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Category: Brewster
Stray Cat Rescued in Dorchester, Badly Injured but on the Mend

For 120 years, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has been a lifeline for thousands of domestic animals annually, and a cat that was recently rescued on the streets of Dorchester is another example of this vital service.

A Good Samaritan alerted ARL Rescue Services this past week about a cat that was seen near a garbage dumpster and wasn’t moving. When ARL arrived on-scene, the cat was able to move, and was found inside the dumpster, lying atop a cardboard box.

He was evaluated on-scene, then brought to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for medical treatment. The cat would likely have succumb to his injuries sooner rather than later and needed immediate treatment.

Gryffindor, who’s approximately 2-years-old, had suffered a broken jaw, was emaciated, and was in poor overall condition. While he was given a fictional namesake – the name itself represents courage, bravery and determination, which this suffering animal has in vast quantities.

His injuries were likely sustained in traumatic fashion i.e. struck by a car, and x-rays confirmed the cartilage piecing together the lower half of the jaw had separated, making it all but impossible to eat solid or even soft food.

The cat also had a puncture wound likely caused by another animal.

ARL’s medical staff surgically wired his lower jaw and the cat will be monitored to ensure no complications arise. Because of the puncture wound, the cat will also need to be quarantined for four months for a “wound of unknown origin” per state law.

Like many injured animals that come into the care of ARL, Gryffindor has displayed amazing perseverance and is incredibly friendly to all who come in contact with by revving up his gravely purr.

He is expected to make a full recovery and when his quarantine period is over, he will be available for adoption.

Extraordinary Care

From routine exams, dental work x-rays and diagnostic testing to complex surgeries, ARL’s Shelter Medicine staff provides high-quality care to every animal that comes through our doors.

Cost of such extraordinary care exceeds $600,000 annually, and ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals like you to continue this high level of care. Please consider donating today to help animals in need!


ARL Caring for Several Diabetic Cats

Cases of diabetes rapidly rising nationally – link to pet obesity

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease (hyperthyroidism is the most common) in cats, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has seen several cats afflicted with the disease over the past year – recent statistics also indicate the number of cases are rapidly increasing.

The drastic increase can partly be attributed to the rise in pet obesity.

Webster, a 10-year-old male cat, was picked up as a stray in Malden, MA in late January, and had typical signs of living on the streets including dental disease and muscle wasting. However, his blood work revealed a glucose level of 349 – anything over 170 is considered high.

ARL’s shelter medicine staff continued diagnostic testing, instilled dietary changes and constantly monitored Webster hoping to rule out a diabetic diagnosis. However, a fructosamine test, which determines how the animal’s body is regulating blood glucose levels over a 2-3 week period, indicated that Webster’s body was not regulating properly and was properly diagnosed with diabetes.

The cat was placed into foster care, and is currently on a regimen of insulin injections twice a day, 12 hours apart, and after eating. Webster is also on a strict diet of wet and dry food specially formulated for managing diabetes.

Despite the diagnosis, Webster will have a good quality of life, his new owners will simply have to be diligent about follow-up veterinary care and ensuring insulin is administered as prescribed. Once his glucose can be regulated he will be ready to find his forever home!

Approximately half the cats diagnosed with diabetes can achieve remission if the disease is treated promptly – cats in remission may be able to stop insulin entirely as well.

Know the Signs

Diabetic symptoms vary and in addition to increased thirst and decreased activity, other signs include:

  • Weight loss
  • Change in litterbox habits
  • Appetite swings
  • Vomiting
  • Unsteady gait
  • Overall poor health

More than half the cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight, and as long as pet obesity continues to be an issue, the number of diagnosed cases of diabetes in our pets will continue to rise. ARL encourages pet owners to strictly monitor their animal’s diets, limit treats and take action if a pet begins to gain or lose weight rapidly.


How a Bill Becomes Law in Massachusetts

On January 2, 2019, the Massachusetts General Court began its 2019-2020 session. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) will continue to support legislation that enhances and improves protections for animals and to oppose reforms that endanger the welfare of animals in Massachusetts.

Click here to see ARL’s 2019-2020 legislative agenda.

The Massachusetts Legislature runs in a two-year cycle by calendar year, with each new cycle beginning in the January after the biennial state election.

Legislation may be filed by members of the House and Senate, and by the Governor. The state constitution also allows citizens to ask their legislators to present bills “by request”.

Each new session, hundreds to thousands bills are filed, but only a select few actually become law.

