Henry’s Helping Paws Fund is named in
honor of Pennsylvania State Senator Andrew Dinniman’s and his wife Margo
Dinniman’s canine friend, Henry. Henry was their beloved Standard Poodle who
passed away in 2014. He was a local celebrity in the Senator’s home district and
regularly appeared in parades and at countless community events. He inspired
Senator Dinniman to champion many pieces of animal legislation.
Following Henry’s passing, the Senator and his wife wanted to do something for
others less fortunate to honor the canine companion who had captured their
hearts. Being a strong advocates for senior citizens and disabled persons, Senator Dinniman and Margo
took their love of Henry and their passion for helping others and the concept
for Henry’s Helping Paws Fund was born. They then partnered with the Pennsylvania
Veterinary Foundation (PVF), the charitable arm of the Pennsylvania Veterinary
Medical Association to move the concept to implementation as a program.
Henry's Helping Paws Fund has launched!
In addition to our launch event at Hope Veterinary Specialists in Malvern, our first food delivery took place on March 17. Senator Dinniman, along with members of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Foundation, and Jeani Purcell from Meals on Wheels delivered food to Mr. Harvey Phillips.
Phillips, 83, has difficulty leaving his home due to a disability. A Korean War veteran and widower, Phillips said he was grateful for the visit and meals provided first to him and now to his pets through Meals on Wheels and “Henry’s Fund.” Phillips has a 7 –year-old black toy poodle named Inky, as well as a cat, Samuel, which both received complimentary food through the program.
It has been repeatedly shown that having a pet can significantly benefit a
senior’s physical and psychological health. Through Henry’s Helping Paws Fund, the
Foundation recognizes and celebrates the important role that pets play in the
lives of these individuals.
Although there is a constant focus on the cost of veterinary care, the most
significant expense associated with having a pet over the course of their life
is the cost of food. For this reason, the initial goal of Henry’s Helping Paws Fund is to
provide pet food to seniors who are unable to obtain assistance from traditional
sources of help such as pet food banks because they are physically unable to get
to those locations. The Foundation has partnered with the Department of Aging to
identify both Meals on Wheels chapters and senior centers who are able to
deliver food to these individuals. Through these partnerships, our goal is help
seniors keep their pets and remain in their homes.
Although it is easy to focus on the many heart-warming benefits that Henry’s Helping Paws Fund provides, the initiative also provides very practical benefits to our
state and our community. There is a widespread movement towards helping seniors
receive care through community programs rather then moving to senior centers.
Reasons for this include comfort and familiarity, better healing, access to
pets, and financial health benefits.
Researchers have shown that caring for seniors in their home cost one third as
much as caring for them in nursing homes. That equates to healthier and happier
seniors and a savings of as much as $20,000 per year per senior.
You can help
Chester County seniors and disabled persons and their pets stay together at home while getting the
food that they need.
Want to get involved?
Want to find out how you can help make Henry’s Helping Paws Fund a success? Send us your
name, address (optional), phone number and email address.