Category: Brewster
5 Tips for Dog Swimming Safety

Advice to keep your pup (and family!) safe and secure in the water

dog swimming safety dog with goggles

Did you know… dogs can still overheat even when in the water? Remember these 5 dog swimming safety tips during your next visit to your local watering hole.

All summer long, the ARL is sharing advice on how to protect your pet in the warmer months because some hot weather situations can just be TOO HOT FOR SPOT. With temperatures soaring this week, we focus on keeping your dog safe as you cool off swimming!

Whether it’s your backyard or neighborhood pool, creek, pond, or beach, taking a dip on these hot summer days can be an enjoyable and refreshing experience for both you and your canine companion.

Just as there are risks for any human during a swim session, the same goes for your pet. Preparedness and attentiveness are key to making sure that every member of the family practices water safety.

Here are 5 important dog swimming safety tips to keep in mind this summer:

1. Not all dogs can swim. Although one of the first swimming strokes we learn as humans is coined the “doggy paddle”, it does not necessarily mean that all dogs can swim.

In fact, some dogs may never feel comfortable in the water. Certain breeds with short snouts or broad compact bodies such as American bulldogs and pugs  are not always “naturals” when it comes to swimming and may require “lessons.”

Buying your pet a life vest flotation device is a great investment and will keep your pup afloat while you teach them to swim—and help support them later on should they get themselves into a watery situation.

2. Practice, practice, practice. Tossing a stick or a ball in the water, progressively further from shore or shallow steps is a good way to teach your pooch to feel comfortable in the water. When they’re ready for a real swim session, move on to a small pool or other contained body of water.

While some dogs may eager to jump right in, others may panic, so be prepared for either scenario.  If there’s only one set of stairs or a ramp, continue to refresh your pup’s memory about the quickest way to make an exit.

3. Limit access to bodies of water. Just as you would keep unsupervised children a safe distance with a gate or fence, the same should go for your canine companion. If a physical barrier isn’t possible, make sure your dog knows how to come when called in case they get too close to a body of water that they shouldn’t be near.

Taking your pup boating? During the day, be sure your dog is wearing a life vest at all times. At night, your canine companion should be kept securely in an inside room on the boat, as it may be too dark to locate them should they jump or fall overboard.

4. Supervise your dog at all times. Even strong swimmers can get into trouble, especially if they’re tired. Always take notice of your pooch’s energy level and call them in for frequent breaks. Have fresh water available and encourage them to drink whenever possible; dogs can still overheat when swimming!

Supervision is especially important if your dog is swimming in a river or ocean with a lot of movement. Before you allow Fido to jump in, take note of the current and tide, and check the water temperature. Look for any flags or postings related to potential swimming hazards. Even if water conditions look ideal, always make sure that you pup stays close to shore, so that you have the ability to react quickly should they get into trouble.

5. Beware of ear infections. After swimming, be sure to dry your pup’s ears thoroughly and carefully with a cotton ball. Since most dogs have ear canals that point straight down, it is easy for water and bacteria to get trapped, causing a painful ear infection.

Common symptoms of an ear infection in dogs include excessive ear scratching or rubbing against floor or furniture, redness, swelling, odor or discharge coming from the ear canal, unbalanced movement, and hearing loss. If you see signs of an ear infection, contact your dog’s veterinarian right away.

TOO HOT FOR SPOT!  For more summer safety tips, visit arlboston.org/summer-safety

7 Steps to Keep Your Dog Safe at the Park

Protect your pup from harm and health risks by following these important planning and safety tips

One of the most enjoyable activities during the summer months is a leisurely trip to your local park. Whether it’s for a picnic or a stroll, Fido will be more than happy to tag along!

A park can be an ideal venue for your dog to get the mental stimulation and physical exercise that they crave. All of the open space, fresh air, unique smells, and various types of people and animals can be a very exciting and stimulating experience for your pooch.

Of course, all the stimulation and interaction with unfamiliar people and dogs–not to mention the heat and humidity–can be hard on your pup.

