Providing Comfort and Care in the Last Stage of Life

When Boston Animal Control recently brought Pablo to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, his prognosis seemed bleak. A large growth on the hamster’s back was likely cancerous, and because it was so ulcerated, there was a high likelihood of infection and chronic pain.

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, despite their size or species. Wanting to give Pablo a chance to be pain-free and enjoy a loving home for the remainder of his days, ARL shelter veterinarians decided that surgery was the only option to achieve this goal. It would also be the first surgery performed on a hamster in Dedham.

The mass was removed and Pablo has recovered well. ARL staff monitored him closely after surgery, spoiling him with a variety of treats including bananas and bell peppers; and while Pablo’s long-term outcome is unknown, his quality of life has vastly improved.

“We do not know how much time he has left now that he has had the surgery,” said Dr. Kate Gollon, ARL Community and Shelter Veterinarian. “But it was a wonderful opportunity to give Pablo some quality time for him to be pain-free and happy.”

Hospice Adoption

While hospice animals have medical concerns and are in most cases terminal – they still do have a quality of life and deserve to live out the remainder of their lives in comfort and surrounded by love.

When Pablo was made available for adoption, he did find a home quickly, and for these types of special adoptions, it takes a special person to make the situation work for them and for the animal.

“People who commit to a hospice adoption understand that while they may not have a lot of time with that animal, they can feel good about giving them love and support during the time they have left,” said Debby Chaplic, ARL’s Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement. “Adopters who are willing to open up their home and hearts to hospice animals are truly champions.”

Finding the Perfect Match

ARL is committed to matching adoptable animals with a permanent home. 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. Visit our Boston, Dedham, or Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers today to start the conversation and to find your perfect companion!


Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your Pet Safely!

St. Patrick’s Day, especially in Boston, is a day of celebration where everyone is a little Irish.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind pet owners to celebrate safely, and to keep a few things in mind while doing so.

  1. Everything is green…But your pet should NOT be. Green cookies, green beer and the like are commonplace on St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately many feel that dyeing their animal’s fur enhances the celebration. Dyed fur can cause irritation, and also imposes health risks. If your dog licks the area that’s dyed — even after washing — they can ingest a number of toxins that can cause nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions, or even death. It can also take up to a month to wash the dye completely from your dog’s fur.
  2. Keep a Watchful Eye on your Pet. Green beer has become a staple for many celebrating the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Most dogs will happily lap up anything on the table, and it doesn’t take much to intoxicate an animal. Needless to say, alcohol is dangerous for animals, so please keep an eye on your pup while attending parties or other holiday festivities.
  3. Luck of the Irish, NOT dogs. The shamrock is often found at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, however these plants can be toxic to your dog. If ingested, shamrocks can cause upset stomach, drooling, and in severe cases kidney damage. Again, keep close watch on your dog while celebrating.

If your animal shows any sign of toxicity for any of the above-mentioned issues, contact your veterinarian immediately for treatment. Vigilance is responsible pet ownership!


Animal Protection Legislation Moving Forward

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate passed S. 2332 An Act to protect animal welfare in cities and towns (PAWS II). It’s a big step forward for the legislation that would protect animals in Massachusetts in a multitude of ways.

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Mandated reporting of cruelty, abuse, or neglect between human and animal welfare agencies
  • Updated penalties for acts of animal cruelty
  • Ensure landlords/owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prohibit a number of cruel acts, including the drowning of animals

Also on Thursday, S. 2331 – An Act relative to protecting puppies and kittens was also passed in the Senate.

Both bills will now go to the House for debate.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to thank Senators Mark Montigny, Bruce Tarr, and Karen Spilka for their continued efforts to fight animal cruelty and abuse in the Commonwealth. ARL would also like to thank our colleagues at the MSPCA, HSUS, Mass. Coalition to End Puppy Mills, and Western Massachusetts Animal Advocates.

Be sure to check out 2018 Legislative Agenda page, and we’ll keep you updated as these bills make their way through the House.


