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Category: Blog
Summer Safety: Protect Your Dog’s Paws!

For the past seven years the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Too Hot for Spot® safety campaign has warned pet owners of the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot vehicle.

But with longer days and warm temperatures, outdoor pets face additional dangers – hot surfaces which can cause severe burns to your pet’s paws.

Asphalt, concrete, or brick surfaces i.e. parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, walkways, bike trails etc… absorb the heat from the sun and surface temperatures can exceed 145 degrees!

Other surfaces include wood, metal, artificial grass, running track material, and beach sand.

Burns to the paws are incredibly painful, and can really limit your dog’s mobility, especially if all four paws are affected.

We can’t keep our pets in a bubble, but there are measures you can take to ensure your pet is safe while outdoors this summer.

Air temp vs. asphalt temp

  1. The Hand Test. The surest way to determine if a surface is to place your hand on it for 7 seconds. It’s simple, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet!
  2. Plan Outdoor Time. Always a good idea during the warm weather months anyways, but you should try and limit your dog’s exercise time to early morning or early evening when it’s coolest. Keep in mind that these hot surfaces that absorb heat stay hot long after the sun sets.
  3. Stay on the Grass. Grass typically stays cooler than artificial surfaces.
  4. Protection Gear. Booties, Socks, Paw Wax Balm, these products can add a layer of protection for your dog’s paws. Dogs do sweat through their paws so it’s important to limit the amount of time they wear protective booties. Keep in mind it will take some time for your dog to get used to having any of these on his feet.

You also want to remember that your dog’s paws may be more susceptible to burns after getting wet and signs of burns to look for include:

  • Limping
  • Refusing to walk
  • Red or pink color change in paw pads
  • Licking or chewing at the feet
  • Blisters

Burns should be treated quickly, and if you discover that your pet has suffered burns on their paws, they should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.


Press Release: Rescued Mini Donkeys Seek New Home

Bonded pair seized from hoarding-type situation

A pair of mini donkeys who have come from previously traumatic situation were recently transferred from foster care to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, and are now searching for a new home.

The donkeys, Brownie and Marshmallow, were seized from a hoarding-type situation in Plymouth County in late 2019 and were two of approximately 50 animals taken from the unsanitary conditions on the property.

The former owner is facing animal cruelty charges, and the property has since been condemned.

Twenty-year-old Brownie, and 13-year-old Marshmallow are neutered males, and because of their bond, ARL is seeking to adopt the donkeys as a pair.

While initially shy and despite the terrible conditions they were previously living in, they are extremely friendly, comfortable around people of all ages, including children, and have outgoing personalities.

With many livestock owners on Cape Cod, ARL is hopeful that Brownie and Marshmallow will find the type of loving home they deserve quickly, and reminds the public that all animal adoptions are currently by appointment only.

Interested parties should call (617) 426-9170 x305 to schedule an appointment, and will also be required to show a photo of the enclosure the donkeys would be living in to ensure it’s appropriate.


Fireworks Can Increase Our Pet’s Anxiety

Fireworks and July 4th go hand-in-hand, however with town and cities across Massachusetts cancelling annual fireworks displays, many have begun shooting off fireworks in their backyards and neighborhoods.

Calls to authorities regarding fireworks in Boston are up a reported 2,300 percent, and surrounding states where the sale of fireworks are legal are reporting a tremendous surge in sales.

First, fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, and second, the sudden explosions can be detrimental and dangerous for our pets.

To see local media coverage of this story by WCVB reporter/anchor Doug Meehan click here!

To see local media coverage of this story by WHDH reporter John Cuoco click here!

Many dogs are afraid during a thunderstorm, and while thunderstorms and fireworks can be loud, there’s a huge difference between the two.

“When storms happen, the barometric pressure will tell them that it’s coming; not with fireworks and it’s so detrimental,” says Laney Nee, ARL’s Shelter Behavior and Enrichment Manager.

Fireworks can cause behavioral issues that may last for a long time, and signs to watch out for include:

  • Shaking
  • Drooling
  • Howling or barking
  • Pacing
  • Trying to find a place to hide
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

“Dogs only communicate with their voices, their mouths, their paws and their body language and when we interact with them (while they’re exhibiting signs of fear) there is a possibility they may redirect that fear into an aggressive behavior,” Nee said.

