Category: Adoption
ARL Saves Life of Transport Kitten

Transport kitten required leg amputation due to unrepairable fracture

A seven-month-old transport kitten in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is getting a second chance thanks to both the transport, and the emergency surgical procedure performed by ARL’s shelter medicine team.

The kitten was part of a transport of cats through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Relocation Program, and was suffering from a severely fractured leg.

Because the kitten, named Raquel, was found as a stray, it’s unknown how she suffered the injury.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, Raquel’s leg was x-rayed and due to the extent and severity of the fracture, the leg was removed which will result in Raquel living a pain-free, and normal life.

Just one day after surgery, Raquel was playful, energetic and displayed no mobility issues.

Raquel is literally receiving a second chance – given the combination of shelter overcrowding and her medical issues, it’s very likely that the kitten would have been euthanized had she not been transported.

ARL is thrilled to have the opportunity to give Raquel and the 14 other cats that were part of the transport the chance to find permanent homes and have the fulfilling lives they deserve.

While ARL’s feline priorities remain focused on serving the countless homeless cats living in our local communities through the organization’s Community Cat Program, ARL is a proud partner with the ASPCA and regularly receives transports of both cats and dogs to lessen shelter overcrowding in other regions of the country and finding these animals homes.

The ASPCA Relocation Program removes cats and dogs from shelters in areas with high homeless animal populations and transports them to areas (like Massachusetts), where the demand for adoptable animals is high.

In 2021, the program relocated more than 34,000 animals to shelters across the country.

ARL Tops 100 for Overcrowding Cat Intake in 2023

Latest overcrowding cat situation involved two dozen cats removed from home in Bristol County

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) took in two dozen animals from a cat overcrowding situation in Bristol County, and already in 2023 ARL has taken in more than 100 cats from these types of situations in our local communities – nearly twice as many as the same time period in 2022.

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated community cat agent working within our local communities to help these animals directly where they live.

The cats currently in ARL’s care came from an individual that previously reached out to ARL for assistance through the organization’s Community Cat Program to support care for outdoor cats in the area as well as owner surrender for cats the individual had taken into their care.

After providing refuge and shelter for so many outdoor cats, the situation had become too overwhelming and assistance was required to ensure the cats were provided with proper care and the opportunity to find loving homes through ARL’s adoption services.

Once removed from the home, the cats were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center where they continue to receive ongoing medical and behavioral care.

Cats living in overcrowding situations tend to have chronic medical issues due to a lack of proper care and sanitation, and because they are more used to interacting with other animals rather than people, tend to have behavioral challenges to overcome before being placed in a permanent home.

The majority of the cats are doing remarkably well and while many are available for adoption, others will need ongoing care, but should be ready to find their new homes soon.

Taking in such a large and sudden influx of animals is a daunting task, however, ARL has the experience and expertise to provide the care these animals need, and reminds the public that If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by having too many animals in their home, there is help available.

You can contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

ARL approaches every overcrowding situation with respect, compassion, and a staunch commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the animals involved, as well as their caretakers.

Rabbits Make Excellent Household Pets!

Info you can use for these cute and cuddly herbivores

From Rex to Angora to the French Lop, there are a wide variety of domestic rabbits, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) routinely has a large population of adoptable rabbits to choose from.

Rabbits make excellent pets!

Aside from being a great option for families living in smaller spaces, rabbits are incredibly clean, intelligent, friendly, and curious, making them fantastic pets!

Rabbit Basics

ARL believes that rabbits should always be housed indoors.

Your rabbit’s enclosure must be large enough to contain a litter box (yes, they can be litter box trained!), food bowls, a place to sleep, and enough room to explore and play.

Additionally, rabbits should experience at least three hours of out-of-enclosure time every day.

This allows rabbits more space to explore and play, and time for you to handle, work on training and cuddle up, which will strengthen the bond between you and your rabbit.

A Proper Diet

Rabbits need a variety of food in order to stay healthy, happy, and active.

The bulk of their diet should be high-quality fresh greens, with timothy hay provided at all times.