An Open Letter Opposing Cape Cod Coyote Killing Contest

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), with an Animal Care & Adoption Center in Brewster, MA, is deeply troubled by the spectacle of killing coyotes for contest on Cape Cod. We are horrified to see people compete for cash prizes to see who can kill the heaviest of these animals. Contests like this are harmful for numerous reasons, including child health, public health, and wildlife management.

First, public hunting contests negatively affect children who witness these displays. Children who witness animal violence may become desensitized to animal abuse, which is often a precursor to other forms of abuse toward the elderly, the disabled, and family. Organizations such as the National Link Coalition research, document, and evaluate the link between violence toward animals as a predictor of future violence affecting both animals and humans. With a rise of violence in our nation’s schools, now, more than ever, we should protect children from witnessing or seeing harmful images or bodies of animal slaughter, especially for money.

Second, coyote hunting contests presented as management strategies for species overpopulation are unsupported by population counts or research. In fact, articles such as Megan Draheim’s, “Why Killing Coyotes Doesn’t Make Livestock Safer” published in the Scientific American, argue that the wide-spread killing of coyotes could actually result in a larger and unmanageable wildlife population because when coyotes are killed, they breed more rapidly and disrupt remaining wildlife.

Third, coyote hunting overlooks the role that coyotes have in the Massachusetts ecosystem. Coyotes control species and disease populations because their diet consists of rodents, rabbits, deer, birds, insects, and reptiles. They keep diseased animals from reproducing. By controlling rodent populations, coyotes protect crops and agriculture in Massachusetts.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston notes that the etymological meaning of the word “contest” is “together to witness.” As we, united with advocates on behalf of animals and children, bear witness to the contest that unfolds on Cape Cod, hope that Massachusetts legislators and citizens look to states like California and Vermont, who have undertaken legislative measures to prohibit coyote hunting tournaments.

A radical kill of animals for a cash prize is not consistent with sentiments of Massachusetts citizens and is inhumane for animals. It is harmful to children exposed to the unethical slaughter of animals for a cash prize.

Mary Nee

President, Animal Rescue League of Boston


ARL Caring for Nearly 60 Animals from Alleged Cruelty Situation

Please note: The animals involved in this case are not available for adoption.

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) assisted law enforcement in Auburn, MA, with the rescue of 60 animals from a residence. According to police, the conditions inside the home were unsanitary, deplorable and unsafe for inhabitance by animals and humans.

One of the animals in ARL’s care.

Almost all of the animals removed from the home are now in the care of ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center. The animals consist of 28 cats/kittens, and 26 dogs/puppies.

Each cat and dog has been thoroughly examined and vaccinated by ARL’s Shelter Veterinary staff. Unfortunately, a significant number of these animals show signs of respiratory infection, flea infestation, urine-stained and matted fur, as well as varying degrees of dental disease.

As authorities in Auburn work on the legal aspects of this case, ARL will continue to ensure that these animals are healthy and happy until the situation is resolved.

Animals need your support now!

The sudden influx of nearly 60 animals puts a heavy strain on ARL’s resources. Please consider making a donation today so that we can continue to provide each and every animal in our shelters with the kindness, care, and compassion that they need and deserve.

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Thank you for being a champion for animals in need!


Press Release: Emaciated Dog and Housemate on the Mend at ARL-Brewster

Previous owner charged with animal cruelty

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is caring for a pair of dogs at its Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center that were relinquished by their previous owner, who’s now facing animal cruelty charges.

“Ace” and “Bentley” came to ARL through the Rochester, MA, animal control officer who suspected that the dogs had been fed inadequately. Both dogs were malnourished, however the condition of one of the dogs was particularly appalling.

Weighing just 20 pounds, Bentley is on a regimented diet to gain weight slowly and safely.

