Match-Up II Debuts Wednesday May 4th

The Center for Shelter Dogs, a program of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, will debut Match-Up II Online in a day-long workshop at the Humane Society of the United States Animal Care Expo on May 4th in Orlando, Florida.

The Match-Up II Shelter Dog Rehoming Program is a multi-part system designed to help shelters gain a better understanding of the personalities and needs of their dogs to make successful matches. The program consists of five parts: behavioral history, behavior evaluation, personality scoring, behavior in the shelter, and behavioral triage.

Expo workshop attendees will learn how to conduct the behavior evaluation online, calculate automatic personality and triage scores, and generate outcome reports with recommended training programs for problem behaviors.

Watch the Match-Up II Online Video:

The Center for Shelter Dogs is dedicated to improving the welfare of homeless dogs cared for by humane organizations, animal control facilities, and rescue groups throughout the nation. Rigorous science-based research and outcome assessment is the cornerstone of all efforts by the Center. Drawing on the expertise of its staff, the Center is able to incorporate clinical medicine and epidemiology into its strategies, establishing a world-class program on behalf of shelter dogs.

Patient, loving care gives Molly a third chance

Thanks to the patient and loving care by the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s staff in Dedham and Brewster, on April 8th a “wonderfully sweet and gentle” 10-year-old female Umbrella Cockatoo named Molly, has found her forever home – her second, in fact.

According to Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Agent Faith Phillips, Molly’s history with the League began in 2005 when she was first brought to the Pembroke and Dedham shelters and then adopted. However, sometimes, even a “forever home” doesn’t last forever.

“She was brought back to Dedham in 2011 because her owner was laid off and had to move to an area that wasn’t appropriate for Molly,” explains Phillips

Unfortunately, Molly also had emotional and health problems – including a one-inch open wound on her chest.

“Molly was a picker and perhaps a self mutilator when she was originally adopted out and unfortunately it hadn’t gotten any better by the time she came back to us,” says Phillips. “Picking and self-mutilation is a hard thing to correct; in fact it can rarely be cured. It’s most commonly due to stress, boredom, poor nutrition and poor living conditions. It can also be due to illness.”

Transferred to Brewster, she quickly settled in, instantly loving everyone there. Shelter veterinarian Amanda Goeman started her on oral Baytril and Metacam (to both heal her wound and manage any pain associated with it) and fitted Molly for a sweater made of stockinette to try to keep her from picking the wound on her chest.

Phillips also called a close friend of hers in West Virginia who has experience with feather-picking cockatoos. “She suggested we also put organic warm aloe on her chest twice a day to moisturize her skin and the scab that was forming over her wound. Molly was wonderful at taking her meds and was very patient with us when we restrained her to put on her aloe, and within a week, we could see new feather growth.”

Enter Gina Bellucci-Dilizia from Springfield who already had a rescued male Umbrella Cockatoo named Cookie Monster about Molly’s age. “Gina said right away that she wasn’t interested in breeding the two and has already talked to her avian veterinarian about parrot sterilization. She was looking for a companion for Cookie Monster, because he was very bonded with her daughter and she was concerned about his well being when her daughter went away to college. She knew that birds can quickly become depressed, aggressive or even sick from such a drastic change and she was hoping another bird would help with the transition.”

When she brought Cookie Monster for a visit at the shelter, for Molly it was love at first sight.

“Molly was making noises that we had never heard her make before unless she saw a tub of her favorite food – peanut butter,” says Phillips. Since then, she says, it’s been a match made in heaven.

“Molly is completely off of her fattening seed diet and is eating all of her fruits and veggies, plus some extra treats. Cookie Monster is quite a talker; she’s starting to mimic his sounds and will probably start broadening her vocabulary in no time. She’s always out of the cage, interacting with him and the rest of the family, getting socialized, exercised, and stimulated, and she’s on the kind of high quality diet that very few birds get. Molly couldn’t have gotten a better home. I wish all birds, if they had to be in a home, could have a family like she does.”

Phillips concludes, “I think this is a nice story because it shows the kind of home that we always hope will come around for our parrots that are up for adoption and the extent to which we try to help each individual animal if we can. I like that we all worked together for her, from Lisa Lagos and the Dedham shelter staff, to Dr. Goeman, to Brewster and the shelter agents here.”

Abandoned in a parking lot, Dartmouth finds a new home

A two-year-old German Shepherd abandoned in March in a Malden parking lot has found his new “forever home” thanks to the combined efforts of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s rescue, behavior and adoption staff.

Malden Animal Control initially found “Dartmouth” (so named because he was found in the municipal lot on Dartmouth Street in Malden) and called the Animal Rescue League of Boston when they couldn’t catch him.

