by Melissa Tanguay, Assistant Manager, Boston Shelter
You’re probably looking at this photo and thinking “it’s a stack of boxes – who cares!” Well, they’re not just any old boxes to me.
The sight of these plastic bins lining the hallway can only mean one thing, that a Sunday Spay/Neuter Day for Feral Cats is just around the corner. Our first one of 2011 was Sunday, March 27th.
These clinics are some of my favorite days here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. On Sunday Spay/Neuter Day for Feral Cats we perform free spay and neuter surgeries for people who take care of feral cats. Spaying and neutering feral cats is an effective way to manage feral cat populations.
Sunday Spay/Neuter Day for Feral Cats are fully staffed by volunteers, including vets that offer their services for free, and thanks to generous donors, we are able to offer these surgeries free of charge to feral cat caretakers in Boston.
The days start early and are nothing but go-go-go from the onset, but at the end of the day there is such a sense of accomplishment when you see all the cats that we helped. We had 44 cats on Sunday – it was a great day!
I was immediately intrigued by Pedro when I heard his story from our rescue department here at the ARL of Boston.
One frigid night in February the rescue team got a call about a dog that had gotten loose at Logan airport while being transported by another rescue group. There were many that were concerned for his safety on many different levels. One reason being that Pedro was not only unfamiliar with his surroundings, but he was also unfamiliar with cold weather. Pedro had just been transported from Puerto Rico where the temperatures do not usually drop below 65 degrees. The night Pedro escaped from his carrier at Logan airport the temps were well below freezing. If this wasn’t enough, Pedro also happened to be a very timid dog who had lost an eye due to being hit by a car while living as a stray.
Thankfully, Pedro survived a frigid night alone on the airport grounds and was safely captured the next afternoon. Not only did he survive but he proved to be a very easy going and happy shelter dog once he settled in. I really look forward to walking him during the day because he just seems so excited to be out on a walk with me. He wags and wiggles when he knows it’s turn to go out, and is very well behaved on leash. He’s really fun to spend time with, and he seems to enjoy his time with me.
I’m often aware of how silly it seems to attach human emotion to animal behavior, but I can’t help but think that this is a dog that truly seems grateful for the stability he now has in his life — even if it is in an animal shelter thousands of miles from what he knew as home. To me, he is a daily reminder of the struggles life can sometimes dish out, and also the basic, fundamental urge to survive and move on.
Jessica Brooks – Shelter Agent and the Boston Branch
In the musical “Les Miserables” there’s a wonderful song “Bring Him Home” in which Jean Valjean is praying that young Cosette’s idealistic boyfriend Marius will return home safe from battle. As an adoptive parent, I’ve always found that song to be particularly poignant. But on Thursday, as a two-month office-foster parent to Chris who, word had it, was about to go to be adopted, it just overwhelmed my heart because the sentiments are so applicable, as we pray that the animals in our temporary care will be brought to their “forever homes.”
When he first came to our office, Chris was so frightened and shy that he would flip his bed over in the far corner and hide under it all day. After a couple of weeks of sitting and lying on the floor several times a day to reach under and pet and brush him – and feed him an occcasional “Greenie” treat we got him to the point where the above photo was taken of him peeking out for brief visits. Then when I came in in the morning he’d come over to be petted. Finally, he got to jumping in my lap and on my desk - where he’s spent most of his time the past few weeks. He loves curling up in my arms as I’m trying to type, purring loudly. He’s even learned to use the computer … he’s not much of a speller or grammarian but he’s found both the “delete” and “send to printer” buttons! AARRGGHH!
Typing this today (Saturday) as I wait for his new mom to come in to pick him up and rejoice that my “bring him home” prayer has been answered, I have a new prayer: that his new home is so wonderful and he is so showered with love that I become just a distant memory … of someone else who cared. Chris, we love you.
by Debby Vogel, Volunteer and Educational Programs Manager
I’m having trouble concentrating on my work because I brought my foster kitten, Matchbox, back today. I’ve been taking care of him at home until he was ready to be adopted.
