The story of a dog rescued from a tenant farm and given a second chance
You might remember Bear…a three-year-old Mastiff-mix who became the first animal adopted after Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) officials responded to the Westport Farm incident last July which resulted in more than 1,400 animals being rescued.
Bear’s amazing transformation.
The case has since become the greatest example of animal cruelty in New England history. Bear is much more than a survivor—He is a thriver.
When he arrived at the ARL, Bear suffered from anxiety and poor socialization. As I write these words, I can’t help but think…’Well…obviously. Anyone would.’ He was shaken, and rightfully so. After weeks with ARL staff, he regained his confidence and found a new home with Angela and Adam. That’s the part of the story you might know already. But Bear’s life and the impact he has made on his new family is truly inspiring.
“Bear has brought love and a new sense of purpose for me,” said Adam. “I want to help him lead the best life he could possibly lead. He’s a dog, he is a completely good creature, so of course I would do anything for him.”
After Bear’s past suffering and subsequent rehabilitation, Adam’s words truly resonate.
Settling into his new home was not smooth sailing for Bear right away. “When we first adopted him he seemed to not enjoy much of anything,” said Angela, “he was always too nervous to really get involved.” At first, he struggled with car rides and simple relaxation around his new owners. But over time, these anxieties melted away through a mix of positive reinforcement, routine, and even ARL dog training classes.
Besides behavior issues, Bear’s bowels also presented problems early on, with Angela and Adam trying half a dozen brands of food. Angela now makes his food herself, and she has noticed a tremendous difference. “His bowels are normal now, he isn’t a constant gassy mess, he is better hydrated and seems sharper mentally,” she said. “It’s taken a lot of my time but it’s probably the best thing I’ve done for him, and now that I know what I’m doing every batch is easier.”
Bear still gets anxious around new people. “This fear has often been an issue since he lives in such a populated area and Bear is such a handsome dog, everyone wants to interact with him!” Angela said. “People seem to often think that dogs are objects for human enjoyment, and feel somehow offended when you stop them from petting your dog. I wish there was more conversation and education about rescue dogs, especially ones adopted when they are adults.”
Bear relaxing and waiting for a belly rub.
While Bear has now adjusted to his new home, Angela also acknowledges his impact on her and Adam. “Bear has definitely reduced the anxiety in our household,” she said. “We both have pretty high-stress jobs and having Bear is the best, most relaxing thing to come home to. No matter what happened that day we have to come home, take the dog on a walk and are compelled to love and care for him. He has brought me a lot of education and friendships.”
One thing often lost in adoption stories is the impact on the adopters. It’s clear that Bear is loved and well-taken care of, but the drastic effect he has had on his adopters is also worth noting.
Pets make so many homes, lives, and families complete. As we look back on Westport, it’s easy to see hopelessness and distress. Look closer and you’ll see Bear and animals like him, who were given another chance and took it with four paws!
Why YOUR Support Matters
Your support helps animals like Bear to find safe and healthy homes, even when it seems bleak.
Be a champion for animals. Visit arlboston.org to learn more about the organization, ways to get involved, and how to support animal welfare in Massachusetts.
With your help, anything is possible.
Just ask Bear…
Meet Lars and Bryan Adams!
With strong support and encouragement from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), in October 2016 Governor Charlie Baker made significant changes to Massachusetts state regulations, which included reducing the rabies quarantine period for shelter animals from six to four months. In the years to come, this change will have a tremendous positive impact on shelters throughout the Commonwealth, and ARL has already seen the effect – Which brings us to Lars and Bryan Adams.
Besides off-the-charts cuteness factors, Lars and Bryan Adams have several other things in common. On the same day in early December 2016, Lars was brought as a stray from Jamaica Plain to ARL’s Boston shelter; Bryan Adams was found as a stray in Eastham and brought to ARL’s Brewster shelter.
Both cats were injured: For Lars it was a pair of ugly wounds on his left hip, while Bryan suffered from a swollen and infected right front paw – both injuries were consistent with altercations with another cat.
The cats immediately entered the four-month quarantine period, just in case either animal engaged with a cat that was rabid, and transmitted the virus to Lars or Bryan. The handsome boys were treated with antibiotics and pain medication, and their wounds quickly healed. Both were isolated and received regular veterinary check-ups to see if they had been infected.
