It’s Hip to Snip on the ARL’s Spay Waggin’!

Learn about the ARL’s largest community spay/neuter program

The ARL’s mobile Spay Waggin’ is our largest community spay and neuter program, bringing affordable, accessible, and – most importantly – high quality spay and neuter services to pet owners in Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod every month.

community spay program coordinator

The ARL’s Cheryl Traversi welcomes a new patient onto the Spay Waggin’.

As the longest running mobile spay and neuter clinic in Massachusetts, the staff on the Spay Waggin’ has been building their expertise providing mobile veterinary care since 2000.

Staffed by an ARL veterinarian and two certified veterinary technicians, the Spay Waggin’ follows the same high-level of surgical protocols as a stationary clinic and your pet’s comfort and well-being is the top priority.

Through the years, the  community reach and involvement has continued to develop, and 2014 was no exception.

Just ask Cheryl Traversi, shelter & community veterinary medicine program coordinator at the ARL.

She describes 2014 as the “best, feel-good year yet” for the Spay Waggin’. Thanks to the generosity of supporters, over 3,900 cats and dogs received spay or neuter services and other veterinary care.

The Spay Waggin’ also formed very important partnerships with the Massachusetts Animal Fund, a tax-funded spay/neuter program, as well as many local and city town officials and animal control officers. With help from new partners, the mobile program reached deeper into the local communities to help pet owners in financial need and prevent animal homelessness.

community spay program

ARL shelter veterinarian Dr. Kyle Quigley assisting a patient during last week’s Commonwealth Fix.

Last week, the Spay Waggin’ participated in the Massachusetts Animal Fund’s Commonwealth Fix, a push to spay or neuter more than 500 cats and dogs statewide in one week.  Stationed in Brockton, the Spay Waggin’ welcomed a steady stream of clients who qualified for special spay and neuter vouchers offered by the Massachusetts Animal Fund.

To learn more about the Spay Waggin’, visit

IT’S HIP TO SNIP SPECIAL THANKS! As we wind down our “It’s Hip to Snip” spay/neuter awareness campaign, we wanted to once again thank our media partners Clear Channel Outdoor, The Pet Gazette, 98.5 The Sports Hub, WEEI, WRKO, and WZLX for sharing the benefits of spay and neuter for pets, people, and the community with your readers and listeners.

We also wanted to thank the Ellen B. Gray Memorial Fund who challenged us to triple a $5,000 donation and raise $15K in 15-days for spay and neuter programs during our “It’s Hip to Snip” fund drive.  You inspired us and donors across the state to support programs such as the Spay Waggin’ that prevent animal homelessness!

And of course, thank you to supporters like you who donated during the fund drive and helped spread the word that it’s hip to snip!

hip to snip spay neuter sticker


Meet the 2015 ARL Boston Marathon Team!

Our 5th Run with a John Hancock Boston Marathon Charity Team

Boston Marathon sponsor JH

Thank you to Boston Marathon sponsor John Hancock for including the ARL in the 2015 charity bib program!

Thanks to the generosity of the John Hancock Nonprofit Program, four inspired marathoners – Chris Aronis, Mal Malme, Scott Shapiro, and Alexis Sheehan – are hitting the ground running to raise money for animals in need at the ARL ahead of this year’s Boston Marathon.

Each year, Marathon sponsor John Hancock awards a limited number of runner’s bibs to select non-profit organization in Massachusetts.  To qualify for a charity bib, runners apply to the non-profit they care about most, explaining how they will raise money to support the organization’s work.

We’re very excited to introduce the members of the 2015 ARL Boston Marathon team who have two very big goals – to raise over $30,000 and finish the grueling 26.2 mile course!

Learn more about why our team members chose to run for animal welfare and how you can support them below….

Chris Aronis boston marathon team

Meet ARL Boston Marathon Charity Team runner Chris Aronis and his Boston terrier pal.

Meet Chris

“My family has forever been lovers of rescue animals – cats, dogs, and the occasional lost creature in the wild. The cause of ensuring that every pet is safe, care for, and ultimately has a forever home is near and dear to us.”

Support Chris at

Boston marathon runner Mal Malme

ARL Boston Marathon team runner Mal Malme with a sleepy canine supporter.

Meet Mal

“My experiences as a volunteer at ARL, working alongside staff to enrich the lives of the dogs at the shelter, and helping to ensure they get adopted into loving homes, has made my life immeasurably more meaningful. Now I get to say thank you by running the 2015 Boston Marathon with Team ARL!”

Support Mal at

boston marathon runner scott

ARL Boston Marathon team runner Scott Shapiro at home with his personal cheering squad.

Meet Scott

“I’m running the Boston Marathon in memory of our first dog Gizmo and to honor everything ARL does to support our city’s animals.”

Support Scott at

boston marathon runner Alexis Sheehan

ARL Boston Marathon runner Alexis Sheehan getting a pawsitive post-run pup talk from her canine pal.

Meet Alexis

“Why I am running the Boston marathon? I was born to run this race.  I love animals and I love running.  It just doesn’t get any better than this for a runner or a human with a heart.”

Support Alexis at

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to the dedicated runners on our 2015 Boston Marathon team!  Through sleet, snow, ice, and bitter cold this winter, our four team members have trained hard and worked tirelessly to raise money for animals in our community.

Show your support for team members by making a donation to an individual runner or on the ARL Boston Marathon Team fundraising page at



Thank You to Media Partners Who Say It’s Hip to Snip!

Media partners help spread the word

media partners high five

High five paw to all of our media partners who helped spread the word during our “It’s Hip to Snip” campaign!

During our “It’s Hip to Snip” campaign, several media partners stepped forward to help spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering your pet.

Please put your paws together for Clear Channel Outdoor, The Pet Gazette, 98.5 The Sports Hub, WEEI, WRKO, and WZLX for sharing the benefits of spay and neuter for pets, people, and the community with your readers and listeners.

THANK YOU! Your help spreading the word will go along way towards increasing spay/neuter rates in Massachusetts and preventing animal homelessness.

media partners thank you


Thank You Spring Cat Food Drive Donors!

Excellent turnout to support Boston’s homeless cats

cat food drive

Thank you to everyone who donated cat food during our Spring Cat Food Drive!

Thank you to everyone who dropped off cat food during our Spring cat food drive last weekend!

A steady stream of supporters brought in bags and bags of dry food, and case upon case of wet food to help Boston’s homeless cats.

All cat food donations collected during the drive went directly to feral cat caretakers in Boston.

These caretakers feed feral cats living in areas around the city on a daily basis.  They often cover the cost of providing large quantities of food at their own expense.

Your donations of food last weekend will make a huge difference in caring for animals in your community. 



ARL Assisting Bridgewater PD Dog Investigation

Providing Forensic Assistance in Breaking Case

Bridgewater Police today release information about two deceased pit bull-type dogs found on Sunday, March 15, by a local resident out walking his dogs.   Both dogs had wounds on different parts of their bodies that could be consistent with dog fighting, though their origin has not yet been confirmed.

The Police turned to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL)  for forensic assistance to determine potential causes of the wounds.  The ARL will provide findings from the necropsy of the two dogs to the Bridgewater Police within the next several days.

In the meantime, anyone with information about this case should immediately contact the Bridgewater Police Department at (508) 697-6118.

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING – Because 4 out of 5 cases of animal cruelty go undiscovered, the public plays a critical role in prevention.  Thank you to the concerned citizen who contacted police after finding the two deceased dogs.

You saw something.  You said something.  And it made a difference in your community.



Spay Waggin’ Clients Say It’s Hip to Snip

294 Cats and Dogs Spayed and Neutered in February

neuter numbers and clientsIn spite of the almost weekly snow storms, dedicated pet owners in Southeastern Massachusetts braved the elements to get their cats and dogs spayed or neutered on the ARL’s Spay Waggin’ in February.

February’s spay and neuter total: 294 cats and dogs!

Too many cats and dogs in Massachusetts don’t have homes.  When you spay or neuter your pet, you help prevent this problem.

THANK YOU to all the pet owners who became part of the solution in February!