It’s a great day, because I’ve done my job and he’s in adoption waiting for his new family to walk through the door. But, until then I’ll be upstairs in my office worrying that he’s scared; even though he looks quite content every time I go to check on him.
Here’s a picture of him in the adoption center. Good luck Matchbox!
by Marianne Gasbarro, Boston Shelter Manager
I am definitely looking forward to warmer weather, but having to stand outside in cold weather every morning for “playgroup” makes me long for the spring!
Each morning the shelter staff starts their day with a doggie social hour that we call “playgroup”. We started playgroup a little over a year ago and it has been a huge success.
Before playgroup, staff had to exercise the dogs one at a time while other staff cleaned the kennels and our morning cleaning regiment took almost 2 hours. Now a group of dogs are out at once and cleaning is much more efficient. It cut the morning routine in half!
But that is a small benefit compared to how happy the dogs seem to be. If you visit the dogs around 9am after playtime they are happy and resting in their kennels! Playgroup has also helped the staff get to know our animals better. We feel more confident to match our dogs to homes looking for a second dog because we know the play style and energy level of our dogs. We know what ‘friends’ they like and don’t like!
If you are having a rough morning walk by our yard around 8am and you’ll see a group of dogs running and having fun. And then I dare you to feel stressed when you are watching dogs romp and play.
While you’re at it you can drop off a hot chocolate to get me through these cold mornings!
Hundreds of Animal Rescue League supporters, animal lovers and members of the Boston design community attended the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Moonlight Ball 2010 sponsored by the Boston Design Center. Welcomed by Randy Price of WCVB-TV, guests enjoyed an elegant dinner by Choice Catering, the presentation of the Anna Harris Smith Spirit of Kindness Award to Amelia Hughes, an appreciation of the evening’s special guest Turtle – a female pit bull rescued and rehabilitated thanks to the Animal Rescue League of Boston – and the kick off of Rebecca Willson’s Urban Hound Hotel/ARL shelter-dog-in-residence program. The Hotel’s first canine guest, Gracie, a pit bull survivor of Hurricane Gustav, who met Rebecca center stage was walked by her long-time champion, ARL of Boston employee Alyssa Kane.
The eerily elegant Edward Gorey-inspired event was complete with silent auction offerings from Hermes, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s, the Taj Hotel, The Four Seasons Hotel – New York, Broadway shows in New York and Boston, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood tickets personalized by meeting conductor Keith Lockhart, along with Boston Design Center donations from F. Schumacher & Co. and Stark Carpet. The auction also featured sports offerings from the Boston Celtics and the Boston Red Sox, much coveted vacation getaways and more!
Board of Directors Chair Paul Brennan and League President Jay Bowen present Amelia Hughes with the League's Anna Harris Smith Spirit of Kindness Award.
The evening concluded in style with dancing and dessert within the Boston Design Center.
We thank everyone involved in Moonlight Ball 2010- from sponsors to guests to volunteers – for their commitment, conviviality and generosity!
Barneys New York
Berkshire Mountain Distillery
The Boston Celtics
Boston Design Center
Boston Pops Orchestra
The Boston Red Sox
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Broadway Across America Boston
Cheryl Richards Photography
Choice Catering and Events
Chris Haynes/CBH Communications
Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffered Transportation
The Four Seasons New York
The Frame Gallery
Polka Dog Bakery
Relish Design Boston
Saks Fifth Avenue
F. Schumacher & Co.
The Shubert Organization
Somerton Park Interiors
South End Buttery
South End Formaggio
The Taj Hotel, Boston
The Urban Grape
The Urban Hound Hotel
Laurence Cote, Esq.