In order to make sure the fun trip to the park you have planned stays that way for everyone in the family, follow these 7 steps:

  1. Choose your park wisely. Whether you’re planning to lay out a blanket and stay a while or just to take a stroll, select a park with plenty of shade and bring fresh drinking water. Your dog may not signal you when they’re overheated or tired, so build in frequent breaks in the shade for rest and re-hydration.  If you see signs of heatstroke, contact your pet’s veterinarian right away!
  2. Leave the retractable leash at home. The “locking” mechanism on a retractable leash can be tricky and an unreliable way to keep your dog close by.  Use a standard 4-6’ leash and you’ll be able to prevent or gain control of a potentially risky situation more quickly.  After all, any dog who sees a squirrel across a nearby street becomes a flight risk!  Very seriously, dog bites occur much more frequently in the warmer months due to heightened arousal from the heat, crowds, and smells.  A short leash will help prevent them from making uninvited contact with other dogs or children.
  3. Keep an eye on your dog at ALL times. Remain attentive, especially if you’re visiting an off-leash dog park, which can quickly turn into a stressful situation for your pet. Observe the other dogs and people in the park and your pup’s body language when they interact with them. Remember that even a dog that your pooch knows well can have an unexpected reaction, as the group dynamic can change any time a new dog enters or leaves the park.
  4. Plan early morning or evening outings. Between the hours of 10am-4pm, the sun and temperature is at its peak. Aim to limit outdoor exercise to breakfast and dinnertime so that Fido (and you!) doesn’t overheat. Remember, pets don’t sweat the way humans do, making them unable to cool their bodies efficiently in the heat.
  5. Keep up-to-date on all vaccinations and parasite preventatives. This is especially important if your pup is interacting with other dogs. Respiratory illnesses like canine tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) and harmful parasites like heartworm, can easily spread from one dog to another. If you’re not certain if your pet’s vaccinations are current, contact your veterinarian.
  6. Pick up after your pup. Not only is it the “considerate” thing to do, but it’s also the sanitary thing to do. Many intestinal parasites, such as tapeworm and whipworm, can easily spread from one dog to another.  Like it or not, dogs sometimes do a little too much up close investigation into the interesting smells they encounter!  Many parks come equipped with garbage disposals and some even with pet waste bags, in case you run out.
  7. Consider leaving Fido at home. While many of us consider pets to be family and want to include them in every outing, the reality is that some events can be just too stressful on your pooch. If you plan to visit a crowded area or a lengthy event at the park–especially if you know your dog is shy or snippy when he or she first meets other people and dogs–the best decision for you and your pet is to leave them safely at home.

Summer can be TOO HOT FOR SPOT! No matter what the circumstance, remember to never leave your pet alone in a parked car—even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise above 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, which is why it is the most common cause of deadly heat stroke

For more warm weather dog safety tips, visit arlboston.org/summer-safety

July is Parasite Awareness Month

5 helpful tips and a special at Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) to help protect your pet

During National Parasite Awareness Month this July, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) focus our attention on intestinal parasites that live in the inside the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract of dogs and cats.

Read BVC’s FAQs on intestinal parasites:

Q: What are intestinal parasites?

A: Intestinal parasites, sometimes referred to as “worms”, are organisms that typically live inside an animal’s intestinal wall. The most common forms of intestinal parasites are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms. These parasites are usually ingested by mouth and then work their way into the intestines where they can reproduce and cause symptoms.

While some intestinal parasites don’t show any signs, others can cause more noticeable symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, or dry fur or hair. In some dogs or cats, worm eggs can lay dormant (inactive) and only bring about symptoms during times of stress.

Q: Is only my pet at risk of contracting parasites? Or can it be transmitted to humans too?

A: Unfortunately, if your pet contracts an intestinal parasite, it can easily spread onto other pets and human family members too. Pets and young children are most at risk because they are more likely to ingest contaminated soil, sand, grass, or food that has fallen on the ground.