“They suspected the dog was abandoned – there was an open bag of dog food that he was sitting next to,” says Rescue Services Manager Brian O’Connor, who responded to the call with Senior Rescue Technician Danielle Genter. “He would get scared, run off and then come back to the same spot. And he was very much on the alert when he heard people walking by or heard car doors slam or cars driving by – like he was looking for somebody.”

After several unsuccessful tries by both O’Connor and Genter, O’Connor enlisted the aid of a sympathetic dog-owner who lived nearby and cheerfully volunteered to bring her “super-dog-friendly” Great Dane/Lab mix to help in the effort.

“He definitely piqued Dartmouth’s interest,” relates O’Connor. “So I started jogging around the parking lot with this woman’s dog and he started jogging along behind us. After a couple of passes back and forth, we turned to go back and he stopped with his leash right next to my foot. So I stepped on the leash. Although dogs often freak out a bit when they know they’ve been snagged, he just looked up at me and acted like any other dog on a leash so I bent down slowly, picked it up and walked him over to the truck and we took him to Malden Animal Hospital.”

After getting his vaccinations and spending the mandatory 10 days “stray time” for possible owner pick up Dartmouth was brought to the League’s South End shelter and behavior department for evaluation.

After spending time as a stray dog, Dartmouth was, not surprising, very nervous and slow to adapt to his new surroundings. “Everything was scary to him – cars, stairs, the wind, even plush squeaky toys,” says Center for Shelter Dogs administrative assistant Naomi Johnston who “office fostered” Dartmouth for several weeks. “We eventually got him to the point where things weren’t quite so scary but he was still startled by unexpected noises and easily overwhelmed when around a lot of activity and noise.”

Although characteristically active, he also liked his down time – and snuggling. Exhibiting the loyalty that characterizes the German Shepherd breed, he quickly became a favorite of the several shelter staff members who worked with him.

Boston Shelter Supervisor Caitlin Berkery says that 10 families submitted applications. “Our eventual choice was a couple with a 21-year-old son who lived in Saugus with a huge fenced in back yard. They’d had a German Shepherd who had passed on in January at age 13 and were looking for another one.”

She says they were very eager to adopt Dartmouth. “They’d been checking the website every day, and people at both their work places kept asking, ‘Did you get a call?’ When we called them, they were so happy they rushed right down that day.”

They report that Dartmouth is doing well and they’re very happy with him. “He actually initially bonded to the husband more than they wife that surprised us because when he was here he was more nervous of men and bonded to the women here,” says Berkery. “But they’re working on that, and all is going well so far.”

A Dog Day Afternoon

Thank you to Shreve, Crump & Low for hosting A Dog Day Afternoon on Sunday, May 1st. 40 individuals brought their dogs (and a bunny too) to the fine jewelry store to have a picture taken of their adorable pooch. With the help of the following generous supporters Amy Hawkes of Click Imagery, Fish & Bone, Polka Dog Bakery, Mama Micki’s All-Natural Bakery and SWEEET all dogs walked away with goodie bags filled with treats from all these fabulous locations. Their human companies received a gift that will last a life-time — a photo of their four footed friend  placed in a silver frame.

We extend our deepest gratitude to all the people who came by, the supporters for the delicious goods and to Shreve, Crump & Low for raising over $1,100 to help animals in need!

Via email: Miss Diva

Dear ARLB,

I am so impressed by your organization — from the moment I walked into the adoption center on Tuesday and culminating with my adoption of Miss Diva on Wednesday all of the staff members I encountered were just fabulous — what a lovely service you offer the Boston community — Miss Diva is doing very well in her new home — thank you all and continue your excellent work.

The best,

Diane Smith and Miss Diva

Against the odds, Lucy finds a home.

by Catie and Meg.

A couple of weeks ago, despite many challenges, one of our all-time favorite dogs found her forever home.

Lucy’s 3-month journey began when her previous owners called the Intake Office. They told us that despite being loving and friendly to both kids and cats, her aggression towards other dogs had become unmanageable. The Animal Rescue League is known internationally for our dog behavior programs, and we sensed that Lucy’s aggression may be treatable, so we agreed to accept her for evaluation.

But Lucy’s prospects for finding a home were not good.

For a Boxer, Lucy is an old dog at over seven years old. She didn’t like being in the shelter with the other dogs, becoming stressed and agitated. We were also concerned about several lumps growing under her skin that we suspected might be cancerous. We conducted a series of biopsies to investigate further, which left Lucy with shaven patches and some minor scars on her skin. With all this and her history of aggression, we were concerned that she would not be adoptable.

But at the ARL we do everything in our power to find homes for our animals, and we’re not afraid of a challenge.