D.A. Rutter III
Debra Kramer Rutter
Robert Van Sickle
Top Dog / Cool Cat Table Host $25,000
Boston Design Center
Man’s Best Friend Table Host $10,000
Dr. Beryl R. Benacerraf and Dr. Peter Libby
The Urban Hound Hotel
Tail Waggin’ Table Host $5,000
Kristin and Joe Casey
Quentin and Violetta Faulkner
Petra Hausberger and Laurence Cote, Esq.
William C. Joyce / Malcolm G. McDonald
Robert and Randy Knight
Kick off your Halloween with official Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster and meet adoptable dogs from the Animal Rescue League of Boston!
Kick start your Halloween fun at Audrey’s Pet Supply this Saturday, October 30 with official Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster, who will be on hand to introduce you to adoptable dogs from the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Wally will be available for photos and to sign autographs, and Audrey’s will also host a raffle with great prizes from local businesses – all benefiting the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
The event begins at 11:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. at Audrey’s Pet Supply, located at 296 Newbury Street. Meet official Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Audrey’s owner, Brittany Bang, says she’s excited to be working with the ARL of Boston. “This will be the third in-store adoption event we’ve held for the League, and we really wanted to create a fun, family-friendly Halloween party – and Wally will definitely be a big hit– while also working toward our goal of finding shelter dogs homes.”
Bang also says the proximity of the ARL of Boston’s Animal Care and Adoption Center to her store is another plus. “My focus is local so I love the fact that the League is located in the heart of the South End.”
Shoppers will have the opportunity to visit with the dogs and to learn about their backgrounds and personalities. Potential adopters will fill out an application and then complete the adoption process at the League, just a short drive or 20-minute walk from Audrey’s.
Marianne Gasbarro, manager of the League’s Animal Care and Adoption Center, says she has hopes that even more ARL of Boston pets will now be able to find their forever homes. “Some people aren’t comfortable coming into a shelter, so we have to meet them where they’re at.” She adds, “Brittany’s offer to showcase our animals is not only generous, but her enthusiasm for the program is infectious.”
The ARL of Boston’s adoption fee includes the cost of spay/neuter, medical exam, vaccinations and microchip. Adopters who live in Boston will receive a bonus: a $20 gift certificate to Audrey’s.
The store also supports ARL through a program called “Shop the Middle Table.” All profits from the sale of items on the “Middle Table” will be donated to ARL of Boston, along with a generous match by Audrey’s.
And, on the first Saturday of every month, Audrey’s is offering free cat and dog nail trims, for a suggested donation to the League.
Audrey’s Pet Supply and Services
Audrey’s opened its doors in the summer of 2010 to an eager following of pet owners in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Located on Newbury Street, the shop is owned and operated by Brittany Bang, the young and savvy brainchild behind the store’s unique concept. Featuring everything from bulk bags of dog food, to everyday must-haves like leashes, collars, treats, kitty litter, hamster food, and everything in between, this urban pet shop is making a name for itself as being the first and only store of its kind in the downtown area. With delivery, dog walking, and cat care services to boot, Audrey’s is a saving grace for local pet owners. For more information about Audrey’s, visit www.audreysboston.com, or call 857-991-1236. For media inquiries please email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Animal Rescue League of Boston
Founded in 1899, The Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. In addition to the organization’s animal rescue, law enforcement, shelter, and veterinary headquarters in Boston, the ARL of Boston operates shelters in Boston, Dedham, and Brewster, Massachusetts. The ARL of Boston also maintains a fleet of animal ambulances and the mobile Spay Waggin’ providing subsidized spay/neuter services throughout southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod.
A special "topiary dog" on the grounds of the League's Brewster branch
Building on strong local support and a visible community presence, the Brewster Shelter has been a vibrant force on the Cape in 2010.
In a midyear progress report Brewster Shelter Manager Sandra Luppi noted that the branch continues to be the grateful recipient of community support and involvement including:
- “The Sons of Erin” Irish members club in Yarmouth (silent auction raising $1,192);
- Ben & Jerry’s of Eastham ($250 donation representing a day of ice cream sales);
- Nauset Rotary Club ($500 donation to replace the Kuranda beds to the shelter dogs);
- and Agway of Cape Cod ($3,290 and proceeds of a Schwinn bicycle raffle).
