Category: Brewster
ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ Reaches Milestone

Mobile veterinary clinic completes 5,000th appointment

In service for just two years, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Wellness Waggin’ reached an important milestone this past week, completing its 5,000th appointment!

Cutting the ribbon for the Wellness Waggin’ in July 2019.

The Wellness Waggin’ was unveiled in July 2019, and was critical in expanding ARL’s community veterinary services.

Working in partnership with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), the Wellness Waggin’ was deployed at ABCD locations in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, areas in Greater Boston in dire need of accessible and affordable veterinary services.

Additionally, beginning in the fall of 2020, the Wellness Waggin’ also began to serve the East Boston community as well.

“This is a fantastic milestone,” said Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL President and CEO. “ARL’s expansion of community veterinary services began as a pilot program in 2017, and to see how much its grown is a direct result of the need for accessible and affordable veterinary services, and ARL’s commitment to bringing services directly into communities where they’re needed most.”

For $10, Wellness Waggin’ pet clients receive:

  • Physical exam
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Distemper vaccine
  • Flea treatment
  • Microchip

In a traditional veterinary clinic setting these services would run upwards of $300.

The Wellness Waggin’ has been and will continue to be a vital resource for the aforementioned communities, and is critical to fulfil ARL’s mission to keep pets and people together.

Spay Waggin’ Reaches 65,000 Surgeries

ARL’s Spay Waggin’, a mobile surgical clinic, also reached a milestone recently, completing its 65,000th surgery!

The Spay Waggin’ program began in 2000 and currently serves clients on the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as East Boston.

Having your pet spayed or neutered is important for a number of reasons, but it can also be cost-prohibitive for many pet owners.

The Spay Waggin’ offers low-cost spay/neuter services, and also partners with the Massachusetts Animal Fund’s Voucher Program, which covers the cost of the surgery for qualified pet owners.

Need an Appointment?

If you live in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan or East Boston and are in need of Wellness Waggin’ services, click here for more information and to book an appointment!

For the Spay Waggin’, call 1-877-590-SPAY (7729) to make an appointment, and click here for more information on all the services the Spay Waggin’ provides!

ARL Testifies in Favor of 3 Animal-Protection Bills

It was a busy week on Beacon Hill, as a bevy of legislative proposals were heard by numerous committees at the Massachusetts State House, including three animal-protection bills that the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) spoke in favor of.

Nero’s Law

H.2547/S.1606, An Act providing for the care and transportation of police dogs injured in the line of duty (Nero’s Law) was discussed with the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, with ARL and numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth providing testimony.

Nero’s Law was proposed after the tragic death of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon, and the wounding of his K9 partner Nero.

Nero was wounded in the shooting and needed medical attention, however state law currently prohibits the use of ambulances to transporting police dogs.

If passed, the bill would require ambulance services to provide emergency treatment and transport to police dogs.

The bill would require training for EMS in basic level first aid, safe handling procedures, proper decontamination procedures, and sterilization sufficient to prevent allergic reactions for humans.

ARL Director of Law Enforcement Joe King, a former K9 handler and commander with the Massachusetts State Police provided testimony for the committee.

“Law enforcement relies on these dogs to keep us safe,” King said. “They’re the first to make contact with dangerous criminals and I cannot quantify the lives saved because of K9’s who fearlessly go into a situation first. They keep us safe so it’s up to us to do the right thing for them, they deserve whatever resources are available to keep them safe.”

Nero’s Law is co-sponsored by Representative Steven Xiarhos, a retired Yarmouth Police Deputy Chief, and Senator Mark Montigny, a staunch supporter of animal protection law.

“Prior to serving in the Legislature, I spent 40 years on the Yarmouth Police Department and served as the Deputy Chief. On April 12, 2018, I sent a team of highly trained officers on a mission to find and arrest an armed and violent career-criminal, Representative Xiarhos stated. “Three hours later, I learned that my Sergeant, Sean M. Gannon, had been murdered and our K9 Nero was shot in the face. I will never forget the sight of K9 Nero being carried out, covered in blood, and gasping for air. Despite the paramedics present wanting to help save him, they could not legally touch K9 Nero as current Massachusetts law prohibits helping a police animal wounded in the line of duty. It is our duty to protect those who protect us. Their lives matter.”