Q: How do veterinarians diagnose intestinal parasites in pets?

A: Most intestinal parasites are diagnosed by using a microscope to find eggs in a fecal sample. Because animals are exposed to parasites in their environment throughout their life, routine fecal examinations allow many parasites to be treated before they can cause symptoms or spread to other animals and humans.

Q: How can I prevent my pet and other family members from contracting intestinal parasites?

A: Simple preventative measures can reduce the risks associated with the transmission of intestinal parasites to pets and people. Protect your pet and family by following these 6 important guidelines:

  1. Clean up and dispose of pet waste regularly. Dog and cat feces should be picked up immediately and cat litter boxes should be changed daily. Be sure to dispose of pet waste properly and never handle directly with your bare hands.
  2. Maintain good personal hygiene within your household. Wash your hands immediately after coming into contact with pet waste, raw meat, sand, or soil. Encourage children to wash their hands after playing outdoors or coming into contact with an animal, especially one that is not your household pet.
  3. Feed pets cooked or packaged food; never feed them raw meat. Change their water bowl several times a day.
  4. Supervise young children sitting in the yard, sandbox, or playground. Discourage them from eating food that has fallen on the ground or putting their hands in their mouth after touching sand or soil.
  5. Cover sandboxes and play areas when not in use. This will prevent wildlife and stray animals from contaminating the areas where your pets or children play.
roundworm, whipworm, hookworm, tapeworm parasites

During Parasite Awareness Month this July, protect your pet and family members from “worms” that can cause gastrointestinal issues!

As always, prevention is key! Schedule your pet for annual veterinary appointments and be sure to ask your veterinarian about year-round parasite preventatives. To make an appointment with Boston Veterinary Care, please call (617) 226-5605 or email bvc@arlboston.org.


Some July 4th Activities Can Be Too Hot for Spot

Keep your pup cool with these 5 safety tips and a DIY frozen treat

For humans across the United States, the Fourth of July signifies a time for family and friends, BBQs, beaches, and fireworks. For our canine friends, however, the holiday can be one of over-stimulation – too many people, too much sun, loud noises, and overwhelming smells.

This July 4th, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to remind you that the summer heat and bustle of the weekend’s festivities may be too stressful on your pup.

Keep your dog safe by following these 5 important tips:

  1. Leave your pup indoors in a small quiet cool room. Tuning on a TV or radio at a low volume can help detract from outside noises. Leave them free to roam around so that they don’t feel too confined.
  2. Always keep your canine on a leash or in a carrier if they must be outside. Set them up in a cool shady spot with ample air flow and plenty of fresh water.
  3. Keep your pooch away from potentially hazardous objects. Secure your pet a good distance from fireworks, sparklers, BBQs, and pools. Remember that some pets can become “fearfully aggressive” due to loud noises, so monitor them closely, especially around small children.
  4. Never leave your pup alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. On a hot day, the temperature inside a parked car can cause deadly heatstroke- even with the windows cracked.
  5. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals after July 4th due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Be sure your contact information is current and always on your pup’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they be separated from you.

Your best bet? Leaving your dog at home is always the right decision for you and your pet. Prevention is responsible pet ownership.

Learn more at arlboston.org/summersafety

Want to keep your pup cool and occupied in the summer heat? Learn how to make this simple DIY frozen dog treat!

DIY summer dog treats

Summer Situations May Be TOO HOT FOR SPOT

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) shares advice all summer long on how to keep your pet safe in the warmer months

After a long [record-breaking] snowy Winter in New England, Summer is finally upon us! We’ve been waiting a long time for sunny and warm weather, so we’re all understandably eager to spend as much time as possible with our two-legged and four-legged family members and friends enjoying the outdoors.

Just as we humans protect ourselves from the sun and elements with sunscreen, hats, bug repellant, and staying hydrated in the hot sun, our pets need that kind of protection too.

it's too hot for spot to be alone in a parked car

Never leave your pet alone in a parked car on a warm day- even with the windows cracked. It’s just TOO HOT FOR SPOT!

