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Category: Adoption
Welcoming Your Adopted Dog into Your Home

Congratulations! You’ve adopted a dog and it’s going home with you this afternoon, so what’s next? After dog-proofing your house and gathering the necessary supplies (collar, ID tag, water bowl, crate, food, toys, and cleaning products), you’ll need to think about how to acclimate your pup the moment his paws walk through your front door.

Follow these tips to help your furry family member settle into their new house:

The first day

  • Bring your dog straight home and do not stop for errands along the way.
  • Calmly introduce to your pup to your family members outside, one at a time.
  • Limit visitors to prevent your dog from getting overwhelmed.
  • Keep your pup leashed, and lead them into the house for a tour of each room.
  • Stay close to home and do not go out on any major excursions.
  • Take your dog outside often for bathroom breaks, even if they were housetrained previously.
  • Give your pup ample quiet time to acclimate to their new surroundings.

Daily routines

  • Place your dog’s crate or bed in the room where you would like them to sleep, not in an uninhibited area, such as the garage or basement.
  • Offer your pup 2-3 meals per day; do not leave a full bowl of food out for them all day.
  • Use chew toys and interactive toys to keep your dog physically and mentally busy.
  • Keep walks to 5-10 minutes until you get to know your dog’s behavior and response to stimuli, such as cars, unfamiliar people, and squirrels.
    Prevent anxiety with being left alone by not making a fuss over your comings and goings. Practice leaving your pup in the crate and/or with chew toy for short periods several times per day.

Relationship building

  • Stimulate your dog physically and mentally with training. At ARL, we believe that positive reinforcement, reward-based training methods are the best course of action, especially when teaching dogs new things or desensitizing fearful dogs to new experiences.
  • Play the “name game” by periodically calling your dog’s name when they look at you and rewarding them with a piece of kibble as a treat. (See Pg. 8 for more on this training method.)

Adopting a dog from the South? “They may need additional time to adjust to their new environment,” explains ARL’s Animal Behavior Manager, Laney Nee. “Southern dogs have likely never been exposed to city noises, loud trucks, or lots of people, including men and children. Any aggressive behavior that they exhibit is simply a reaction to their fear and discomfort and should not be misconstrued as ‘bad’ behavior.” Adopters will need to exercise patience to help their new pup acclimate to simple things, such as living indoors, being confined to a leash, and being the only dog around for the first time. “It’s important to pair the thing that they are afraid of with delicious high-value food so that they build a more positive association to the new thing they are fearful of,” says Laney.

If you have basic behavioral questions about your pet, contact ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org. A representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


ARL Brewster Takes in Senior Cat When He was Surrendered to Local Vet Office

Annual exams, medications – these are costs that any pet owner can expect over the duration of an animal’s life. However, when an underlying disease or sudden injury needs attention and treatment, these costs can unfortunately be out of reach for some.

This was the case for Clyde, a 13-year-old handsome cat, who was brought to Barnstable Animal Hospital just a few weeks ago.

As with many animals in advancing years, Clyde was starting to show signs of age, confirmed with diagnostic testing, which revealed that Clyde is in the early stages of renal disease. His examination also discovered a low-grade heart murmur.

Renal disease is common in middle to older age cats and is associated with a gradual loss of kidney function. There is no cure as the kidney cannot regenerate, however the disease is manageable and Clyde is expected to sustain a high quality of life for the foreseeable future.

Clyde undergoes exam at ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Due to the cost of testing and the need for ongoing treatment, Clyde was surrendered to the animal hospital – but of course a veterinary office is not a shelter and Clyde needed a place to stay while waiting for the opportunity to find a new home.

Despite there being a number of options in the surrounding area, the staff at Barnstable Animal Hospital decided to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center – located approximately 20 miles away.

Why?

Because for nearly a century, ARL has had a history of caring on Cape Cod.

Since first establishing a shelter facility on the Cape in 1921, ARL has been the go-to resource for animals in need and today the Brewster location offers much more than adoptable animals.

Community services include spay and neuter resources, pet surrender, pet after-life care, animal cruelty law enforcement investigation, among others. ARL’s staff is also on-hand to answer any animal-related questions or concerns community members may have.

Looking for a Forever Home

Clyde has established himself as an immediate favorite among staff and volunteers, and while he may be comfortable and friendly in the shelter setting, he is still awaiting his perfect forever home.

Ready to Serve

ARL’s reputation as an animal welfare leader is unmatched in Massachusetts, however, your support is critical in order for ARL’s important work to continue. Your support allows ARL to take in and treat more than 17,000 animals in need annually and to deliver services directly to communities who need them most. Please help Clyde and others like him by supporting ARL today!


