Category: Blog
In Memoriam

We were extremely saddened to learn of the untimely passing of League volunteer Carolyn Brown. We will always remember her kindness and compassion toward animals and the people who care for them. The entire League community wishes to extend our deepest condolences to Carolyn’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with them all during this difficult time.

Toto the Tornado Kitten

When a tornado hit Brimfield, MA back in June, the area was devastated. Volunteers banded together to help clean the area up. A tree worker was clearing debris when he came across the tiniest survivor of the storm, a 2-week old kitten.

Thought to be swept up by the wind into the tree, the kitten was taken to the emergency operations center and was in need of immediate care. Luckily, the League’s Rescue Team was already there aiding in efforts to help other animals. We assumed care of the kitten until he was healthy enough for adoption. Two months later, Jonathan Hall, a volunteer paramedic during the tornado, came to adopt the kitten now named Toto.

Toto’s whirlwind adventure has now been turned into a children’s book. All proceeds will benefit the League, so purchase your copy here today.

Lt. Alan Borgal Named One of America’s Top Animal Defenders

In honor of National Justice for Animals Week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund named America’s Top 10 Animal Defenders, including our very own Lt. Alan Borgal.

Alan has worked at the League for 37 years and continues to be a true advocate for animals. As Director of the League’s Center for Animal Protection, he has saved countless animals’ lives. In 2007, Alan recieved the “Heroes Among Us Award” presented by the Boston Celtics. He also received the  Vartkes K. “VIC” Karaian Award in May of this past year for his work in supporting environmental health in the community.

We would like to congratulate Alan on this well-deserved honor and thank him for everything he does for animals in need!

Crossing Paths (Again)

In the past 2 posts, we’ve told you about our founder, Anna Harris Smith, and the restoration of her Dorchester home. The North Bennet Street School has been working on the house for about 2 years now, however the connection between the school and the League goes back even further.

In 1914, the League used the North Bennet Street School as a temporary holding facility for animals that would be transported to the Boston shelter. A clip from The North End Lantern urges readers to bring stray dogs, cats, and birds there.  Rich Friberg was unaware of the Clapp House history when he first signed on to the project. However, now almost 100 years later, the North Bennet Street School and the Animal Rescue League of Boston have crossed paths again.

The North Bennet students took the old Clapp house foundation and restored it while staying true to its originality. Whoever buys the renovated Clapp house cannot alter the work the North Bennet Street students have done without petitioning to make changes. “It takes the right person to buy the house,” Friberg says.

It also takes the right person to create an organization that has lasted not only 113 years, but has saved thousands of animals’ lives. The Animal Rescue League of Boston has done the same. The League has built upon the foundation Anna Harris Smith created while still remaining true to her intended purpose.

League Founder Anna Harris Smith Home Restoration

On Tuesday, we celebrated our 113th anniversary and told you about the Anna (Clapp) Harris Smith home restoration project. Today, let’s take a closer look at the history of the property.

Historic Boston Incorporated and the North Bennet Street School, located in the North End and specializing in 17th to 19th century buildings, have partnered to restore the Anna Harris Smith house.  After receiving a grant from the 1772 Foundation, the organizations were able to acquire the historic Clapp residence. The restoration will reflect the home’s appearance circa 1804 when Anna’s family resided there. Over the years, the house was somewhat modernized by past owners, but this only pertained to the exterior. However, the interior fell into decay and was in great need of repair.

The North Bennet students were entrusted by Historic Boston to restore the house to be as ‘period’ as possible. Rich Friberg, the preservation carpentry faculty leader of the project, said that the group did not know that Anna lived there but was pleasantly surprised by that fact. Through the use of traditional tools and methods, the students have been able to turn back the clock to 1804. The up-to-date windows were replaced by handmade sashes of 12 panes over 12 panes, a design similar to the one the house had 100 years ago. Even older than the design of the windows, the foundation of the Clapp house is speculated to be the original from the 17th century.

When North Bennet began the project, the front wall of the foundation was crumbling under the house. Historic Boston dug up the yard so that the stones could be withdrawn and reset for a secure foundation. Friberg stated that the banister in the house is most likely the original but they have yet to do anything with it since their work has focused mainly on the home’s exterior. The front door is not the original, but it was well researched and replicated.  The east elevation has just been finished and the completion of the north elevation is not too far behind.