When temperatures begin to rise, so do concerns about animal safety.

Even when temperatures dip below 80 degrees, the threat for heat stroke still exists. Remember that pets don’t sweat the way humans do, making them unable to cool their bodies efficiently in the heat.

From July through September, our Too Hot For Spot public education campaign will offer a series of tips on how to keep your pet safe throughout the summer.

Keep your furry family members healthy by following these important basic guidelines:

  • Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a cool humidity- and temperature-regulated room.
  • If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  • Hydration is key. Keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car—even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise above 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, which is why it is the most common cause of deadly heat stroke. It’s just too hot for Spot!

If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke, seek immediate medical attention from a veterinarian.

Common symptoms of heatstroke in dogs and cats include: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

For more warm weather pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/summer-safety

Steel Leghold Traps: What You Need to Know to Keep Animals Safe

ARL’s director of law enforcement explains the dangers of this illegal trapping device

Earlier this month, we shared the incredible story of Wilson, a 6-year-old stray cat in Westport, Massachusetts who found himself in a very painful situation—an illegal steel leghold trap snapped shut on his right paw.

Read Wilson’s full story

Though Wilson kept his leg, more often animals suffer amputations and even death as a result of becoming trapped in this illegal hunting device.

In fact, the cruel suffering that animals stuck in leghold traps endured inspired the ARL to team up with other animal welfare organizations to push for legislation prohibit their use.  In 1996, the ARL and others successfully helped pass legislation that made it illegal to use or possess a leg hold trap.

Unfortunately, recently proposed legislation seeks to loosen or eliminate restrictions.

Lieutenant Alan Boral, director of the ARL’s law enforcement team, describes the dangers of illegal steel leghold traps (also called foot-hold traps) and why they are inhumane.

ARL Blog: Can you explain to our readers what a steel leghold trap is typically used for and what happens once an animal triggers it?

Lt. Alan Borgal: Of course. Steel leghold traps are a hunting device commonly used to capture so-called nuisance animals to keep them away from communities, livestock, endangered wildlife, and public water systems. People may think that this is the only way to manage certain animals, when, in fact, there are other legal and more humane methods.

leghold traps

In June of 2013, Philbert, a stray from Athol, was rescued and brought to the ARL with an illegal leghold trap clamped to his left leg. Unfortunately, his leg had to be amputated due to the extent of its injuries. Lucky for Philbert, he was adopted by a wonderful family and is now living happy and comfortably.

There are different types of leghold traps, but the overall mechanism is the same. A steel leghold trap is a spring-operated trap that is shaped similar to an animal jaw. It is supposed to be anchored by a short chain attached to a stake in the ground to keep the captured animal in that exact spot. The weight of the animal stepping on the trap triggers the “jaws” to snap shut on the animal’s leg- or other body part- in a vice-like grip.

ARL Blog: How can an animal free itself from a steel leghold trap—or can it?

AB: The force of the steel leghold trap snapping shut on an animal’s leg has already inflicted serious damage and pain. In most situations, the animal can only be freed from the trap by human hands. However, even officials trained in animal rescue cannot always remove a trap without causing further injury.

Sadly, most animals instinctively react to the shock and pain by frantically trying to pull their leg out of the trap. In a desperate attempt to free themselves, the animal often sustains more injuries, such as

bone fractures, muscle and tendon tears, and tooth and mouth damage from biting at their trapped limb and the trap itself.

If a trapped animal is not found soon enough, it can die from blood loss, shock, or starvation—or other deadly circumstances such as environmental conditions and falling prey to other animals.

Author of DOGS ON CAPE COD Supports ARL Shelter Animals

Hosts event and donates a portion of the book’s proceeds to shelter animals

Group photo at Dogs on Cape Cod fundraising event

ARL staff members pose for a photo with Kim Roderiques (pictured second from left) to celebarate the launch of her new book, DOGS ON CAPE COD. A portion of the book’s proceeds will go to animals in need at ARL’s Brewster Shelter!

