People helping animals help people – that is the vision of New England Arts for Animals, a grassroots foundation inspired by the passion of its founder.
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Not long ago, creativity coach Jane Pollak asked me about my life, my passions. She wanted to help me find a focus for my business and personal life. After my divorce, I didn’t have the time or money to devote to causes about which I feel very deeply. I felt a need to give, but I thought that all I had to offer was my art. I felt trapped – I had a daughter to raise, two dogs to care for, a relationship to mourn, a new life to begin, and a business to keep afloat. By the time I was done with Jane that day, I was focused on my lifelong passion for animals – therapy and companion animals in particular – and my love of painting, especially watercolor.
It was then that Jane challenged me to come up with a vision for a foundation inspired by my love of animals, and art, and New England Arts for Animals was born.
With thousands of injured soldiers, so many children living with illnesses like autism, and the eventuality of us all having to deal with the physical and psychological challenges of old age, the need for therapy animals has never been greater. The companionship, protection, and guidance they provide for their owners empower them with more confidence and independence than they would have on their own.
Dogs, cats, horses, and other assistance animals must meet stringent requirements before they can be certified for therapy and companion work. The necessary training makes them very costly, and many needy families cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for an animal. Programs that train and place both domestic animals and wildlife for therapy are desperate for funding. Some shelter animals are candidates for assistance work, which can give purpose to the life of an animal that might otherwise not find a home. It is a win-win situation – if there is sufficient funding to create these winners.
Helping people and animals in your community gives you the chance to see your donation at work. The benefits to the people who fund us are nearly as great as those brought by the animals they support.
Jill Flynne is Founder and President of NEAFA. Her artwork captures the unique color, movement, and spiritual presence in nature. Her designs adorn greeting cards, gift bags, and hardcover books by Gooseberry Patch and story coloring books in English and Spanish. She creates custom tile backsplashes and murals, and manufactures her artwork onto ceramics, handbags, tile trays, and other home décor pieces. These latter pieces are sold in Hallmarks, Coldwater Creek, and other fine gift stores around the country, such as the Boston Harbor Hotel. Her paintings hang in homes worldwide. Her home portraits have been featured in South Shore Magazine and she was the winning artist in the 2005 Flower Show at the South Shore Natural Science Center. She is also the pastel pet portrait artist for the In the Company of Dogs catalog.
Go to Jill Flynne Designs