety, suffered a stroke-like illness. For the first time in her life, she was confined overnight at the vet’s. Liz knew just how to help. She came to our house, retrieved my barn coat, and took it to Tess’s hospital cage. Tess inhaled my scent and instantly, her ears folded and the terror fell from her face. She let out a sigh and relaxed.

Calliope Presents: A Concert to Benefit the Bay State Animal Cooperative

January 12, 2015

Finding_a_Home_posterCalliope Presents: Finding a Home
A concert to benefit the Bay State Animal Cooperative

(Rossini, Gershwin, and three new works)

Saturday, February 7, 2015
7:30 pm
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough Street

$35 General Admission
$45 Premium Seating
$25 Student/Senior with ID

Tickets available at www.calliopemusic.org
by calling 617-759-2057, or at the door

Download the Finding a Home poster.

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2015

Happy New Year from your pals at Phinney’s Friends!

new year dog

Photo by Mary Phoenix

Phinney's Friend Facebook page
Like us on Facebook and follow our happenings in 2015 – https://www.facebook.com/PhinneysFriends

The Cat Mobile is Coming to Town

December 23, 2014

CM2-3The Cat Mobile, which offers low-cost spay and neuter may be in your area soon! Please spay and neuter, so your pets will live longer and healthier lives!

The Cat Mobile also has a Happy Neuter Year Campaign in January where a limited number of owned male cats will be $20. They also have a special going on now for kittens under 6 months of age. (Not location specific).
To make a reservation call 978-465-1940, email catmobile@mrfrs.org or go to www.catmobile.org. Please call for details and pricing, as they do have specials.

The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society’s Catmobile will be in the below locations (they have plenty of room!):

December 23 Westborough($25 spays and neuters) and Quincy
December 24 Norwood
December 26 Avon
December 27 Gardner and Attleboro
December 29 Lowell
December 30 Tyngsboro($25 spays and neuters)
December 30 Natick
December 31 Revere
Jan 2 Medford
Jan 3 Salisbury and Woburn
Jan 5 Taunton
Jan 6 Fitchburg and Everett
Jan 7 Billerica and Lynn
Jan 8 Mansfield and Peabody
Jan 9 Avon
Jan 10 Gardner and Weymouth
Jan 12 Lowell
Jan 13 Leominster and Dedham
Jan 14 Hopkinton and Malden
Jan 15 Westford and Brockton
Jan 16 Saugus
Jan 17 Attleboro and Salisbury
Jan 19 Concord
Jan 20 Worcester and Danvers
Jan 21 Tewksbury and Norwood
Jan 22 Waltham
Jan 23 Woburn
Jan 24 Gardner and Quincy
Jan 26 Lowell
Jan 27 Hudson and Medford
Jan 28 Natick and Brockton
Jan 29 Fitchburg and Peabody
Jan 30 Revere
Jan 31 Salisbury and Walpole

Walk Your Dog & Raise Money for Rescue Organizations

December 7, 2014
Photo by Araz Photo

Photo by Araz Photo

Take your dog for a walk while raising money for your favorite rescue! The WoofTrax app is a dog-powered fundraising tool that dog owners are using nationwide. According to the WoofTrax website, “WoofTrax, through the Walk for a Dog mobile app, creates fundraising opportunities for shelters and rescues while encouraging dogs and their humans to exercise together regularly.” The smart phone application allows users to click “Start Walking” and tracks their daily dog walk. When the dog walk is stopped it is credited to the user’s selected shelter or rescue organization.

What better way to get yourself and your pup fit, while also making a difference in the lives of other animals?!

Get the app for your iPhone or Android and start helping local dogs today!

Santa going above and beyond for Phinney’s!

December 3, 2014

We all know that Santa is amazing. But would you think that he would go through all this trouble to make the doggies comfortable with his long beard and huge belly, so he could take pictures with the doggies and raise funds for Phinney’s Friends? Well, we have pictures to prove it! That’s Santa with Gunner…

santa in marlborough 2014

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As you can see, Santa went above and beyond to help us fund raise at Pet Source in Marlborough MA last Saturday (November 29, 2014), and we had a wonderful time together.

A heartfelt thank you is also in order to our amazing volunteers, who collected donations, took pictures and helped Santa set up his Christmas tree, bench and arrange his soon-to-be-delivered gifts around the bench, so we could take nice shots.

Teamwork is what makes Phinney’s Friends such a wonderful nonprofit. And Santa is of course part of it. :-)

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Jordan, Daniela, Santa, Katie and Jan with Momo here are some of the volunteers who helped at Pet Source. John, Don, Starr, Shannon, Nitin and his brother-in-law, and many other volunteers also worked hard for this event. :-)

Santa is so kind that he is again taking pictures for us on Saturday (December 6, 2014) from 11am to 3pm at Pet Source in Concord MA, and Sunday December 7 at Wignall Animal Hospital in Dracut! Please come and support us!

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