Lars (L) and Bryan Adams began their four-month quarantine period in December 2016. The average cost for a four-month quarantine is about $1,500.
Why the Regulation Changes Help Shelters AND Animals
The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians issued new recommendations in the 2016 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention, advising the reduction of quarantine periods to four months. Why the reduction? Because evidence shows that animals in isolation for an extended period of six months can become stressed and depressed, even with regular human socialization.
Reducing the quarantine period also allow shelters like ARL to help more animals and ease financial constraints. From food, shelter to veterinary care, the average costs for a four-month quarantine are roughly $1,500, or $375 per month. The two-month reduction adds up to a $750 savings per animal.
“Overall the quarantine reduction does make a big difference,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “Four months is still well beyond our normal shelter length of stay so still requires extra measures such as office foster, but the two-month reduction does have a significant impact on how many rabies quarantine animals we’re able to care for.”
Ready to Go Home
Neither Lars or Bryan Adams have shown no evidence of a rabies infection, their wounds are healed, and with the quarantine period over, are ready to find their forever homes!
UPDATE: Certainly not a surprise, both Bryan and Lars were adopted quickly and are enjoying their new homes!
Extended Care Needs Extra Support
When an animal is under a four-month quarantine, space is extremely limited, and special measures need to be taken. Along with regular checks by veterinary staff for signs of rabies, because the animal is in isolation, extra efforts need to be made by volunteers, staff and foster parents to spend time with the animal, keep them calm and give them love. While reduced quarantine periods save ARL shelters time and money, the costs for a four-month quarantine are still about $1,500 per animal, which is why we appreciate and continue to ask YOU for your support to allow us to help more animals in need.
Normally an indoor cat, on Sunday one-year-old August decided to dash outside to check out her Taunton neighborhood, and on Monday her owner’s family located her — stuck and scared near the top of a 50-foot tree.
After three days of being in the tree and showing no signs of being able to climb down herself, neighbors had called around for help but to no avail, and finally contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services. Once on-scene and surrounded by a throng of bystanders, Manager of Rescue Services Brian O’Conner and Senior Rescue Technician Bill Tanguay assessed the situation, keeping in mind that action had to be taken quickly as August continued to climb and move around on the tiny branches.
“The tree she was in was skinny especially near the top, and wouldn’t be able to bear a lot of weight, so we decided that climbing an adjacent tree would be the best course, with the hopes that she would come to us,” Tanguay said.
August has nowhere to go.
Rescue Manager Brian O'Conner.
Senior Rescue Technician Bill Tanguay gearing up for a climb.
August starts to figure out that ARL is her ticket out of this tree!
How am I going to do this?
August mirroring the poster "Hang in there Baby!"
Not quite ready to go into the cat carrier.
Giving August a calming scratch.
Tanguay geared up and climbed the tree next to where August was, and she quickly realized that ARL was her ticket to get out of the situation. Not only becoming increasingly vocal, August also displayed her kitty nimbleness, using a number of slow and methodic moves to descend about 10 feet to get within reach of her rescuer.
“This rescue was more difficult than most,” Tanguay said. “We couldn’t get to where the cat was, but we got lucky and she saw us as her lifeline so the cat did the work and came to us.”
After climbing around Tanguay’s head and shoulders, August was placed in a protective carrier and enjoyed the slow repel to the ground and of course being reunited with her family.
“The Animal Rescue (of Boston) is the best, and he (Tanguay) is the bravest man I’ve ever seen!” exclaimed one bystander.
Who You Gonna Call?
ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts that has a technically-trained rescue team that responds to animal-related emergencies and rescue situations. If you need help for an animal, please call (617) 426-9170, then hit “1” for Animal Rescue Services. The ARL receives no government or public funding to help animals distressed, YOU make our work possible.
After months of training our runners are ready to take on 26.2 miles for animals in need!