The Brewster staff put on two events – ‘Paws on Ice’ and a ‘Spring Safari’ Easter egg hunt – both attended by children and their parents – as well as staffing an information table at The Brewster Bookstore and a Harwich Mariners ballgame during the team’s ‘Dog Days of Summer’ event.
In addition, July’s annual rabies/microchip clinic at The Drummer Boy Park saw 18 dogs & cats vaccinated against rabies and 33 microchipped. Brewster continues to advertise pets for adoption each month in the community newspaper The Cape Codder. Each photo & write-up is paid for by a sponsor advertising their business.
Brewster Shelter Agent Brian Long performed seven cat-in-tree rescues as well as several different types of injured wildlife from birds to foxes, a skunk caught in a soccer net, a frightened deer in a fenced in tennis court and a wayward female eider unable to leave an outfall pipe canal at a power plant in Sandwich.
Through July Brewster has adopted out 175 cats, 99 dogs and 56 “others” including birds and small animals. They have also continued with their transfer of dogs from out of state (TN) bringing their year-to-date total to 42 through August.
The Grace & Elliot Marks Spay/Neuter fund in a limited capacity has issued 48 certificates this year to those clients needing financial assistance.
In the staffing area, Luppi says the search has begun to fill the assistant manager position following Kristin Petty’s decision not to return from maternity leave so that she can be a full time mom to her beloved son Finn William Petty.
Noting that her goal is to find someone with the dedication, drive and caring exemplified by all of the Brewster crew, Luppi concludes proudly, “Our shelter’s continued success relies on the strong commitment of each staff member and volunteer. Working together as a team, we are able to provide a loving and caring environment for our animals and a high standard of customer service for our public.”
The Old North Church and the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston invite the public to attend a special non-denominational “Blessing of the Animals” on Sunday, October 2, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their pets or a photograph of a beloved animal for an individual blessing.
Adoptable animals from the ARL of Boston’s Dedham branch will also be available to meet the public aboard the ARL of Boston’s Mobile Animal Transport (MAT) vehicle.
“Each year, the most magical thing happens during the Blessing of the Animals,” explains Reverend Steven Ayers, vicar of the Old North Church. “There is a verse in the Book of Isaiah that says: ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.’ It has never ceased to amaze me that the most unlikely pairings of animals – from snakes to birds to an Australian tree frog – can coexist so peacefully. I think they know they are being blessed,” he says.
6th Annual “Blessing of the Animals” and ARL of Boston Adoption Meet-and-Greet
Sunday, October 2, 2010
The Old North Church
193 Salem Street
Boston, MA 02113
Worship at Old North Church
Old North Church is an Episcopal Church and worships according to the Book of Common Prayer. Church services are held Sunday at 9am, and 11am. The 9am service is usually Rite 2 Eucharist without music. The service is about 45 minutes long. The 11am service is the main Sunday service. It is usually Rite 2 Eucharist with choir followed by coffee hour. Nursery care is generally available from September through May. This service lasts about one hour.
Guests are welcome to worship at Old North Church. Seating is always available, although we advise worshippers to arrive early for Christmas Eve and Easter. Visiting choirs often sing and worship during services. Call the Church Office at (617) 523-6676 or visit www.oldnorth.com for more information concerning choir visits.
Your pets, that is.
Based on their disaster relief experiences, The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Rescue Services department knows the importance of disaster planning in taking care of the animals in your life.
In conjunction with its recent hosting of an American Humane Red Star Animal Emergency Services Training seminar, Rescue Services is working to publicize the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team’s (SMART) efforts to alert the animal-affiliated public as to the best way to prepare for possible disasters.
