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Category: Adoption
Press Release: Stray Peacock Finds Forever Home

Back in June, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) took in a two-year-old male peacock who was found as a stray in Brewster, MA. ‘Derek’ found his forever home this past week, and will be heading to a property in Southeastern Massachusetts with more than 20 other peacocks.

While ARL serves thousands of animals annually, a peacock is something the organization doesn’t see every day, however the adoption process was like any other with the end goal of finding the right match and the right home for the animal.

Dighton resident Jeff Fisk turned out to be the right match, as he is an experienced peacock owner and has been partial to the birds from a young age.

“They’re fascinating creatures and make great pets,” Fisk said. “I was so excited when I was contacted about Derek, knowing that he would be going to a good home.”

ARL and Brewster Animal Control had received a number of reports in June of the stray bird, and he was captured in the Greenland Pond/Long Pond area of Brewster. Due to limited livestock space, Derek was transferred to the iconic red barn at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

While in the wild for an unknown amount of time, the stunningly beautiful bird was in good shape; and the fact that no one stepped forward to claim ownership makes it likely that he was dumped or abandoned in the area he was found.

Adoption Forward

ARL is committed to matching adoptable animals with a permanent home. Adoption Forward — our conversation-based, application-free adoption process is designed so that the needs of both the animal and the adopter are understood and compatible with one another. We do this to achieve our vision that we will be a resource for people and an unwavering champion for animals most in need. Ready to adopt? Visit ARL’s Boston, Dedham, or Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers today!


Kitten with Eye Ulcers Part of Large-Scale Community Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic

Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, East Boston Colonies Targeted

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) conducted a large-scale spay and neuter clinic for community cats from neighborhood colonies in Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and East Boston. The day-long clinic took place at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center’s state-of-the-art surgical suite, and among the approximately 30 cats to have surgery was a 13-week-old kitten named Liam, found with ulcers affecting vision in both eyes.

If left on the street, Liam likely would not have survived long-term due to his condition. Along with being neutered, one eye had ruptured due to an untreated viral infection and needed to be removed; the hope is that with medication, Liam’s vision in his remaining eye will improve over time. He will be made available for adoption once he recovers from surgery.

Out of the 30 cats that had surgery, about half, including a dozen kittens, will find loving families and forever homes – the undersocialized, or feral, cats will be returned to the field. The surgical clinic was the culmination of several days of trapping in known colonies from the aforementioned neighborhoods, and ARL is planning for more clinics in the near future to serve communities in need throughout the greater Boston area and South Shore.

A Community Issue

There are approximately 700,000 community cats living in Massachusetts, about 70,000 in Boston alone. Since 2017, ARL has served well over 700 community cats, with just 18 percent being returned to their colonies; however ARL has never conducted such a large-scale community cat spay and neuter clinic.

“Over the past year, we’ve increased our focus on community cats and have helped them as they’ve come to us,” ARL’s Medical Director of Community and Shelter Medicine Dr. Kyle Quigley said. “But with this effort we strategically targeted large, known colonies and the goal is to have a bigger, immediate impact for these communities.”

Change the Lives of Cats at Risk

ARL is excited about our commitment to help keep community cats safe and healthy in the habitats in which they live, but we need your investment in order to provide the best outcome for these cats. To fully support these innovative programs and help more than 1,500 cats lead healthier lives, we need to raise $204,000 annually. Please donate now to help these animals in need.


ARL Caring for Stray Peacock Found on Cape Cod

Not an everyday occurrence

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently took in a stray peacock who was found as a stray in the Greenland Pond/Long Pond area of Brewster, MA. While ARL takes in thousands of stray animals annually, a peacock is certainly something the organization doesn’t see every day.

This stray peacock is absolutely stunning!

For more than a week in late June, ARL, Brewster Police and Animal Control had received numerous reports of the bird in that area; Brewster Animal Control was able to capture the peacock, and brought it to ARL Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center. Due to limited livestock space in Brewster, the bird was then brought to ARL’s Dedham facility.

