Category: Brewster
Finding Violet a Home for the Holidays

Adoptable Pig Continues to Overcome Behavioral Hurdles

We first introduced Violet, an adorable four-year-old pig, back in November and her heart-warming story touched many people.

Unfortunately, Violet remains at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, still looking for perfect match – but we’re hopeful she will find her new home during the holiday season!

If you don’t remember, Violet was raised as a house pet, spending her days inside and constantly around people. Unfortunately, her family was no longer able to care for her, and she was surrendered to ARL.

Violet is still looking for her perfect match!

Although set up comfortably in an outdoor paddock and enclosure, it was not what she was used to. Violet did not have the constant companionship and interaction with people she was used to, and out of frustration, she began acting out.

During feeding or enrichment time, Violet would charge, bark or nip at the ARL staff member of volunteer in the paddock, and not allow them to leave.

ARL consulted an outside pig expert to better understand the behaviors Violet was displaying and to formulate a plan to curb said behaviors.

It was surmised that Violet was exhibiting signs of depression, and was fearful about being alone. When she would charge or nip a staff member or volunteer, it was her way of expressing that she did not want the person to leave. To help Violet overcome her depression and anxiety, she was taught a “back-up” cue using positive reinforcement to teach her that she needs to give space to anyone interacting with her.

Pigs are incredibly intelligent, and learning this cue has positively altered Violet’s behavior and she is once again ready to find her new home.

To see Violet’s profile on ARL’s website, click here, and let’s find her a home before the New Year!

There’s still time to make a difference for animals this year!

Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need like Violet can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

Governor Baker Signs Legislation to Improve Lives of Egg-Laying Hens in Massachusetts

ARL’s collaborative advocacy efforts aid in bill’s passage

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation to help improve the lives of millions of egg-laying hens across the Commonwealth, but also helps avert a possible egg shortage in the state had the bill not passed in the Legislature.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) collaboratively advocated for passage of the bill.

“With passage of S. 2603, the Massachusetts legislature strengthened the existing law, passed at the ballot as Question 3 in 2016, to now mandate cage-free housing with critical behavioral enrichments for the birds, such as nest boxes, perches, and dust-bathing and scratching areas,” a joint statement from ARL, HSUS, MSPCA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund said. “Importantly, the legislature also expanded application of Question 3’s protections to hens raised for liquid eggs – a move that will protect at least two million more hens each year.”

ARL would like to thank Governor Baker as well as the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dan Cahill and Sen. Jason Lewis; Rep. Carolyn Dykema and Sen. Becca Rausch, chairs of the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources; Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano, as well as all members of the conference committee.

Question 3 Background

In 2016, Massachusetts voters approved Question 3, An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, by a margin of over 77%.

At the time, this was the strongest farm animal protection law in not just the United States, but the world.

The initiative petition “prohibit[ed] any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely”.

This impacted not just animals raised in Massachusetts, but any whole products sold in the Commonwealth.

After Massachusetts voters chose to keep farm animals out of cruel confinement, other states followed. California, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Washington all adopted similar standards, but by this point a different style of aviary was more common for hens. The standard in these states was slightly different than that passed by Massachusetts, and has resulted in Massachusetts being an outlier.

The ballot question passed by voters in 2016 required 1.5 square foot per hen.

This assumed a flat system, without vertical space.

The new standard passed by the legislature adds an additional humane standard: 1.0 square feet per hen only when there is unfettered access to vertical space.

The commonly used aviaries of this size are similar to bookshelves, and allow hens to explore their natural behaviors with perches.

The additions also require nesting boxes for the hens to lay their eggs, and enrichments, such as scratching and dust bathing.

The updates are an improvement to animal welfare in the commonwealth, and are in line with the goals to end cruel confinement of many animals.

The law goes a step further including not only whole eggs, but also liquid and frozen eggs sold in the state, dramatically increasing the number of hens who benefit from these requirements.

Again, these requirements do not just apply to animals raised in the state, but to any whole products sold in the state, meaning that farms located outside of Massachusetts must comply with this in order to sell their products in the state come January 2022.

ARL supported the 2016 ballot question because it would substantially improve conditions for many farm animals, and we support this update for the same reason.

It is true that this effort is supported by both the proponents and opponents of Question 3—this is because this additional standard mirrors the humane standard adopted in other states.

Massachusetts helped pave the way for farm animals to not be cruelly confined, and these upgrades will improve the lives of millions of animals.

Press Release: ARL Caring for Two Emaciated Dogs Found in Avon, MA Park

ARL Law Enforcement investigating, asking public for information

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for two emaciated Pitbull-type dogs that were likely abandoned this past week in a park in Avon, MA.

