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Category: Adoption
Former Emaciated Stray Now Living His Best Life

This past August, Sigma, a six-year-old male cat, was brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center as an emaciated stray, by a resident who was concerned for the cat’s well-being.

Sigma’s finder believed he had been owned and then abandoned by a former neighbor and had kept an eye on him over the past year and feeding him from time to time as well.

Sigma, while friendly, was in rough shape.

He weighed just 6 pounds, and as a comparison, when he was adopted from ARL in 2017 as a kitten, he went home weighing 9 pounds. Along with being extremely emaciated, he was also dehydrated, and unable to stand or walk on his own.

Additionally, his right eye was foggy and he was also tremoring, a sign of possible neurological deficits.

Making Strides

Sigma, a former emaciated stray, transformed after several weeks on a refeeding plan.

ARL’s shelter medicine team quickly went to work, running diagnostic tests and placing Sigma on a refeeding plan to ensure he would put on weight safely and slowly.

The lameness in his hind limbs was due to severe muscle wasting, a likely byproduct of being abandoned and inability to find a sustainable food source. Thankfully, Sigma began to strengthen as he started putting on weight, and was soon able to display vastly improved mobility.

Sigma needed some time to recover, and was placed into a foster home, where he thrived!

Many former strays can be scared of new people and surroundings, however, Sigma was the complete opposite. He loved being around his foster family, especially a young child in the home.

Going Home

After several weeks in foster care, Sigma had put back on the weight that he had lost, and was healthy, happy, and strong.

About one month after arriving at ARL, Sigma was made available for adoption, and almost immediately found his perfect family, and is thriving in his new home.

A black cat laying on a cat scratch pad

“Sigma loves to explore our home room by room. He enjoys playing with his new toys and napping! He has a great appetite and lots of energy.” Deng L., Sigma’s adopter

September is Champions Circle Month!

Sigma received the care that he needed all thanks to supporters like you.

If you’ve ever considered supporting ARL throughout the calendar year, now is a perfect time to do so!

ARL’s Champions Circle members provide reliable support in the form of monthly gifts. With their recurring contributions, members give animals like Sigma the critical support they need now, and dependable support that ARL can count on, ALL YEAR LONG. Become a Champions Circle member today!


ARL Assists in Barnstable County Overcrowding Situation

ARL works with owners, local animal control to remove 19 cats from overcrowding situation

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department recently worked with local animal control and a family in need of assistance to help remove 19 cats from an overcrowding situation in Barnstable County.

The owners of the cats had unfortunately suffered a number of recent hardships and were no longer able to care for the cats, so when local animal control reached out to ARL regarding the overcrowding situation, ARL sprung into action to help not only the cats in the home but the family involved as well.

orange tabby cat

One of 19 cats ARL removed from an overcrowding situation in Barnstable County.

Working with the owners and animal control, ARL was able to trap 19 cats and safely remove them from the home, and then transport the animals to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The cats were given time to settle into their new surroundings before receiving comprehensive veterinary exams and undergoing spay/neuter surgeries.

Because of the hardships their previous family faced, many of the cats are not used to being around people, and while ARL’s behavioral staff and volunteers have spent time with the felines, it’s likely they will need time to acclimate to their new homes.

The majority of these cats are available for adoption, and once they adjust to their new surroundings will surely become wonderful companion animals!

Reach Out for Assistance

ARL encourages anyone who may be overwhelmed or who may know someone who may be overwhelmed, to reach out for assistance.

ARL is a resource, and will work with diligence and respect to resolve any issues a caregiver may be having.

More information about ARL’s Field Services Department, including contact information.


ARL Rescues Cat Trapped in Drain in Roxbury

ARL caring for cat after drain ordeal, seeking a possible owner

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for a cat who needed to be rescued after becoming trapped in a drain outside of an apartment building in Roxbury.

The cat has shown signs of possible ownership, and ARL is actively looking to see if the animal has gone missing from a nearby residence.