His arrival in Dedham has even attracted local media attention!

Peacocks, which are not native to North America but gained popularity as a status symbol in the early 1900s, are legal to own in Massachusetts.

Despite the fact that they’re prone to wandering, nobody has stepped forward to claim ownership of this beautiful bird – opening up the possibility that he was abandoned in the area he was found.

The two-year-old male is settling into his new surroundings, and while being in the wild for a unknown amount of time, he is in remarkable shape and healthy.

The peacock will soon be available for adoption – anyone interested must demonstrate that they have the proper set up to house a peacock – ample space with a proper enclosure. ARL will also be reaching out to area zoos to determine if anyone would be willing to take in this striking animal.

More than dogs and cats

While the vast majority of animals ARL takes in are dogs and cats, from livestock to zoo animals, for decades the organization has demonstrated time and time again that it can handle a wide variety of species and give them the same level of care and affection that’s afforded to every animal that comes through our doors. ARL receives no government funding and our work is made possible only through your generous support.


Triumphing Over an Abusive Past

“Luke” with ARL for 518 days, recently finds perfect forever home

In early January 2017, Luke, then an 11-month-old puppy, was seized by the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, when his owner was arrested on animal cruelty charges for allegedly beating the dog on multiple occasions.

Luke recently found his forever home, but was with ARL for more than 500 days – and during that time ARL staff and volunteers witnessed his awe-inspiring evolution from a puppy into a young adult dog. It was also a journey with plenty of bumps along the way.

To see a video of Luke’s story click here!

When Luke first arrived at ARL, he was scared, confused, and based on his former situation, he was understandably fearful of strangers – it was a hurdle.

“When Luke first came here, he didn’t want to trust anybody,” said ARL Animal Care Associate Anna Chaletzky. “He would bark, and while it would seem aggressive, he was just so afraid of everything.”

Building Trust

It took patience, but the more time ARL staff and volunteers spent with Luke, he slowly began to trust. And once that trust was established, Luke truly began to blossom. Showing his intelligence and love of learning, he went beyond basic commands, broke out of his shell and was soon showing off his playful personality.

An extended stay in a shelter environment can be difficult for some animals, and it was important to keep Luke engaged and focused and in turn he progressed forward and gained confidence.

Time to Find a Home

In the spring of 2018, Luke’s former owner pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, and he was finally ready to find his forever home. While it took a bit of time, Luke found his perfect match in a couple who came all the way from Maine to adopt him!

From intake to adoption took 18 months, and while saying goodbye was difficult, seeing him walk off into his new life happy and full of confidence was a proud moment for anyone who witnessed Luke’s progression.

It also highlighted the effectiveness of ARL’s enrichment program, which is tailored to the needs of each individual animal.

“He matured here with us and we worked every day at keeping him in a good place mentally,” ARL Pet Placement Supervisor Alicia Muller said. “Enrichment for Luke was incredibly important and a focus for all staff. We were always looking for new ways to show him he was cared for and loved, and to see him go from scared little pup to a confident young adult was incredible.”

It Takes a Village

While the length of stay for Luke isn’t typical for an animal in ARL’s care, the collective efforts from numerous ARL programs is. From law enforcement to shelter medicine and daily shelter care, Luke was impacted by a wide swath of ARL services, and we as an organization strive to give each individual animal the same care, attention and love that was given to Luke. That being said, our work is not possible without your generous support – thank you for being a champion for animals!


Cat with Myriad of Medical Issues Finds Forever Home

June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently found a forever home for one amazing cat with a number of health concerns.

Rhade, a 10-year-old domestic shorthair, came to ARL when her previous owner was moving and presented with quite a few common and uncommon conditions.

Rhade undergoing a medical evaluation.

Rhade’s most noticeable issue is neurological, as she was born with the congenital abnormality called cerebellar hypoplasia. The condition affects her coordination and balance.