A big thank you to Cape Cod photographer Kim Roderiques for hosting an event to celebrate the launch of her book, Dogs on Cape Cod, and raise funds for animals in need at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Brewster (Cape Cod) Animal Care & Adoption Center.

Dogs on Cape Cod captures over 255 vibrant photos of dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes frolicking leash-free against the breathtaking backdrop of Cape Cod.

Quotes from famous dog-lovers such as Mary Oliver and Milan Kundera are interspersed throughout the book and captions with each dog’s name and breed, along with the shot’s location accompany each photograph.

Kim and her publishers very generously agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds from DOGS ON CAPE COD to help care for animals in need at the ARL’s Brewster Shelter.

Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL's vice president of animal welfare, was invited to speak at the Dogs on the Cape fundraising event.

Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s vice president of animal welfare and veterinary services, spoke about the many dogs that the Brewster Shelter has helped on the Cape over the years at the DOGS ON CAPE COD fundraising event.

Last week, Kim also hosted a fundraising event for animals at the Brewster at the beautiful Wequassett Inn in Harwich, MA.  She invited the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare and veterinary services Dr. Edward Schettino to share stories about the many animals the shelter has helped find homes for on Cape Cod.

The event brought together 150 attendees who donated more than $2,900 for the ARL’s Brewster shelter!

Thank you, Kim, for your incredible generosity and support of the Animal Rescue League of Boston!

June is National Adopt-a-Cat Month

Got cats on your mind? We sure do!

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is celebrating national Adopt-a-Cat Month this June, and you should too!

This time of year, newborn kittens join the many cats already in animal shelters across the nation. With so many cats coming into our shelters in need of care and assistance finding a home, June is an excellent time to consider adopting a furry feline!

Search adoptable cats now

The staff at our Animal Care & Adoption Center locations in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham will help potential adopters find their purr-fect match.

When you arrive at an ARL location, tell a staff member that you are looking to adopt a cat.  They will ask you about what you’re looking for in a pet in terms of age, energy level, personality, and other characteristics such as whether they get along with other cats and dogs.

Many potential adopters visit shelters looking for a kitten. While kittens are absolutely adorable, they are also very energetic and their personalities, likes and dislikes are still emerging.


Susie is a 1-year-young beautiful Snowshoe domestic short haired cat available for adoption at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Dedham Branch. Click the image for more info on Susie.

That’s why adopting an adult cat can be a great decision for you and your family.

Here are 3 important reasons why you should think about adopting an adult cat (HINT: at ARL’s Animal Care & Adoption Centers adult cats are 1 year or older)….

  1. What you see is what you get. Adult cats have passed their critical development stages, so you’ll get a good idea of whether or not their personality and energy level is the right fit for your home.
  2. An adult cat may be an easier introduction into the family. Kittens are very delicate and young children and dogs tend to be more active and noisy than a kitten can handle. Read these helpful tips on how to introduce a cat to your current pets.
  3. You’re doing something especially kind for animals in need. There are usually many more adult cats than kittens waiting for new homes in shelters.  In the spring and summer when there are more kittens available, adult cats often wait longer for a home, too.  That’s why adult cats have lower adoption fees at ARL shelters – to encourage more people to consider an older cat!

Speaking of adoption fees, many visitors to our shelters ask what’s included in the fee. We’re glad you asked!  The fee includes a large number of veterinary and behavioral services such as:

  • Spay or neuter services (excluding some small animals)
  • Health screening and veterinary examination
  • Behavior evaluations & enrichment
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchip identification and registration
  • Heartworm test and preventative medication for dogs
  • Feline Leukemia test for cats
  • Flea, tick, and mite treatment
  • Deworming for intestinal parasites
  • Tag, collar, and leash
  • A starter bag of Hill’s Science Diet food for cats and dogs
  • And more!