You can show your support for ARL’s Boston Marathon Team by:
1. Donating to the team to help them reach their goal of $30,000 by visiting https://www.crowdrise.com/ARLBoston2017
2. Tracking their race progress by using their bib numbers at http://raceday.baa.org/individual.html
Erin – 29857
Jonathan – 29840
Brianna – 30302
Max – 29722
Venkat – 28822
3. Joining us in Coolidge Corner near Marion Street to cheer for our runners as they near the finish line
A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to the dedicated runners on our 2017 Boston Marathon team!
Thank you to Boston Marathon sponsor John Hancock for including the ARL in the 2017 charity bib program!
ARL Programs Saturate the Airwaves as Featured Charity in March for WBZ Cares
As we head into April and the start of spring, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to take a moment to thank WBZ Radio 1030 for choosing ARL as a part of WBZ Cares, a public service initiative that showcases the hard work and dedication of local nonprofit organizations.
ARL on NightSide with Dan Rea
Every week during March, award-winning journalist Kim Tunnicliffe presented reports highlighting the programs and services related to ARL’s mission, such as law enforcement, special community initiatives, shelter operations, volunteering, and more! WBZ also ran ARL public service announcements that rotated throughout the day, and ARL’s President Mary Nee and Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services Dr. Edward Schettino were also live in-studio with WBZ mainstay Dan Rea.
WBZ’s massive audience, coupled with its history and stellar reputation in the Boston market made it the perfect vehicle to broadcast ARL’s mission to animal lovers throughout the Commonwealth.
If you didn’t get a chance to hear any of the segments during March, please click on the links below!
3/1/17 – Listen to ARL’s President Mary Nee talk about our history and mission.
3/8/17 – Listen to ARL’s Associate Director of Shelter Operations, Caitlin Tomlinson talk about caring for animals, both in and out of the shelter environment.
3/15/17 – Listen to ARL Veterinarian Dr. Kyle Quigley, and ARL’s Associate Director of Community Services, Cheryl Traversi, who talk about community services.
3/17/17 – Listen to ARL’s President Mary Nee, and ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, Dr. Edward Schettino, who were live in-studio as special guests on NightSide with Dan Rea!
3/22/17 – Listen to ARL’s Associate Director of Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal talk about ARL’s role in keeping animals safe and ensuring that those who harm animals are brought to justice.
3/29/17 – Listen to ARL’s Associate Director of Volunteer Services, Debby Vogel, and Volunteer Betsy Jones, who talk about the important work that’s being done by the organization’s 500+ volunteers.
The reports on WBZ show the reach of ARL and our work is only made possible through the generosity of our donors, so please click the icon below to help us continue to be an unwavering champion for animals in need.
THANK YOU once again to WBZ Radio, for selecting ARL as charity-of-the-month for March 2017!
RW David Backes Shows Passion for Animal Welfare
As the Boston Bruins continue to prepare for a playoff run, this week several players took some time during an off-day to visit the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston shelter and showed that while tough on the ice, RW David Backes, RW Drew Stafford, Defensemen Torey Krug and Colin Miller have a soft spot when it comes to animals.
During the players’ visit which included Backes’ wife Kelly, they toured ARL’s Boston shelter, cuddled up with number of our animals looking for their forever homes, and learned more about ARL’s programs and services.
Bruins players visit ARL.
David Backes (L) and Colin Miller interact with ARL's adoptable animals.
Small animals need love too! David Backes poses with Mushroom.
Colin Miller says hello to Roo.
Colin Miller gets a little cuddle time with Roo.
Roo is popular! Torey Krug cradles the adorable lab/pit bull mix.
“Being relatively new to Boston, it was great meeting the animals and staff, I was very impressed with the work that’s being done (at ARL); it was wonderful learning more about the Animal Rescue League (of Boston),” said Kelly Backes.
For the Backes’, animal welfare has been a passion for more than a decade, culminating with the formation of Athletes for Animals, an organization that unites athletes for a common cause.
“As athletes we have a public platform and because animals are a passion for my wife and I, I wanted to use that platform to educate and inform as many people as possible about animal welfare,” said Backes.
With a number of rescue animals already at home, David is the go-to guy in the locker room for teammates with animal questions, and as seen with this week’s visit to ARL, he’s sharing his compassion with fellow Bruins and able to demonstrate the life-changing magic that comes with helping an animal in need.