She also tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which was likely contracted via a bite from another infected cat. An offshoot of Rhade’s FIV was swelling to her lip, commonly known as a rodent ulcer. A biopsy did not reveal any underlying issues, but her lip is permanently deformed.

Previous ear mite infections has caused what’s commonly known as “cauliflower ear”, and finally, Rhade has developed Horner’s syndrome in her right eye. This condition is due to an unknown impairment to her sympathetic nervous system – which is responsible for the normal fight or flight reaction.

Despite all these issues, Rhade persevered and does have a good quality of life. Rhade responded well to all her treatments at ARL, however it’s hard to know what her medical future holds, and it’s important for her new family to monitor her closely.

“She’s Amazing”

This past week, Rhade found her forever home, and for all parties involved, it was love at first sight. Because of her medical issues, her new owners had a long medical consult with ARL’s shelter medicine staff and at the end summed up this sweet girl by saying “So basically she’s perfect from the neck down?”

“She’s amazing,” her new owner said. “We fell in love as soon as we saw her.”

Love at first sight! Rhade getting to know her new family.

Extraordinary Care

As with any animal that comes through our doors, ARL’s veterinary medicine staff spent an enormous amount of time diagnosing and treating all of Rhade’s health issues to ensure that any potential adopter would be as informed as possible before taking her home.
Rhade has been given a second chance and is ready to thrive in her new home.

At the Core of ARL’s Mission

Part of ARL’s core values are compassion and commitment – and while this extends to every one of the animals we serve, a cat like Rhade needs that compassion and commitment to live to her full potential with the greatest quality of life possible. ARL’s mission is to ensure that animals are safe and healthy in the communities they live, and our success in this mission could not be possible without your support.


Dedication and Love Help Former Stray Find Forever Home

Dean Overcoming Behavioral Challenges

In September 2017, Dean, a two-year-old Pitbull-type mix, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) as a stray who was found in West Bridgewater, MA. This past week Dean found his forever home, and for this energetic boy, it’s been a long road home.

When Dean arrived at ARL, he was a whirlwind of energy and presented with a number of behavioral issues – jumpy/mouthy, severe over-arousal, inability to focus, and resource guarding. While friendly, working on these issues simultaneously was a tremendous challenge.

Over a period of days and weeks, Dean began to bond with staff and volunteers, which helped him find focus. From this foundation, Dean started learning basic commands, making eye contact, focusing on his handler, looking to humans for attention, among other things.

Additionally, because Dean was still having high-arousal issues, he was sent to a train and board facility for two weeks to intensely focus on training.

“When Dean came to ARL he knew nothing,” said ARL Animal Care Manager Carolyn Curran. “We saw the potential in him and knew that with time, dedication and love, we would be able to find him his perfect home.”

As weeks turned into months at the shelter, Dean persevered and continued to learn — staff’s hopes for him never wavered and knew the right situation for him would present itself eventually.

It took nearly eight months, but Dean has met his perfect match and is now enjoying his forever home!

Catering to Individual Needs

Every animal that comes to ARL receives not only a medical evaluation, but a behavioral evaluation as well — it’s through this process that an individualized plan is developed based on that animal’s specific needs. Dean is just one of the thousands of success stories ARL sees annually, and we cannot do our important work without your support!


PRESS RELEASE: Stolen Dog Returned to Animal Rescue League of Boston

Nick returned unharmed and in good spirits

The three-year-old Pitbull-type dog stolen from the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Adoption Center more than a month ago has been returned safe and sound.

Nick is safe, healthy and in great spirits!

Late Tuesday evening, a concerned citizen contacted the MSPCA call center with a tip about Nick and his location. MSPCA immediately notified ARL, who picked up Nick and transported him safely back to ARL’s Boston Animal Care & Adoption Center.

Shelter staff confirmed this morning that the animal is indeed Nick.

Over the past six weeks the search for Nick has been priority number one. ARL’s Law Enforcement Department has worked closely with the Boston Police Department to ensure Nick’s safe return.