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is collaborating with the Avon Police Department to investigate the incident as a case of animal cruelty/abandonment, and are asking the public for any information regarding the case.

The dogs, one male and one female, were found at D.W. Field Park on Friday, December 17, at approximately 10 a.m., near the Avon Reservoir.

They were extremely frightened and had no collars or microchips for identification. Avon Police responded to the scene and proceeded to contact ARL Law Enforcement.

ARL transported the animals to its Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and were examined by ARL veterinarians.

The dogs, who are incredibly friendly, are estimated to be about a year old and were emaciated to the point of starvation.

Additionally, numerous abrasions were found on both dogs on the face, muzzle, chest and head areas.

A feeding plan has been implemented to help the dogs gain weight slowly and safely, and the dogs will remain in the care of ARL until they are healthy enough to find new homes.

Please note the animals are not currently available for adoption.

ARL Law Enforcement would like to thank the Avon Police Department for their compassion and response to help these animals who were in dire need of assistance.

How you can help these dogs right now: 

  1. Spread the word. We are collaborating with the Avon Police Department to investigate the incident as a case of animal cruelty/abandonment, and are asking the public for any information regarding the case.  Anyone with information is urged to contact ARL Law Enforcement at (617) 426-9170 x110 or email cruelty@arlboston.org, or Avon Police at (508) 583-6677. 
  1. Make a donation.  Your emergency gift today can support:
    • Veterinary care and rehabilitation for animals that have suffered the trauma of neglect
    • On-going investigations of cruelty to pursue justice for animals
    • Emergency response when crisis strikes and animals are in dire need

Home for the Holidays: A Pair of Former Stray Cats Form Lifetime Bond

Don Juan and Mott may have come from different places and have different personalities, but these two former stray cats found the perfect gift for the holidays – a new home together.

Three-year-old Don Juan came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center in late July as a stray from Lynn, MA, and right off the bat his infectious, attention-seeking personality won over staff and volunteers alike.

Because a wound of unknown origin was discovered during Don Juan’s initial medical exam, he was slated to spend the next four months on quarantine – per state regulations.

Three-year-old Mott also came to ARL in late July. He was found as a stray in Fall River, MA, and initially his personality was the complete opposite of Don Juan.

Mott was closed off and scared initially, but would soon warm up; and because he too had a wound of unknown origin, he, like Don Juan, would be spending the next four months with ARL under quarantine.

While in a cat holding area at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, the pair were often vocal and desperately seeking attention from anyone who would walk by.

Volunteers and staff would let the cats stretch their legs, letting them out of their kennels one at a time to explore the holding area, but because the two seemed interested in each other’s company, these out-of-kennel experiences soon turned into play dates.

It was clear these two Tom cats enjoyed one another’s company and because they were going to be with ARL for an extended period of time, the two were moved into a “real-life” room where they would have more space to stretch out and be more comfortable during their quarantine period.

Once these two were in the same space, their bond was forged.

During the next few months the dynamic duo would seek attention from anyone who walked by and were frequently observed napping together and grooming one another – in short, they were a perfect match!

Going Home

In early December their quarantine period came to an end and it was time for them to find a home.

Because they have such a strong bond, it was decided that they needed to stay together.

It didn’t take long for the former strays to find their perfect match and Don Juan and Mott are now gearing up to spend their first holiday in their new home together and they couldn’t be more excited!

There’s still time to make a difference for animals this year!

Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need like Don Juan and Mott can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

Tis the Season for Fun Contests! Help Spread Cheer this Season by Participating or Voting.

Ugly Sweater Contest

Did you know that the third Friday in December marks National Ugly Sweater Day?  What better reason to break out your ugliest holiday sweater and pose with your pets!

All you need to do to enter is to submit a photo of yourself in your most festive sweater with your favorite animal friend OR a photo of your pet in holiday attire or accessories. Photos can be sent to marketing@arlboston.org or tag us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Contest opens: Friday, December 10, 2021

Deadline to submit your photo: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at Midnight

Voting: Begins at 9:00AM on Friday, December 17, 2021, National Ugly Sweater Day!

Four finalists will be selected by ARL and votes will be cast on social media. Each entry will be assigned a number. To vote, comment on the social posts with the number of your favorite finalist.  Please, just one vote per person, but you can ask your friends and family to vote!

The winner will be announced by 5:00pm on December 17, 2021, and will receive ARL Swag and bragging rights!

Whisker Wonderland Coloring Contest

Show off your creativity and coloring skills in this contest that is suitable for all ages!

Download our printable coloring sheets by clicking here.

We’re asking contestants to pick one of three choices: dog, cat, or rabbit.  Color in your critter and background as festive as you like!