Update: All Cats Removed from April Hoarding-Type Situation Adopted

When the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department removed 50 cats from a home in the Metro Boston area during Easter weekend, it was immediately clear that many of the animals had a long road ahead of them – given their lack of meaningful interaction with humans.

Aside from a host of medical concerns, the majority of the cats were extremely under-socialized and at times standoffish with staff and volunteers.

However, thanks to an amazing and collective effort by ARL staff and volunteers, over time the walls of mistrust were razed and nearly three months later, the last two cats (Clarence and Moe) have found their forever homes!

Slow and Steady

The socialization process was extraordinarily slow. With many of these animals, volunteers and staff would begin by just talking softly to the cat. From there it would escalate to making eye contact, offering treats, and when a small semblance of trust was established, the cat would sniff the hand and eventually accept pets.

Clarence, an 8-year-old cat, came to ARL obese and in need of medical care and diagnostics. Unlike many of the other cats from this hoarding-type situation, he was friendly right from the start, but was shy and lacked confidence.

Clarence had advanced dental and was already missing 10 teeth. Unfortunately 8 additional teeth needed to be extracted.

Through diagnostic testing, the tough 8-year-old also showed early signs of renal disease.

Moe, a 4-year-old cat, was thin, scared and spent much of his time hiding upon arrival at ARL. Moe weighed just 6 pounds, had urine-stained paws and dirt was embedded around his nose.

The cat needed time to settle in to his new surroundings, and seemed to do best when paired with another cat from his previous situation – in Moe’s case he was paired with Clarence.

The two spent time as office fosters, which offers a more real-life experience and is less stressful than being in a kennel full time.

The pair came out of their shells and didn’t just find a forever home, they found a forever home together!

Extraordinary Measures

Before arriving at ARL, these animals suffered an enormous amount of physical and mental trauma. ARL was able to remove these cats from a difficult situation, provide much needed medical care, and socialize and recondition these animals to become the loving pets they are today!

Hoarding-Type Situations Increasing

The number of hoarding-type incidents involving large numbers of animals is unfortunately on the rise. In 2018, ARL handled 16 of these incidents, which involved 1,024 animals.

With hoarding-type situations, ARL is ready to help both the animals and people involved. If you are aware of such a situation, please contact ARL Law Enforcement or your local Animal Control Officer immediately.


Boston Duck Tours Discovers Cat Family at Dorchester Facility

Mom and five kittens rescued off the streets

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is commending Boston Duck Tours for their compassion and care for animals in our communities, as workers at the company’s maintenance facility in Dorchester recently alerted ARL to the presence of a family of stray cats.

The female and male cats were thought to be living in an unused DUCK boat outside the facility, but had the litter elsewhere. Employees at the garage facility were feeding the cats daily and were keeping a close eye on them, but knew they needed to get off the streets.

Once contacted, an ARL Field Services agent responded to the facility, located at 11 Sturtevant St. in Dorchester, and was able to rescue the mother cat (appropriately named “Sturtevant”) and her five kittens who are estimated to be about 4-6 weeks old.

Sturtevant remains at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center to receive medical care and socialization, while her kittens are in foster care.

Sturtevant has a ways to go behaviorally, and ARL volunteers and staff are working with her everyday to increase her trust and reduce her fear. The kittens, while starting off hissy, are now showcasing their personalities and will be sure to make wonderful pets.

Exchanging Quacks for Meows

Showing their soft side, several employees at the Boston Duck Boats facility have asked ARL to adopt the kittens once they are available for adoption. Sturtevant will also be made available for adoption, however, she is still frightened and when she is made available will be up to her.

Make the Call

With approximately 700,000 community roaming the streets throughout Massachusetts, Boston Duck Tours did the right thing by contacting ARL to rescue these cats. ARL’s Community Cat Initiative aims to get as many off these animals off the streets and into loving home as possible and asks that anyone noticing stray cats, or any homeless domesticated animal around their home or neighborhood to contact ARL Field Services at 617-426-9170.


Taming Tiny Tigers

Volunteers to focus on under-socialized kittens

As spring slowly begins to show itself here in New England, it means the weather will be getting warmer and kitten season is upon us.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) will soon be seeing an influx of kittens who will be rescued from a life on the streets and adopted into loving forever homes; but before that can happen, these kittens must first learn to trust humans.

This past week ARL’s kitten experts met with more than two dozen volunteers to discuss the process of “Taming Tiny Tigers” which are kittens between 8 weeks and 4-5-months-old.

Kittens without any previous human interaction are likely to be frightened; which often leads to hissing, scratching, biting, and defensive body posturing.

It’s the job of staff and these special volunteers to move these kittens past the fear, build trust, and allow their true personalities to shine through.

This cute snap shot doesn’t happen without proper socialization.

Hands-On Approach

Constant contact is key to properly socializing these tiny tigers, and volunteers will be responsible for 15-minute socialization sessions with following rest periods of 45 minutes, where the kitten is pet, scratched, enticed with food, and talked to calmly.

Each session will be meticulously documented, noting all body language and behavioral signs – both positive and negative.

As these sessions continue, the kitten will gradually lower its guard, allow more contact, and will eventually reciprocate with a purr, headbutt, kneading, or any of the cute and loving things that kittens do.

Each kitten’s personality is different, and some may become trusting in a short period of time, while others may take a while longer.

The end goal will be to find these kittens forever homes where they can continue to learn, socialize and be loving, amazing companion animals!

Volunteers make the difference

With approximately 550 volunteers, ARL relies on these special individuals to accomplish a number of daily tasks and could not offer the vast number of services ARL provides without their help.

In 2018, volunteers donated more than 27,000 hours of their time to help animals in need, and for more information and to submit an application to join our volunteer team, click here!


Senior Stray Finds Perfect Forever Home

“Frankie” required extensive medical care at ARL

In early January, 2019, Frankie, an 11-year-old Shih-Tzu, was found wandering the cold streets of Boston.

Given Frankie’s hearing and vision impairments, amazingly he wasn’t injured while living on the streets.

He was however, in dire need of medical attention.

Frankie’s initial veterinary exam revealed a handful of masses (both epidermal and oral), dental disease, and hearing loss. Additionally, x-rays were taken and blood was drawn for additional diagnostic testing.

The masses were removed and determined to be benign, however Frankie’s bloodwork revealed abnormalities which pointed to possible renal disease and pancreatitis.

The next month for Frankie would consist of more testing, frequent veterinary rechecks, and unfortunately additional findings.

While Frankie’s ongoing diagnostic testing showed improvement, there were further developments — the 11-year-old pup was diagnosed with glaucoma in one eye which needed to be removed; and a heart murmur was also discovered.

A Long Road Home

Despite all the testing and continuous discoveries, Frankie maintained a wonderful, friendly demeanor and was finally ready to find his forever home.

Frankie quickly found his perfect match, and will spend his golden years in a quiet home along the scenic North Shore.

Extraordinary Care

From routine exams to complex surgery, ARL’s shelter medicine staff provides extraordinary care for every animal that comes through ARL’s doors. Last year alone, more than $550,000 was spent to ensure these animals were healthy and happy. ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals like you to make our important work possible.

Please consider donating today to ensure these animals get the medical treatment they need!


Surrendered Horse Returns to Original Owners

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) aims to place every animal in our care into loving homes, but for George, an approximately 23-year-old saddlebred horse, an amazing collaborative effort helped him be reunited with his original owners – 15 years later and 1,300 miles away!

To see a video on George’s amazing story click here!

George came to ARL in September 2018 with several other horses who were surrendered when their owner could no longer properly care for them.

George was slightly underweight and needed medical care and general grooming but was overall in good health.

After spending a couple of months recuperating at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, George was put into foster care, and almost immediately his foster parent and equine enthusiast Cordula Robinson realized that she was caring for an extraordinary animal.

“He was highly intelligent, elegant, well-trained and had clearly known love, he was very engaged with humans,” Robinson said.

Talking to a trainer friend, Cordula was encouraged to reach out to saddlebred agencies up and down the east coast to see if someone would recognize George, and was surprised when someone in New Jersey reached out.

Turns out that George was well-known in the saddlebred world, and competed under the name “Midnight Memory Maker”.

Sadly, his original owner, Todd Mathieson, passed away in 2006, and Todd’s wife Diane decided to rehome George. George did however continue to compete for a number of years.

When Diane was contacted, she was overwhelmed and ecstatic for the possibility of being reunited with George, after spending 15 years apart.

Thanks to a collaborative effort, arrangements were made to transport George from Boston to Ocala, Florida and this week George and Diane were reunited and the former show horse has now come full circle and is back with his original family to enjoy his retirement.

ARL is grateful to everyone whose compassion for animals helped make this incredible reunion possible!


Update: Dedham Abandoned Cats Ready to Find Forever Home

Two kittens, one with a broken leg, who were abandoned in late November along a busy road in Dedham have spent two months in foster care recuperating, and today are ready to find their forever home.