ARL is overwhelmed with joy to have Nick back with the organization, he is healthy and doing great. Nick will be undergoing a medical and behavioral evaluation and is currently NOT available for adoption.

ARL would like to thank the Boston Police Department for their tireless efforts, the MSPCA for their quick response, and members of the media for getting Nick’s story to the masses.


April 8-14 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Education, Awareness are Keys to Prevention

There are an estimated 70 million dogs in the United States, and every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites are reported – 20 percent of which require medical attention.

The CDC goes on to estimate that at least half of dog bite victims are children.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to take this opportunity during National Dog Bite Prevention Week to remind dog owners that learning behavioral signs and properly training and socializing your animal can go a long way in drastically reducing these statistics.

When it comes to behavior, it’s important to recognize when a dog is becoming uncomfortable. Some of the signs include:

  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Cowering
  • Holding its breath
  • Flattening its ears
  • Growling
  • Snapping
  • Curling upper lip

When a dog gives these cues, it’s important to back off immediately. Too often these signs are ignored and result in a bite.

Teaching Children

It’s important to teach children not to approach a strange dog; however, it should be noted that not only strange dogs bite. Even a family pet can bite if it feels frightened, threatened, or is in pain. Parents should consider supervising a child’s interactions with dogs, while teaching the aforementioned behavioral cues.

Training and Socialization

Training and socializing with people and other animals is vital to having a puppy become a well-mannered adult dog. Have questions? You can always contact ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666.

ARL also offers a number of training courses covering a variety of areas including basic manners, commands, social skills and mental enrichment exercises. Courses are offered at ARL’s Boston location, and reduced rates are offered (first-time only!) to dogs adopted from ARL within the previous six months, and for Boston Veterinary Care clients.


Band Removal, Amputation Put Two Birds Back on the Adoptable Perch

This past week, Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) veterinarians performed surgeries on two colorful birds with colorful names, in an effort to fix lingering injuries and put them on a track towards finding forever homes.

In Boston, Neil Young, a beautiful 10-15-year-old cockatiel, was suffering from a leg band that had embedded into the bird’s skin. Adding further irritation to the cockatiel, a significant amount of debris was found underneath the band.

ARL’s shelter veterinary staff surgically removed the band, cleaned the wound underneath, and is healing nicely. Unfortunately Neil Young does appear to have permanent nerve damage to the foot, but is able to compensate without issue and is now ready to find his forever home! UPDATE — Neil Young is adopted and has left the building! 

In Dedham, Sir Ellington, a one-year-old white pigeon, was found as a stray in Dorchester. He was covered in black oil, and after removing the oil from his feathers, it was noted that he was not perching normally and was only using one of his legs.

The middle toe on Sir Ellington’s left leg was swollen and painful, and x-rays revealed that he had a displaced fracture of his middle left toe.

Performing the first bird surgery at ARL’s Dedham facility, Sir Ellington was sedated and the middle toe was removed. After a week of pain medication and antibiotics, the young pigeon is comfortably walking and perching!

Why Adopt a Bird?

Birds make great pets, particularly if you’re facing time or space constraints.

Here are 5 reasons why adopting a bird may make sense for you:

  1. You’ll have someone to talk to. Because of their above average intelligence, birds are very communicative and love to socialize with humans.
  2. You’ll have fun training them. Since birds are relatively small, training them can be less physically demanding than working with larger creatures, making them a good choice for the young, elderly, or disabled.
  3. You’ll have more space. A bird’s, food, water, and toys are typically self-contained in their cage, so smaller households will still have plenty of room to move around.
  4. You’ll have a loyal friend for the long-run. Many bird species have extraordinarily long life expectancies, some living more than 100 years! This often eases the concerns of people who want to make sure they adopt a pet that they can love and enjoy for a very long time.
  5. You’ll save money. Most landlords only charge “pet fees” to tenants with cats or dogs. Additionally, at the ARL, all of this is included in your pet’s adoption fee: health screening and veterinary exam, behavioral screening and evaluation, vaccinations, parasite treatment, and more!