Pelleted rabbit food should used only as a supplement to the greens.

You’ll want to avoid alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets, as alfalfa is too high in protein.

And while we all associate rabbits with carrots, carrots and fruit should only be offered in moderation as occasional treats, as the sugar content can promote tooth decay and also lead to weight gain.


To keep you rabbit’s fur fluffy and mat-free, brushing should be a regular part of their out-of-enclosure time.

Keep in mind the frequency of brushing will depend on the length of your rabbit’s fur, and how well they groom themselves.

Brushing minimizes shedding, maintains a healthy coat, and aids in reducing hair ingestion.

Nail Trimming

Just like cats and dogs, rabbits need their nails trimmed carefully so as to not hit the blood vessels that run through the base of the nail (commonly called the “quick”).

Use a clipper designed specifically for pets, and nails should be trimmed every 3-4 weeks.

While trimming your rabbit’s nails, look for any urine staining on the paws, which is a sign the enclosure needing to be cleaned more regularly.

Oral Health

Rabbits need to have their mouths checked every few weeks for abscesses, as well as any abnormalities in their teeth.

Should you find any abnormalities, you’ll want to follow up with your regular veterinarian for a visit.

If your rabbit will not allow this type of handling, check for bad breath, drooling, eye or nasal issues, which are all signs of dental issues.

A proper diet will go a long way in promoting good oral health!

Litter Box

As previously mentioned, rabbits can be litter box trained!

Litter boxes designed for rabbits are available, but you can also use one made for cats.

Place a layer of hay on top of the litter, as this will entice the rabbit into the box to eat the hay and they often go to the bathroom and eat at the same time.

A second litter box is also recommended for use while your rabbit is exploring out of the enclosure.


Over time, you will get to know your own rabbit’s favorite games and what truly makes them happy, as well as what he/she is trying to communicate to you with specific behaviors.

Here are a few behavior-related tips:

    • Chewing – Rabbits teeth grow continuously; therefore, they need things to chew in order to keep their teeth filed down. They can also chew if they’re bored or stressed.
    • Digging – Burrowing and digging is fun for rabbits. Give your rabbit a box of hay, or even just a big blanket that they can dig into.
    • Napping – Rabbits are most active during the morning and evening. During the middle of the day, they tend to enjoy short naps with small amounts of activity in-between.
    • Grunting/Thumping – Grunting and thumping are ways that your rabbit is telling you they are frightened, angry, or annoyed. You’ll want to give your rabbit a little space if you see these behaviors.
    • Chinning – Sometimes your rabbit may rub their chin on your stuff. This is your rabbit’s way of getting his/her scent all over your things in order to claim it as their territory.
    • Nudging – At times, your rabbit may approach you and nudge you gently with their nose. This can either mean they would like to be pet, or that you are in their way.
    • Binky – When your rabbit is really happy and having fun, they may run around your house and randomly jump up in the air, kicking their legs and wiggling their bodies – it’s of course very cute and fun to watch!

Ready to Adopt?

If you think a rabbit would be a great addition to your home and family, ARL is here to help.

ARL’s three Animal Care and Adoption Center locations routinely have a number of rabbits who are waiting for their perfect match, and the Adoption Forward adoption process is a conversation-based, application-free process designed so that the needs of both the animal and the adopter are understood and compatible with one another.

Pair of Community Cats Forge Heart-Warming Bond at ARL

Community cats overcome social and medical hurdles

When community cats come into the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), the road to finding a permanent and loving home is often paved with challenges, whether it be a medical condition or a need for socialization.

For six-year-old Jacob and eight-year-old Peanut Butter, they found more than shelter, medical treatment, and caring staff at ARL – they found each other.

Jacob was found as a stray in Fall River, and upon his arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, it was clear he needed medical attention.

Although showing some social behavior, he had two ailments causing him discomfort and pain that needed to be addressed – severe dental disease, and an infection that had all but destroyed his right eye.