THANK YOU to our media sponsor CITYSIDE SUBARU and to our media partners WBMX Mix 104.1, Clear Channel Outdoor, AllOver Media, The Pet Gazette, WBZ, WHDH, WLVI, WZLX, and 98.5 The Sports Hub for sharing the importance of cat adoptions with our community, and your readers and listeners.



ARL Rescue Services On the Scene – Relocates Two Families of Geese

ARL Rescue Services helps geese families get back to nature

Spring is the start of baby bird season—and a busy time for animal rescue as bird parents sometimes choose unsafe places to bring their new babies in Greater Boston!

Last week, ARL Field Services was called in to help two separate families of geese from their temporary urban nests back to the river bank.


Danielle Genter, senior rescue technician, carefully approaches the baby gosling who had slipped off onto a second-floor ledge.

In Brighton: News station WGBH called the ARL after a family of Canada geese had made refuge on a small patch of grass on their building’s roof.  One of the baby goslings had slipped off onto a second-floor ledge and was desperately trying to make his way back up to his family.

On the scene, ARL Rescue Services rescued the fallen baby bird and proceeded to wrangle up the mother goose and her other two goslings to move them to safety. The father goose wasn’t all that accepting of the idea his family needed to move and put up the biggest struggle.

ARL’s Danielle Genter told WGBH reporters, “There’s only certain circumstances where we can move healthy wildlife… On a roof where they don’t have access to food – this would be one of those circumstances.”

geese rescues

Mama and baby patiently await rescue from our Rescue Services team

In Boston: Just a few miles down the road, another family of geese was making quite a spectacle at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. ARL Rescue Services made their way to the scene after being notified that four goslings had hatched.

Over the last month, the mother and father geese gained quite a fan base as they made their nest in an empty concrete planter near a parking garage on West campus. In an effort to keep the geese and their un-hatched eggs safe, Beth Israel had thoroughly roped off the area with caution signs warning people to keep a safe distance.

“They kind of became mascots, and people took a lot of interest in them,” said Brendan Raftery, the hospital’s maintenance supervisor. “They became quite the thing here.”

Once all four hatchlings were born safely, ARL was called in to relocate the entire family. Although hospital staff was sad to see the geese go, they felt better knowing they were safe in their new home along the river bank.

Did you know? Not all baby birds found alone or on the ground are in distress. To determine whether or not to intervene, follow this helpful flow chart.

ARL Recognizes Supporters at Whiskers & Wine

ARL staff, donors, Board members, and President’s Council members celebrate achievements in animal welfare

whiskers & wine

A big thank you to Cha-Chi Loprete for being our guest speaker!

Earlier this month, over 100 of the ARL’s biggest supporters came together at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston for the much-anticipated Whiskers & Wine Annual Meeting and President’s Council Spring Social.  The group included corporate sponsors, as well as members of our Board of Directors and our President’s Council, individuals who donate $1000 or more to help animals in need.

The event was held to celebrate the achievements in rescuing animals from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect,  all made possible thanks to the support of our generous donors.

Thanks to the wonderful staff at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, guests enjoyed delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, sipped sparkling wine, and chatted with fellow animal-lovers.

During the speaking portion of the casual cocktail event, special guest host Cha-Chi Loprete, animal welfare supporter and marketing director at WZLX, and speakers including ARL President Mary Nee, ARL Board chair Malcolm McDonald, ARL vice president of animal welfare Dr. Smith-Blackmore, and ARL director of marketing and development Ami Bowen talked about the impact of their donations on the thousands of animals who received care through ARL programs and services each year.

The speaking program concluded with an emotional video illustrating how ARL donors’ generous contributions help the animals who come to our three shelters get the care they need to find a new home.

THANK YOU once again to our generous donors for expressing your love of animals, compassion, and kindness through your support of the Animal Rescue League of Boston!

And a special thank you to our special guest host and corporate supporters of the Whiskers & Wine event…

Cha-Chi Loprete

Hingham Savings Bank

Robert Paul Properties

Unit Realty


Polkadog Bakery


Brookline Bank

Halliday Construction

Winthrop Wealth Management


Fairmont Copley Plaza