Additionally, the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks may also cause a dog to run off. During this time of year, shelters around the national typically see an increase in lost dog reports.

How to Help

We of course want to keep our pets safe.

The first and easiest step to take is to make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags, and if they are microchipped, to be sure that the contact information is current and correct; as a precaution just in case they become lost.

You can also set them up in a room with some of their favorite toys, turn on some soft music, a television, or a white noise machine to help drown out the noises caused by fireworks.

If you are concerned about the bright lights, you can also move your pet into a room with no windows, however you may need to prepare for the chance they may run when the door is opened.

There are also medications to help reduce stress and anxiety, however this is something that needs to be discussed with your veterinarian to determine which, if any, medication would be appropriate for your pet.

ARL FREE Pet Behavior Helpline

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a FREE service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom.

If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


Cyanobacteria Blooms Discovered in Sections of Charles River

Algae dangerous to animals and humans

This week, the Charles River Watershed Association released a public health warning after discovering blooms of cyanobacteria in several sites along the Charles River, from the Mass. Ave. Bridge to the Museum of Science.

According to the advisory, swimmers and boaters should avoid contact with the water, and because the blue-green algae can be toxic to dogs, our canine friends should not be swimming in, or drinking this water as well.

While the formation of blooms typically happens later in the summer, the watershed association acknowledges that the immense heat and amount of sunlight we’ve seen recently, combined with the nutrient pollution already existing in the Charles created a scenario for early blooms of cyanobacteria.

While the discovery has been made in the Charles River, the bacteria thrive in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems.

Dangerous for Dogs

Exposure and ingestion of cyanobacteria can be life-threatening for dogs.

Onset of symptoms can happen within 30 minutes, or even 24 hours later.

Signs to look for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Jaundice
  • Weakness
  • Stumbling
  • Muscle tremors
  • Rigidity
  • Excess salivation
  • Algae in vomit or stool
  • Blood in urine
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory paralysis
  • Convulsion
  • Seizures

If your dog exhibits any of the aforementioned symptoms after exposure to blue-green algae, seek veterinary help immediately.


Advocacy 101: Breaking Down the Basics

Advocacy in its simplest form, is to lend support towards a cause or proposal.

For the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), advocacy is at the core of our mission.

Since its founding in 1899, ARL has advocated for animals and people, understanding the proven link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to people.

Some of the first advocacy efforts by ARL and founder Anna Harris Smith were related to improving conditions for carriage horses in the city after witnessing countless acts of mistreatment.

Advocacy in Practice

Advocacy looks different for every person who decides to get involved. We can advocate for ourselves, for others, and for causes we care about. Advocacy goals can be to change laws, to change regulations, to change practices, and to change minds.

One of the most common ways of advocating is contacting your elected officials. Wherever you live, you are represented by many layers and levels of government. This includes city or town level, county level, state level, and federal level. There are a lot of people who represent and work for you, who have different abilities to change laws and regulations.

On the surface, advocacy may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

You can help advocate for animals in need!

ARL’s Advocacy Department goes through the thousands of bills filed each year and tracks them to make sure that animals have a voice on Beacon Hill and beyond. From time to time, we ask you to lend your voice to help animals. When contacting your elected officials, here are a few tips:

