Category: Boston
The Most Vulnerable Community Cats, and How You Can Help

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Community Cats Program provides care for hundreds of community cats from throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on an annual basis, but as we get into the warmer months, ARL is seeing more and more of the most vulnerable – kittens born in the wild.

Dedicated to Making a Difference

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated agent working with community cats.

Working throughout the state, ARL’s Community Cat Agent will identify and assess a colony of cats, and formulate a trap-neuter-return (TNR) plan for each situation.

Once the cats are humanely trapped, they are transported to an ARL Animal Care and Adoption Center where they receive medical treatment, including vaccines and spay/neuter surgery, and are also assessed behaviorally to determine adoption potential.

Since its inception in 2017, the program has assisted well over 3,000 community cats, and the need to help these animals has increased every year of the program – and as we get into the warmer months of the year, kittens are being born in great numbers and are extremely vulnerable to the elements, predators, illness and injury, among other threats.

Tansy and Posie

Tansy and Posie are a sibling pair of female kittens, and former community cats, recently taken in by ARL.

Former community cats Tansy and Posie.

A family in Rochester, MA, began noticing a group of cats on their property, and over time began to care for the animals by providing food and also outdoor cat shelters – but they also began to notice an abundance of kittens being born.

Doing some online research, the family discovered ARL’s Community Cat Program.

“When I called ARL’s Dedham branch, I cannot tell you the relief I had when they offered their assistance!” said Sarah Aanensen. “I wanted so badly to help these cats but knew there was no way to afford to get all these feral cats vet care that they so badly needed.”

Sarah began to humanely trap the cats, and Tansy and Posie were brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal care and Adoption Center.

While too young to be made available for adoption, the kittens have spent several weeks in foster care and are getting stronger by the day!

In a few weeks the kittens will be spayed, vaccinated, and will then find their perfect homes!

How You Can Help Community Cats (and Kittens)

Join us for this year’s Kitten Shower, as we bring awareness of the reality of kitten season and rally support to help fragile babies like Tansy and Posie.

This is your chance to help kittens get the chance they deserve at a safe and healthy life in a home.

Here’s how:

    1. Make a gift today to provide kittens and cats with the care they need – Gifts of $100 or more will be recognized on the Kitten Kuddler Wall of Honor
    2. Send critically-needed supplies from our Kitten Shower Registry directly to those in need
    1. Help spread the word by voting and sharing our Cutest Kitten (or Cat) Photo Contest

Your support can mean the difference between a challenging life outdoors and a happy, secure home for these vulnerable animals.

Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund Provides Injured Puppy with Vital Surgeries

The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund recently provided a six-month-old puppy with two essential surgeries, which began as a collaboration between two of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) veterinary programs.

An Emergency Referral

Nina, then a three-month-old puppy, came to ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ in late February because she was limping after jumping off of her family’s bed.

Fearing a fracture, the Wellness Waggin’ staff referred Nina’s owners to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) – ARL’s clinic with a mission, to receive x-rays.

X-rays revealed a mild avulsion fracture, and during the visit an umbilical hernia was also detected.

Due to the mild nature of the fracture, BVC’s medical staff opted for pain management, rest, and limited activity to heal the fracture – the umbilical hernia did need to be repaired surgically, and Nina was also in need of a spay.

Veterinary care can of course be expensive, however, Nina’s family qualified for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, which would cover the costs of the x-rays, exam, and for Nina’s surgical needs as well.

Receiving Care

In early May, Nina returned to BVC for a recheck of her leg, and to undergo surgery.

The fracture had healed, and with the successful surgeries completed, Nina is now healthy, happy, and ready to get back to being a puppy!

“This is such a blessing, we can’t thank everyone enough,” said Nina’s family. “Nina means so much to us and having her healthy is the most important thing.”

“This was a tremendous collaboration between the Wellness Waggin’ and Boston Veterinary Care,” stated ARL Director of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Nicole Breda. “By referring Nina to BVC, not only were we able to get this puppy healthy, but the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund removed the financial burden for these procedures, helping to keep Nina in her home where she belongs with those who love her.”

The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, established by longtime ARL supporter and former Board member Jane Whitney Marshall, ensures that financial barriers do not prevent owners from providing vital veterinary care for their pets in treatable medical emergencies.

How You Can Double Your Impact!

The pandemic is straining our limited resources, and our neighbors are feeling the same financial pressures.

There is a critical lack of affordable veterinary care options, and many individuals or families are faced with heartbreaking decisions regarding their beloved animals.