It’s Hip to Snip Spay/Neuter Fact The Spay Waggin’ offers high quality, affordable spay and neuter services to clients in financial need. The Spay Waggin’s veterinarians and vet technicians have successfully performed more than 40,000 surgeries and are dedicated to ensuring clients have a full understanding of post-care procedures before they take their pets home.




Spring into Action: Cat Food Drive

Two-day cat food drive to help feed homeless cats in Boston

cat food drive

Help spread the word! Share this graphic with your followers on twitter to let them know how they can help feral cats in Boston this weekend.

Help feed homeless cats in Boston by donating unopened wet or dry cat food during the ARL’s Spring Cat Food Drive this weekend!

Saturday and Sunday
March 14-15, 10 am – 2 pm

Drop Off Location:
Lobby of ARL’s Boston Shelter
10 Chandler Street, Boston, MA

Free on-site parking!

Every day, a dedicated group of concerned citizens feed feral cats living in areas around the city. This group covers the cost of providing large quantities of food often at their own expense.

All cat food donations collected during the drive will go directly to feral cat caretakers in Boston, as well as ARL foster volunteers who provide one-on-one care to cats recovering from surgery or re-acclimating to life in a home prior to adoption.

As a special thank you for your kindness, everyone who donates food during the cat food drive this weekend will receive an ARL pet emergency pack, while supplies last.

SPREAD THE WORD: Share news about the ARL’s Spring Cat Food Drive with family and friends!  Let them know how they can help animals in need!



Dog Rescue – Pulled from Icy Stream

ARL Rescue Team on the scene to help

Thanks to fast efforts from his caregiver, park rangers, and the ARL’s rescue services team, a family dog is warming up after he realized a little too late that it wasn’t a good day for a swim.

Energized by the warmer temperatures and sun as he was playing at West Roxbury’s Millennium Park on Tuesday afternoon, the happy-go-lucky dog decided to take a dip in the inviting stream running on the outskirts of the park.

icy dog rescue after

ARL senior rescue technician Danielle Genter gave the chilly dog a towel rub down after his rescue from a stream.

After one pass across the stream, he decided that the water was just a little too cold for his liking.  Unfortunately, an icy shelf stood between him and dry land, and he seemed none to eager to swim back across.  Searchers found him hanging on the icy shelf waiting for help.

Working alongside the dog’s caregiver, Boston Park Rangers, and the Boston Police, senior rescue technician Danielle Genter extended a catch-pole across the narrow stream to grab hold of the dog.

The grateful pup got the picture and allowed Danielle to move him off the ice, back across the water, and on to solid ground.  He hopped right in to the awaiting warm vehicle to get a towel rub down.

The dog appears to be doing well and our rescue team recommended he get a check-up with his veterinarian to make sure all was well.

With fluctuating temperatures, the snow and ice are definitely starting to melt! While this is a happy sign that Spring is just around the corner, it’s also a sign to stay alert with your pet.

Keep your dog on a leash and if you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember ice is not always uniformly thick or stable.  In addition to the dangers of falling through thin ice, also remember dogs don’t consider the water temperature before bounding in for a swim.  For more winter pet health and safety tips, visit

SPECIAL THANKS to Boston Park Ranger Sergeant Al Hurd and the Boston Police Department who provided help and assistance to our rescue team today!


Spring Cleaning Idea #1: Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Prevent disease and keep your pet’s teeth healthy with a dental cleaning

We’re starting the countdown to the official first day of spring with some cleaning ideas of our own to get you and your pet ready to celebrate the fresh air and warmer weather!

Speaking of fresh, is that how you would describe your pet’s breath?  Unfortunately, your pet’s stinky breath may not just be the result of eating a smelly dinner or treat.  In fact, bad breath can be a sign of serious dental problems.

Here are the top 5 most common symptoms of dental disease in pets:

  1. Bad breath
  2. Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  3. Loose teeth
  4. Reluctance or difficulty eating
  5. The build up of yellowish-brown plaque-like deposits and tartar on the teeth
greg pet's teeth

ARL adoptable Greg is smiling for spring! Come meet him at our Boston shelter.

