Marvin and Dr. Finocchi were inspired to help other special needs animals by Kathy Barton, 4th grade teacher from OK, and Xavier the cat. Read their story!
Dr. Finocchio of the R.I. SPCA reflects on life with Marvin and his association with HandicappedPets.com:
On November 1st, 2002 I adopted Marvin, who is a disabled dog from the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter. His first family relinquished him because they no longer had time for him in their lives. His second owner was uncomfortable with his disability and chose to return him to the shelter. Five years have passed since Marvin became my best non-human friend. Keeping up with him is no easy task. In the past five years, he has written a children’s book titled Marvelous Marvin, visited over 90 different nursing homes, hospitals, day care centers, schools, libraries, and summer camp programs in three different states. He is involved in the RISPCA statewide education program and has become a watercolor artist.
Marvin has raised over $90,000 from the proceeds of his book and paintings, becoming the largest contributor to the RISPCA. All proceeds raised by Marvin go into the MARVIN FUND, (www.marvinfund.org) a fund he founded to benefit all creatures great and small in need of food, shelter, and medical attention. The fund also assists the elderly, disabled, and less fortunate with the medical needs of their pets when no one else will. Through the MARVIN FUND, over 800 pets have been assisted.
Marvin and I became Pet Partners in 2003, and it was truly amazing to see how much the elderly people in nursing homes enjoyed his company. Seeing the smiles on their faces is something I will never forget. When he visits the underprivileged children in the inner city, we leave hoping that his message of hope may just change the life of one child. His visits to sick children allow them to forget their illnesses even for a brief time, and when they hear his story, they know there is always hope. Marvin has brought me to places I just heard of but never experienced. Because of him I now look at life much differently than I once did. In looking at the whole picture, Marvin has taught me to be grateful for everything I have in life and not to complain about the little inconveniences of life. He has taught me that regardless of how dark it may get in someone’s life, it doesn’t take much to show them a few rays of light. Imagine learning this from a dog?
Because of Marvin’s popularity it has become increasing difficult for him to visit all the places that ask for him. In hopes of not disappointing those who eagerly awaited his visits, we decided to form Marvin’s Paw Patrol. With the assistance of Mr. Kevin England and Christiana Melton we held Pet Partners certification classes at the RISPCA beginning in Feb. 2005. The program was very successful, and today we have over 10 certified Delta Society Pet Partners who help Marvin make someone’s day a bit brighter. The program is ongoing and we have 15 Pet Partner teams awaiting certification.
My life and that of my entire family has been enhanced by a dog that was rejected twice in his life. He is truly a living example that despite the adversities that come your way in life, you can overcome them. He has shown all of us at the shelter that it takes so very little to make a positive difference in a life, human or animal.
The R.I. SPCA: Who We Are / What We Do
The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) is a private non profit 501 C 3 humane society. We are 138 years old, making us the third oldest humane society in the United States. The society is dedicated to crusading for the rights and welfare of all animals, great and small, through legal, educational, legislative, and investigative means. We are strongly committed to ending pet overpopulation, which is the leading cause of death in animal shelters.
Regardless of the need, whether it be medical, a peaceful ending to their suffering, or just a gentle hand stroking their heads, the mission of the RISPCA is to safeguard the well-being of all creatures, promote education, and protect and advocate for the rights and humane treatment of those who cannot speak for themselves.
At the RISPCA we have an Open Doorpolicy, and we welcome all that come to our door. We accept the weak, the sick, the disabled, the abandoned, the abused and those in need of a second chance. We understand the risk involved in welcoming the sick and abandoned to our shelter, but we feel that the risk in refusing them could be greater.
On a yearly basis we take more than 1,800 animals into our shelter, representing 16 different species. Our overall adoption rate is 88 percent.
We also have a small veterinary clinic to aid pets owned by those less fortunate so that they may keep their pets. Many of the people whobring their pets to our clinic have no one in theirlife but their pets. Through the Marvin Fund, www.marvinfund.org these pets’ medical needs are taken care of.
We are also very proud of our humane education program which is statewide. Many schools and groups plan field trips to our shelter and learn about pet overpopulation, dog bite prevention, pet-owner responsibility, and animal cruelty. For the past four years we have also had a very successful six-week summer camp program where children have a hands-on experience and learn how to coexist with animals, domestic and wild.
Our philosophy is to make things better for both man and beastand toenforce the animal-human bond in a positive way.
“The Best Job in the World”
I have been at the RISPCA almost six years. It is difficult to tell you why I stay. I can tell you that each day is an emotional roller-coaster ride, from tears to joy or vice versa, even for a 65 year-old man. To see a family give up their dog and the child look back as they leave theshelteris heartbreaking. To put to sleep someone’s faithful companion because of the infirmities of old age isa constant reminder to me that some day I will have to say good bye to Marvin and feel the sorrow that I witness. On the other side, adopting out an animal brings joy to the heart of the shelter, as does saving the life of a pet, or helping itso that it can remain with its owner. Visiting those less fortunate with Marvinand seeing the smiles on their faces is so rewarding. I say to myself that I have the best job in the world.I have the opportunity to help both man and beast.
Hopefully I have explained to you who Marvin is. The Marvin Fund was createdwith the hope of giving others a second chance. Marvin was rejected twice and as you know, hehas a minor disability. His story is one of hope and of never giving up in life. Marvin came close to being euthanized and that would certainly have been a huge loss. He represents millions of dogs in shelters throughout the United States who are anxiously waiting to find a loving home. There certainly are more Marvin’s out there – all you need to do is look.
Helping Handicapped Pets
In regard to Marvin helping handicapped pets, it is something close to him becausefor three years he could not bear weight on his right hind limb. Chasing a tennis ball is one of the things Marvin loves to do, and it is difficult to do it on three legs. Mobility is very important to dogs from what Marvin tells me, so it was his wish to help those with mobility problems get a second chance. His partnership with HandicappedPets was meant to be, and we only regret we cannot do more. [Dr. Finocchio and Marvin have contributed to Kathy Barton’s yearly campaign to help handicapped pets after seeing a cat, Xavier, at the RISPCA receive a wheelchair through Kathy’s class.] Our pets are always there forus, and in times of need we have to be there for them. In saying that, my personal philosophy and that of Marvin’s, is that we both believe in life, but we believe more in the quality of life, and we both believe that holding onto a pet and not letting go at the right time is not fair to the pet.
Sugar Bear was the first recipient from Marvin.
From: EjFinocchio, D.V.M. and Marvin
I just informed Sugar Bear that he was the first recipient of a MarvinMobile Machine, lol,not exactly.Please feel free to contact them and proceed without haste.Hopefully if all goes well we will be able to touch the lives of many othersand give them a second chance. We truly appreciate the opportunity to share our good fortune with those less fortunate.Marvin sends his best.
EjFinocchio, D.V.M. and Marvin
Our next recipient, Nico.
Just a note to let you know that after looking over all the applications and with the help of HandicappedPets, I have decided to join up with you and give Nico his second chance. Despite the fact that he has some age, so don’t all of us, he appears to be in good physical condition and has the will. I never gave up hope being given twice for doing nothing wrong and I see that hope in Nico’s pictures.It appears he has a tremendous support team and for these reasons, Nico is my choice to get a Marvelous Marvin Moving Machine.
So in closing from one dog to another, I wish you the very best Nico.