You too can be a champion for animals, and you don’t have to have puck-handling skills or even be able to skate backwards to do so! From volunteering, fostering or donating (just to name a few), there are many ways to help ARL fulfill its vision to keep animals safe and healthy in the communities where they live. Click here to get involved!
UPDATE: Attorney General Announces Indictments for 27 Individuals in New England’s Largest Animal Cruelty Case
In July 2016, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, staff, volunteers, along with other humane organizations and law enforcement departments, helped remove more than 1,400 animals living in unimaginable conditions on a 70-acre property in Westport, MA.
Westport, July 2016.
What followed was the largest animal cruelty investigation in New England history, and today Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced the indictments of 27 people facing a collective 151 counts of animal cruelty.
The indictment returned by a Statewide Grand Jury on Thursday is the result of a collaborative investigation involving ARL, Westport Police, Massachusetts Environmental Police, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
ARL Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal was one of the first on-scene at the Westport Farm.
“This situation is unparalleled to anything I’ve seen in my 37 years as an animal law enforcement officer,” Borgal said. “The sheer number of animals in dire need of care, and the cruel and unsanitary conditions we found were deplorable. It took an all-out effort of state and local officials along with multiple humane organizations to get all those animals out of that horrible situation.”
Property owner Richard Medieros is facing 21 counts of animal cruelty, and all but two of the defendants are facing more than one count of animal cruelty.
“Hundreds of animals on this farm were kept in deplorable and dangerous conditions, with inadequate food, water, or shelter, many of them suffering from severe health ailments that required them to be euthanized,” said AG Healey. “As a result of our investigation, the owner of this farm and its tenants will be held responsible for the inhumane treatment of these animals.”
The defendants are expected to be arraigned in Bristol Superior Court at a future date.
Our 7th Run with a John Hancock Boston Marathon Charity Team
Thanks to the generosity of the John Hancock Marathon Nonprofit Program, five compassionate runners – Dr. Erin Doyle, Jonathan Harlow, Brianna Roche, Max Shapiro, and Venkat Vedam– trained all winter long to prepare for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon.
The 2017 ARL Boston Marathon team has 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 the ARL and how you can support them below….
“Having worked as a veterinarian for the Animal Rescue League of Boston for over nine years, I can’t imagine a better cause to raise money for as I pursue my marathon goal.”
Support Erin at https://www.crowdrise.com/arlboston2017/fundraiser/erindoyle7
“I’ve been associated with ARL as a volunteer, patron, and dog owner for about 15 years, and am thankful for the opportunity to support their mission. I want to say thank you to all of the veterinarians, vet techs, administration and volunteers for all of the work they do and for making sure that dogs like my ARL alum Boo Radley have safe homes and veterinary care.”
Support Jonathan athttps://www.crowdrise.com/arlboston2017/fundraiser/jonathanharlow1
“I’ve fostered kittens for the last three years with the ARL. I love running and I am passionate about animals. I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, and this accomplishment is extra special because I am raising money for a cause I love.”
Support Brianna at https://www.crowdrise.com/arlboston2017/fundraiser/briannaroche
“I love animals – especially dogs – and am very excited about this opportunity to help my community while also doing something that is fun and personally rewarding. I am also a runner and have wanted to run the Boston Marathon for several years. I think it is a beautiful coincidence that this opportunity arises just as I am beginning to volunteer for ARL.”
Support Max at https://www.crowdrise.com/arlboston2017/fundraiser/maxshapiro1
“Running a Marathon requires commitment, discipline, stamina to some extent, practice, but most importantly motivation. My motivation is the animals that will be helped as a result of your donation, and the city that inspires so many of us to be the best we can be, and some more!”
Support Venkat at https://www.crowdrise.com/arlboston2017/fundraiser/venkatvedam1
A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to the dedicated runners on our 2017 Boston Marathon team! Our 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 https://www.crowdrise.com/arlboston2017
10 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Adopting
We at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) love puppies. Let’s be honest who doesn’t? They’re adorable, loving and lots of fun. They’re also untrained, energetic and at times very destructive! While your heart may be in the right place, the bottom line is that puppies are not for every household. 10 Questions to ask Yourself Before Adopting a Puppy:
- Time Commitment: How much time do you have to devote to the puppy and are you willing to commit to the dog for its life? From training, to multiple feedings daily, to middle of the night potty trips, puppies need constant attention and cannot be left alone for long periods of time. If you cannot devote time to properly and responsibly raise the puppy, then it’s not the time to bring a puppy home.