Ready to Adopt?

Visit an ARL Animal Care and Adoption Center in Boston, Brewster, or Dedham and find your perfect match today! Dogs, cats, birds, and other small animals, your furry or feathered friend is waiting for a place to call home.

 


National Puppy Day: Thinking About Adopting a Puppy?

10 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Adopting

We at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) love puppies. Let’s be honest who doesn’t? They’re adorable, loving and lots of fun. They’re also untrained, energetic and at times very destructive! While your heart may be in the right place, the bottom line is that puppies are not for every household. So on this National Puppy Day, here are 10 Questions to ask Yourself Before Adopting a Puppy:

  1. Time Commitment: How much time do you have to devote to the puppy and are you willing to commit to the dog for its life? From training, to multiple feedings daily, to middle of the night potty trips, puppies need constant attention and cannot be left alone for long periods of time. If you cannot devote time to properly and responsibly raise the puppy, then it’s not the time to bring a puppy home.
  2. Socialization: This job is critical of a puppy owner, and is especially important in the first few months of life. Can you commit the time to socialize your puppy? Puppies need to be meet people and other dogs to become a well-adjusted and confident adult dog. Socialization is never complete in a dog, but the longer you wait the harder it gets.
  3. Housing: It’s seemingly a simple question, but is overlooked or ignored by many. Can you properly house a puppy and are you allowed to have a puppy? Renters: Check your lease to see if there are pet restrictions. Home Owners: Check your home owner’s insurance policy for restrictions. Every year thousands of dogs are returned because they were not allowed – this is not fair to the animal or to you, so please make sure that there are no issues if you bring home a puppy.
  4. Lifestyle: What is your lifestyle like? Are you an active family that spends plenty of time outdoors? Or are you more of a couch potato? Some dogs require a lot of exercise daily, and remember that small does not equal less energy. Some large breed dogs have a lower activity level than many smaller breeds.
  5. Cost: Can you afford a puppy? Food, veterinary visits, vaccinations, training, licensing and medical emergencies. Just a few of the costs to consider, and remember the costs of owning an animal need to be maintained for its entire life.
  6. Patience/Training: Are you a patient person? Puppies are of course babies and need to learn in order to become a well-adjusted adult. Remember it takes time and lots of patience! House training, crate training, obedience training, how to walk properly on a leash; these are just a few of the critical training areas. If you lack patience and get frustrated quickly, then maybe an older dog would be better for you.
  7. Long Term: What will happen to the dog if you start a family? What if you have to move? Again there are thousands that are given up every year for these reasons. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, and plans for these factors need to be made to ensure that the dog remains a part of the family for the next 10-15 years.
  8. Human Medical Issues: Are there any allergies or medical conditions in your family that could cause issues that may result in having to surrender the puppy? If there are suspected health concerns, consult a doctor before considering any pet.
  9. Grooming: All dogs need grooming – even hairless breeds! There’s brushing as well as regular attention to teeth, ears and nails. Some breeds do require professional grooming, while others may require a few minutes with a brush on a weekly basis. Are you able to handle this responsibility?
  10. Need: Finally – Why do you want a puppy? If you already have pets in the house, especially senior pets, they may not be crazy about the idea of having a rambunctious puppy running around. Along with current pets, consider other family members too and who will care the dog for its entire life, not just its formative years.

Answer “YES” to All the Above? You’re ready to adopt! All adoptable animals at ARL are spayed/neutered, receive a thorough medical exam as well as vaccinations and other treatments. Additionally, Boston Veterinary Care offers superb wellness services for your pet after adoption and it’s the clinic with a mission – All profits benefit the shelter pets under the care of ARL. And if you’re looking for training for your puppy, ARL offers that too! Click here for a complete list of classes that will help you bond with your puppy, and help them develop properly in their formative years!