Category: Adoption
ARL Tops 400 for Overcrowding Animal Intake in 2023

Overcrowding animals include cats, guinea pigs, rabbits

Overcrowding continues to be an area of emphasis for the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in 2023, and this past week the organization took in more than two dozen cats, and nearly two dozen guinea pigs from three separate situations.

ARL has now taken in more than 400 animals from overcrowding situations in 2023, more than double the overcrowding intake from 2022.

Traditionally overcrowding typically involved cats or dogs, however in 2023, ARL has also tackled situations involving guinea pigs and rabbits.

While some may associate overcrowding with neglect, these animals were all well cared for and the common issues that led to these situations were a lack of spay/neuter, or incorrectly sexed animals purchased from pet stores.

The cats from situations in Norfolk and Worcester counties were transferred to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers and have received thorough veterinary exams.

While the cats are overall in good health, a number of the animals are recovering from upper respiratory infections, a common byproduct of overcrowding.

Additionally, some of the cats are shy and undersocialized and will require their new families to have patience when allowing the animals to settle into their new homes.

The recent intake of guinea pigs are part of an ongoing operation between ARL and the former owner of the animals.

This particular situation was the result of incorrectly sexed guinea pigs being purchased from an out-of-state pet store.

All of these animals are doing well, and while some are available for adoption, others will require ongoing care before finding their forever homes.

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.

If you or someone you know is looking for support for spay/neuter services or to rehome cats, 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.

Dog with Malignant Mass Left Outside ARL’s Boston Shelter

An 8-year-old Shih Tzu was recently left tied to a fence outside of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and after discovering and removing a malignant mass, ARL was thrilled to find this sweet pup a special home to live out the rest of her days filled with comfort and love.

In mid-August, the dog, named Raggedy Ann, was spotted by a trash collector around 5 a.m., tied to a fence outside of ARL’s shelter on the Tremont St. side, and notified staff a little while later when the Good Samaritan realized that the dog had likely been left by its owner.

The animal had a collar but not tags, and was also left with a bowl of water.

ARL surmises that the owner did not know what else to do, and left the dog in a moment of panic.

Raggedy Ann was given a thorough veterinary exam which revealed a mammary mass, which was removed and biopsied – unfortunately the mass was malignant.

And while a chest x-ray did not show any sign of metastatic disease, it is possible that additional mammary tumors may appear or that metastatic disease may become apparent as she ages.

Given her medical condition, ARL wanted to see Raggedy Ann find a new home as quickly as possible so she may enjoy the remainder of her life in a home with a loving family.

A dedicated ARL volunteer stepped up to open up their heart and home, and Raggedy Ann has settled in quickly and is thriving in her new environment.

ARL is a Resource 

With Raggedy Ann being left outside the Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, ARL wants to remind the public to please always surrender a pet in person.

Surrendering a pet is an incredibly difficult decision, and ARL understands this.

If a pet owner needs to surrender an animal, ARL asks that pet owners do so in person, so transfer of the animal can be done safely, and it’s also an opportunity for ARL staff to learn as much as they can about the animal.

Additionally, ARL understands that circumstances do arise in life when pet ownership is no longer feasible, and offers a comfortable, safe and perhaps most importantly, a judgement-free environment to complete a pet surrender.

If a pet owner is wrestling with the decision to surrender, ARL does offer a variety of services which may help keep the animal out of a shelter and in the loving home where they belong.

Services include ARL’s Free Pet Behavior Helpline, the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program, the Wellness Waggin’, Spay Waggin’, among others.

Change of Scenery Helps Fearful Dog Find New Home

ARL’s different geographic locations helps fearful dog thrive

When fearful dog Sprinkles, a 4-year-old Australian Cattle dog came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center this past spring, her level of fear was practically paralyzing for all aspects of her life.

Because she spent the majority of her life indoors, upon arrival at ARL, she was unable to go outdoors, the shelter environment and presence of other dogs were overwhelming, and she spent her days in an office with ARL staff members working diligently to make her comfortable, gain her trust and improve her confidence.