“These incredible animals risk their lives to work alongside law enforcement in dangerous situations. It is only humane to allow for them to be transported in a way that reflects their contributions to our Commonwealth,” said Senator Montigny. “Sergeant Gannon was a native son of New Bedford and therefore his K9 partner Nero is part of our community’s extended family.  We hope that this never has to be used, but it demonstrates the respect for the crucial work these animals do.”

Ollie’s Law

H.305, An Act to regulate pet daycare facilities in cities and towns, dubbed Ollie’s Law, was discussed this week in the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

This bill is in honor of Ollie, a labradoodle who died at a doggy daycare facility in Western Massachusetts. Ollie was injured in a fight and died as a result of the injuries. There was a veterinarian next door, however there was also just one staff member working at the daycare facility.

If passed, the bill would require commercial boarding or training kennels to be licensed through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), similar to the current process for animal shelters and pet shops.

Additionally, MDAR would be required to create regulations for: staff to dog ratios, group sizes and supervision, minimum housing and care, indoor and outdoor physical facilities, dog handling, insurance, fire and emergency planning, as well as penalties for non-compliance.

MDAR would also be responsible for regulations regarding staff training, a state-wide reporting system of injuries to dogs or people, among others.

Currently there are no standards or regulations for boarding and training facilities, leaving pet owners the responsibility of doing their research and advocating on behalf of their pet to determine where they should be boarded.

Because there are currently not state-wide regulations for these facilities, ARL created the Kennel-9, a pet safety guide, giving pet owners nine things they should consider before choosing a boarding kennel or daycare facility.

To download the Kennel-9 guide, click here!

ARL has advocated for such regulations in the past and Director of Advocacy Allison Blanck continued these efforts this week.

“Boarding and daycare kennels are unique environments where dogs from different homes interact without their owners,” Blanck stated. “Many of these facilities are well-run and provide necessary socialization and care for dogs. However, the lack of even basic standards means consumers are tasked with both deciding what basic standards are and examining facilities to see if they meet them. A statewide regulatory system would provide confidence to consumers. As we see people return to the office, to travel, and back to their routines, the increased number of families who acquired a pet over the past year are going to be looking for a place to keep their animals. It’s imperative that the Commonwealth act to make sure that all these facilities are adequate.”

Many legislatures are also in favor of such regulations.

“Pet daycare facilities are one of the few industries in the Commonwealth that are unregulated.  There is no license needed from the town or state and no baseline requirements for owners or employees,” said bill sponsor Rep. Brian Ashe. “All of us who own pets understand they are full-fledged members of our families and we want to keep them safe.  Many pet owners assume this industry is regulated and employees are trained or have experience, but that is not the case.   This bill will implement common sense, practical regulations that will provide a base line for businesses to keep the dogs and their employees safe.”


This week, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure also heard testimony for S.222, An Act prohibiting inhumane feline declawing.

This bill, sponsored by Senator Montigny, would prohibit the practice of declawing a cat, unless for the therapeutic purposes, defined as limited medical reasons for the cat’s health.

It would not allow declawing based on behavioral concerns, medical concerns of the owner or concerns of the cat being surrendered.

“Many people who have declawed their cat simply don’t realize the pain it causes.  Declawing is a horrific procedure that inflicts harm and often leads to other behavioral issues.  This bill will help educate the public and ban this cruel practice.  No one who values furniture or material goods over the health and wellbeing of an animal should be a pet owner, and I will continue to advocate for these innocent creatures,” said Senator Montigny.

Advocate for Animals in Massachusetts

While formal hearings have already been held for the aforementioned bills, it’s not too late to ask your legislators to support these proposed laws!

Find your legislator here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

The bills ARL provided testimony for are a small sampling of the animal protection bills currently in front of the legislature.

To learn more about ARL’s Legislative Agenda click here!

ARL Officially ASPCA Relocation Program Partner

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is excited to announce that it is now an official partner of the ASPCA’s Relocation Program.

As a result, ARL will begin receiving regular transports of animals who come from different regions of the country from the ASPCA.

The ASPCA Relocation Program launched in 2014, and has since relocated more than 160,000 animals from “source” shelters in areas with high homeless pet populations, to “destination” shelters in communities, like Massachusetts, where adoptable animals are in high demand.