Most importantly, says ARL of Boston Rescue Services Manager Brian O’Connor, “When a disaster or emergency occurs and you have to leave, always take your pets with you. People think they’ll be able to return shortly to care for their animals but all too often the situation worsens and they can’t make it back to rescue them.”
In addition, says O’Connor, “Like the Boy Scouts’ motto, ‘Be prepared!’”
- Before an emergency strikes, think ahead and have an emergency plan in place. A public emergency shelter may not allow your pets inside. Work out in advance if you can go to a friend or family member’s home or a pet-friendly hotel. Make a back-up plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
- Prepare a “Go Package” pet disaster kit” (see below)
Assistant Manager of Animal Rescue Services Mike Brammer is a SMART Search and Rescue Team Leader, and a veteran of several hands on recovery efforts including those in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina – perhaps the most obvious example of the dangers of being unprepared.
ARL of Boston rescue teams walk New Orleans' flooded streets in search of endangered animals in Katrina's wake.
“Katrina was actually a combination of disasters that was almost impossible to prepare for because it was completely unanticipated,” he explains. “New Orleans actually survived the actual hurricane, moving the people inland – it was when the levees broke and the water came in from the opposite direction and covered the evacuation routes that things got messed up. So trying to sort that one out took a long time.”
While, one hopes we will never have a disaster of that magnitude in Massachusetts Brammer cites Massachusetts emergencies in recent years including the ice storms that cut power for several days to Central Massachusetts, and a North Shore apartment complex fire, which led to the sudden displacement of people and animals. “Then there are the perennial old dam issues such as Taunton’s that are at risk every year because of spring runoffs and have the potential for sending water through downtown.”
Both O’Connor and Brammer emphasize the need to be aware of potential threats. “Long-term, be aware of and get involved with emergency planning in your area, advises O’Connor. “This can range from joining your Local Emergency Planning Committee or becoming a Community Emergency Response Team member to helping with the pet-friendly sheltering plan in your community. Check with your Animal Control Force or local town hall for ways that you can help.”
Short-term, adds Brammer, “Be ready for any emergency situation and take care of as much as you can in advance. Listen to the news if you know the weather’s going to be bad and have your ‘Go Package’ ready.”
He concludes, “Since it’s now a federal law that in a disaster/emergency evacuation you can take your pets with you, we’re hoping with increased awareness that we can reduce the number of pets that we have to reach for and rescue.”
ARE YOU AND YOUR PETS READY TO GO IN AN EMERGENCY?
The State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART), dedicated to animal disaster planning response and recovery, recommends that pet owners prepare for a disaster before it strikes by having a “Go Package” pet disaster kit ready in your closet.
Pet Disaster Kit:
Items to be packed up and stored away in bag:
- Copies of current medical records including vaccinations
- Extra leash and collar
- Identification tags for all collars or harnesses
- Current photographs and written descriptions of your pets
- Extra bowls
- (For cats) Small bag of cat litter and small cat litter box
- Can opener
- Phone number of veterinarian
- Extra towels
Items on checklist that must be brought if disaster occurs:
- Two week supply of any medications
- Pet Carrier
- Two week supply of food
- Pet beds
- Pet toys
- 3 day supply of water
“The main thing is to have your ‘Go packages’ ready for yourself and your animal – and that includes as many carriers as you have animals” advises Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Assistant Manager of Animal Rescue Animal Services Mike Brammer.
“If you have four cats but only one carrier because you figure you only take one to the vet at a time, in a disaster that’s not necessarily going to help you. Also be sure you have medical records and identification tags sealed up and ready to go because that’s one of the first things a shelter is going to ask you for as they work to bring different animals into an emergency situation.”
“Familiar items such as favorite toys, treats or bedding can help reduce stress for your pet and a recent photo of you and your pet together can help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet,” adds Manager of Animal Rescue Services Brian O’Connor.
To learn more on how you can be prepared and how to volunteer, visit the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART) website at www.smart-mass.org.