Despite her sweet demeanor, her fearfulness was a tremendous barrier to her finding her perfect home and she remained in the care of ARL.

Geographic Advantage

ARL is blessed to have three animal care and adoption centers, spread over a large geographic area.

For Sprinkles, the hustle and bustle of Boston was clearly not for her, and the decision was made to transfer her to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, which could offer her a quieter environment and the slower, more relaxed pace that Cape Cod is known for.

The change of scenery was just what Sprinkles needed.

Overcoming Fear

Sprinkles enjoying the company of ARL Staff.

Within 48 hours of being transferred, Sprinkles began showing signs that she was in the right place.

While not venturing too far from her cozy dog bed that was set up in an office, Sprinkles began outwardly seeking attention from new people and showing the desire to be more outgoing, it was just going to take some time.

During her time at ARL in Brewster, she continued to take small steps, from going outside to relieve herself to spending short periods of playtime in a paddock with staff, volunteers, and even other dogs.

As she continued to make progress, after a couple of months in Brewster, Sprinkles finally met her potential new family.

The married couple visited with Sprinkles on three separate occasions, first meeting with her one-on-one, then together, making sure to go slow while making a loving connection with the fearful dog.

Going Home

Following the third visit with Sprinkles, the couple decided that the sweet 4-year-old pup had notched a special place in their hearts, and decided to adopt!

While most dogs walk out the door with their new family when leaving ARL, because Sprinkles is learning to live with her fear, saying goodbye to ARL was a special process – she was placed in a crate and carried to her new family’s vehicle, and from there, her new dog mom sat in the back seat with her for the ride home – another sign that Sprinkles had met the family she was destined for.

ARL Resources

While Sprinkles’ level of fear was extreme, ARL does routinely see animals of all types that are fearful.

ARL’s behavioral team works diligently to assess and then work with every animal in ARL’s care to help them tackle their fear and better acclimate into their new homes – however, once an animal goes home, ARL continues to be a resource.

Through occasional check-ins, dog training classes, and ARL’s free Pet Behavior Helpline, ARL can help guide pet owners through a myriad of behavioral issues and concerns.

If you have basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, etc., ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.

ARL Hosting Small Animal Adopt-a-Thon

Small animal adoption fees to be waived during adoption event

Thinking of adding a small animal to your family?

Join the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) across the organization’s three Animal Care & Adoption Centers for a Small Animal Adopt-a-thon in honor of Clear The Shelters, a national pet adoption campaign.

From August 10 through August 13, from guinea pigs to rabbits, mice, rats, among others*, ARL’s adoption fees will be waived — they may be small, but they will hold a big place in your heart!

ARL’s Adoption Forward process will remain the same and our adoption team will require prospective adopters to bring a photo of the cage their pet will live in to ensure it meets our requirements.

Search small animals available for adoption.

ARL has seen a steady influx of these animals including guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters, even sugar gliders and chinchillas over the past several years, and a large component to these surrenders are animals that are incorrectly sexed and wind up mating — leading to unexpected litters.

There are countless benefits to adopting a small animal.

Aside from off-the-chart cuteness, these animals are perfect for smaller living spaces and for living environment that may not allow a dog or cat. They are also social, loving, and make wonderful companion animals! Additionally, many smallies can be trained to use a litter box, among other cute and amazing skills!

Visit an ARL Animal Care & Adoption Center from August 10 through August 13 from 1:00pm-6:00pm:

Boston: 10 Chandler Street

Dedham: 55 Anna’s Place

Brewster (Cape Cod): 3981 Main Street
Note this location is open by appointment only on Sunday, 8/13. Please call (617) 426-9170 x305 to schedule an appointment.

*exclusions apply

ARL Staff and Volunteers Going Above and Beyond to Help Morbidly Obese Cats

Volunteers helping 30-pound obese cats groom, and exercise to promote weight loss

With several morbidly obese cats recently being brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), the organization’s staff and volunteers have dedicated themselves to helping these 30-pound cats in any way possible to help them lose weight and find the forever homes they deserve.