While the process is quite complex, here are 8 main steps a bill needs to go through before it becomes law:

  1. Bill Drafting. This document details every aspect of the proposed statute.
  2. Securing a Sponsor. The legislative sponsor will be the champion and voice for the statute.
  3. Bill Filing. Upon filing, each bill is assigned a number and referred to a committee.
  4. Joint Committee Hearing. This public forum allows members of the public, government officials, and office holders to speak either in favor of or against a proposed statute.
  5. Joint Committee Executive Session and Report. Following the hearing, the committee will decide if the statute will continue in the process.
  6. Bill Readings.
    a. First Reading. If reported favorably by committee, the bill appears in the Journal of the House or Senate, and given its first reading. The bill is then typically referred to another committee for further review.
    b. Second Reading. At this stage, the bill is debated and subject to motions and amendments.
    c. Third Reading. The bill continues to be subject to debate, motions, and amendments in the House or Senate. Once debated, a vote is taken to pass the bill to be engrossed. If passed, the bill moves on to the other legislative branch.
  7. Consideration. If the bill advances through three readings and is engrossed in the second legislative branch, it will be sent to the Legislative Engrossing Division to be typed on special parchment – as required by law.
  8. Bill Enacted. A vote to enact by both legislative branches passes the bill, and the newly created law will then be sent to the governor for consideration. The governor can: sign the bill into law; veto the bill; or send the bill back to the Legislature with recommended amendments. In general, laws become effective 30-90 days after the Governor’s signature.

Take Action!

Lobbying is the key to a bill’s momentum as it goes through the legislative process. It’s more than just standing up and saying “I support this”.

A successful lobbying strategy includes the following:

  • Compiling an informational packet containing a one-page fact sheet on the bill, and any relevant news articles that support the bill
  • Meeting with elected officials is critical – don’t just drop by, arrange a sit-down meeting to discuss the legislation and ALWAYS follow-up with a thank you note!
  • Reach out to local media through press releases in order to publically discuss the bill and to introduce it to a wider audience to garner further support

WBZ Highlights Animal Hoarding

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently collaborated with veteran WBZ investigative reporter Cheryl Fiandaca to shed light on an issue that unfortunately is on the rise – animal hoarding.

In 2018, ARL was involved in 16 major hoarding incidents which involved 1,024 animals. This number is more than triple from what ARL saw the previous year, and this is an issue that impacts communities throughout Massachusetts.

Animal hoarding is a serious, yet under-recognized community problem in Massachusetts that is responsible for substantial animal suffering. Often associated with adult self-neglect and/or mental illness, animal hoarding can also place children, the elderly, dependent adults, property, and public health at risk. The situations that ARL encounters are becoming more frequent and increasingly complex.

To watch the complete WBZ story click here!


Press Release: Microchip Helps Reunite Lost Cat with Owners

Family notified of cat being found on Valentine’s Day

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is once again reminding the public of the importance of having pets microchipped – this after recently reuniting a Stoughton, MA, family with their cat who went missing shortly before Christmas.

Four-year-old Tigger snuck out of his Stoughton home on December 23, 2018, to explore the outdoors. Perhaps spooked by his surroundings, Tigger ran when his owners tried to get him back inside and unfortunately did not return.

In the following days and weeks, Tigger’s family posted the cat’s picture on social media and posted flyers in their neighborhood and nearby businesses – but still Tigger was not found.

Tigger back in the comforts of home but with a reminder of the elements — note the frostbite on his left ear.

On February 10, a local resident brought a stray cat to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center. The cat was emaciated, dehydrated, and had suffered from frostbite on its left ear and front paw due to long-term exposure to the elements.

The cat received fluids and was checked by ARL staff and was also scanned for a microchip. The chip was registered to a Florida resident, however after a little detective work, ARL tracked the owner from Florida to Stoughton.

A certification letter was sent to the Stoughton address, and owner Jackie Rhone tells ARL the cat was originally a gift for her 17-year-old daughter, and after two months had given up any hope of finding Tigger.

“That evening (Valentine’s Day) we went out for an errand and when we returned home my husband checked the mail, and when he came inside he screamed “read this Jackie quick”! I started reading it out loud with tears rolling down my face and said “they found our Tigger!”’, Rhone said.

Tigger was reunited with his family two days later and is now strictly an indoor cat.

This reunion would not have been possible if Tigger hadn’t been microchipped.

A Permanent ID

A microchip is a computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required.