The ASPCA’s Relocation Program currently transports animals to shelters in more than two dozen states.

“I am excited about ARL’s new partnership with the ASPCA,” said Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s President and CEO. “The ASPCA is a wonderful organization, and knowing that ARL can assist in taking in animals from areas where homeless pets and overcrowded shelter populations are a real issue, and finding these amazing animals loving homes right here in Massachusetts is impactful.”

ARL has already received a number of transport animals from the ASPCA, and looks forward to taking in more throughout 2021 and beyond.

It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week in Massachusetts

ARL Reminds Pet Owners to Include Pets in Emergency Plans

On the heels of Tropical Storm Elsa, Governor Charlie Baker has declared July 11-17 as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Massachusetts, to encourage residents to have emergency plans in place when a tropical storm or hurricane impacts the region.

When preparing for any emergency situation, including a tropical storm or hurricane, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to include pets in the planning process.

An assembled pet emergency kit.

ARL recommends pet owners keep the following tips in mind for pets:

  1. Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit. Each animal in your household needs their own kit and should include at least a one-week supply of food and water, along with collapsible dishes; a week supply of medication; photographs, tags, and other identification; leash, harness, crate/carrier; toys, blankets and treats; waste bags, litter and litter tray
  2. Locate Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers. Many, but not all, evacuation centers allow pets. Check your area for not only evacuation centers, but pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, and even friends or relatives that would allow you, your family, and your pets to stay.
  3. Make Sure Your Pet is Microchipped. It’s the simplest way to be reunited with your pet should you become separated. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure all contact information is correct and up to date.
  4. Develop a Buddy System. Connect with friends and neighbors to ensure that someone is willing to evacuate your pets if you are unable to.

Download ARL’s pet preparedness emergency kit.

Additionally, storm conditions including howling winds, driving rain, thunder and lightening, among others, can drastically increase anxiety for your pet.

During a storm make sure to keep an extra sharp eye on your pet, keep them as comfortable as possible and reward calm behavior.

ARL Teams with MSP to Remind Pet Owners About the Dangers of Leaving an Animal in a Hot Vehicle

When the Temperature Rises – It’s Too Hot for Spot®!

As New England continues to see extremely hot summer conditions, this week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) teamed up with Massachusetts State Police (MSP) for ARL’s 8th annual summer safety campaign, Too Hot for Spot®, to remind pet owners about the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot car.

ARL and MSP held a press event at the Massachusetts State Police Headquarters in Framingham, MA, flanked by two K9 troopers and a demonstration of how quickly the interior of a vehicle can heat up.

A large thermometer was placed in an MSP cruiser, and with an outside temperature of 82 degrees, in just 10 minutes the interior of the vehicle heated up to over 120 degrees!

Unlike humans, animals cannot efficiently cool their bodies. And if you think that cracking the windows will help keep your pet cool – it won’t.

As demonstrated, the inside of a vehicle can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, and the stifling heat inside a car makes animals susceptible to heat stroke, and the onset of symptoms is rapid.

Common symptoms of heat stroke in animals include lethargy or weakness, heavy panting, glazed eyes, profuse salivation, excessive thirst, lack of coordination, a deep red or purple tongue, vomiting – and it can even cause seizures, unconsciousness, or death.

With the onset of heat stroke, every second counts, so if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is critical that you take them immediately to the closest veterinary hospital for treatment.

Health hazards aside, it is also against the law in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle when extreme heat or cold may threaten the animal’s health – and law enforcement throughout the Commonwealth will be on the lookout throughout the summer.

“Keeping an animal in a hot vehicle is dangerous, potentially deadly and illegal,” stated Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason. “The Massachusetts State Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth will be steadfast in enforcing this law to keep animals in Massachusetts safe.”

“While pet owners should be well aware of the dangers of leaving animals alone in vehicles during the warm weather months, we sadly still see numerous examples of animals suffering and even dying every year, as the result of being left in the car,” said Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL President and CEO.

Please, when it is hot outside, leave your pet at home. Set them up in a cool, humidity and temperature-controlled room, give them plenty of water, and make sure to limit their outdoor exercise to the morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

To learn more summer pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/too-hot-for-spot.

Thank You!