All you need to do to enter is to submit your completed coloring page by emailing marketing@arlboston.org or tagging us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Contest opens: Friday, December 10, 2021

Deadline to submit your coloring page: Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at Midnight

Voting: Begins at 9:00AM on Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Finalists will be selected by ARL and votes will be cast on social media.

Each entry will be assigned a number. To vote, comment on the social posts with the number of your favorite finalist. Please, just one vote per person, but you can ask your friends and family to vote!

The winner will be announced by 5:00pm on December 28, 2021, and receive ARL Swag and bragging rights!

There’s still time time to make a difference for animals this year!

Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

There Is Still Time to Make a Difference for Animals This Year

The past twelve months have been challenging, however, you have shown that there is compassion and kindness in this world – thank you.

With your support, we adapted our programs to do everything we could to keep more pets with their families and help the animals who came through our doors.

Because of you, the following was made possible:

The road ahead is uncertain, but we know the pandemic will have a significant lasting effect on animals in need and the people who love them.

For all of us, and especially for animals in need, this has been a trying time. The pandemic has made our work much more difficult.

We launched two new programs, Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals Facing Emergencies) and Temporary Pet Housing, aimed at keeping pets with their families during this crisis.

To meet the increased demand for affordable care, we expanded our service area for our mobile clinics, the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’, to improve access to care, decreasing barriers for pet owners in underserved communities – areas that are disproportionally affected by COVID-19.

These new programs, coupled with the increased demand for our programs means the need is greater than ever.

Today, you have the chance to help us meet the needs of animals and the people who love them. Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

Yes I want to help animals in need

More than 35% of ARL’s funding arrives in December – now is a critical time to give to ensure we are ready to help animals and the people who love them today and in the new year.

symbolic gifts

Thank you for being there for animals during these unprecedented and challenging times.We wish for you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!


Prefer to give by check? Please have your envelope postmarked by 12/31/2020 and mail to: Animal Rescue League of Boston ATTN: Development, 10 Anna’s Place, Dedham, MA 02026

Need assistance or prefer to give by phone?  Please call us Monday through Friday at (617) 426-9170 x603

Gifts of Stock not only help animals in need, they may also provide tax benefits including avoiding capital gains tax. To donate stock or other appreciated securities, contact Jackie Smith.

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), also known as IRA charitable rollovers, allow individuals who are 70½ years or older to donate to qualified charities like ARL. QCDs can help offset an individual’s required minimum distribution, which may have tax benefits.  To donate by QCD, please contact your IRA custodian.

If you have a Donor-Advised Fund, you can make a grant recommendation to support ARL. Click here to learn more.

ARL Takes in 67 Cats from Caregiver

Caregiver contacted ARL for assistance when overwhelmed

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for 67 cats who were recently taken in after their caregiver requested assistance from ARL’s Field Services Department, due to having too many cats in their home to care for. ARL will finding homes for the these animals once they’re medically cleared.

Given the number of cats, ARL coordinated with the caregiver, located on the South Shore, to undergo the large operation to remove the animals from the home safely, and as stress-free as possible.

To see local media coverage of this story click here!

Animal carriers were delivered to the home beforehand, and on the day the cats were removed, the caregiver helped tremendously – they were able to get the cats into a line with food and then simply placed them into the carriers.

This made the process quicker, and certainly helped limit the stress for both the animals and caretaker.

Fifty-six cats were initially surrendered and transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, where they received medical care – a portion of the cats were treated for upper respiratory infection, which is commonly found with a large number of animals living together in one space.

A week later, ARL’s Field Services returned to the home to take in the remaining cats, and in total, 67 cats came to ARL.

ARL did return one cat to the care giver under the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters (HMHL) program.

The HMHL program offers free spay/neuter services for the parent animal and returning the animal to the owner, while finding homes for the animal’s offspring.

The cats will be made available for adoption when medically cleared – over 30 of the animals have already been adopted.

A Phone Call Away

If you are overwhelmed and unable to properly care for animals in your home — you are not alone and ARL is here to help!

To see how ARL may be able to assist, contact ARL Field Services at (617) 426-9170 and press option “1”.

5 Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Should Avoid

Keep your pup joyful and healthy this holiday with these helpful tips

Thanksgiving is a time to savor delicious food, enjoy the company of our family and friends, and to show gratitude for all that we are thankful for in our lives.

While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to remember that our furry companions cannot indulge in the same feasts that we prepare for ourselves. Some of the common Thanksgiving foods that fill our plate can actually be very dangerous for your pet to ingest.

Here are the 5 Thanksgiving foods that your dog should avoid:

    1. Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.
    2. Fat trimmings and fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest. In fact, consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease can include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.
    3. Dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, so the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.
    4. Mushrooms can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.
    5. Raisins and grapes, although the causes of their toxicity are unknown, can cause kidney failure in dogs.

