A Custom-Made Pair

Bondeed CatsWere furtive glances exchanged across the adoption floor? Was there batting of eyelashes and flexing of muscles behind their cage doors? We’ll never know.

But when Faith, a shy, petite 6-year-old, and Slick, a chill and anything-but-petite 8-year-old, were adopted together last year, it was apparent from the start that these two cats were meant for each other.

They had another couple to thank for uniting them. John and Liz knew they wanted to adopt two cats. As John puts it, “We have a lot of love to give.” Faith’s glamour shot caught John’s eye. Liz also went web surfing and fell for Slick’s longhaired good looks.

SlickPhoto Credit: Christine Barton

Slick Photo Credit: Christine Barton

Both cats had gone through some hard times. Faith’s owner had too many cats to properly care for. Sadly, Slick’s owner became homeless and had to give him up. Since both had lived with other cats before, the match was promising.  What’s more, Faith had tested well in our weekly feline playgroup.

Once home, the two were renamed Nina and Tony, an homage to Liz’s Italian roots. After a few days of recommended separation, they met face to face. Little Nina sauntered up to Tony, who outweighs her by about ten pounds, and gave him a head butt.

A few days later, John spotted the two intertwined on his office chair. “They were in each other’s arms and it looked like a single cat.” The two have been inseparable ever since.

FaithPhoto Credit: Christine Barton

Photo Credit: Christine Barton

Some people are hesitant to adopt two cats for fear they won’t bond with their human companions. But that hasn’t been John’s experience. “This is the second pair I’ve lived with and each cat has bonded in their own way with me.”

For instance, Nina seeks out belly rubs and likes to plop Ping-Pong balls in front of Liz and John as an invitation to play. And Tony? “He loves lap time with both of us. He will sleep for hours without moving.”

If you’re considering creating your own custom-made pair like Tony and Nina or are looking for a companion for your cat at home, our staff and volunteers would be happy to help with recommendations, based on the cat’s history and behavior at the shelter, including its time in feline playgroup. We can also guide you through the process of introducing cats to each other.

Or if you’re in the market for a ready-made pair, we often have bonded cats who need to go home together. We currently have two bonded pairs available for adoption: BUTTERCUP and TIGGER and WATSON and SHERLOCK.

John and Liz couldn’t be happier with their feline pairing. “We love having them here. We feel so fortunate they are with us.”

There is one point of disagreement between Nina and Tony. Those Ping-Pong balls Nina likes to play with? Tony has no interest in them. “They just bounce off his big head if he gets in the middle of playing with us.”

Cat with Hypothermia Beats the Odds

Vanilla Ice being treated for severe hypothermia at Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New England on Weds. Jan 23

Vanilla Ice being treated for severe hypothermia at Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New England on Weds. Jan 23

On Tuesday evening, Boston Animal Control Officer Matt Scanlon received a call from a good Samaritan who was concerned after hearing a cat’s helpless cries. When Scanlon arrived at the apartment complex, he found the severely emaciated cat trapped between a metal grate and a cellar window. Given this week’s freezing temperatures, the cat was nearly frozen to death.

Scanlon reached out to the League‘s Lt. Alan Borgal, who then transported the cat to Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New England (VESCONE). VESCONE’s veterinary medical staff noted that the cat’s body temperature was twenty degrees below normal, constituting a severe and potentially life-threatening case of hypothermia. However, thanks to their efforts, he slowly began to revive and, within 24 hours, was alert, eating and resting comfortably.

Bill,, one of our Senior Rescue Technicians helps Vanilla Ice settle in at the League.

Bill, one of our Senior Rescue Technicians, helps Vanilla Ice settle in at the League.

We are so happy to report that the cat (dubbed “Vanilla Ice” by VESCONE staff members) was discharged on Thursday, January 24 and is now in the care of our Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center staff until he is ready for adoption.

We are grateful to our friends at VESCONE and Boston Animal Control Officer Matt Scanlon for taking such wonderful care of Vanilla. We also thank our generous donors for allowing us to provide emergency care to homeless, stray and vulnerable animals in need.

News Coverage:

WCVB-TV “Cat survives deadly cold in Boston

She’s A Barbie Girl

Photo: Allison Evans

Photo: Allison Evans

Barbie is a sweet and friendly 1 year-old female long-haired rabbit. She would make the perfect addition to a family who is seeking a pet rabbit. She enjoys being held and petted and likes snacking on hay.



Barbie also likes to express herself through her unique hairstyles, often sporting the “bed-head” look or a fluffy Mohawk as seen in the picture below. Since she is long-haired she does require daily grooming. Barbie has been at the Animal Rescue League of Boston since November 26, 2012 and has been here the longest of any of our rabbits.

If you’d like to meet Barbie, visit her at our Boston Adoption Center. If you know someone who would be interested in adopting her, please share this with them today! We’re open Friday-Sunday, 1-4pm and Tuesday-Thursday from 1-7pm. Want to learn more about Barbie before you stop by? Call our Adoption Center at 617.226.5602 and someone will be happy to tell you more about her!

Photo: Maria L. Uribe

Photo: Maria L. Uribe

Sniffing For Fun

Nose Model: Bridget (currently available for adoption) Photo: Maria L. Uribe

Nose Model: Bridget (available for adoption)
Photo: Maria L. Uribe

We continue National Train Your Dog Month with some fun training tips from one of our expert dog trainers, Cheryl Oelschlagel, CPDT-KA, who teaches a dog training class called “Sniffing For Fun.”

There are so many fun things you can train your dog to do and using her nose is one of them. A nose game session once or twice a week where a dog is using her brain and senses to their utmost limit, tires your dog far more than a hour of strenuous exercise.

Not only are they fun, they’ll help exercise your dogs brain and encourage her to pay attention to you. One caution: Food-based scent games may be inappropriate for dogs that guard food or toys. Get help to resolve such issues before you play.

Game #1: Find It – First, show your dog how the game works. Show her a treat and toss it on the ground a few feet away. Give her the okay to find the treat, saying “Find It.” Not only can she smell it, she saw where you tossed it. But after you do a few reps so she’s clear on how this game works, you can make the puzzle harder. Put her in a stay, and hide the treat under something (towel) or behind something (chair). Go to several spots and pretend to hide a treat in each one, but actually hide only one treat. Keep her in sight at all times, of course. Return to her and release her from the stay, tell her “Find It.” Watch her search for the treat.

Model: Stella (currently available for adoption)Photo:Maria L. Uribe

Model: Stella (currently available for adoption)
Photo:Maria L. Uribe

Game #2: Lay a Scent Trail at Home; Play this game in your yard or indoors. If you’re indoors, you may want to choose a room with a tile or linoleum floor. Have your dog out of the room, or inside if you’re playing outdoors, and in her absence lay a scent trail to a hiding place where you leave the treat. To lay the trail outside, drop tiny pieces of the treat every few inches along your route, with a big treat bonus at the end. Indoors, you can rub the treat along the floor to leave a trail. The first few times you play, make the trail short to help your dog learn how the game works. Now bring your dog and show her the starting point of the trail. I think the next step is an obvious one, and so will your dog. As your dog gets better at the game, make the trail longer. Indoors, stop leaving a continuous rubbed line of scent instead, rub the floor for an inch or two and then leave a patch of clean floor before the next scent rub along your trail. This way you form a dotted line of scent, and she has to work harder to follow it.

Model: Lizzy (available for adoption)Photo: Maria L. Uribe

Model: Lizzy (available for adoption)
Photo: Maria L. Uribe

Game #3: Hide Food-Dispensing Toys around the house. Even a well-exercised home-alone dog can get bored. I often recommend that any food not being used as training rewards be delivered to your dog in food-dispensing puzzle toys. But you can go one better by dividing some food among three or four such toys and hiding them around the house. The first few times you play, let your dog see you hiding the toys. She might happen to sniff them out anyway, but it helps to clue her in that you’re giving her a new game. Use the same number of toys every time; dogs have a rudimentary sense of number, so that way she’ll know how many she has to find. As your dog gets better at the game, make the toys harder to find by placing them on different levels of your house and behind and under furniture. Use dry food / treats rather than canned food. A word of advice: Don’t hide toys under the sofa cushions, okay?!

If you’re interested in exploring nose games with your dog, check out “Sniffing for Fun” on our dog training page.

Piggy Bank For Shelter Animals

Reilly sporting her "GIVE A DOG A HOME! ADOPT." t-shirt and petting one of our shelter cats held by Keegan.

Reilly sporting her “GIVE A DOG A HOME! ADOPT.” t-shirt and petting one of our shelter cats held by Keegan.

A few weeks ago, 9-year-old Reilly from Leominster, MA sent us a letter with a cash donation from her piggy bank. She was so excited to donate all of the money that she had saved up to help animals. Reilly has several of her own rescue animals at home. Last week we surprised her with a tour of our Boston Adoption Center. Reilly had a blast during her behind-the-scenes tour and even sported an awesome “GIVE A DOG A HOME! ADOPT.” t-shirt for the occasion. Reilly loves all animals and wants to help as many as she can. Every few months she sends us a donation from her piggy bank. Reilly from all of our staff and animals here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston “THANK YOU!” Keep up the good work. Your four-footed-friends appreciate it!

Reilly's Letter

Reilly’s Letter

Lil’ Nugget: The Story of an ARLB Foster Kitten (Part II)

Lil' Nugget Week II

Lil’ Nugget. Photo Credit: Maria L. Uribe

It’s been a good week for Lil’ Nugget. Last week he was a little under the weather. He was struggling with a respiratory infection and had to be in isolation on a strict medical regimen. Today he’s off his meds, out of isolation and his eyes are crystal clear. Now this shy little guy begins the process of socialization! 

His foster mom, Maria, sent us an update last night and said that “he has started to explore around the house. He climbed 2 stairs for the first time yesterday.” He’s as curious as any kitten. Now that Lil’ Nugget is healthy he needs to start working on his people skills. Maria will work on getting him to become less timid. She explains that he “still needs socializing, because he is very shy, but getting better every day.” Physical contact is one of the best ways to get him to come out of his shell. Maria will be spending the next few weeks holding and petting Lil’ Nugget, playing with him, introducing him to her own cat and helping him become more comfortable with people. Check back next Tuesday for an update on Lil’ Nugget and find out how he gets along with his foster sibling!

Missed last week’s post about Lil’ Nugget? Catch up on his story now!

Turtle Makes A Visit To The League

Turtle's epic smile!

Turtle’s epic smile!

Many League supporters will remember Turtle, who was rescued in 2009 after being used as a “bait dog” to train dogs for fighting.

Wes (formerly Snowball) and Turtle wait for a treat.

Wes (formerly Snowball) and Turtle wait for a treat.

Last week Turtle and her new buddy Wes Welker (formerly known as Snowball) the 7-month-old maltese puppy who came to the League with a broken paw stopped by the Animal Rescue League of Boston. They were greeted by many friendly faces. Turtle’s recovery is remarkable. Today she is as happy and healthy as can be and enjoys spending time with her new friend Wes.

If you’d like to learn more about Turtle’s story you can read about it here.

Turtle and Wes catch up with members of our Advancement Team.

Turtle and Wes catch up with members of our Advancement Team.

Random Acts of Kindness

Like so many others, Jamie Gendron struggled to comprehend the shock and sadness she was experiencing in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. As she struggled to process her feelings, she happened to receive an email from a friend that would help her channel her grief.

Jamie Gendron

Jamie Gendron chose the League as a recipeint of one of her “26 Random Acts of Kindness” in honor of the victims of Newtown, Connecticut.

The message, inspired by newscaster Ann Curry, encouraged people to engage in “26 Random Acts of Kindness” to honor the memory of victims. “After clicking on the link, I was immediately overwhelmed with a feeling of I want to do this … I have to do this,” she explains. “All I could think was that it’s a great way to just make someone smile, which seemed so important in light of what had just happened.”

One of Gendron’s favorite quotes is from Audrey Hepburn: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” One of her “26 Random Acts of Kindness” involved bringing a large box of toys, dog treats, bedding and supplies to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s South End shelter.

Gendron had adopted a kitten from the League in August, and wanted to focus her “26 Acts” on local organizations. “I often think about, daydream about, what I’d truly like to be spending my days doing as far as work, and I can tell you it involves more directly helping those in need, whether human or animal, and being involved in something for a cause I truly believe in,” she explains.

Thank you, Jamie – your gifts will make our shelter animals’ days brighter and are such a touching way to honor the children of Newtown.