At the same time, the shelter animal population in our region is changing and we are seeing more complex medical issues that require advanced diagnostics, special surgeries, medication, and recovery time.

Your support helps ARL solve these pressing challenges, and with your support today, your gift can go twice as far!

From now through June 15, your gift to provide medical care to a shelter animal will be MACTHED, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, to provide care to an owned animal through the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund.

Even in these challenging circumstances, your generosity can do TWICE as much good by helping a shelter animal AND a beloved pet. Make a gift today!

ARL Hosts Rabies Vaccine and Microchip Clinics

Nearly 100 animals receive rabies vaccine and microchips

This spring, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its efforts to provide low-cost and accessible pet wellness services, and recently held two rabies vaccine and microchip clinics in two towns that ARL proudly calls home.

ARL recently partnered with the Town of Dedham and Dedham Animal Control to host a rabies vaccine and microchip clinic outside of ARL’s new multi-use building, located on ARL’s historic Dedham campus.

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ provided the state-mandated vaccine for dogs, cats, and ferrets for nearly 60 pets, and the clinic was free for Dedham residents, $10 for the rabies vaccine and $10 for a microchip for non-residents.

Dedham Animal Control was also able to provide on-site dog licenses for dog owners as well!

The Dedham clinic has been an annual tradition for a number of years, and ARL thanks the town and animal control for their collaboration on this important event!

Brewster Clinic

In late April, the Town of Brewster, home to ARL’s Cape Cod Animal Care and Adoption Center, held it’s annual Brewster in Bloom Festival, with ARL holding its rabies vaccine and microchip clinic in conjunction with the weekend-long event.

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ was on-site at Brewster’s Lemon Tree Village Shops, providing vaccines and microchips for nearly 50 pets.

A Community Connection

While these rabies vaccine and microchip clinics provide an essential service for pets, it’s also an opportunity for pet owners to get to know ARL a little better and learn what other services may be available for residents in the communities ARL proudly serves.

With the Dedham and Brewster rabies vaccine and microchip clinics complete, ARL now turns to upcoming events in Boston.

Starting in September, ARL will join Boston Animal Control for two rabies vaccine and microchip clinics – the first happening on September 27 at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and the second taking place in October in Dorchester.

Stay tuned for more details!

ARL Sees Steady Demand for Temporary Pet Housing Initiative

Temporary Pet Housing Initiative available for pet owners facing housing instability

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Temporary Pet Housing Initiative was launched in October 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with more pet owners facing housing instability, ARL is now seeing an increased demand for the service.

Fuzzy is just one of 63 animals ARL has taken in under the Temporary Pet Housing Initiative.

ARL took in just 8 animals during the first year of initiative, however, in year two, ranging from March 1, 2021-March 1, 2022, ARL provided temporary housing for 46 animals, and in the past two months alone, 9 animals have been placed into temporary housing.

Since its inception, the initiative has provided temporary shelter for 63 animals, totaling nearly 2,200 days in foster care!

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts offering this service, and the Temporary Pet Housing Initiative is potentially available for any pet owner in Massachusetts experiencing housing instability, or is at imminent risk of homelessness due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the core of its mission, ARL believes in keeping people and pets together, and is offering temporary shelter for animals whose owners may be experiencing housing instability or may be at imminent risk of homelessness.

This is an essential service for individuals facing eviction due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first step in the process is to contact ARL’s Admissions Office depending on location: Boston (617) 426-9170 x140; Dedham (617) 426-9170 x404; Brewster (617) 426-9170 x305.

Animal admissions is being coordinated through ARL’s animal care and adoption center management staff as space allows.

A prescreening process determines eligibility, and once accepted, the client is responsible for transporting the animal to the specified location.

The animal is held at the animal care and adoption facility temporarily to receive a veterinary exam and behavioral evaluation, and is then placed into a foster home.

Animals have a maximum 120-day stay within ARL’s foster care network, and pet owners must agree to parameters of conditional surrender to ARL including maintaining bi-weekly check-ins throughout the pet’s placement period.

Transport Pup with Chronic Skin Condition Still Seeking New Home

Skin condition causes extreme discomfort

Fern, a three-year-old female Pitbull-mix, arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in late March along with three other pups who were a part of animal cruelty investigations in New York.

As a transport partner with national organization ASPCA, ARL was seen as a great environment for these dogs to recover their previous trauma and to begin new lives in New England.

Upon arrival, Fern displayed her incredibly sweet personality, but she was also uncomfortable due to a chronic skin condition.

Fern showing her playful side.

Receiving Skin Condition Treatment

ARL shelter medicine team diligently worked to get Fern’s allergies and skin condition under control, but she needed more than just medication, she also needed a quiet place to recover.