On the afternoon of Thursday, September 15, ARL’s Field Services hotline received a call that a cat had been discovered trapped in a drain along 12 Cleaves St. in Roxbury, and was unable to free itself from the predicament.

An ARL Field Services agent responded immediately to the scene, and upon arrival could hear the cat meowing loudly from the drain.

The agent was able to remove the grate from the drain, and when reaching in to wrangle the cat, he seemingly knew that help had arrived and allowed himself to be handled and removed from the situation.

Once the cat was removed from the drain and safely secured, he was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center to undergo a veterinary exam and settle into his new, and hopefully temporary surroundings.

The approximately 5-year-old cat, dubbed “Louie”, was found to be in good health and was not wearing a collar and is not microchipped.

Given his friendliness, ARL is concerned that he may be missing from his home and is asking anyone who may recognize him to contact ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center at 617-426-9170 x605.

ARL Field Services

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies with equipment and training; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.


ARL Opens Doors to 25 Beagles from the Envigo Facility in Cumberland, Virginia

ARL assists in the Humane Society of the United States’ work to find placement for approximately 4,000 beagles

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has brought 25 beagles to its Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center as part of the first group of beagles to be removed from a mass-breeding facility riddled with animal welfare concerns.

The Humane Society of the United States is coordinating the removal of approximately 4,000 beagles housed at an Envigo RMS LLC facility in Cumberland, VA which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation.

The transfer plan was submitted by the Department of Justice and Envigo RMS LLC, with the agreement of the Humane Society of the United States to assume the responsibility of coordinating placement.

The transfer will take place in stages over the next 60 days, and the dogs will be up for adoption via ARL and other shelters and rescues.

ARL understands the interest by those looking to adopt one of these special animals, however to manage the high volume of request and reduce the impact on ARL’s normal operations, these animals will be adopted through a special adoption process.

Please note: due to the amount of inquiries for these beagles, ARL is no longer accepting applications for these special adoptions. 

ARL asks interested adopters who have submitted applications for their patience.

The beagles need time to heal and ARL is unable to anticipate a timeline for when they will be ready to go to their new homes. Interested adopters are asked not to call or email ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers. Calls, emails, or messages to our social media accounts will not be considered completed applications.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston is honored to be a part of such a massive rescue effort,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “ARL commends HSUS for its effort and commitment to these resilient animals, as well as our animal welfare partners around the country who have made special accommodations to ensure that these dogs are cared for and find the homes they so richly deserve.”

The transfer plan comes as a result of a lawsuit filed against Envigo by the Department of Justice in May, alleging Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility.

Repeated federal inspections have resulted in dozens of violations, including findings that some dogs had been “euthanized” without first receiving anesthesia, that dogs had received inadequate veterinary care and insufficient food, and that they were living in unsanitary conditions.

“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescues to make an operation of this scale possible,” said Lindsay Hamrick, shelter outreach and engagement director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”

The Humane Society of the United States is maintaining a list of partners accepting animals into their adoption program will be here.


ARL Shelter Medicine Team Prepares Pup for New Home

Shelter Medicine team helps “Ginger” improve quality of life

One of the critical components to preparing an animal for adoption at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is its shelter medicine team.

ARL veterinarians cover a wide array of services from general wellness exams to complex surgical procedures.

When Ginger, a nine-year-old Pitbull-type dog, came to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center recently via Athol Animal Control, it was clear this sweet pup would need a number of veterinary services before being made available for adoption.

High-Quality Veterinary Care

Ginger’s previous veterinary records indicated chronic lameness in her right hind leg, which was confirmed upon intake and exam.

The leg was clearly causing Ginger discomfort, and along with her lameness, ARL’s shelter medicine team also detected a mammary mass, which would need to be removed surgically.

To relieve the discomfort and to give Ginger a better quality of life, her hind limb was removed, and during this surgical procedure, the mass was also removed. Ginger also needed to be spayed.

Following surgery, Ginger healed rather quickly and with her leg no longer causing her pain and discomfort, her energy and demeanor drastically improved!

Going Home

Ginger adjusted very quickly, showing staff and volunteers her ability to tackle stairs with ease and showing off her sweet disposition.

She soon was adopted, finding her perfect home where she has plenty of space to play, be loved and do what she loves most – nap!

ARL Shelter Medicine

All animals who come to ARL receive veterinary exams, vaccines, are spayed/neutered, and microchipped by ARL’s shelter medicine team.

ARL also has the capability to handle a wide variety of surgical procedures to ensure that our animals are healthy, happy, and thriving.


ARL Reminds Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe During Heat Emergency

Heat emergency in place, heat and high humidity poses threats to pet health

With oppressive heat and humidity poised to settle into the area over the next few days, the City of Boston has issued a heat emergency, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is reminding pet owners to take measures to keep pets comfortable and safe during this time.

Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important basic guidelines:

  • Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a cool humidity and temperature-regulated room.
  • If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  • Hydration is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest. Aside from the heat, the high humidity can cause respiratory issues for animals, particularly short-snouted animals (i.e. pugs).
  • When the temperatures rise, it’s Too Hot for Spot®! Never leave your pet alone in a parked car — even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked.

It is illegal in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle during extreme hot or cold conditions, and when a weather advisory is issued, it is also illegal to keep dogs tethered for longer than five hours in a 24-hour period. Dogs also cannot be tethered outdoors between 10 PM and 6 AM, unless for not more than 15 minutes and when the owner/keeper is present.

For more safety tips, log onto arlboston.org.


ARL Assists in Two Overcrowding Situations

ARL Provides Spay/Neuter, Other Services for Overcrowding Situations

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently assisted two families with similar circumstances – having unaltered cats in the home, leading to overcrowding situations.

In all, the two situations resulted in ARL assisting with 20 cats.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

A family in Norfolk County reached out to ARL when they realized the struggle of a growing pet cat population.

Two cats taken in from overcrowding situations.

The family was struggling to find affordable spay/neuter options for the cats, which had resulted in additional litters of kittens.

ARL’s Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program, was the perfect solution for the family.

The Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program offers free spay/neuter surgery for the parent animals, and waived surrender fees for the offspring. After surgery, the parent animals are returned to the home, while the offspring are adopted into new and loving homes!

ARL’s Field Services Department transported nine cats from the home to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, where the animals received wellness exams, vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries.

The kittens were placed into new homes, while two of the adult cats were returned to the family!

Lending a Paw

A family in Plymouth County recently reached out to ARL for assistance regarding a family member’s cats they had been caring for.

The family member was ill and would be returning home, but would be unable to care for the nearly dozen cats in the home.

ARL’s Field Services agents went to the home to pick-up 11 cats, transferring them to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Two of the cats were returned to the family following spay/neuter surgery, while the remaining settled into Dedham’s “cat colony” room.

The cats were very shy, and were most comfortable as a group.

The “cat colony” room is a large, open space, giving shyer cats more room to sprawl and explore, and since being at ARL, the nine cats in the room are settling in, getting more comfortable in their new surroundings, and are currently awaiting their new homes.

ARL Here to Help

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.

If you or someone you know may be overwhelmed with the number of animals in the home, ARL is here to help.


Transport Pup with Chronic Skin Condition Still Seeking New Home

Skin condition causes extreme discomfort

Fern, a three-year-old female Pitbull-mix, arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in late March along with three other pups who were a part of animal cruelty investigations in New York.

As a transport partner with national organization ASPCA, ARL was seen as a great environment for these dogs to recover their previous trauma and to begin new lives in New England.

Upon arrival, Fern displayed her incredibly sweet personality, but she was also uncomfortable due to a chronic skin condition.

Fern showing her playful side.

Receiving Skin Condition Treatment

ARL shelter medicine team diligently worked to get Fern’s allergies and skin condition under control, but she needed more than just medication, she also needed a quiet place to recover.

