Category: Adoption
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.

ARL Receives Transport of Dogs Rescued from Cruelty and Neglect by the ASPCA 

Transport marks growing partnership with national organization

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its growing partnership with the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) receiving a transport of dogs who were removed from animal cruelty and neglect situations and are now looking for loving homes.

The dogs came from two separate cruelty investigations through ASPCA’s partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and presented with various medical needs.

Meet the Pups in Need


Waggington, a three-year-old pup, came to the ASPCA through its partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in February of 2022 as part of a criminal investigation with a suspected knife wound to one of his hind legs.

While in the ASPCA’s care, Waggington had his wound repaired and was treated for an ear infection and upper respiratory infection.

He is a very social dog who is loved by everyone who meets him and he is ready to find his safe, loving home.

Fern, Lavender, and Link

Fern, Lavender and Link also came to the ASPCA through its partnership with the NYPD in January of 2022 as part of a criminal investigation.

Fern is an energetic two-year-old lady who steals the hearts of everyone she meets. While in the ASPCA’s care, Fern was treated for a skin infection which has healed beautifully.

Lavender is a sweet and social girl who is a little older than a year. She was mildly fearful when she first arrived at the ASPCA but has since become quite the social butterfly.

Link, an approximately five-year-old pup, is a social and confident dog who had a sparse hair coat and dental disease when he first arrived at the ASPCA’s Animal Recovery Center in New York City. Now that his hair coat is filling in and his teeth have been freshly cleaned and treated, he is ready to find a safe, loving home.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, ARL’s shelter medicine team continued care, giving each animal a thorough veterinary exam; the dogs have also received behavioral evaluations as well.

“I am extremely pleased that ARL is able to assist the ASPCA, a wonderful partner organization, with these animals who came from difficult situations,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL President and CEO. “Through this collaborative effort, these dogs will be able to find loving homes where they can thrive for years to come.”

A Growing Partnership

In 2021, ARL officially became a part of the ASPCA’s Relocation Program, which relocates dogs from shelters in areas with high homeless pet populations to “destination” shelters like ARL, where adoptable animals are in high demand.

Additionally, in early 2022, ARL received several dogs rescued by the ASPCA from a tornado-ravaged area in Kentucky and placed them into loving homes.

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.

Rabbit Brought to ARL with Lameness Improving, Looking for New Home

Ida, a 5-year-old female French Angora rabbit, was recently surrendered to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and while stunning in appearance and a wonderful temperament, Ida also presented with rear-limb lameness.

Ida, a 5-year-old female French Angora rabbit.

Ida had difficulty moving, and according to her previous owner, she was kept in a small enclosure and that the condition had worsened over time.

ARL’s shelter medicine provided Ida with a thorough veterinary exam, including x-rays, to determine the underlying cause of her condition.

X-rays did not reveal any spinal fractures, but ARL’s veterinary team could not rule out spondylosis (arthritis of the spine), or intervertebral disc disease, a condition in which one or more of the discs between spinal vertebrae protrude and press on the spinal cord, causing neurologic deficits (including difficulty using back legs).

Because Ida was kept in a small enclosure, ARL’s shelter staff placed her in a large kennel, with ample space for Ida to move around, and allow her time out of her kennel in an even larger space for play time.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, Ida’s ability to move has improved, but it’s likely she will never regain full function of her hind limbs – it is worth noting that her hind-limb lameness does not cause her pain.

Looking for a Home

Ida has a wonderful personality, is very social and is great for handling.

Her new family will be encouraged to take Ida to her veterinarian for regular visits to formulate a course of treatment for her condition.

Read Ida’s full bio.

Caring for Rabbits

It’s important when adopting a rabbit or any small animal, to have a properly-sized enclosure – ARL does require a photo of the enclosure your rabbit will be living in before the adoption process is completed.

A proper enclosure allows the height and width for a litter box, food bowls, sleeping quarters, and open space to play, stand-up, and explore.

In addition to a proper enclosure, rabbits need time out of their enclosures every day.

This time gives the animal more space to play and explore, and allows you time to handle, play, work on training, snuggle – all of which strengthens the bond between you and your rabbit – and of course adds to the fun of having a rabbit as part of your family!

ARL is here to help and want you and your rabbit to thrive together. Our team can help you with all aspects of caring for small animals – from diet, environment, enrichment/training, and more!

ARL Takes in 27 Cats from Overcrowding Situation

One cat diagnosed with rare congenital condition

In early February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) worked with local animal control to take in in 27 cats from a home in Worcester County due to overcrowding.

The caretaker had simply become overwhelmed by the number of cats in the home, and requested surrender of the majority of the animals.

These types of situations can be extremely delicate and more often than not, this case included, the animals are truly loved, however, due to the sheer number of animals, the caretaker was unable to provide proper care.

Once removed from the residence, the cats were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The animals underwent thorough veterinary exams, and along with signs of ear mites and fleas, a number of the cats were also treated for upper respiratory infections, which is a common byproduct of overcrowding.

ARL’s shelter medicine team also spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped all of the cats.

After a time of recuperation, many of the cats were placed up for adoption and found loving homes.

Additionally, local animal control and town health officials continue working with the caretaker to improve the living situation, and because tremendous progress has been made, three of the cats have been returned to the home.

Cat Diagnosed with Rare Congenital Condition

A few of the cats remain in the care of ARL, including a 3-year-old male cat named Chubbins, who was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism, a rare condition for cats.

Thyroid hormones are critical for the development of the nervous and skeletal systems, and an underactive thyroid can create a number of symptoms including lethargy, mental dullness, cold intolerance, loss of fur, among others.