ARL is blessed to have more than 500 dedicated foster families willing to open up their hearts and homes for animals like Fern — the shelter environment was just not conducive to her healing process, and foster care offered Fern not only a place to heal, but also an opportunity to become comfortable in a home-setting.

Ready to Go Home

After more than a month in foster care, Fern is ready to find her new family and begin her new life.

Fern is playful, full of energy, and while her skin condition is chronic, it is manageable through medication and regular visits to the veterinarian.

More information about Fern.

A Collaborative Wellness Effort

ARL is proud to be an official transport partner with the ASPCA, and Fern’s case demonstrates the amazing collaborative efforts taking place at ARL every day.

Fern needed assistance from ARL Animal Care Associates, shelter medicine and behavioral teams, as well as ARL’s extensive network of volunteers and foster families.

Every animal is an individual, and every animal requires needs that are unique to them.

But we can’t do this work alone: thanks to you and your generous support, ARL continues to help thousands of animals like Fern annually and we thank you!

ARL Assists Boston Animal Control to Rescue Geese Family

Rescued geese relocated to Chestnut Hill Reservoir

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department assisted Boston Animal Control to rescue and relocate a family of geese from a medical building in Brighton.

The rooftop of the Brighton Marine Health Center has been a nesting place for the two adult geese for a number of years, and ARL has assisted several times in the past to relocate the geese and goslings from this location.

Mom and goslings.

A Problem Nesting Area

A rooftop is seemingly a perfect place to nest for geese – there’s plenty of open space and the birds are safe from predators.

However, the danger lies in the fact that goslings can’t fly.

There’s a risk of falling, and if something were to happen to the adult geese, the goslings would have no direct access to a food source and would be unable to get off the roof on their own.

The Rescue

Once on-scene with Boston Animal Control, ARL’s Field Service agent noticed the female goose perched on the ledge of the rooftop, with the goslings nearby.

Mom and goslings trapped and ready for relocation!

The female was able to be trapped with a net and then placed into a carrier, and with mom netted, the goslings were fairly easy to corral and get into a carrier.

The male goose was at ground level, so with mom and goslings in tow, agents turned their attention on trapping him.

While running and flying in short bursts, the male was concerned for his mate and offspring and never strayed too far.

Finally, agents were able to sandwich the male between them and the building, making it easier to deploy a net to trap the concerned dad.


Once the family was trapped, ARL and Boston Animal Control transported the geese to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, located just minutes down the road, and released them back into the water.

The geese adjusted quickly to their new environment, and proceeded to swim along the shore in order to find a new place to nest.

About 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 like Boston Animal Control with equipment, training, and on-scene scene assistance; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

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.

Massachusetts Senate to Begin Budget Debate

How you can prompt the Massachusetts Senate and advocate for animal-related budget items

This week, the Massachusetts Senate will debate their budget, you can help animals in Massachusetts by contacting your Senator and asking them to:

SUPPORT the Mass Animal Fund #125

The Massachusetts Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund provides low cost spay/neuter to animals in need across Massachusetts. ARL has regularly partnered with the Fund to bring the Spay Waggin’ to communities in need. Filed by Senator John Velis, this amendment would provide additional funding to this program, increasing the number of animals the Fund can assist.

OPPOSE Sunday hunting

Sundays in Massachusetts are the one day of the week during hunting season that people can enjoy the outdoors without concern of hunting. Amendment 18 would allow for bow hunting of deer on Sundays, a day that has been off-limits to hunting for 300 years.

The Massachusetts House recently passed a $50 billion budget, and once the Senate passed their proposed budget, the two chambers will negotiate on a finalized budget proposal to submit to Governor Charlie Baker for approval.

Find your Senator and ask them to speak up for animals in this year’s budget!

Get Involved!

ARL seeks to make long-term gains for animals by advocating for humane laws, policies and regulations.

ARL engages dedicated staff and volunteers to advocate for legislation and policy with local, state and federal government.

ARL also creates informational materials and campaigns to raise public awareness on topics such as: reporting animal abuse and neglect, the benefits of spay and neutering, adopting from responsible shelters and the importance of preventive veterinary care.

Learn more about ARL’s advocacy efforts, or contact advocacy@arlboston.org with any questions, or to learn how to get involved!

ARL Receives Grant from Felicia Rose Grant Program

$50,000 grant through Felicia Rose Grant Program to help ARL shelter programs

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is delighted to have been awarded a $50,000 grant over two years from the Felicia Rose Grant Program.