ARL’s shelter medicine team proceeded to remove the eye, and with the extent of the dental disease, performed a full-mouth extraction, removing all of his remaining teeth.

Jacob and Peanut Butter.

Jacob was placed in an office to recover, and there is where he found Peanut Butter.

Peanut Butter was also a stray and was living in Hyde Park.

She had a feeder to depend on, and her ear tip showed that she had been spayed and released at some point in her life.

Unfortunately, her feeder was moving, and could no longer monitor the aging cat.

When Peanut Butter was trapped and brought to ARL, she was found to be in good overall health, however, she was suffering from severe dental disease.

She was missing a handful of teeth, and 15 teeth that were causing her pain were removed.

With surgery complete, she was placed in the same office as Jacob to recover.

Over a short period of time, the two became fast friends, and soon were spotted together in a plush cat cubby and that is where you can find them curled up together for most of the day.

While the cats are still working on their social skills with humans, with their bond forged, they will find a new home together and will lean on one another to acclimate to their new surroundings.

*Update 3/14/23: Jacob and Peanut Butter have been adopted together!** 

ARL’s Community Cat Program

It is estimated that there are more than 700,000 community cats throughout Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone.

Community cats face many challenges living outdoors. Without proper shelter and care, they are at risk of illness and injury.

Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters and continue the cycle of large colonies of unowned cats.

ARL’s Community Cat Program tackles this issue by working with individuals who take it upon themselves to feed and monitor these animals, as well as animal control officers to assess a colony and formulate a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) plan.

Spay and neuter surgeries are low risk and proven to improve the safety and health of these cats as well as the community as a whole. The plan also includes vaccines, and whether each cat will be returned to the colony, returned to their owner if microchipped, or admitted to an ARL shelter to be put up for adoption if they are friendly, just like Jacob and Peanut Butter.

More information about ARL’s Community Cat Program.

Former Abandoned Dog Finds the Home He Deserves

Abandoned dog needed extensive grooming and a little TLC

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently took in a 9-year-old abandoned dog from an animal control officer in Worcester County, this after the Australian Shepherd mix was left tied to a large tire near a busy road.

The abandoned dog, named Charlie, realized that he had been left to fend for himself, and managed to chew through the rope and sought shelter at a nearby business where staff took him in and notified authorities.

Charlie’s owner was found rather quickly and formally surrendered the dog, but is facing charges for abandoning an animal.

Once he was surrendered, the local animal control officer contacted ARL and transported him to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Upon arrival, staff was notified that Charlie had not received veterinary care for some time, and given his extremely matted and unkempt coat, he was in desperate need of grooming.

ARL’s shelter medicine team gave Charlie a thorough exam, and due to the extent of the matting, Charlie needed to be sedated for his grooming and when staff was finished, he literally looked like a completely different dog!

With the uncomfortable mats removed, Charlie quickly settled into his new surroundings and became a favorite among staff and volunteers.

Charlie was friendly, well-mannered, and enjoyed being around people and taking advantage of Dedham’s outdoor paddocks to play and run around in.

Less than two weeks after arriving at ARL, Charlie was made available for adoption and quickly found his new home where he has settled in and thriving!

A Resource for Animals in Need

ARL is thrilled for the opportunity to provide Charlie with the resources he needed to overcome a difficult situation and to find him the loving home he deserves.

ARL routinely works with animal control officers from around the Commonwealth in a variety of ways, including taking in animals like Charlie.

From assisting on animal rescues, providing intake for overcrowding or other situations involving large numbers of animals, or taking in stray or lost animals, animal control officers know that ARL is always ready, willing, and able to help in any way possible and that the animals will receive high-quality care and the resources they need to thrive in the next chapters of their lives.

ARL Takes in Dogs Rescued from Alleged South Carolina Dog Fighting Operation

Alleged dog fighting operation housed approximately 275 dogs

Late last week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) received a special transport of three dogs from the national organization the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that were rescued from a large alleged dog fighting operation in South Carolina that was raided by federal officials in September of 2022.

ARL is privileged to welcome these dogs and give them the lives and homes they truly deserve.