The best way for your pet to partake in the holiday cheer? Stick with traditional treats that are safe for dogs and cats! Food puzzles and interactive toys like a Kong filled with plain yogurt, peanut butter and 100% real pumpkin are a great way to keep your canine entertained and feeling satisfied all holiday long.

Bonus tip: Keep your vet’s emergency number handy. Should your pet become ill, contact your pet’s veterinarian or the local animal hospital’s number! A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. 

Do you have a special animal lover in your life? Celebrate the holiday season by sending them a FREE e-card — over 10 adorable animal designs to choose from!

ARL Dedicates New State-of-the-Art Facility on Dedham Campus

Building to increase organizational efficiencies, impact for animals in need

Sunday, November 14, was a historical day, as the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) dedicated a new state-of-the-art facility on its Dedham campus, which will lay the foundation for the future of the 122-year-old non-profit organization.

A number of elected officials, including State Representative Paul McMurtry, State Senator Michael Rush, other special guests were in attendance for the special occasion.

The 22,500 square-foot multi-use building and 2,700 square-foot maintenance shed broke ground in late 2020 after several years of planning, and is the cornerstone of ARL’s 10-year facilities master plan for the organization’s Boston and Dedham campuses.

The cost of the project is $16.7 million, with Mass Development issuing a $12.5 million tax-exempt bond.

This new building will increase ARL’s ability to coordinate and dispatch services to meet the changing needs of animals through mobile medicine, education, and collaboration.

The facility will also allow ARL to realize immediate and significant cost and operational efficiencies.

The building has three main components:

Medical Mobile Outreach Center: The building includes a dedicated hub for ARL’s mobile medical clinics, the Spay Waggin’ and Wellness Waggin’. The location provides optimal access to most major highways, allowing ARL to reliably and consistently reach people and animals most in need. This space will be the heart of ARL’s community-based efforts and a critical asset that will support ARL’s unwavering commitment to bring accessible and affordable veterinary and wellness care directly to those who need it most, right in the communities where they live. The center will also be equipped with medical supplies and ample storage space for increased capacity in responding to animal emergencies.

Education & Training Center for Animal and People: A new multi-purpose training center provides a critically needed location for training local and state law enforcement officers, animal control officers, and animal caregivers, who play an important preventive role in keeping communities safe for animals and people. These training resources are critical to expanding the network of professionals who can aid ARL in confronting animal cruelty head-on.

Program Management & Administration: This project also provides a new home for programmatic and administrative offices, which were previously scattered across four locations, to create greater synergy and collaboration among ARL’s programs. This will allow for more innovations that drive positive outcomes for animals and the people who care for them.

For more information regarding ARL’s Dedham Campus Plan, visit www.arlboston.org/dedham-campus-plan

Paws to Celebrate

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, ARL hosted its annual Dedham Paws to Celebrate, a celebration of ARL’s continued work to help animals in need, and those who make this important work possible.

Guests participated in tours of the new facility, and were shown just how their financial support was put to use to help animals and the communities ARL serves.

The Dedham celebration was the fourth in a series of Paws to Celebrate events, the previous three being held on Cape Cod and in Boston.

Thank you!

ARL graciously recognizes the 2020 Paws to Celebrate sponsors and event committee, listed below, for their shared passion for animals in need. Together with ARL’s donors, their generosity will ensure that the animals that ARL serves will continue to receive the loving care they deserve.

Paws to Celebrate 2021 sponsors


Event Committee

Barbara Burg, Richard Davey, Grace Fey, Richard Kelly & Carol Akerson, Walter Kenyon, Dr. Cynthia Kettyle, Elena Kirkiles, Renee Knilans, Rod Macdonald, Malcolm McDonald, Christina Nagler, Mary Nee, Tara Oliver, Nadine Pellegrini, Alisa Plazonja, Christopher Primiano, Heather & Park Ridill, José Rodriguez-Villalobos, Laura Tomasetti.

Foundation For the Future Steering Committee

Malcolm McDonald, Campaign Chair, Board Chair 2012-2019

Mary Nee, Campaign Vice Chair, ARL President 2012-2020

Walter Kenyon, Board Chair

Cynthia Kettyle, M.D., Leadership Circle Member

José Rodriguez-Villalobos, Board Member

Laura Tomasetti, Board Vice Chair

Edward Schettino, DVM, PhD, CAWA, ARL President & CEO


Thank you for your continued support and for being an unwavering champion for animals in need!

ARL Joins Mass Animal Fund for Special Spay/Neuter Clinic in Fall River

22 Animals received vital surgery

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ was once again in Fall River 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.

It’s the third year in a row ARL has hosted the clinic in collaboration with MAF and Fall River Animal Control. 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 Beard-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.”

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.