ARL is blessed to have more than 500 dedicated foster families willing to open up their hearts and homes for animals like Fern — the shelter environment was just not conducive to her healing process, and foster care offered Fern not only a place to heal, but also an opportunity to become comfortable in a home-setting.

Ready to Go Home

After more than a month in foster care, Fern is ready to find her new family and begin her new life.

Fern is playful, full of energy, and while her skin condition is chronic, it is manageable through medication and regular visits to the veterinarian.

More information about Fern.

A Collaborative Wellness Effort

ARL is proud to be an official transport partner with the ASPCA, and Fern’s case demonstrates the amazing collaborative efforts taking place at ARL every day.

Fern needed assistance from ARL Animal Care Associates, shelter medicine and behavioral teams, as well as ARL’s extensive network of volunteers and foster families.

Every animal is an individual, and every animal requires needs that are unique to them.

But we can’t do this work alone: thanks to you and your generous support, ARL continues to help thousands of animals like Fern annually and we thank you!


Pair of Special Senior Dogs Find New Home Together

Dogs recently lost owner, originally adopted by ARL in 2018

Franklin, a 9-year-old Shar Pei, and Frieda, a 6-year-old Shar Pei, are no strangers to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

The pair came to ARL initially in late 2018 as part of a transport of dogs from North Carolina, this, after sadly losing their owner.

The dogs won over everyone with their sweet demeanor and were able to find a new home quickly.

Sadly, their owner recently passed away, and the pair came back to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center to find a new home together to spend their retirement years.

Franklin and Freida had been together for their whole lives, and lean on each other, so it was important for them to find a new home together.

Senior animals, like Franklin and Frieda, make wonderful pets, and typically do not require the attention, training and patience that comes with their younger counterparts.

However, they are sometimes overlooked by potential adopters in search of puppies, kittens, or young adult animals.

While Franklin and Freida are fun-loving and extremely friendly, ARL was well aware that it would take a special home to take in not just one, but two senior dogs. While healthy overall, the pair do have medical needs that need attention from time to time — Franklin is prone to ear infections, while Frieda’s allergies can cause dry skin and/or ear infections.

Going Home

ARL knows there is a perfect match for every animal, sometimes it just takes a little longer to find the perfect situation.

Thanks to some local news coverage, Franklin and Frieda were introduced to the masses, and shortly after, they found their new home, and are now settling in with their new family!


ARL Provides Critical Surgery for Transport Cat

The majority of animals who come to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) only have to travel a few miles to get the help they need. However, there are others, like Miso, a 3-year-old cat, who come from other regions of the country to get the help they need and the second chance they deserve.

For Miso, his journey began nearly 2,000 miles away in Fort Worth, Texas. He was part of a transport of cats recently brought to ARL.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, the cats received thorough veterinary exams, and it was clear that Miso’s needs extended beyond routine.

Along with an upper respiratory infection and advanced dental disease effecting more than half of his mouth, he was also diagnosed with entropion – a genetic condition where a portion of the eyelid is inverted.

Entropion is uncomfortable because it scratches the cornea causing irritation, and if left untreated, can cause corneal ulceration and possible blindness.

Miso’s Treatment

After assessing and diagnosing Miso’s condition, ARL’s shelter medicine team went to work, surgically repairing the eyelid, and also performing a dental procedure which included extracting 5 of his teeth.

Following the procedure, Miso was constantly monitored, and was given ample time to rest and recover.

Ready to Go Home

As Miso’s recovery went on, he started to feel better, and also began showing his personality.

Miso can be a little shy when first meeting him, but he is quick to warm up, and while his first three years have been an adventure, he is ready to settle into the loving home he deserves.

ARL Shelter Medicine

All animals who come to ARL receive veterinary exams, vaccines, are spayed/neutered, and microchipped by ARL’s shelter medicine team.

ARL also has the capability to handle a wide variety of surgical procedures to ensure that our animals are healthy, happy, and thriving.