The female dogs range from 2-3-years-old, and have received thorough medical examinations upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Aside from scars that are typical of dogs that have suffered in this type of situation, one dog did need a mass removed, one dog required the extraction of several teeth, and one dog will need ongoing medication for allergies that have caused skin irritation.

The dogs are friendly, but given the circumstances they came from, they are understandably nervous around new people, however, ARL staff and volunteers are continuously working with the animals to increase their confidence and comfort level around people.

With the trauma behind them, ARL is looking forward to finding these resilient dogs the homes they deserve, and encourage potential adopters to learn more about them.

ARL wishes to thank HSUS for their efforts in rescuing these dogs, and for collaborating with ARL to help these dogs into the next phase of their lives.

Case Background

On September 25, 2022, HSUS assisted the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Office of the Inspector General to seize approximately 275 from multiple properties in the Columbia, South Carolina area as part of an ongoing investigation by the USDA, OIG, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The conditions these animals were living in were horrific, with many dogs living in pens or chained to trees with barrels or makeshift shelter serving as their only protection from the elements. The dogs were suffering from a variety of injuries typically found in dog fighting situations including severe scarring, festering open wounds, lacerations, abscesses, and broken bones consistent with multiple bite wounds.

Additionally, many of the dogs were found to be dehydrated, underweight or emaciated, and infested with fleas and other parasites.

Most of the dogs were adults, however, there were multiple nursing litters of puppies removed from the properties as well.

While a portion of the 275 dogs have been surrendered and can now be placed for adoption, many are still receiving care in confidential locations while the court process determines custody.

The Animal Welfare Act makes it a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison to fight dogs or to possess, train, sell, buy, deliver, receive, or transport dogs intended for use in dogfighting.

ARL Seeking Special Home for Playful and Affectionate Abandoned Pig

Young pig surrendered after being abandoned at a Boston-area home

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is looking for a special home for a one-year-old female pig who has a sparkling personality and was illegally transported into the state and abandoned at a Boston-area home.

In late October 2022, Boston Animal Control contacted ARL regarding the pig, now named Clarendon.

It seems the relative of a Boston resident was visiting from Northern New England and had brought Clarendon along.

However, when the relative left, the pig was left behind.

Concerned for the sow’s welfare, the resident contacted Boston Animal Control, who then transported Clarendon to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Because she was illegally transported from out-of-state, she has had to undergo a quarantine period, but has quickly settled into her new surroundings.

She is constantly showing her affectionate and playful side, welcoming anyone who comes to visit, and excitedly running around her pen to the delight of ARL staff and volunteers.

While adorable, Clarendon will need a special home, as she is not the typical kind of pig that ARL routinely finds homes for.

Clarendon is a breed of pig that is typically bred for meat production, meaning when she is full-grown, she will likely weigh several hundred pounds, therefore, her new home will have to be able to accommodate an animal of her size.

Interested adopters can contact ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center by calling (617) 426-9170 x605, or emailing dedham-adoption@arlboston.org.

Watch local news coverage of Clarendon.

Stray Cat Rescued and Eventually Adopted by BU PhD Student

Stray cat was found on construction site along a busy Boston street

A stray cat in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) had her story come full circle this past week, after she was adopted by one of her finders.

The cat, named Dr. Stumps, was discovered on scaffolding in a construction site along Commonwealth Avenue on the expansive campus of Boston University.

Dr. Stumps after being adopted.

A PhD student at the university noticed the cat in the precarious position and decided to take action.

The student removed the cat from the scaffolding, and brought her into the office where other students were working in.

She was sweet, curious and social with all who interacted with her and because of her tendency to tread over the student’s computers who were working on their doctorates, they decided that the studious cat had already earned her doctorate from BU and aptly named her Dr. Stumps.

After spending some time with the cat and noticing her outward behavior towards people, the students thought she possibly may have been an owned cat and brought her to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The cat was not microchipped, and received a thorough medical exam and spay surgery.

She was a little underweight but did not have any injuries or illness as a result of spending time on the streets fending for herself.

The students kept tabs on her progress, and when her stray wait period ended and she was made available for adoption, one student jumped at the chance of giving her a permanent home.

The adopter tells ARL that when Dr. Stumps got home, she ate and slept in abundance, while also cuddling with her new family.

She has adapted to the home quickly and has become more playful as she’s gotten more comfortable in her new surroundings and is now thriving!

ARL Takes in More Than 75 Cats from Overcrowding Situations

Overcrowding cats undergoing medical care, should be available for adoption soon

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) took in more than 75 cats from two separate overcrowding situations and reminds the public that should they or anyone they know be in a situation where they are unable to care for their animals to reach out to ARL for assistance.

The animals are being cared for at ARL’s Boston and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers, and at this time are not available for adoption.

ARL Responds

Early last week ARL’s Field Services Department assisted a resident in Norfolk County to nearly 50 cats from the residence.

The person in need had inherited the animals from a close relative, and because of the urgency of the situation, ARL was able to respond the same day the resident reached out for assistance.

The cats involved were intact and breeding, and most of the animals from this situation are under a year old.

Once transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, the animals received veterinary care, and many, particularly the litters of kittens, have been placed into ARL’s vast foster care network, where they will stay until they are ready to find new homes.

The cats remaining at ARL’s Boston location will continue to receive medical and behavioral care until they are ready to find new homes.

Through ARL’s Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program, one cat was neutered and returned, as he holds a special place in the hearts of the family involved.

The second overcrowding situation involved ARL removing nearly two dozen cats from a home in Bristol County.

ARL had been working with a resident who was looking to rehome some of the cats from the home for several months, but unfortunately, the resident recently passed away and the family requested that all the cats be removed from the home.

The family had been working with animal control in their town, so while many of the animals had been spayed or neutered, some are older and will need further medical and behavioral evaluations before being made available for adoption.

While these cats are currently unavailable for adoption, ARL hopes to have these cats ready to find new homes soon, but there is no timeline on when this may happen.

If You Need Assistance

ARL reminds the public that If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by having too many animals in their home, there is help available.

You can contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

ARL approaches every overcrowding situation with respect, compassion, and a staunch commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the animals involved, as well as their caretakers.

How You Can Help

The sudden arrival of nearly this many cats and kittens from three overcrowding situations means we urgently need your help!

Your emergency gift today can provide the cats and animals like them with everything they need including medical care to treat their health issues; spay and neuter surgery to stop the cycle of pet overpopulation; and adoption services to ensure they find loving homes.

Senior Animal Finds the Perfect Home for the Holidays

18-Year-old dog surrendered in October

For many at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), senior animals hold a special place in our hearts, and when a senior pet finds their perfect family, it’s always a heart-warming experience.

Booker, an 18-year-old silky terrier, was surrendered to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center in October, and would quickly show everyone that age is indeed just a number.

Booker looking dapper in Brewster.

Upon arrival at ARL, Booker was understandably quiet and reserved, but that changed quickly.

Once settling into his new surroundings, he showed off his personality and was extremely friendly and just wanted to be around people – he would whine or bark until a staff member or volunteer would come to say hello and spend time with him!

While his veterinary exam revealed moderate to severe dental disease and partial blindness, Booker was in overall great health, particularly for a senior animal.

Finding a Home

ARL is incredibly proud of the very short length-of-stay for the majority of animals in the organization’s care, and for Booker, it was imperative for staff to find him a home as quickly as possible so he could continue to enjoy his retirement years.

Despite his age, Booker was still plenty active, enjoying short walks and exploring his outdoor surroundings, but of course he is very happy to be curled up with his favorite person on the couch for a nap as well!

With his good health and sparkling personality, it took no time at all to find Booker a new home, where he is thriving and spending his first holiday season with his new family!

Helping Animals Like Booker

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Booker get everything they deserve this holiday season.

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes.  From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues, to veterinary care, enrichment and behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible.

2,285+ animals in need have already found homes this year. Will you make a year-end gift to help one more?