As we continue to develop our Community Resource Guides, one of our goals is to include providers and programs designed to help people overcome challenging situations. One of these programs is Phinney’s Friends, an all-volunteer nonprofit established to help people going through hardships keep their pets. Founded in 1996, Phinney’s Friends started as an MSPCA program to help people living with HIV and AIDS in the Boston area keep their pets. Over the next two decades they grew and expanded their capabilities, adding a pet pantry, emergency services, and other supports to income-eligible families throughout Massachusetts.
Today Phinney’s Friends provides a wide range of services for their clients. According to Phinney’s Friends President Daniela Caride, “We help 60 families on a regular basis with ongoing care, as well as hundreds of other families and pets whom we help once, with pet emergencies. The people we support with immediate needs may, say, need a one-time donation of pet food, so the person can get by while looking for a job. Some people need vet visits, surgery or tests for their pets when they suddenly get sick. Some may even need temporary fostering for their beloved pets while they themselves are hospitalized or looking for housing.” To learn more about the services Phinney’s Friends provides and how to apply, go to PhinneysFriends.org/resources.
As part of their 20th anniversary celebration, Phinney’s Friends launched the Sponsor-a-Pet program where donors can make recurring contributions to support pets in need with food and veterinary care throughout the year. “People are very excited about the possibility of sponsoring some of the pets that we help who need the most support,” says Daniela. “The sponsored pets are animals who need more support than the average Phinney’s Friends client. So, for instance, a certain pet may have a chronic illness that requires constant purchase of medications, tests, vet visits or prescription foods, which can get very expensive very quickly. Through the Sponsor a Pet Program we have been able to offer more support by providing them with additional assistance.”
Phinney’s Friends also has opportunities for volunteers who love people and pets that are looking to get involved. In addition to the regular services provided by Phinney’s Friends volunteers, they also host events throughout the year where volunteers and the community come together to support people and their pets. “Volunteering for Phinney’s is a wonderful experience,” says Daniela. “We get to help people and pets at the same time and prevent pets who have wonderful families from ending up in the shelter system. One of the best things about volunteering is getting the hugs, calls and cards with heartfelt thank you’s from the people we helped. My favorite thing, though, are the pictures we receive of the pets we were able to save and protect. I just feel like I know them all and that makes me feel so good.” To learn more about volunteering for Phinney’s Friends, go to PhinneysFriends.org/volunteer.