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A Bittersweet Farewell to Blossom

September 15, 2017

Around January of 2016, Blossom the Cat was living with a Phinney’s Friends client in Boston — a woman who was elderly and struggling with mental illness — when the sweet kitty was diagnosed with a heart condition. That triggered a tremendous amount of anxiety on her mom and, no matter how much she loved Blossom, she just couldn’t handle the stress.

Phinney’s Friends embarked on a search for the perfect loving home for Blossom, who was such a sweet, undemanding cat. But her heart condition made it hard to find her a great adopter as fast as she needed.

One of our volunteers, Dick Crowley, came forward and offered to become a permanent foster for Phinney’s and take Blossom home. Dick’s cat had recently passed away, so he was happy to take a new friend into his home.

When Phinney’s takes a cat into our Permanent foster program, we feel very proud of our level of commitment to the animal and its permanent foster family. It is always a huge undertaking, as we sign up to help that pet with food, vet visits and any other need for the rest of their lives through our network of fosters.

Fortunately, Blossom loved her new home and new dad, and Dick was also so smitten! “She was always friendly and sociable,” says Dick. “She seemed to feel good in her new home and liked to spend time with me.” While not a lap cat, she went so far as to even jump onto his lap one afternoon for a snuggle!

Blossom lived the rest of her life with Dick, who took such incredibly good care of her. He was so diligent with her vet visits and medications, and always made sure she was happy and safe.

Unfortunately, Blossom’s time came to an end. One day Dick got home, and she had passed away in the comfort of her home, while he was out. He was relieved that she seems to have passed away peacefully.

It’s always very sad to say goodbye to a furry friend we have cared for during the good moments and the difficult times. But it does give us a sense of joy to think that we were able to protect Blossom from the beginning to the very end, and make sure she had a full life.

So this is a bittersweet farewell to our dear Blossom, who inspired us with her resilience, patience and sweetness every step of the way. And this story is also a huge thank you to Dick, who loved Blossom unconditionally. We could not have done all of this wonderful work without him. He told us that towards the end of Blossom’s life, someone had gifted him a gift card to a pet supply store. Blossom passed before he was able to use it, so he donated it to Phinney’s Friends with the wish that it be used on the next pet in Phinney’s care.

Paying it forward. That’s what we’re all about.



Happy Birthday to our namesake, Bill Phinney!

August 21, 2017

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In 1995, MSPCA law-enforcement officer for 26 years, Bill Phinney, sadly died after courageously battling AIDS. In 1996, the Phinney’s Friends program was started as an arm of the MSPCA to help people in the Boston area living with HIV and AIDS keep their pets. Phinney’s Friends became an independent not-for-profit in 2009, and has since expanded the scope of its services.

We think Bill Phinney would be so proud!

To learn more about Phinney’s Friends’ history, click here!

Louie the Dog Gets a Second Chance

August 4, 2017
Michael, Louie the Dog’s dad, couldn’t afford the costly orthopedic surgery to fix the leg of his one-year-old pittie pup, which was fractured when he escaped and got hit by a car. Unfortunately, the problem couldn’t be fixed with a splint alone.
Michael worked very hard to raise money for Louie’s surgery through a Go-Fund-Me account and also secured partial assistance from a couple of organizations. But the cost of the surgery was still too high.
That’s when he contacted Phinney’s Friends. We told Michael that even though we are currently low on emergency funds, we would try to raise funds for Louie. If there’s a will, there’s a way and, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to cover the additional money needed for Louie’s surgery.
The orthopedic surgeon told Michael the procedure went well, and Louie is expected to make a full recovery. Michael was so thankful for Phinney’s last push — without it, Louie would have probably been euthanized, as the surgery for amputation (the other alternative) was also quite expensive. That would have been terrible! But the big boy is now on his way to walking again on all his four legs. What a joy!!
Even though we are low on funds, we do what we can and then some. We aim at being creative, resourceful and tireless! If you are interested in learning how you can help Phinney’s continue keeping people together with their beloved pets, please visit

Volunteer Spotlight – a Chat with Joy Rowlands

July 27, 2017
Phinney’s Friends is so blessed to have many wonderful people and organizations put their trust in us to help low-income families and pets every year. One such organization is the Cotting School, which last year took on the task of operating a pet food pantry in partnership with us. They are doing spectacular work, thanks to their dedicated staff and enthusiastic students.
Enter Joy Rowlands – a Phinney’s volunteer who helps, among other tasks, manage the pet food pantry we operate with Cotting School. She’s only been with us since April, but she’s wasted no time in proving herself invaluable. According to Daniela Caride, Phinney’s Friends’ President, “Joy is a force of nature. She is so focused, effective and kind hearted. We are so lucky she decided to volunteer for Phinney’s.”
We decided to have a chat with Joy to discuss what she loves about Phinney’s Friends and why she volunteers.
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Joy with pup Amigo at Phinney’s “Paws in Bloom” event.

PF: Joy, thanks so much for chatting with us! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

JR: Sure! First and foremost, I love animals! I have a B.S. in Animal Science, and I am the proud pet parent of three rescue dogs. I have two teenage children (if anyone has an updated “Guide to Living Thru Teenage Years” – I would be eternally grateful if you let me borrow it!). In my spare time I enjoy cooking, gardening, hiking/running, reading and doing crafts.
PF: You’ve only been working with Phinney’s since April, but you’re already doing so much! What are your current roles?
JR: I started working with Phinney’s when my children and I volunteered at the Easterpalooza event at Pet Source, where animals have their pictures taken with the Easter bunny. I had such a great time, and felt so strongly about the organization, that I decided to keep volunteering.  Right now I have two roles – I am helping the children at the Cotting School in Lexington, MA in our pet pantry. I help them receive and organize the pet food, supplies and donations we receive. During the school year, teachers assist them with their tasks, but in the summer, a Phinney’s volunteer – in this case, me! – helps them sort thru items, create an inventory and prepare food/supply requests.
I am also aiding Lauren Terry, Phinney’s  Foster Coordinator, with administrative tasks.
PF: What made you decide to start volunteering with Phinney’s?
JR: I love animals!  I know that I could not live without my animals (nor could they live without me) so I truly understand what the thought of losing them would do to me. So I can imagine that for others – our clients who cannot afford to take care of their pets. Helping these people is what drives me to volunteer with Phinney’s.