A microchip greatly increases the likelihood of being reunited with a lost pet – an AVMA study shows 52 percent of dogs with microchips are reunited with owners, versus just 21 percent with dogs with no microchip. Owner return rates for cats with microchips is 38 percent versus 1.8 percent for cats without the chip.

ARL recommends pet owners to ensure their animal is microchipped, and to also keep contact information up to date.


Boston Globe Subscribers – YOU Can Help ARL!

Vote for ARL as Your Favorite Non-profit

The GRANT allows Globe subscribers to show their support for non-profits by choosing which organizations get free advertising space in The Boston Globe. In February, subscribers began receiving their silver envelopes in the mail, and have until April 30 to either return the voucher, or submit their GRANT dollars online.

 

Maggie the pup

Submitting your GRANT voucher is an easy way to help animals like Maggie find their forever home!

 

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ARL does not receive any government or public funding and relies solely on the generosity of compassionate individuals to carry out our important work to help animals and communities in need. Free ad space in The Boston Globe would allow ARL to reach even more people about the mission, values, programs and services that make ARL an unwavering champion for animals in need.

If you haven’t sent in your voucher, you have until April 30 to do so, please remember to write in the “Animal Rescue League of Boston” as your non-profit choice and spread the word to your fellow Boston Globe subscribers. 


It’s National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month!

Spay and Neutering Pets Promotes Health and Longevity

For all of us, the health and well-being of our beloved family pets is paramount; and the simplest way to reduce nuisance and aggressive behaviors, improve long-term health and longevity, is to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered.

February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, and here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), we field questions about spay and neuter on a daily basis which typically revolve around two issues – cost and understanding the real and long-term benefits for you and your pet.

Affordable Options Exist

Don’t let cost be a barrier, as there are numerous affordable options throughout Massachusetts that are readily available.

Be sure to talk with your veterinarian about your best course of action, but here are a couple of options.

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is a mobile veterinary clinic offering high-quality and affordable spay and neuter services. The Spay Waggin’ has been serving Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, the South Shore and South Coast for nearly 20 years; performing more than 50,000 surgeries along the way.

Another place to turn is your local Animal Control Officer. The Massachusetts Animal Fund’s spay and neuter voucher program allows low-income residents receiving state assistance to get their pets this important surgery free of charge. Vouchers can be obtained through your city or town’s Animal Control Officer and are redeemed at participating providers, including ARL’s Spay Waggin’ and Community Surgical Clinic.

By the way, you can help keep this program going by donating on your state tax form on line 33f!

Long-Term Health Benefits

Caring for animals can be expensive, especially when it comes to their health. But consider this – having your pet spayed or neutered can reduce the risk of serious, and costly, health problems later in life.

Neutering male dogs and cats before six months of age prevents testicular cancer and spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat reduces the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer.
Spaying and neutering can also reduce behavioral problems such as marking territory, howling or barking, aggression and wandering.

We all want our pets to live long and healthy lives, and having an animal spayed or neutered actually increases their longevity. According to published reports, neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than unneutered males, and spayed females live 23 percent longer than spayed females.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

How about if you have a pet at home with an unwanted or accidental litter of puppies or kittens? No problem, the Animal Rescue League of Boston can help.

Through the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program, ARL will provide free spay and neuter services and vaccinations for mother/father dogs and cats. Once the procedure is complete, and animals are returned to the owner.

ARL will also waive the surrender fee for the litter of puppies or kittens, who will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and placed up for adoption.

Remember, there are an abundance of resources and help available to those who need it so please consider having your pet spayed or neutered for their happiness, their health, and for your piece of mind.


Winter is here – ARL reminds pet owners to protect animals from the cold

Winter is finally here in New England, and with the first extreme cold snap upon us, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to take cold-weather precautions to protect pets — frigid conditions can endanger the well-being, safety, and the lives of the pets we love.

Here are some things to keep in mind not just for this arctic blast, but for the remainder of winter:

  1. Prepare your dog for the elements. If you have a longer coat dog, let it grow out for the winter; it will provide warmth and protection from the cold. For shorter coat dogs, sweaters, coats and booties can go a long way to protect your pooch.
  2. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Sidewalks are treated with a number of chemicals. These chemicals can irritate your dog’s paws, and can be poisonous if ingested. When coming in from the cold, clean and dry your dog’s stomach to keep them healthy!
  3. Keep outdoor trips quick. Bathroom breaks or walks, keep it short and sweet and keep your pets indoors as much as possible.
  4. Never leave your dog alone in a cold car. Many Massachusetts residents are aware that it’s illegal to keep an animal in a hot car, under the same law it’s ALSO illegal to keep your animal in a cold car (Ma. Ch. 140, Section 174F. (a) A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold). When going out, leave your animals at home.
  5. Pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Long-haired pets especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable.
  6. Check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Unfortunately, this method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.