ARL accepting the generous $50,000 grant, which will greatly benefit ARL’s shelter animals.

The funds granted through the new invitation-only initiative will ensure that shelter animals across all three ARL locations will continue to receive the care and services they need and deserve.

ARL treats every animal as an individual, and through a comprehensive process involving ARL veterinary, behavioral and animal care staff, determines the appropriate medical care, behavioral training, and enrichment plan based on the individual needs and personality of the animal.

The grant funding will support ARL’s shelter programs and activities, as well as staffing, equipment, and the critically needed supplies ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption programs depend on.

“ARL is so honored to be a recipient of such a generous grant from the Felicia Rose Grant Program,” state ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “Thousands of animals come through ARL’s three Animal Care and Adoption Centers annually, and these funds will ensure each and every animal will receive the services they need and the homes they deserve.”

The Felicia Rose Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that work to strengthen the human-animal bond, promote ethical treatment of animals, and provide services to animals in need. Established in 2021, this special interest initiative honors its namesake, a sweet-natured American Staffordshire Terrier.

Felicia Rose was adopted in 2015 and has since become a trusted emotional support animal as well as a Pet Partners-certified therapy and service dog.

Grant proposals are considered by invitation only and are subject to a competitive review process.

ARL Provides Temporary Shelter for Animal While Owner Hospitalized

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) prides itself on being a resource not only for animals in need, but also for the people who love them. A recent situation on Cape Cod where ARL provided temporary shelter for an animal highlights this belief.

ARL recently took in Jessica for temporary shelter while her owner was hospitalized.

Lending a Hand

The Orleans Police Department recently brought a senior Golden Retriever named Jessica to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center – this after her owner was hospitalized and was worried for her wellbeing.

Staff at Cape Cod Hospital reached out to Orleans police, who retrieved the animal and took her to ARL.

In an effort to ease the owner’s mind and have them focus on their own wellbeing, ARL was able to contact the owner, and offered to provide temporary shelter for the dog until the owner was better and able to return home.

Being conscious of the fact that to suddenly be removed from a home and placed in a shelter environment can be traumatic for an animal, ARL showered Jessica with attention and pampered the pooch during her two-week stay, providing her with plenty of outdoor time, veterinary care and grooming.

While missing her home and family, Jessica quickly warmed up to staff and volunteers, and thoroughly enjoyed her time in Brewster.

Going Home

Once Jessica’s owner was well enough to come home, it was time for her to go home as well.

Upon seeing her owner, Jessica was overjoyed with her tail wagging, and showering her owner with love.

ARL is thrilled to have been able to care for Jessica in her and her owner’s time of need and to continue its mission to be a resource for pet owners throughout Massachusetts.

A Resource

ARL is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that animals stay out of shelters and in homes with those who love them.

If you are faced with a difficult situation involving your pet, please call (617) 426-9170, and ARL may be able to help.

ARL Joins MAF for Special Fall River Spay/Neuter Clinic

21 Animals receive spay/neuter surgery

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ was once again in Fall River, MA, to spay/neuter nearly two dozen animals as part of an ongoing collaborative effort with ARL, the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF), and Fall River Animal Control.

For four years, ARL has hosted the clinic in collaboration with MAF and Fall River Animal Control, and was the second time in 2022 that ARL’s Spay Waggin’ was in the South Coast city.

MAF Spay/Neuter Voucher Program

The surgeries are under the MAF voucher program, which distributes vouchers to qualifying low-income pet owners to cover the cost of the important procedure.

Due to high demand and Covid-19-restrictions, many clients have been on a waiting list for a number of months to have their pets spayed or neutered, and ARL is pleased to once again be providing this vital service that’s greatly needed in the Fall River Community.

“Fall River is already a struggling community, but since the pandemic, it seems as if getting spay/neuter services has proven to be even more difficult,” said Cynthia Berard-Cadima, Fall River Animal Control Officer. “People contact us daily, asking for funds.  Many are out of work and our homeless community is growing.  We are stretching every dime and our veterinarians are donating time and services more than ever.”

This Fall River spay/neuter clinic was the third that ARL has partnered with MAF for in 2022, aside from Fall River, the Spay Waggin’ stopped in New Bedford in March.

About ARL’s Spay Waggin’

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides high-quality, low-cost spay and neuter services to animals in need on the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as select locations in Metro Boston.

Since 2000, the Spay Waggin’ has provided services for more than 60,000 animals.

The Spay Waggin’ is by appointment only, and to for more information and to book an appointment, call (877) 590-SPAY (7729), or email spaywaggin@arlboston.org.