The condition can also cause smaller than normal proportions, which is the case for Chubbins.

While 3-years-old, Chubbins has the body frame of a 8-10-month-old kitten and weighs just 5 pounds – a typical cat this age should weight around 11 pounds.

Chubbins is receiving thyroid hormone replacement therapy, and while responding well to the medication, he will need to spend some time in foster care before being made available for adoption.

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.

Overcrowding can lead to serious health concerns not only for the animals, but for people living among them as well.

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.

Click here to make a donation today. 

Cat Living on Streets for 10 Years Finds Home for Retirement

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Community Cat Program was launched in 2017 to address the estimated 700,000 community cats, 70,000 in Boston alone, living in the harsh condition of the streets.

ARL helps these animals by working with a number of sources, including animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth, as well as local residents who monitor and feed community cats.

It was the latter that led to the recent rescue of a 10-year-old female cat that had been living in a Brighton neighborhood for a decade.

The Rescue

Thelma’s feeder contacted ARL, saying they could no longer monitor the cat.

ARL headed to the neighborhood and trapped the feisty female, transporting her to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Thelma was ear-tipped, meaning she had been spayed in the past and returned to the field, and had been living on her street longer than most of its residents.

Community cats like Thelma are incredibly resilient, surviving the harsh seasonal conditions New England has to offer, and avoiding predators and scrums with other community cats.

While having a feeder, Thelma did not have regular veterinary care, and it showed.

Along with the visible signs of a cat living on her own for a decade, she was a little underweight, and had advanced dental disease.

ARL’s shelter medicine team provided Thelma with a thorough veterinary exam, dental care, which included several tooth extractions, and vaccines.

Coming Out of Her Shell

Of course, Thelma wasn’t used to being indoors, and like any community cat, was keenly aware of her surroundings and on guard.

While initially showing a tough exterior when interacting with ARL staff and volunteers, the toughness faded after a few minutes of petting with a rolling purr and even a little drool!

With her tough exterior and heart of gold, it was clear that Thelma would thrive in a home.

Thelma spent a few weeks in foster care to allow her time to get used to being indoors, and she was soon ready to find her retirement home.

Going Home

Thelma became available for adoption just this week, and to nobody’s surprise she found her perfect match quickly!

Every animal deserves the opportunity to be in a loving home, and Thelma is a shining example of ARL’s commitment to helping community cats living in our communities.

Click here to search adoptable animals. 

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

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.

As an unwavering champion for animals in need, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) believes that the challenges that face community cats require our attention and action.

Click here for more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program and how you can help.

Cat Rescued from Tree Ready for Adoption

There is no such thing as a routine rescue of a cat stuck in a tree, it’s always a precarious situation, and presents safety concerns for both the humans and animals involved.

In late January, the Animal of Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department was contacted by animal control in Mansfield, MA, to assist with a cat that had been stuck at the very top of a tree for more than 12 hours.

The four-year-old cat, later named Henry, was approximately 30 feet from the ground, and once on scene, ARL’s Field Services agent and Mansfield Animal Control deployed nets around the tree and began to assess the situation – however, Henry didn’t want to wait.

Henry was dangling from a branch, and was also frightened and exhausted. As he was trying to get his footing he lost his balance, and tumbled towards the ground.

The nets did their job, providing a soft landing for the cat, and while frightened, he was able to be safely secured, and was then rushed to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for triage and veterinary care.

ARL’s shelter medicine staff gave Henry a thorough exam, and along with finding a heart murmur, Henry also had a number of abrasions from his experience in the tree.

Henry was overcome with fatigue following his harrowing ordeal, but knew he was in a caring and nurturing environment, and once settled in, he ate heartily and began the healing process.

Ready to Go Home

Thanks to have a quiet place to rest and recuperate, Henry quickly began to showcase his personality.

The handsome cat would welcome anyone who would come and visit, headbutting hands, purring loudly, and curling up in the laps of staff and volunteers.

With his tree ordeal behind him, Henry is now ready to find his perfect match!

To see Henry’s profile, click here.

ARL Field Services

As part of its Community Outreach programs, ARL’s Field Services provides technical (tree climbing and swift/ice water) and non-technical rescues for injured domestic animals – including community cats, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, ospreys, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

For more information about ARL’s Field Services click here!

Community Cat Found Living in Storm Drain Seeking New Home

Community cats are incredibly adept when it comes to finding a warm, safe place to escape the elements.

While Bagel, a 3-year-old now former community cat, had found the comfort and safety of a storm drain in Fall River, it was the compassion of his feeder who took it upon themselves to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department – just days before a historic blizzard descended upon the region.

Bagel upon arrival in Boston.

During his time living in the storm drain, he was constantly monitored and fed by a Good Samaritan while he was roaming a nearby grocery store parking lot. Upon arrival at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, Bagel made up for lost time, eating everything in sight and relaxing in his nice, warm bedding.

Bagel began interacting with ARL staff and volunteers fairly quickly, meowing for attention, purring, and accepting pets and treats, making it clear that he was friendly and would thrive if given the chance to find and family and a home of his own.

Despite his friendly demeanor, Bagel did have signs of living on his own for a period of time and was also involved in an altercation or two with another cat at some point.

Along with dental disease, Bagel had several teeth that were fractured and needed to be extracted.

Additionally, he had conjunctivitis, and also tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which is spread by bite wounds between cats, but cannot be transmitted to people.

Ready to Go Home

**Update 2/2/22: Bagel has been adopted!**

After extensive dental work and being neutered, Bagel has recovered and is now looking for his new home!

For more information about Bagel and how to inquire about adoption, click here!

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 Bagel.

For more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program, click here!