  1. You don’t have to be an expert! A lot of people are worried that they will be asked questions they don’t know the answers to, that their effort will be met with hostility, or that their voice won’t matter. Elected officials rely on their constituents[1] to tell them what issues matter to them, and they expect that sometimes there will be disagreement. The most important question you should be able to answer is why the bill matters to you.
  1. Familiarize yourself with the background before you call or email. Knowing background information will help you talk about why you’re passionate about a bill. Maybe you volunteer in our Animal Care & Adoption Centers and you’ve worked with animals who have been the subject of cruelty cases, maybe you adopted an animal who was abused, maybe you live in a community that saw a large cruelty case, or maybe this is just something you really care about. ARL frequently updates its legislative agenda and provides a synopsis and background information for each piece of proposed legislation.
  1. Use the method of contact that makes you feel most comfortable. Email is often the easiest format because it allows you to take your time writing and it doesn’t have the pressure of talking to someone on the phone. Every elected official is different, but personalized information is always best. If you write an email, make sure to include your name, address, and contact information. If you call, they will likely ask for this information. Most elected officials keep a database of people who contact their office so they can reach out in the future. Keep in mind that you may receive a response from staff; staff is heavily involved in this work and it does not mean the elected official is ignoring you!
  1. Things often move slowly. Don’t be disheartened because you called to support a bill and it didn’t pass. The Massachusetts Legislature considers bills on a two year session, and around 5,000 bills are filed to be considered during these two years. There are bills filed on education, transportation, healthcare, civil rights, animal welfare, and many other topics. Bills move through multiple stages to get passed, and the legislature is busier certain times of year than others. Sustained advocacy is the most successful advocacy, and it’s never too early or too late to speak out! Click here to see how a bill becomes law in Massachusetts.

Advocacy welcomes all ages and abilities, and along with contacting your elected officials, you can advocate by joining groups that speak out, engaging in education, and participating in public calls to action.

Championing a piece of legislation that ultimately becomes law is a tremendously rewarding experience, and the more who become involved, the better the chances of ushering in change to protect animals throughout the Commonwealth.

Learn more about the bills ARL is supporting this session.

[1] What’s a constituent? Probably you! “Constituent” is a brief way of saying “people who live in an elected official’s district”.


When the Temperatures Rise It’s Too Hot for Spot®

With the weather warming and the restrictions easing, many of us have one thing on our minds – getting outside!

But, as we gear up for another summer, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is once again launching its annual safety campaign, Too Hot for Spot®, to remind pet owners of the dangers of leaving animals in hot cars.

During warm weather months, we typically see animals being left in hot cars at beaches, near bike trails, and other parking lots associated with summer. However this year, we worry we will see more instances of animals being left in hot cars in places that many of us frequent while doing our daily errands.  Grocery stores, the post office, and banks – these are places where we will say, “I’ll be in and out.”

But, in the world we are now living in, the reality is that trips to these places are going to take longer.

The average grocery store trip, according to the Time Use Institute, is approximately 41 minutes. This figure is based on pre-pandemic information. Grocery stores and other businesses now need to take extra steps to disinfect or limit the number of people allowed inside at one time – resulting in daily errands taking longer. Leaving an animal in the car for even a short period of time, could be deadly.

Unlike humans, animals cannot efficiently cool their bodies. And while the windows in the car may be cracked, even with outside temperatures below 80 degrees, the inside of a vehicle can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. The stifling heat inside a car makes animals susceptible to heat stroke, and the onset of symptoms is rapid.

Health hazards aside, it is also against the law in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle when extreme heat or cold may threaten the animal’s health.

ARL launched its Too Hot for Spot® annual campaign 7 years ago, and while pet owners should be well aware of the dangers of leaving animals in vehicles during the warm weather months, we sadly still see numerous examples of animals suffering and even dying every year, as the result of being left in the car.

Please, when it is hot outside, leave your dog at home. Set them up in a cool, humidity and temperature-controlled room, give them plenty of water, and make sure to limit their outdoor exercise to the morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

Summer is here and we’re all ready to get outside. Please continue to keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe and healthy during these uncertain times. We’re all in this together.

To learn more summer pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/too-hot-for-spot.


ARL Assists Woburn ACO in Swan Rescue

Swan injured by fishing hook; reunited with family quickly

On Wednesday afternoon, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department assisted Woburn Animal Control in capturing a swan on Horn Pond, who had been suffering for a number of days.

The male swan was injured by a small fish hook caught in his right foot which was also wrapped in fishing line.

A local favorite among those who frequent Horn Pond, the male and his mate are caring for their offspring, and both are protective and leery of unknown humans – this added an additional challenge to the rescue effort despite being close to the shore line.

With a number of bystanders looking on, ARL’s Field Services agent carefully snared the swan with a humane net, pulled him to shore and, with the help of Woburn Animal Control and a bystander who has an affinity for the swan family, able to safely place the injured animal into a crate for transport.

The swan was taken to New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth, and after a quick treatment of removing the hook, cleaning the wound and administering antibiotics and pain medication, ARL returned to Horn Pond to reunite the swan with his family just a few hours later.

Given that swans are territorial, ARL believes this is not the first time this swan has needed assistance, as Field Services rescued a swan in the same area several years ago.

ARL Field Services

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

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

ARL relies on the generosity of compassionate individuals (like you!) to carry out our important work to help animals and communities in need — please help us continue this lifesaving work by making a donation.

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


Don’t Miss This Incredible Match Opportunity

Your gift will provide critical veterinary care for a shelter animal and be MATCHED to provide care for a cherished pet, thanks to a generous matching gift provided by Jane Whitney Marshall.

 

When you donate today, you will help a shelter animal like Remy (pictured above), a severely underweight dog who arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Boston in dire condition, neglected, abandoned, and without hope.

Your generosity will then be matched to help a pet like Louie, who needed life-saving surgery but the cost of his care was out of reach for his owner.

Louie the cat before surgery

Last September, Louie went missing and returned home limping on a mangled left hind leg.

 

With your matched support, the shelter animal will receive the kindness, veterinary care, and second chance they deserve AND the pet can access the vital veterinary care they need, without being separated from the family that loves them – just like Remy and Louie!

Even in these uncertain times, the impact of your support and compassion will have a profound impact for animals like Remy and Louie.

I want to do twice as much good!

Don’t miss the opportunity to have your gift matched before the deadline on June 30, 2020.

*Any amount raised in excess of $25,000 will go to help animals, but it will not be matched.


ARL Continues its Mission During Shutdown

When the impacts of COVID-19 began to be severely felt in Massachusetts, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) did what so many other organizations and businesses did across the state – altered day-to-day operations for the health and safety of staff, volunteers, clients and the animals we care for.

While ARL placed more than 200 animals into foster care in mid-March and suspended adoption services, as an organization ARL was extremely active in helping animals in need and caring for the communities we serve.

Placing animals in foster care had multiple benefits.

First, it allowed the animals to be removed from the shelter environment, which can be stressful for some, and into a home setting.

A home setting is not only less stressful, but it also gives ARL’s Animal Care Associates a better understanding on what these animals are like in a home, making it easier to find their perfect match.

Another benefit was creating open kennel space at ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers, in the event that emergency animal intakes became necessary for pet owners.

Intake

From March 16 to May 31, ARL did see a surge in intake, as 286 animals came through ARL’s doors – 134 in Boston alone.

These animals came to ARL in a variety of ways – emergency owner surrenders primarily due to COVID-19-related hardship, adopted animals returned, law enforcement cases, transport from other municipalities, among others.

The majority of the animals were cats, with 180 felines coming into ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

There were 72 dogs that came through intake, the remaining 34 animals were small animals and livestock.

Law Enforcement

While adoption services were suspended, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department remained busy during the past two-and-a-half months.

From January 1, 2020 through May 15, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department had 128 new cases reported, involving 600 animals.

However, over the past two months alone, ARL Law Enforcement opened 56 new cases, involving 189 animals.

During the past two months, ARL Law Enforcement has responded to hoarding-type situations, a number of animal cruelty situations including a cat in Framingham that was shot with a high-powered pellet gun, several instances of animal abandonment, and also assisted in a number of non-cruelty cases including the return of a geriatric stray cat to its family in Winchendon.

Serving Communities in Need

Along with suspending adoption services, an additional byproduct of COVID-19 was the suspension of ARL community services, primarily the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’ – two programs that bring veterinary services directly into the communities ARL serves.

The question was how can we still serve our communities in spite of stay at home orders and the growing impacts of COVID-19?

The answer came in the form of ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals Facing Emergencies) Program.

The program, initially funded by a $30,000 grant through PetSmart Charities®, has allowed ARL to support community partners Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and Boston Senior Home Care (BSHC), by providing their clients with pet food and supplies and other urgent assistance.

Clients of ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ are also eligible for assistance.

ARL has provided the following services to clients who qualify for the program:

  • Deliver pet food and other essential pet supplies to clients’ homes and partner-supported community housing;
  • Pick up pets to provide critical veterinary care and return them to their owner;
  • Provide temporary emergency shelter for pets and offer pick up and return of the pet to their owner or a designated caregiver;
  • Arrange for emergency and essential surrender of pets with pick up service.

To date, the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program has received more than 300 requests for assistance, secured more than 75,000 individual healthy meals for pets, delivered essential supplies and pet food to more than 160 clients, and provided telemedicine or critical veterinary care to more than two dozen clients.

While Massachusetts slowly reopens, the need remains, and ARL is committed to keep this program running for as long as it’s needed to assist the communities we serve in the Greater Boston area.

For more information on ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program, and to see if you qualify, log onto arlboston.org/safe.

Thank you!

This important work is made possible by the generosity of people like you.

While it is difficult to predict the long-term impact of this global crisis, one thing remains constant—animals are still in need.

By lending your support, you ensure that animals in Massachusetts can get the care they count on including food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

red donate button 


What a Week!

ARL Resumes Adoption Services, dozens of animals find forever homes

On Monday, June 1, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) resumed what is arguably the most beloved aspect of the organization – finding forever homes for animals in need.

In its first week back, ARL found homes for 78 animals – this marks the 2nd highest total of adoptions in a one-week period in 2020!

Due to health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, ARL suspended adoption services on March 17, 2020. More than 200 animals were placed into foster care at that time, and ARL is so excited to have been able to find homes for a number of animals who have had a tough few months:


Cookie Dough
This 10-year-old cat was abandoned outside ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center in April. But this big flirt adjusted quickly and has found the perfect home to spend her golden years!

Beans
This adorable 6-month-old kitten was accidentally stepped on and suffered a severe fracture in his hind leg. Sadly the injured leg needed to be removed, but he is in a loving home and has adjusted very well!

Gardenia
Sadly Gardenia was found abandoned in an apartment building in Malden. She was nervous initially, but quickly warmed up and once she was made available for adoption she found her home very quickly.

Champ
An adorable 5-month-old Great Dane mix, Champ came to ARL with two of his siblings from a law enforcement situation in Western Massachusetts. Despite a hearing deficit and an ocular defect which could eventually impact his sight, Champ has found a lovely home and is thriving.

Rosie
Champ’s sister! Like her brother, Rosie also suffers from the same genetic deficits, but like Champ, she has found her perfect forever home.

Franky
This fluffy 1-year-old rabbit spent nearly four months waiting for his perfect match. It was worth the wait because now Franky is the center of attention in his new forever home and is loving his new life!

Radagast
A 2-year-old tabby with tons of personality! Radagast was one of more than a dozen animals removed from a hoarding-type situation in Plymouth County in 2019. A favorite of any ARL staff member who came in contact with him, this amazing cat was adopted quickly once he became available.

Peppermint, Saffron, Sage, Vanilla
This colorful bunch came to ARL from a property on Cape Cod whose owner was unable to care for them after being stuck out of state due to COVID-19. There were more than a dozen cats on the property and the others will soon be available for adoption as well!

Ready to Find Your Perfect Match?

ARL would like to thank everyone who has opened their hearts and homes for an animal in need during a time of great uncertainty.

To protect the health, safety and well-being of staff, volunteers, clients and the animals in our care, ARL will continue appointment-only adoptions for the foreseeable future.

Click here if you are interested in finding your perfect match, and once you find an animal you would like to meet, call (617) 426-9170 and dial the appropriate extension: Boston x604, Dedham x605, Brewster x305. Our staff will be happy to conduct an adoption interview with you via the phone and arrange a meeting, if both parties think it’s a good match.

Please note:

  • We are unable to conduct out-of-state adoptions at this time.
  • The public will not be permitted in the shelter or lobby waiting areas without an appointment and will be asked to limit the number of visitors.
  • Everyone must wear a protective face covering or mask that covers both the nose and mouth while at ARL facilities or community programs, or BVC, by order of the State of Massachusetts.
  • Please alert our staff if you need to request accommodation due to a medical condition by calling: (617) 426 – 9170 and dialing the appropriate extension: Boston press “0”, Dedham x605, or Brewster x305;
  • For more information on these safety requirements, visit Mass.gov.