- Socialization: This job is critical of a puppy owner, and is especially important in the first few months of life. Can you commit the time to socialize your puppy? Puppies need to be meet people and other dogs to become a well-adjusted and confident adult dog. Socialization is never complete in a dog, but the longer you wait the harder it gets.
- Housing: It’s seemingly a simple question, but is overlooked or ignored by many. Can you properly house a puppy and are you allowed to have a puppy? Renters: Check your lease to see if there are pet restrictions. Home Owners: Check your home owner’s insurance policy for restrictions. Every year thousands of dogs are returned because they were not allowed – this is not fair to the animal or to you, so please make sure that there are no issues if you bring home a puppy.
- Lifestyle: What is your lifestyle like? Are you an active family that spends plenty of time outdoors? Or are you more of a couch potato? Some dogs require a lot of exercise daily, and remember that small does not equal less energy. Some large breed dogs have a lower activity level than many smaller breeds.
- Cost: Can you afford a puppy? Food, veterinary visits, vaccinations, training, licensing and medical emergencies. Just a few of the costs to consider, and remember the costs of owning an animal need to be maintained for its entire life.
- Patience/Training: Are you a patient person? Puppies are of course babies and need to learn in order to become a well-adjusted adult. Remember it takes time and lots of patience! House training, crate training, obedience training, how to walk properly on a leash; these are just a few of the critical training areas. If you lack patience and get frustrated quickly, then maybe an older dog would be better for you.
- Long Term: What will happen to the dog if you start a family? What if you have to move? Again there are thousands that are given up every year for these reasons. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, and plans for these factors need to be made to ensure that the dog remains a part of the family for the next 10-15 years.
- Human Medical Issues: Are there any allergies or medical conditions in your family that could cause issues that may result in having to surrender the puppy? If there are suspected health concerns, consult a doctor before considering any pet.
- Grooming: All dogs need grooming – even hairless breeds! There’s brushing as well as regular attention to teeth, ears and nails. Some breeds do require professional grooming, while others may require a few minutes with a brush on a weekly basis. Are you able to handle this responsibility?
- Need: Finally – Why do you want a puppy? If you already have pets in the house, especially senior pets, they may not be crazy about the idea of having a rambunctious puppy running around. Along with current pets, consider other family members too and who will care the dog for its entire life, not just its formative years.
Answer “YES” to All the Above? You’re ready to adopt! All adoptable animals at ARL are spayed/neutered, receive a thorough medical exam as well as vaccinations and other treatments. Additionally, Boston Veterinary Care offers superb wellness services for your pet after adoption and it’s the clinic with a mission – All profits benefit the shelter pets under the care of ARL. And if you’re looking for training for your puppy, ARL offers that too! Click here for a complete list of classes that will help you bond with your puppy, and help them develop properly in their formative years!
Deer was Found Upside-Down After Getting Trapped Between Two Fences
Animal League of Boston (ARL) Rescue Services were dispatched to Foxboro at around 9:30 a.m. Monday (3/27/17) morning to assist the town’s Animal Control Officer in freeing a deer that had become trapped between two eight-foot fences that funneled into an enclosure at 191 Mechanic Street in Foxboro.
The width between the two fences where the deer was trapped was only between five inches and a foot wide, and in its panic to get free, the deer wound up upside-down and wedged in the tight space. With the land owner’s permission, a section of the fence was removed, and with some assistance, the deer was able to roll over, stand up, and was soon walking normally. Despite being shaken up and suffering several abrasions, the deer appeared to be uninjured from the ordeal, and when ushered to the edge of the property, Foxboro Police stopped traffic so the deer could cross the street and return to the wild.
Despite being turned upside-down when trapped, this deer avoided serious injury and returned to the wild safely.
The ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a technically-trained rescue team that responds to animal-related emergencies and rescue situations. ARL Rescue Services can be contacted at (617) 426-9170.