Joy’s three rescue dogs, Dash, Shylo and Amigo.

PF: What’s your favorite thing about volunteering with Phinney’s so far?
JR: My favorite thing about volunteering for Phinney’ has been working with so many people, the other Phinney’s volunteers, who are absolutely passionate about helping others!
PF: What would you tell someone interested in volunteering with Phinney’s or helping in other ways?
JW:  I would tell them that any in spare time they have, even if they feel it is not a significant amount of time, they can do something that can help others. An organization is not just one person, but is the combined combination of all who work for that cause. Phinney’s is what it is because of the volunteers, and it’s a great place to be!
Thanks, Joy, for all you’ve done, and for all we know you will accomplish with Phinney’s in the future!

Message from our President – Fun, Fundraisers & Festivities!

July 22, 2017

Dear friends,

We’ve been busy at Phinney’s Friends, planning lots of events and writing grants. Our hope is to increase our donation base and be able to reopen all our programs really soon!

One of the events we are planning is Phinney’s Ride. A small group of bike riders traverses 75 miles from Stow MA to Fitzwilliam NH on September 9, 2017. They overnight at a cabin owned by the leading biker and have a fun, quiet night chatting until it’s time to go to sleep. The next day they go 75 miles back to Stow — all this to raise funds for Phinney’s. Each biker signs up to raise at least $500 for us.

20108290_10155541650178684_1535625539890163797_nAre you an avid bike rider? If you’d like to hang out with really cool, animal-loving people who also appreciate biking — all for a good cause — let us know! We are still recruiting.

Believe it or not, despite the hot weather, we are also thinking Holiday Festival. Yes, we are making lots of plans to expand and spruce up our Holiday event on November 12, 2017, at the Pierce House in Lincoln MA, so it will be even more fun and successful.

pawspic-300x300We are approaching lots of people to make unique arts and crafts, so we can provide you with great gifts for family and friends, and we will have all sorts of goodies for Thanksgiving. If you’d like to help us by making candles, kitchen towels, kitty toys or blankets — anything you’d like to contribute to our cause, please jump in!

As you can see, we are keeping busy! But if you’d like to chat with us, have fun and score a bargain in the process, come meet us at our tent at Woofstock in Hudson, on September 23, 2017. We’ll keep our tradition and sell doggie outfits for $5 and dog toys for $2. All brand new products donated by very generous businesses who appreciate our mission to help low-income people and their pets stay together.

Cool, huh? See you then!


Daniela Caride, President of the Board



Periwinkle & Natividad Find Love Again

July 19, 2017

A few months ago, Periwinkle’s dad, James, a Phinney’s client, passed away. Since Phinney’s Friends makes a promise to our regular clients to find a new situation for their pets if they survive their owners, Periwinkle became our responsibility.

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Mr. Periwinkle, looking as regal as ever. 

Poor Peri. He doesn’t like other animals, but our sweet volunteers made all they could to keep him safe, even though the circumstances might not have been ideal for that big boy. The priority was to make sure he could stay in a home until we could find him a new mom or dad.

Thanks to many volunteers who took really good care of him for months, and many households later, Peri was taken to Natividad’s house, another Phinney’s client who had recently lost her beloved kitty, Pinto, to old age.


The lovely Natividad and her sweet kitty, Pinto.

She was devastated and very reluctant to give another cat a chance, as she thought she could never love any other cat as she loved Pinto. Pinto was big, super fluffy and super sweet — a really nice guy. One day our President, Daniela Caride, was browsing some client pictures and when she saw Peri’s face, it clicked. Of course! Fluffy, big guy! He needed a home, and Natividad craved for companionship.

Our volunteers took Peri to Natividad’s home for a visit. But was a visit that turned into a stay right there. He hopped out of the carrier with much confidence and curiosity. He sniffed every inch of the house and plopped himself down, in view of everyone, while Natividad and the volunteers chatted. Natividad said he could stay. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him!

A few days later, Daniela got a call late at night from Natividad. Worried, she picked up the phone thinking something bad had happened. Phew! Natividad inadvertently called Daniela, while playing with her phone! What a clown! Maybe he just wanted to call and say “meow”?

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“Hello? Daniela? It’s me, Peri! Just calling to say ‘hey'”

Longtime friends Daniela and Natividad (Daniela was Pinto’s volunteer for almost a decade) had a nice chat, and Natividad reported she was completely in love with Peri and vice versa. She said the big kitty made himself at home since the first moment he came through the door, and it’s been as if they had known each other since forever. She couldn’t help doing baby talk with Peri while talking to Daniela. So cute!

We were all so happy they found each other. And it really feels good to be able to honor our promise to James and know that Peri is now happy again.

Help Phinney’s on Amazon Prime Day!

July 6, 2017


Amazon Prime Day will run from 9 p.m. ET on July 10 until 3 a.m. ET on July 12. If you plan on getting in on some of the great deals, be sure to shop using and chose Phinney’s Friends as the charity of your choice. A percentage of your purchase will be donated directly to us at no cost to you!

It costs you nothing, but it means everything to the people in pets in need that Phinney’s is dedicated to helping. Happy shopping!!