The Clapp house is in the process of being designated a City of Boston landmark.

Feb. 7, 2012 – Our 113th Anniversary

Feb.7, 1899 – On this day, one-hundred and thirteen years ago, the League was formed in downtown Boston’s Park Street Chapel. Founder Anna Harris Smith and a few close colleagues agreed on the need for an organization to care for homeless and abandoned animals, and decided to form an organization for that purpose.

It all began with just 110 supporters and $1,200. Today, there are over 400 volunteers and 92 employees. From the beginning, Anna Harris Smith commonly used the phrase“Kindness Uplifts the World” to describe the League’s overall philosophy, encapsulating her desire to care for both animals and their human companions.

Her philosophy still rings true as the ARL of Boston continues the work she began.

About Anna Harris Smith of Dorchester

League founder Anna Clapp Harris Smith – a descendant of the founders of Dorchester – was also a resident of the area, where her house still stands today. The house is believed to have been constructed circa 1635 based on the age of its stone foundation. The Clapp house is currently undergoing a restoration. The restored home will offer a glimpse into the city’s storied past but is also a reminder of the neighborhood’s – and the League’s – early history.

I played ball with Big Papi

Nana, a 10 month old spayed female pit mix is looking for a new home. She has been a shelter resident for a few months now and has won one of the staff’s ‘most improved’ awards.

She’s a friendly and loveable lady whose activities in the shelter include playing fetch with her human friends and romping around with her fellow shelter dogs in our play yard. In fact, Nana was able to combine her favorite activities during a visit from David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz, a member of the Boston Red Sox. She was the star that day, she loved running to the fence to retrieve the ball and would immediately give it back to Ortiz. Nana was not phased by all the cameras, other dogs, or people, she just really loved having a chance to play ball in the yard.

Nana would love to go to a home where she can play fetch regularly and cozy up on a warm bed at the end of the day. Being a young lady, she’s still learning her manners and would benefit from continuous daily obedience training. Stop by South End shelter on 10 Chandler Street or call our Adoption Center at 617-226-5602 for more information about Nana.

David Ortiz Meets Young Donor

November 15, 2011: Red Sox star David Ortiz spends some time with Josselyn Siegel of Wilmington, a young philanthropist who donated $100 to the League by selling her handmade clay creations.

“We were so touched by her wonderful gift from the heart,” says Melanie Sheffield, director of the President’s Council at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “It’s especially meaningful to see philanthropy begin at such an early age. It says a lot about the kind of person Josselyn is, and the adult she will someday become.”

Thank you Big Papi

Yesterday was a great day for the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Big Papi’s visit inspired and uplifted the League’s staff and garnered extensive coverage on the evening news. This event will attract many more adopters to our shelter and help find forever homes for needy animals.

Big Papi enjoyed a tour of the Boston Shelter where he met the cats, dogs and other animals that are available for adoption. Afterwards, he revealed his genuine care and concern for animals as he played ball with the dogs in the yard.

My special thanks go to Big Papi, event sponsor PopChips, to the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a success, and to the many League supporters who came to the shelter to meet Big Papi and bring attention to the needs of the animals in our care.

Jay Bowen

Our Shelter Tour with David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) had the pleasure of taking David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz on a quick tour of the Boston Animal Care & Adoption Center yesterday.

He was greeted in the lobby, by long time resident, Sapphire and an ARL adoption agent “Oh you like me little girl” – Ortiz said to Sapphire, the two bonded quickly.

He also spent time with a kitten, named Francis, who was recently rescued from a drain pipe by the League. Francis, whose fur resembles a Lion’s main, impressed Ortiz, he told Veterinary Technician, Jessica Wright, that as a child he always wanted to adopt a Lion but now he is happy with his 3 year old Terrier, Foxy.

The tour was full of moments of laughter, Ortiz was down-to-earth, friendly and funny! When we took him to see the dogs, he took his time making sure each dog received a treat and some special attention. Ortiz immediately gravitated to our largest resident commenting on his size and how similar they were.

Photo courtesy of Boston.com, Kristi Palma

Photo courtesy of Boston.com, Kristi Palma

When we told Ortiz about our Field Services Department, he was impressed by the scope of our services. As an animal lover, he recognizes the importance of the work that the ARL does and told us how much he appreciated the opportunity to get to meet the animals and see behind the scenes. Everyone at ARL is so thankful for him taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit.