Category: Blog
Overweight Pig Looking for New Home to Start 2024

Overweight pig has been in Care of ARL since October

A four-year-old overweight pig currently in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is looking to kick off the New Year on the right hoof by finding her permanent home.

The young potbelly pig came to ARL approximately 30-35 pounds overweight, and with weight-related mobility and emotional issues, but has made tremendous strides in the past two months.

The pig, named Nala, was surrendered to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center in October, when her owner could no longer care for her.

Nala originally came from a cruelty case in Ohio as a piglet, and was an indoor/outdoor pig in her previous home.

Due to her weight gain, Nala was uncomfortable upon her arrival at ARL, and had limited mobility.

Her discomfort also impacted her behavior and she was closed off and did not want contact initially.

However, as she began to lose weight, her mobility improved, as did her behavior.

A slimmed down Nala can now be seen moving freely throughout her paddock and she has also begun welcoming interaction, allowing pets and showing off her sweet and tender side.

While she has lost some weight, her new owner will need to help Nala continue her weight-loss journey, but ARL feels she is now physically and emotionally ready to find her forever home — just in time for the New Year!

Help an Animal Like Nala

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Nala get everything they deserve this holiday season. 

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes. 

From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues, to veterinary care, enrichment and  behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible. 

2,839+ animals in need have already found homes this year. Will you make a year-end gift to help one more? 

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Neonatal Kittens Rescued in October Find Homes for the Holidays

Neonatal kittens rescued when mom was injured and unable to provide care

Rescued as a trio of neonatal kittens in October by the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) have completed a remarkable transformation by finding their forever homes just in time for the holidays.

In October, the kittens were discovered in Fall River by a concerned resident who noticed the mother cat was unable to care for the kittens due to severe wounds.

At just 4-weeks-old at the time, the kittens were in an incredibly vulnerable situation, which could’ve been life-threatening without intervention.

ARL’s Field Services routinely works in the Fall River area, an area with countless community cats, and immediately responded when receiving the call about these three kittens.

The kittens and the mom were trapped and transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, where they immediately received veterinary care.

The kittens were filthy, and suffering from upper respiratory infections.

The trio received medication for the infections and were placed into foster care so they could be constantly monitored.

The mom cat, now named Kiki, was suffering from multiple puncture wounds, and was also underweight.

The kittens rebounded rather quickly, and once they hit the right age, they were spay/neutered and recently found their forever homes.

For Kiki, because she had wounds of unknown origin, she continues a state-mandated 4-month quarantine with ARL, but she will become available for adoption in early 2024.

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with staff dedicated to helping community cats, which can be found in any city or town in Massachusetts, and it’s estimated that there are 700,000 community cats living throughout the Commonwealth, 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 Field Services Agents will respond to the call of residents who report a colony of cats, investigating the colony to determine the number of cats and kittens residing in that area, the cats’ overall health status, and whether or not a local resident is feeding them regularly and can continue.

After the initial assessment, a TNR (Trap-Neuter- Return) plan is formulated for that particular colony.

TNR is one of the most humane and effective ways to stop the cycle of homelessness among cats.

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.

Helping Homeless Animals in Need

For a homeless animal or at-risk pet, your kindness can change their whole life.  

 Your support is a powerful source of hope for the animals we serve, as it will ensure that we are able to provide all animals in our care with the level of compassion and love they deserve.  

 Will you make a gift to help animals experience kindness and joy this holiday season?

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Stray Dog Hit by Car Recovering at ARL

Stray dog suffered numerous injuries, including fractured pelvis

A stray dog is recovering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after he was recently struck by a car in Boston and suffered a broken pelvis, among other injuries.

Bingo, a one-year-old Border Collie mix, was found at the intersection of American Legion Highway and Blue Hill Avenue in the early morning hours of November 27 by Boston Animal Control, who immediately transported him to an emergency veterinary clinic to assess his injuries.

Once the dog was stabilized, he was transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for further treatment and care.

The injuries this dog sustained are consistent with being hit by a car.

Along with a broken pelvis, Bingo suffered a number of lacerations requiring stitches, a chest x-ray revealed moderate to severe lung bruising and a mild pneumothorax.

Bingo is on the road to recovery and will require strict crate rest and short leash walks for the next month or so as his injuries heal.

Despite his condition, Bingo is incredibly friendly and outgoing and while he is not available for adoption right now, ARL is looking forward to finding Bingo the home he deserves in early 2024.

Make a Difference

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Bingo get everything they deserve this holiday season. 

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes. 

From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues to veterinary care, enrichment, and behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible. 

2,839+ animals in need have already found homes this year.

Will you make a year-end gift to help one more?

donate button  

ARL Caring for Cat Suffering from Extensive Burns

Second/third-degree burns cover more than 50 percent of cat’s body

A one-year-old female cat found as a stray in Oxford, MA, is facing months of painful treatment and rehabilitation due to second and third-degree burns covering more than half her body, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) veterinary staff is working diligently to save her life and give her the second chance that she deserves.

The cat, now named Era, was found in a work shed in Oxford, MA, and once the extent of her injuries was realized, Oxford Animal Control contacted ARL for assistance and the cat was transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for treatment.

ARL’s veterinary team has assessed that second and third-degree burns cover approximately 55 percent of her body, and treatment has consisted of pain management and twice-weekly wound debridement involving removing dead skin and exposing the new skin underneath to promote healing.

The procedures are intensive and painful, and Era is at the beginning of a very long road to recovery.

At this juncture Era’s condition is guarded, but cautiously optimistic.

It is currently unknown what caused the burns and whether it was an intentional act, but ARL’s primary focus at this time is doing everything possible to save this animal’s life.

Era will continue to have twice-weekly debridement procedures, and will eventually be placed in foster care to give her a quiet and calm environment to further help in the healing process.

Help the Healing

ARL is asking the public for support in helping Era and animals like her.

The cost of her care is roughly $1,000-1,500 per week and at this time it is unknown how long her treatments will be necessary, but it’s anticipated that it will likely be several months.

ARL is committed to giving Era her best chance at life, and anyone interested in donating can visit support.arlboston.org/Era.

Former Severely Emaciated Dog Ready to Find Forever Home

Emaciated Dog gained 22 pounds in foster care

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is thrilled to announce that a now formerly severely emaciated dog that was found as a stray in August has reached a healthy weight and is now ready to find his new home — just in time for the holidays.

The one-year-old dog, now named Dobby, was reportedly found as a stray in the area of Franklin Park in Dorchester in mid-August, and was brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for care.

Upon arrival at ARL, he weighed just 37 pounds, scoring a 1 out of 9 on the body condition score chart which represents the highest level of emaciation with ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance, no discernible body fat and obvious loss of muscle mass.

Additionally, Dobby’s fur was urine-stained, presented with mild dental disease, and he also had a number of pressure sores, indicating that he had been kept confined to a small space.

Dobby went to foster care and placed on a strict refeeding plan to ensure safe and slow weight gain.

Over the past several months he has put on 22 pounds and is now at a stable enough weight to be made available for adoption!

Despite everything he has gone through, Dobby has defined resilience and strength and is a shining example of the work that ARL does every day of the year to help animals in need.

Dobby’s has won the hearts of so many at ARL with his sweet and loving demeanor and is sure to be an amazing pet.

See Dobby’s profile on ARL’s adoptable animals page!

Dobby’s case remains an ongoing investigation by ARL’s Law Enforcement Department.

You can give animals like Dobby the greatest gift of all: hope.

When Dobby arrived, he was so thin you could count his ribs. His fur was stained and he was covered in sores, signs he was likely confined to a small space for a long time.

Dobby’s worst days may be behind him, but he is still counting on you to help him find a home of his own!

Your donation today can make sure animals like him have everything the need to find a home for the holidays!

ARL Marks Spay Waggin’ Milestone

Spay Waggin’s 75,000th surgery coincides with an expanded partnership with Franklin Park Zoo

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ hit a major milestone by completing its 75,000th surgery, and the milestone coincided with the organization’s partnership with the Franklin Park Zoo expanding, with the zoo now becoming a pick-up location for ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program.