Maleficent came to ARL weighing more than 30 pounds.

To put this into context, a typical healthy weight for a cat is approximately 10 pounds!

For Maleficent, a 3-year-old female cat, and King, a 7-year-old male cat, both exceeded 30 pounds upon arrival at ARL, and given their condition, they were unable to groom themselves, leading to painful mats in their fur, and were relatively immobile.

Following their initial veterinary exams, both cats needed a dietary plan to lessen their caloric intake, and as we all know, the key to weight loss is to get up and get moving.

ARL staff and volunteers have dedicated themselves to spending ample time with these cats during the day, helping them groom so they will remain comfortable, and getting them out of their kennels for playtime and exercise.

To date, the cats are both responding well, they have come out of their shells and are starting to show their sweet and playful sides, and have both lost several pounds over the past month or so.

King came into ARL weighing 33 pounds.

Despite the progress, both cats will need to be in homes with families that are committed to helping the cats continue their weight loss journey and help them in any way possible.

Like humans, excessive weight gain for animals can be extremely detrimental to their overall health and well-being.

Health risks for obese animals include diabetes, high blood pressure, renal disease, and respiratory disease, among others.

Both King and Maleficent are currently unavailable for adoption as ARL wants the animals to achieve a healthier weight before finding their forever homes.

Volunteering at ARL

ARL volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, performing many tasks to help ARL achieve its mission to be an unwavering champion for animals every day of the year.

In 2022, 1,100 volunteers donated nearly 118,000 hours to help animals in need, the equivalent of 57 full-time staff members!

If you have a passion for animals, consider volunteering at ARL.

Pitbull-Type Dogs Removed from Unsanitary Conditions Ready for Adoption

Unsanitary conditions led to varying medical needs for dogs

Six Pitbull-type dogs that were recently removed from a Malden home due to unsanitary conditions will soon be looking for new homes, this after the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) first removed the dogs, and then provided treatment for various medical needs.

Local news coverage.

ARL worked with Malden Animal Control to remove the dogs, then transferred the animals to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center where they immediately received thorough veterinary exams.

Upon arrival at ARL, several of the dogs were thin and borderline emaciated, one of the dogs required surgery for pyometra (a uterine infection that if left untreated could be life-threatening), and the majority of the animals had signs of living in unsanitary conditions including pressure sores, poor dental hygiene, and skin issues.

All of the dogs have been treated for their medical needs, and since being in the care of ARL have showcased their infectious personalities — they are incredibly friendly and will make great pets.

ARL hopes to find homes for these animals sooner rather than later to allow the organization to free up precious kennel space and increase ARL’s ability to take in more animals in need.

ARL Provides Emergency Surgery for Injured Stray Kitten

Stray kitten suffered from severely fractured leg

A seven-month old stray kitten from Lowell, MA, is recovering after receiving an emergency amputation surgery at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The kitten, now named Baguette, was found on the streets of Lowell late last week, and while she did not have any external wounds, her hind leg was fractured beyond the point of repair, and needed urgent veterinary care.

Knowing the critical nature of the injury, Lowell Animal Control contacted ARL and transported the kitten to ARL’s Dedham facility.

ARL was able to take in the kitten and provide the life-saving surgery, which would have cost several thousand dollars at an emergency veterinary hospital.

ARL is a resource for animal control officers throughout Massachusetts by assisting when called upon and having the ability to take on complex cases and absorb the costs of procedures such as this surgery.

ARL’s shelter medicine staff amputated the limb, and for the past several days Baguette has shown remarkable progress.

She is unhindered by the missing leg, and now being pain-free, is happy, healthy, showing off her infectious personality, and is nearly ready to thrive in a forever home.

Please note, Baguette is still unavailable for adoption, however her status will likely change in the next week or so as she continues to make progress in her recovery.