Bacteria, plaque, and tartar can build up on your pet’s teeth, causing bad breath, gingivitis, tooth loss, and infections. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three.

Same as for people, the best way to prevent dental problems in your pet is to have regular dental cleanings and brush their teeth.  To inspire a Spring dental cleaning, our Boston Veterinary Care clinic is offering 25% off dental cleanings this month.

Learn more about 25% off dental cleaning promotion

The veterinarians at Boston Veterinary Care suggest routine at-home dental care should include daily teeth brushing and adding a dental diet to food.  In their experience, most dogs and cats will learn to sit for dental brushing when properly trained and encouraged.  Choose a toothpaste made for pets- human toothpaste cannot be used on pets because of the fluoride and/or sweeteners in them – in animal-favorite flavors such as beef, poultry, and fish.

So talk to your veterinarian today about a dental cleaning and make your pet’s teeth sparkle in the sun this Spring!

To book an appointment for a dental cleaning with Boston Veterinary Care with Boston Veterinary Care, visit

Who’s the fuzzy man smiling in the picture at the top of this page?  That’s ARL adoptable Bear who is rarely seen without a smile!  Come meet him at our Boston shelter.


It’s Hip to Snip! Helping Feral Cats in Greater Boston

How Spaying and Neutering Feral Cats Prevents Animal Homelessness

Do you know a “neighborhood cat?” Maybe there’s a familiar feline around the city streets near your work or around your block? One that you see roaming around abandoned buildings, restaurants or dumpsters?

Often these cats are known as “feral.”  They have either lived for an extended period of time with little or no human contact or away from human contact long enough to revert to a wild state.  As a result, they cannot easily adapt back to living indoors with people as pets.

feral cat clinic volunteer

A volunteer checks on a feral cat waking up from spay/neuter surgery during a Fall ARL Fix-A-Feral clinic

Sometimes these cats have been abandoned or put outside by previous owners.  Other times they are the offspring of stray or other feral cats.

While ferals tend to avoid human contact because they aren’t properly socialized, they often live in cat colonies in close proximity to humans.  Especially during the winter when food supplies can be scarce, they frequently rely on people to provide them with food.  Dedicated volunteers around the state feed, monitor, and support many – but not all – colonies.

“There are several feral cat colonies all around Massachusetts,” says Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations. “These colonies grow in numbers when owned cats who are not spayed or neutered are put outdoors or abandoned.  Their offspring have offspring, the cycle continues, and the number of feral cats grows.”

Spaying and neutering feral cats is an important part of solving the problem of animal homelessness.

According to Maryann, “studies have shown that humanely trapping, spaying/neutering, and releasing–or what people in animal welfare call ‘TNR’–feral cats back to the colonies where they have been living is one of the most effective ways to decrease the number of homeless animals in our community.”

feral cat friendly

The ARL evaluates all cats during the clinic to find “friendlies,” stray cats who could re-adjust to living with people as pets.

Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor in 2013, the ARL launched Fix-a-Feral clinics to spay and neuter feral cats in Greater Boston.   During the clinics, cats receive a behavioral screening to identify any “friendlies,” stray cats who have more recently joined a colony.  With support from our shelter staff, the friendlies have a very good chance of getting used to living indoors with people again and finding a new home.

In addition to getting spayed or neutered, cats going through the clinic also receive vaccines and other medical attention as necessary.

In 2014, over 250 feral cats in the greater Boston area came through our TNR clinics.  Our Spay Waggin’ also spays and neuters feral cats on the South Shore and Cape Cod, where sizable colonies also exist.

This winter has been especially hard on feral cats in our community, and you can help!

  • Donate cat food for feral cat caretakers during our Cat Food Drive on March 14 and 15
  • Learn how to build a warm and protective feral cat shelter
  • Volunteer during an ARL Fix-a-Feral clinic this spring

IT’S HIP TO SNIP SPAY/NEUTER FACT: In one year, an unspayed female cat can have as many as 6 litters of kittens.   Spay/neuter efforts for feral animals not only decrease the number of homeless animals born each year, but they also reduce or eliminate unwanted “nuisance” behaviors such as fighting, yowling, and spraying.