The partnership between ARL and Zoo New England began in 2021, with the Waggin’ making monthly visits to offer local pet owners low-cost spay/neuter services.

Additionally, the Waggin’ has also hosted a number of subsidized clinics at the zoo throughout this special partnership, and most recently the zoo was a designated drop-off location for ARL’s Keep Pets F.E.D. pet food drive, to allow ARL to keep up with the steady demand from pet owners who receive pet food and supplies from ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Serving Animals Facing Emergencies) program.

This partnership is a fantastic example of bringing services directly where they’re needed.

Over 800 spay/neuter surgeries have been performed at the zoo since 2021, with more than 30 percent of clients coming from within a couple of miles of the Franklin Park area.

Spay Waggin’ Milestone

While the benefits of spaying or neutering our pets are numerous, it can be cost-prohibitive for many pet owners. Since initially hitting the road in 2000, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has been an essential resource for pet owners, offering low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter services to the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and the Islands.

In addition to Boston, the Waggin’ has rotating stops in Brockton, Falmouth, New Bedford, Kingston, North Dartmouth, Taunton, and Wareham.

Along with the spay/neuter surgery, the Waggin’ offers pets a brief veterinary exam, rabies and distemper vaccines, flea, ear mite and intestinal parasite treatments, nail trim, and pets can even be microchipped for an additional cost.

The Spay Waggin’ is an appointment-only service, and encourage those looking to utilize the service to call 877-590-SPAY (7729), or visit arlboston.org/services/spay-waggin for more information and scheduling.

ARL Seeing Steady Influx of Community Cats and Kittens

Colder weather raising concern for younger community cats and kittens

With mild winters becoming commonplace, there is no such thing as kitten season anymore, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continues to see a steady influx of community cats and kittens from outdoor cat colonies throughout Massachusetts – and with colder temperatures settling into our area, younger cats and kittens will become more vulnerable and in need of help.

ARL is seeing an influx of community cats and kittens.

To date, ARL has taken in nearly 800 community cats and kittens from all corners of the state, and the organization’s Community Cat Program shows no sign of slowing down heading into winter.

With colder temperatures jeopardizing the health, safety, and possibly the lives of young cats and kittens, ARL is ramping up its efforts to take in as many of these animals as possible and get them the help they need.

Current data estimates there are approximately 700,000 community cats living in communities across Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone.

ARL is committed to caring for these animals and reminds the public to be on the lookout for community cats and kittens.

If you come across these animals, it’s important not to attempt to move them, instead contact ARL Field Services for assistance at (617) 426-9170 (option 1).

Once the cats and kittens are rescued, ARL provides a wide range of veterinary care, including vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery, and the cats are also assessed behaviorally to determine adoption potential.

Adult cats who are truly feral and do not want to rely on humans for care are returned to the field.

While community cats are incredibly resilient, kittens born outdoors are extremely vulnerable to fluctuating weather conditions, predators, illness, among others, and sadly many don’t survive.

Community cats and kittens can be found literally anywhere – under decks, in basements, woodpiles, dog houses – anywhere a mother cat can provide relative safety and warmth for her offspring.

ARL cannot do this work alone and needs help from residents who share concern for the welfare of these vulnerable animals.

For more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program please visit Community Cat Program (arlboston.org)

Below Freezing Morning Nearly Claims Life of Homeless Kitten

ARL collaborates with community cat feeder to save homeless kitten’s life

A 5-week-old homeless kitten who was recently found cold to the touch in Berkley, MA, on a brisk November morning when temperatures dipped below the freezing mark, is getting a second chance thanks to the quick actions of a community cat feeder and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

The former homeless kitten, now named Applesauce, was discovered amongst a cat colony by a resident who monitors and feeds the colony and was very alarmed when the kitten was found cold and listless.

The finder took the kitten inside, contacted ARL’s Field Services Department, and did their best to warm up the kitten, by using blankets and providing sugar water.

ARL responded to the home and transported the kitten to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Upon intake, the kitten’s temperature was just 93F – a cat’s normal body temperature is typically between 100.5-102.5F.

ARL’s veterinary team used a heated blanket to help increase the kitten’s body temperature and closely monitored him.

Over the course of several hours, the kitten’s temperature had risen to 98F, and he was starting to perk up, indicated by a voracious appetite. Aside from being nearly frozen to death, the kitten was otherwise in good health.

With the kitten stable, ARL placed Applesauce into foster care, where his foster family reported that for the first 24-36 hours the kitten was lethargic and spent most of his time curled up in a blanket sleeping.

However, by the third day in the foster home, Applesauce rebounded, being very vocal, attention-seeking, and purring for hours on end!

At just 7-weeks-old, Applesauce is still too young to find his forever home, however, ARL is thrilled that after the quick actions of the finder, he will have the opportunity to find a family and live the life he deserves. He should be available for adoption in a matter of weeks.

ARL and Community Cats

ARL is the only large animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with staff specifically dedicated to community cats.

ARL’s Community Cat Program rescues hundreds of community cats annually to help slow the cycle of homelessness among cats, providing medical care, vaccines, spay/neuter surgery, and determining 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.

There are an estimated 700,000 community cats and kittens residing in Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone. ARL encourages anyone who discovers cats living outdoors to contact ARL Field Services at (617) 426-9170 x563.

Digital Resources Round Up
A Moment of Paws: Diabetes in pets text and tabby cat looking at the camera

Video and Event Recording Library

ARL has a number of recording webinars and informational videos you can access any time to learn more about our programs or animal welfare topics.

ACCESS the video and event recordings

Is your Pet Lost?

There isn’t a more sinking feeling then when you realize that your furry or feathered companion might have gone missing.  Whether it’s a door left ajar, a booming thunderstorm, or slipped harness during a walk, our pets can all too quickly slip away from our sight.  In that moment of panic, it’s important to take immediate action by following our 5 steps to increase the likelihood of a happy reunion with your pet.



Board Safely™

Did you know there are no statewide regulations that govern boarding kennels and pet daycare facilities in Massachusetts? Our Board Safely™ campaign encourages pet owners to do their own research before leaving their pet in the care of a boarding kennel or daycare facility.


Downloadable Resources

Adopting a new animal is very exciting and can also come with a lot of questions. We hope these downloadable tips sheets are helpful.


Welcoming Your Adopted Dog into Your Home

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


Keep Pets Safe During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and ARL is reminding pet owners of some things to keep in mind to help keep our pets safe and healthy as we celebrate with friends, family, food and festivities!


Cold Weather Safety Tips

Frigid conditions can endanger the well-being, safety, and the lives of the pets we love.


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.

Animal Advocacy 101

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.


ARL Seeking Home for Pair of Mini Stallions

Mini stallions transferred to ARL from Plymouth County sanctuary

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is looking for a new home for a pair of sibling mini stallions who were recently transported to ARL from a horse sanctuary in Plymouth County after initially being surrendered by their previous family on Martha’s Vineyard.

The 20-year-old brothers named Dwight and Stanley are not only stunning, they are in fantastic health and are very social horses.

They also have a bit of a mischievous side as well.

After being surrendered, during their time at the sanctuary they displayed their wonderful personalities, but also spent a little too much time trying to interact with the mares on the property, so the sanctuary reached out to ARL for assistance, and the stallions were transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Mini horses make wonderful pets and typically live longer than full-size horse breeds, so these two have many years ahead of them.

The stallions will be gelded later this month and will then be looking for their new home, however, ARL encourages any interested parties with the capacity to take these two in as pets to reach out to the ARL Dedham adoption team at (617) 426-9170 x605 or email Dedham-adoption@arlboston.org.

History of Horses in Dedham

 ARL relishes the opportunity to take in horses when available, as these animals have a direct connection to the history of ARL’s property in Dedham.

The 20-plus acre site was purchased in 1907 by ARL’s founder Anna Harris Smith, for the purpose of providing sanctuary for the working horses of Boston, who endured grueling working conditions and were often treated very poorly.

Witnessing the treatment of these animals was one of the driving forces that led Anna Harris Smith to establishing the Animal Rescue League of Boston in 1899.

The working horses in the city would be brought to Dedham where they would enjoy a couple of weeks of rest, relaxation, and care, in an effort to make their lives better.