Two-year-old Bentley was severely dehydrated and emaciated, weighing just 20 pounds (according to veterinary records he weighed approximately 50 pounds in 2017). Bentley’s body condition score was 1-2 out of 9, and he also has a number of scars on his face and ears. Nine-year-old Ace fared slightly better, while showing signs of malnourishment, his body condition is close to normal.

According to ARL’s shelter veterinary staff, barring any unexpected complications, Bentley and Ace are expected to make a full recovery and have a second chance at life.

Both animals are settling into their new surroundings and will be on a closely monitored feeding schedule to promote safe and steady weight gain.

As they recuperate ARL staff and volunteers will work with the animals to ensure they are socialized and able to shed the fear and anxiety of such a taxing situation.

Per Sgt. Robert Small of the Rochester Police Department:

On February 21, 2018 an alert utility worker called Rochester police and reported that she had seen two malnourished dogs in a home on New Bedford Rd. Police officers responded to the home as well as Animal Control officers. The officers found the dogs were locked in the home and appeared to be severely malnourished. The conditions were very unsanitary and the officers reported an extreme odor of animal urine and feces was detected from the driveway. The home appeared otherwise vacant and no food or water was available.

The resident was contacted and returned to the house. The interior conditions were deplorable and contained a substantial amount of animal waste. Officers took custody of the dogs and Animal Control officers brought them for immediate medical treatment.

The owner of the dogs has been charged with two counts of Animal Cruelty and two counts of Failing to License a Dog.


Boston Veterinary Care Monthly

Anyone who’s cared for a puppy knows how cute they can be – but they can also be mischievous and challenging! Curious by nature, puppies can get into things they shouldn’t and chew whatever comes in range of their mouths.

For Finn, an 11-month-old Boxer-mix, his curiosity almost cost him his life.

When he was brought to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), he hadn’t eaten for several days, was lethargic, dehydrated, and an examination showed some sort of obstruction lodged in his intestinal tract.

He needed surgery immediately, but the procedure was cost-prohibitive for Finn’s owner. His owner applied and was approved for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, and Finn was sedated and taken into surgery.

An incision into his stomach revealed a pom-pom from a winter hat was blocking the outflow tract from the stomach. While the pom-pom was removed, a second obstruction, likely another piece of the winter hat, was found further down in his small intestines. This blockage was more serious and had caused a 12-inch section of the intestines to die and rupture.

The section of intestines was resected, and due to the extensive surgery, when Finn awoke he was in pain and his body temperature was too low. Finn was transferred to Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment & Specialties in Walpole for overnight care and pain management.

He was successfully discharged two days later, and Finn is back to his energetic self! The nearly $4,000 treatment was covered by the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund and Finn’s owner was overjoyed and thankful for the assistance and to have her beloved companion be healthy once again.

“It was a grueling surgery, but Finn showed his strength, and it’s wonderful to see how he’s recovered and will go on to lead a healthy life,” said BVC Lead Veterinarian, Dr. Nicole Breda.

The Alice T. Whitney Fund gives homeless animals and family pets the chance to heal — see how you can help today!

Dental Health Month at BVC

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and through the end of the month BVC is offering a free dental exam, toothbrush, and toothpaste with every wellness exam. Additionally, BVC offers a free pet exam for first time clients.

BVC is the clinic with a mission – as all profits benefit shelter animals of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). BVC offers a number of high-quality outpatient services, click here to find out more!


ARL Expands Reach to Help Animals in Need in Puerto Rico

Some of Old San Juan’s Most Famous Residents Finding Homes in Boston

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is broadening its reach in Puerto Rico by partnering with Save a Gato, a nonprofit group dedicated to rescuing cats in Old San Juan; the partnership began with a transport of nine cats this past week.

Once at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, the cats were placed under a state-mandated 48-hour quarantine period, given thorough examinations, vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and microchipped. From there, the gatos were made available for adoption, and to no surprise have been adopted very quickly.

An Internationally Known Colony

Save a Gato manages cat colonies throughout Old San Juan, including along the Paseo Del Morro – a trail that once serviced as a maintenance road for the massive stone protective walls of the city that date back to the 1630s.
For visitors to the National Recreational Trail, the numerous cats along the route are part of the experience, and many say that some of the cats are actual descendants of the original cats who came on ships when the first Spanish settlers came to the island.

To see video of one of the adorable gatos, click here!

Gatos and Satos

Along with Save a Gato, in 2017 ARL began its partnership with All Sato Rescue, and has transported dozens of dogs from the island, including an emergency transport of pups following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

There is an abundance of homeless animals in Puerto Rico. These transports allow ARL to supplement the number of animals the organization takes in locally, while giving our partner organizations the ability to continue their important work and make room for more animals in need.

Additionally, ARL receives monthly transports of puppies and dogs from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and Alexander County Animal Services – both based in North Carolina.


Press Release: Good Samaritan Helps Save a Life

ARL-Boston Reminds Public to Take Action when Seeing an Animal in Distress

With New England still in the grips of a brutal winter, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind the public to be mindful and to take action when seeing an animal in distress.

Such actions recently helped save the life of a female stray cat in Dorchester.

The Good Samaritan got a backyard surprise when pulling off the cover to an outdoor grill. Underneath was a shivering cat who was trying to get out of the cold and hadn’t been seen in the neighborhood before. The cat had suffered a devastating injury to her front left leg, and was very thin. Concerned for the animal, the resident took the cat in and contacted ARL Rescue Services.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, an examination by ARL veterinary staff noted that many of the cat’s toes on her left front leg were missing and the bones of her paw were exposed; a condition that was causing the animal severe pain. Additionally she was also dehydrated, anemic, severely underweight, and had an upper respiratory infection.

The cat, later named “Addie”, underwent amputation surgery this past week, is ravenously eating to put on weight, and is making continuous progress. She’s incredibly friendly and will be available for adoption when she’s back to 100 percent.

“Considering her situation, she’s doing remarkably well,” said Dr. Kate Gollon, ARL Community and Shelter Veterinarian. “When she came to ARL she weighed about half what a cat her age should weigh and she’s already put on half a pound, so she’s definitely trending in the right direction.

Addie’s case serves as a reminder that if the public spots an animal in distress, calling ARL Rescue Services at 617-426-9170 or local animal control can be the difference in an animal’s demise or survival.


February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

5 reasons why you should spay/neuter your pet

During National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month this February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds the public that pet overpopulation is a real issue, however, there are steps us humans can take to curb this problem.

“There are too many cat and dogs in our communities that don’t have homes,” explains Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare & Veterinary Services. “Every year, animal shelters like the ARL are inundated with stray and surrendered puppies and kittens that are the result of unplanned litters.”

In fact, national studies have found that amongst pet owners who indicate that their pets had at least one litter, 59% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners described the litter as “unintentional” or “accidental.”

Dr. Schettino believes that one reason that pet owners choose not to spay or neuter their pet is misconceptions about the low-risk surgery. “If we can increase spay and neuter rates, we can help prevent pet overpopulation.”

In addition to the benefits to the community, here are 5 more reasons why you should spay/neuter your pet:

09-24 Boston Spay Neuter Day_Thumb1. Cost Savings. The cost of caring for an unplanned litter of puppies or kittens far outweighs the cost of having a pet spayed or neutered. The good news – there are many affordable and free options in Massachusetts!

2. Reducing Spraying. Neutering resolves the vast majority of marking behaviors—even when a cat has a long-standing habit. Other nuisance behaviors such as howling in cats and excessive barking in dogs eases and even disappears after surgery.

3. Stopping Scuffles. According to the National Canine Research Foundation, approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their urge to roam and fight with other males.

4. Extending Life Span. The USA Today reports neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered males, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed females.

5. Long-Term Health Safeguard. Neutering male cats and dogs before six months of age prevents testicular cancer. Spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat offers protection from uterine infections and breast cancer.

ARL offers a number of spay and neuter services and programs, including the Spay Waggin’ and the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program.