Thankfully, Lucy’s biopsies revealed that the lumps were benign and, despite her age, she received a clean bill of health from Dr. Doyle, our Shelter Veterinarian. A behavioral evaluation revealed that Lucy is well-trained and socialized, except for her dislike of other dogs. Such behavior is not uncommon and is manageable by the right owner. She was cleared for adoption as “Special Adoption,” ARL’s designation for animals with special needs.

To help Lucy cope with life in the Shelter, she joined our office foster program. ARL administrative staff can bring animals from the shelter to their offices above the Shelter during the workday. Lucy was much happier and enjoyed all the extra human attention, and won the hearts of our staff with her loving, gentle and affectionate manner. We knew that one day we’d meet someone who wanted to give her a loving home.

Two months later, after spending many days with the staff behind the counter in the Boston Shelter, a family arrived, looking for a small dog. When they saw her, they fell in love. Lucy went home with a family of four and now lives close to the Boston Shelter. The family sends us photos and are loving every minute with her!

It makes us feel so good to hear that she got her happy ending. We just hope we can make this happen for all the other animals in our care.

Don’t Delay, Vote Today! Save Lives with $100K!

The ASPCA is offering a challenge to animal shelters nationwide.

The contestants? Shelters like the Animal Rescue League of Boston that are working to save more dogs and cats this year than in 2010. The goal? To save more animals’ lives. The prize? A $100,000 grand prize, plus other prizes.

Here at the ARL, $100,000 would pay for cat cage expansions, 1,000 spay/neuter surgeries, or 14,000 vaccines! $100,000 would provide more enrichment for shelter animals, have a bigger impact on stray animal populations, and continue preventing shelter-related illnesses.

Before the official competition begins this August, the ASPCA needs to narrow down the number of contestants from 95 to 50.  This is where your vote comes in.

Help keep us in the top 50 by voting every day through April 15th.

Go to to cast your vote for “MA – Animal Rescue League of Boston.”

Thank you!

Help us win the ASPCA $100,000 Challenge

Help the Animal Rescue League of Boston in its special drive to save more lives and win $100,000 in the ASPCA $100K Challenge.

The League is one of 100 shelters nationwide that has entered this year’s challenge, but to be eligible to win we need to be voted one of top 50 entrants. Please go to and vote for “MA – Animal Rescue League of Boston”.

Voting takes place from 9am April 4 through midnight April 15. Anyone 18 or older with an email address can vote and you can vote once a day! You can cast up to 12 votes for the ARL of Boston over the 12 day voting period!

Let your friends and family know to vote for us as well!

26 Miles and $15,000 for the ARL of Boston


Among the 25,000 official runners at April 18’s 115th running of the Boston Marathon will be three eager Animal Rescue League of Boston supporters: Boston Veterinary Care Veterinary Technician Keegan Garnsey (pictured, left) and her friends Mike Nelson (left) and Brendan Kelleher (right).

Thanks to the generosity of Boston Marathon sponsor John Hancock Financial Services, the ARL of Boston has been awarded three official entries – with Keegan, Mike and Brendan earning the coveted “bibs” by pledging to raise at least $5,000 each in support of the League’s rescue, shelter and animal care activities.

With the click of the mouse, you, too can participate in the excitement. While Keegan, Mike and Brendan train through this cold and snowy Boston winter, you can help keep “Team ARLB’s” motivation and spirits high by making a financial pledge to the League on their behalf. As Keegan says, “With your financial support, I hope to carry on the legacy of [League founder] Anna Harris Smith by giving animals in need a second chance at the life they deserve.”

To support Keegan, Mike and Brendan, or to learn more, click here.

Open house to kick-off Dedham Renovation Fundraising


The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Dedham branch is holding an open house on Saturday, April 2, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to kick off fundraising for its “Building for the 21st Century” Safford Memorial Animal Care and Adoption Center renovation project.

Under the innovative guidance of ARQ Architects (a leader in humane shelter design), the renovation will provide the latest animal welfare and wellness feature, improving the work areas and providing a more pleasant environment to facilitate adoption. Equally important, it will incorporate the latest in energy efficiency, sustainability and green technology.

Information sessions to be held at 10:15, 11:00 and 11:45 will include a welcome from ARL of Boston President John J. Bowen, an overview by Dedham Shelter Manager Lisa Lagos, a description of the incorporation of green technology by ARQ Architects Partner Lucinda Schlaffer, and an explanation of enhanced animal care that the renovation will provide by ARL of Boston VP of Animal Welfare Gary Patronek.

Refreshments are being provided and tours of the current shelter will be available. Parking is at Noble and Greenough School front lot (adjacent to Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery).