COVID-19 Update:

Animal adoptions have resumed by appointment-only. If you are interested in adopting an animal from ARL, please click on the animal’s photo on our website and submit the web form available in their profile. Please note whether the animal is available in Boston, Dedham or Brewster. Once received, our staff will contact you to conduct an adoption interview with you via the phone and arrange a meeting, if both parties think it’s a good match.

Please be patient, as we are experiencing a high volume of inquiries; it may take several days before we’re able to respond to your inquiry. Check our website frequently, as the availability of our adoptable animals is constantly changing. If you are unable to access the web form, please call (617) 426-9170 and dial the appropriate extension: Boston x604, Dedham x605, Brewster x305.

Please note:

  • With the exception of lower-risk states, we are unable to conduct out-of-state adoptions at this time.
  • The public will not be permitted in the shelter or lobby waiting areas without an appointment and will be asked to limit the number of visitors.
  • Everyone must wear a protective face covering or mask that covers both the nose and mouth while at ARL facilities by order of the State of Massachusetts.
    • Please alert our staff if you need to request accommodation due to a medical condition by calling: (617) 426 – 9170 and dialing the appropriate extension: Boston press “0”, Dedham x605, or Brewster x305;
    • For more information on these safety requirements, visit Mass.gov.

At this time, we are collecting towels, toys and small bedding for use in our Animal Care & Adoption Centers, but are unable to accept large items such as food or crates. To donate towels, toys and small bedding, please leave them outside Boston or Brewster’s front doors between 9AM – 12PM only; or the donation bin outside of the Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center anytime. You can still send much needed animal supplies through Amazon shelter wish lists for BostonDedham, and Brewster.

Adopt a Pet


The Animal Rescue League of Boston is committed to matching adoptable animals with a permanent home. Our conversation-based, application-free adoption process is designed so that the needs of both the animal and the adopter are understood and compatible with one another. We do this to achieve our vision that we will be a resource for people and an unwavering champion for animals most in need.

We have animals of many types, breeds, sizes and ages. Search available pets now by selecting the type of pet you are interested in below. The adoption fees listed are effective as of January 2, 2018.


Under 6 months: $500
6 months – 7 years: $350
Over 8 years: $250


Under 6 months: $250
6 months – 3 years: $200
4 – 7 years: $150
Over 8 years: $100


Adoption fees for birds, small animals/exotics, and livestock vary by species, please call to speak with an adoption agent.

*A transport fee may apply to animals transported to ARL from another state

Adopt a Pet from ARL

At the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), our goal is for animals to be safe and healthy where they belong, in homes and out of shelters. In 2020, 2,276 pets were adopted to their forever homes!

No matter how they came to the shelter – through a law enforcement case such as a hoarding situation, as a stray brought in by a kind citizen or an animal control officer, or when an owner passes away – cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, and even pot-bellied pigs are treated with kindness and compassion.

Every animal that comes through our doors is immediately provided with extraordinary medical care by our Shelter Veterinary Medicine team.

While most shelters put an emphasis on physical care, we at the ARL know that an animal’s mental and emotional well-being is equally as important. Each animal participates in our unique Shelter Behavior and Enrichment program to not only make them happy and comfortable while they’re in our shelter, but also prepare them for life in their future home.

When you adopt a pet from one of our shelters in Boston, Brewster, or Dedham, you not only give a homeless animal a safe and loving place to live, but also save two lives: the animal you adopt and the animal who can take its place.

Cat at ARL's Boston adoption center

Another great perk? All of this is included in your new pet’s adoption fee:

  • Spay or neuter services (excluding some small animals)
  • Health screening and veterinary examination
  • Behavior evaluations & enrichment
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchip identification and registration
  • Heartworm test and preventative medication for dogs
  • Feline Leukemia test for cats
  • Flea, tick, and mite treatment
  • Deworming for intestinal parasites
  • Tag, collar, and leash
  • A starter bag of Hill’s Science Diet food for cats and dogs
  • And more!

Adoption Process and Requirements

We require the following as part of the adoption process:

      • Adopter must be 18 years of age or older
      • A current government-issued photo ID (no student IDs) – such as a driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID, etc.
      • Have a conversation with an ARL adoption counselor
      • A photo of the cage your pet will live in, if adopting a small animal or bird
      • Adopters are responsible for bringing their own travel carrier to bring home all adopted cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, chinchillas, and other small animals or birds of a larger size.

*All ARL adoption centers offer new travel carriers for sale ($35 – $40 depending on size), along with gently used carriers as supplies last ($10).

Learn more about ARL’s adoption fees and search adoptables.

Shelter Behavior & Enrichment Program

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy… before, during, and after they leave our shelters. Most other animal shelters put an emphasis on the medical and physical aspects of animal care. At ARL, we know that an animal’s mental and emotional well-being is equally as important. ARL’s staff and volunteers, including the MOD Squad (Behavior Modification Squad), go the extra mile to determine the best methods to help each animal adapt to their new environment and get them ready to find a new home through behavior evaluation and modification, and enrichment.

Behavior Evaluation & Modification

ARL’s behavior evaluation process takes in all the information available to us for each animal. When possible, we start with a profile when an owner relinquishes a pet to us. If the animal comes in as a stray, we do everything that we can to gather as much information about an animal’s behavior.

Our shelter dogs go through a systematic behavior evaluation in which they are screened for friendliness to humans, excitement levels, fear, aggression, and how well they know cues.

For all animals, we gather and report behavior observed in the shelter and compile this information to determine each individual animal’s enrichment needs:

Customized Enrichment Plan

Each animal participates in ARL’s unique Shelter Behavior and Enrichment program to not only make them happy and comfortable while they’re in our shelter, but also prepare them for life in their future home.

ARL uses holistic methods to enrich their daily experience through a combination of proper socialization, playtime, and relaxation.

Shelter Veterinary Services

ARL’s Shelter Veterinary Medicine Team provides comprehensive veterinary services for all three of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham.

Every animal that comes to an ARL shelter receives a medical evaluation from one of our highly-qualified, caring shelter veterinarians. Our team members continuously train and work to expand skills to meet the needs of a diverse range of species including dogs, cats, rabbits, small animal, bird, and livestock, coming from a variety of living situations and conditions.

In 2020, our team:

  • Completed over 4,350 exams on our shelter pets
  • Performed over 1,734 surgeries for our shelter pets

Want to learn from our team? View our student opportunities:

ARL Dog holding plush toy heart