The chill can kill! So bottom line, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pet to be outside.

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Home for the Holidays: Bodhi’s Story

Bodhi, a five-year-old Saint Bernard/Cocker Spaniel mix, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center under unfortunate circumstances – his owner was facing financial hardships that made it impossible to properly care for him. Two things about Bodhi immediately stood out – his fear and health issues.

A picture says a thousand words, and Bodhi’s intake photo spoke volumes. His face was sunken, eyes filled with sadness and discomfort, and he wore an expression that would shake anyone who cares about animals to the core.

For several days, Bodhi needed to be hoisted to walk, which he then did reluctantly. He was not interested in treats, food, and had trouble going to the bathroom.

Every animal that come through ARL’s doors receives a thorough veterinary exam as well as a behavioral evaluation. Bodhi’s initial veterinary exam revealed a number of underlying issues, which were certainly contributing to his lack of enthusiasm.

Bodhi was suffering from ear infections, and a skin condition had caused loss of fur and scabbing all over his body. He was also overweight, and subsequent bloodwork revealed his weight gain was the result of hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid.

When the metabolic rate slows down due to hypothyroidism, it can literally affect every organ in the body. Symptoms include:

  • Weight gain (without increase in appetite)
  • Lethargy
  • Dry and dull fur with excessive shedding
  • Increased susceptibility to skin and ear infections
  • High cholesterol
  • Slow heart rate

Along with medication to reduce Bodhi’s anxiety, he was also started on thyroid medication, antibiotics for his ear infections and skin issues – he was also given medicated baths twice a week. Shelter staff also discovered an important tool to get Bodhi moving – tennis balls!

As his ear infections and skin condition improved, Bodhi broke out of his shell and began showing off his true personality.

He was accepting to new people, enjoyed being outdoors and especially loved getting his exercise by endlessly chasing tennis balls in Brewster’s large paddock area.

Going Home

Many animals who come into a shelter environment have behavioral hurdles to overcome, but for Bodhi, it was all about properly diagnosing his medical issues. Once these were identified and brought under control, Bodhi’s energy, comfort and happiness increased exponentially – and he was ready to find his forever home.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long. A local resident who has adopted from ARL in the past spent some time outdoors with Bodhi, and knew he was the one.

Bodhi now has ample space to run outdoors and is in a home filled with love and support and was able to spend the holidays with his new family!

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

As we look ahead to 2019, ARL will continue to be at the forefront of confronting the root causes of cruelty and abuse, and to help even more animals in need, like Bhodi, throughout Massachusetts.

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Home for the Holidays: Phinney’s Story

Senior Dog Afflicted with Enlarged Heart

In late October, Phinney, an 11-year-old Chihuahua, was brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, when his former owner could no longer care for him. Like every animal who comes through ARL’s doors, Phinney underwent a comprehensive medical examination, and unfortunately, some irregularities were found.

During Phinney’s exam, a heart murmur, a sound generated by the flow of blood to the heart, was noted.

Chest x-rays and an echocardiogram were performed, and discovered that Phinney has mitral valve regurgitation secondary to chronic valvular disease and mild left ventricular enlargement.

With an enlarged ventricle, its ability to pump blood out into the lungs and body deteriorates.

For Phinney, his heart disease has been deemed mild, however he will be on a medication called Pimobendan for the rest of his life.

Phinney was also diagnosed with MLP, or medial luxating patella. Lameness can occur as the patella (kneecap) slips out of position but slips back into position on its own. Both of Phinney’s patella’s are affected by MLP, however surgery has not been recommended. It is likely though that over time Phinney will develop arthritis as a result.

Despite his afflictions, Phinney has persevered and all he wanted for the holidays was a loving home and a cozy spot to curl up in.

Going Home

In early December, Phinney’s holiday wish came true, as he was adopted by a local resident who had adopted previously from ARL!

Given his medical condition, Phinney will need regular visits to his veterinarian, however the confirmed diagnosis by ARL’s shelter medicine staff and prescribed medication will certainly extend Phinney’s time with his new owner and improve his quality of life as well.

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

As we look ahead to 2019, ARL will continue to be at the forefront of confronting the root causes of cruelty and abuse, and to help even more animals in need, like Phinney, throughout Massachusetts.

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