ARL Takes in Over 60 Cats From Overcrowding Situation

ARL program allows caretakers to keep a trio of cats from overcrowding situation

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently took in more than 60 cats from from an overcrowding situation in Norfolk County whose caretakers urgently needed to downsize the number of animals in their care.

This marks the fourth large-scale intake of cats from overcrowding situations in 2023 and ARL has cared for nearly 200 overcrowding cats so far this year.

The caretakers contacted ARL seeking assistance in downsizing the number of cats in the home.

While the initial thought was to surrender all the cats in the home, through a conversation with ARL staff, the caretakers learned about ARL’s Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program, making it possible to keep three cats that have special meaning for the family.

The Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program offers free spay/neuter surgery for mother/father cats and dogs, and once the surgery is performed the animals are returned to the owner.

Additionally, the offspring are surrendered to ARL and once spayed/neutered, the animals will be available for adoption.

The cats in the home were not spayed or neutered, and because cats can start breeding as young as four months of age and can have about three litters a year, a few cats turned into many in a very short period of time.

The majority of the cats from this situation are social and friendly, and have received thorough veterinary exams, vaccinations, microchip and spay/neuter surgeries.

A large number have been adopted already, but some remain in the care of ARL and are available at both ARL’s Boston and Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

ARL has cared for nearly 200 cats from overcrowding so far in 2023, and the organization regularly receives requests for assistance from caretakers with too many animals in the home. If you or someone you know is looking for support for spay/neuter services or to rehome cats, 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.

ARL Takes in Over 360 Pet Rodents from a Massachusetts Pet Store

Pet rodents to be available at ARL’s Boston/Dedham locations  

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) expedited a large surrender of more than 360 pet rodents from a Massachusetts pet store and will soon be seeking homes for hundreds of pet mice, rats, hamsters, as well as one chinchilla.

In recent years, ARL has seen a drastic increase in surrender requests for these types of pet rodents, known as pocket pets, a trend that has been echoed by other animal welfare organizations throughout Massachusetts.

Some of the small animals being brought to ARL were accidentally bred after being mis-sexed at pet stores.

Most small animals have large litters and short gestation periods, resulting in two pets becoming many more very quickly.

These types of animals make for wonderful and fun pets, and ARL encourages anyone interested in adding a new pocket pet to the family, to visit a local shelter rather than a pet store to see if they have the right pet for you.

At ARL, all animals receive a thorough veterinary exam, which includes identifying if they are male or female to ensure they will not reproduce in their new homes.

Anyone interested in adopting a new pocket pet can visit ARL’s Boston or Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers, or visit arlboston.org/adopt/adopt-a-pet/ for more information and to see who’s available.

Please note, given the large number of animals, not all of the rodents are available for adoption as of yet.

Pet Surrender

At the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), we know that circumstances can make caring for your pet difficult.

As part of our commitment to help animals and the people who care about them, ARL offers a variety of resources, including a FREE pet behavior helpline.

We understand that sometimes the difficult decision must be made to surrender your pet; rest assured that ARL is here to help you with the process.

To speak with an animal admission representative, please contact the ARL Admission Office in your area.

ARL Receives Transport Puppies from Tornado-Ravaged Mississippi

Transport puppies from areas hard-hit by late March tornadoes

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) received nearly 30 transport puppies from overcrowded shelters in areas of Mississippi that were recently devastated by tornadoes.

ARL’s Dedham, Boston, and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers received the puppies, who will undergo thorough veterinary exams, and receive spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchips, and behavioral evaluations before being made available for adoption.

While overcrowded animal shelters are common in Mississippi, in the wake of the devastating storms, it was imperative for animal shelters in the impacted regions to clear as much kennel space as possible to accommodate displaced owned pets, and ARL was pleased to have the ability to step up and take a larger transport than usual.

ARL receives regular transports of puppies and young adult dogs as part of a partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Relocation Program.

This important program removes animals from areas of the country where overcrowded shelters are an issue and transports them to regions, including New England, where kennel space is ample and there is a high demand for adoptable pets.

To see who is currently available for adoption, please visit ARL’s adoptable animal page!