The 8-month-old pair, Helga and Arnold, are now available at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

When discovered, Helga had suffered a fractured right hind leg and the fact her bones are still developing, ARL’s veterinary staff determined the best course would be for restricted movement in foster care and allow the leg to heal on its own. X-rays taken Tuesday determined that Helga’s fracture has healed.

The cats are being adopted as a bonded pair, meaning they will need to go home together.

While Helga and Arnold will soon be in a loving home, the person(s) responsible for abandoning these animals has not been identified. ARL Law Enforcement continues to ask for the public’s assistance and any information can be given over the phone (617) 426-9170, or via email cruelty@arlboston.org.

Original Release, dated 11/28/18:

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for a pair of six-month-old cats who were left in a cardboard box along High St., a busy thoroughfare in Dedham. One of the cats is suffering from a broken leg and ARL Law Enforcement is seeking information to find the person responsible for this cruel act.

While driving along High St. this past weekend, a Good Samaritan witnessed a man standing in front of a box along High St., and drove away when the driver pulled over. Stunned to find the cats in the box, the Good Samaritan brought the cats to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, along with the contents of the box. There was pertinent information inside the box which ARL Law Enforcement is following up on.

The man was driving a dark-colored SUV i.e. Toyota RAV4/Honda CRV, and is described as a white male in his 30’s or 40’s.

The cats, named Arnold and Helga, are not microchipped, and both are extremely friendly. Along with an injured leg, a rabbit nail was found embedded into Helga’s tail – both cats were dirty but overall in good health.

The cats will continue to be monitored and undergo medical treatment, and the goal is to have them both into new, loving homes for the holidays.

ARL Law Enforcement is investigating this crime with Dedham Police, and asks that anyone with information to contact ARL (cruelty@arlboston.org; (617) 426-9170).
Abandoning an animal is a felony in Massachusetts, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.


Home for the Holidays: Shelley’s Amazing Story

Community Cat with Cerebellar Hypoplasia Finds a Home

For about a year, Shelley had been spotted in a Boston neighborhood and was described as having an “unsteady gait”. Shelley was one of the estimated 700,000 community cats living in Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone – and now she is off the streets and in a loving forever home!

When Shelley was taken into the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center in September, she was diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), which explained her unsteady gait.

CH is a condition where parts of the cerebellum aren’t fully developed. Since the cerebellum is responsible for movement and coordination, animals born with CH have tremors, uncoordinated movements and frequent loss of balance. To see a short video of Shelley click here!

While there is no treatment for CH, it is not contagious or painful – the animals simply learn to adapt to their condition.

However given the fact that Shelley has CH, it is remarkable that she was able to survive on her own for over a year on the streets and given her sweet demeanor, the immediate plan upon arrival at ARL was to find her the perfect home.

Shelley was a staff favorite during her time at ARL, making feline friends along the way, and although it took a couple of months, in early December, Shelley found her match.

In 2017, ARL’s Community Cat Initiative assessed 102 cat colonies, serving more than 600 cats. Nearly 80 percent of those cats were adopted into loving homes, and Shelley was just one of the hundreds of community cats ARL has helped in 2018.

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

With just days until the end of 2018, we need to raise $42,000 by December 31 to ensure we are fully funded to help even more animals in 2019. Please help us reach our goal and donate today!

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Home for the Holidays: Priscilla’s Story

On her own for some time and wandering the streets of Roxbury, it’s amazing that Priscilla, an 8-pound Shih-Tzu, found her way to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). Like many homeless animals, Priscilla showed a tremendous amount of resilience.

On a cold September night, Priscilla was discovered underneath a vehicle along Dudley Street – a busy thoroughfare in Roxbury. The 3-year-old pup was shivering and huddled underneath the car, and she clearly was not well.

The Good Samaritan who found Priscilla brought her to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center after showing signs of sickness.

Not only was she ill, but she had the typical conditions of a dog found living on the streets – underweight, matted fur and muscle wasting.

Despite her ordeal, Priscilla rebounded quickly and given her friendly and playful nature, she was quickly made available for adoption.

Going Home

An ARL volunteer instantly fell in love with Priscilla and decided to adopt. Changing her name to Ladybird, She became an immediate member of the family and is one of thousands of success stories ARL sees annually.

“Ladybird was a perfect addition to my family the instant she romped into my home. She is happy, playful and very smart. She isn’t demanding of attention and is happy to amuse herself sitting near me and chewing on one of her Nylabones. She has increased the quality of my life immeasurably and is a total hit to all who know her. A real favorite from the start.”

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

With just days until the end of 2018, we need to raise $50,000 by December 31 to ensure we are fully funded to help even more animals in need in 2019. Please donate today!

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