ARL would like to thank the Massachusetts State Police for helping spread ARL’s Too Hot for Spot® summer safety campaign to the masses.

Additionally, over the past few years, MassDot has generously donated billboard space for ARL’s Too Hot for Spot® messaging, so drives across the Commonwealth will be reminded of the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot vehicle. ARL thanks you!

Bonded Pigs Find Home After 2 Years

A pair of bonded pigs that were surrendered to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) back in June 2019 recently found their new home, and while the journey was long, it was worth the wait!

Turner and Hooch were both a year old when they came to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center in 2019, after their former owner could no longer properly care for them.

Right away the two displayed their playful personalities, as they’d follow visitors around the paddock, gently take fruit and other snacks from staff and volunteers, and allow pets from whoever was willing.

Pet pigs are not for everyone, and while Turner and Hooch continued to be happy in their surroundings, they were unfortunately unable to find a new home.

Sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference, so after a number of months in Brewster, Turner and Hooch were transferred to ARL’s Dedham campus to see if their luck would change.

In Dedham, they settled in and showed off for staff, volunteers and visitors alike, but once again weeks turned into months without a new home.

As 2019 turned to 2020, Turner and Hooch, while happy in Dedham, it was clear that they once again needed a change of scenery and the opportunity to be around other farm animals.

An ARL foster family opened up their hearts and home for the pair, and once in foster care, efforts ramped up to find Turner a Hooch a permanent home.

Going Home

In the spring of 2021, Turner and Hooch’s soon-to-be family were actually looking for a puppy, when they stumbled upon the pigs, and as they have been fostering dogs for a nearby shelter and slowly been growing their animal family on the farm property in New Hampshire, they immediately decided that Turner and Hooch would be a perfect fit.

With the adoption complete, Turner and Hooch moved into their new home, and have settled in quite well.

“Turner and Hooch have been happily exploring their new home,” said Erica Formhals, Turner and Hooch’s new mom. “Their tails are always wagging and they are so well-bonded. They are quite cautious and shy but overall they are inquisitive and are beginning to trust us – trust is huge!”

There is a perfect family for every animal at ARL, sometimes it just takes time for an adoption to happen.

ARL is thrilled that Turner and Hooch have found their permanent family, and knows they will happy in their new home for years to come!

Ready to Adopt a Farm Animal?

Along with pigs like Turner and Hooch, ARL frequently has farm animals including goats, horses, chickens, among others, that are available for adoption.

To see who’s currently available, click here!

ARL Adoption Centers Reopen to General Public

Covid-19 pandemic forced shutdown in March 2020

This past week brought a tremendous amount of excitement, as the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) animal care and adoption centers in Boston, Dedham, and Brewster were reopened to the general public.

ARL locations were adorned with handmade signs and other decorations to mark the occasion, and during the first week of reopening 84 animals found their permanent homes!

Like many organizations and businesses, ARL shuttered its doors to the general public in March 2020 with the onset of Covid-19 precautions and restrictions.

However, because ARL was identified as an essential business, ARL was able to resume adoption services on an appointment-only basis in June 2020.

This past week was a huge step forward to returning to a sense of normalcy not only for ARL and volunteers, but also for the animals in our care.

“To be able to welcome the public back to our animal care and adoption centers is a great moment for ARL and animal lovers alike,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s President and CEO. “It’s wonderful to return to a sense of normalcy and allow those looking for a new pet to come in at their convenience to interact with the animals in our care.”

What to Know

If you’re considering stopping into any of ARL’s locations, keep in mind the hours of operation:

  • Monday/holidays: Closed
  • Tuesday: By appointment only from 2-6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday-Sunday: Open to the general public 1-6:30 p.m.

ARL continues to follow CDC guidelines regarding safety protocols and operation hours and availability are subject to change.

Click here to read more about ARL’s current health and safety protocols.

Welcome back!!

Obese Calico Cat Finds Permanent Home

Chloe, a 9-year-old female calico cat, was recently surrendered to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center due to continuous house soiling issues, and secondary medical concerns related to being obese.

The sweet, but reserved kitty has had house soiling issues her entire life and actually came to ARL initially when she was just three weeks old and after being found in a precarious situation.

Chloe hanging out in her kennel.

In 2012, Chloe and four of her litter mates were found zipped inside a plastic bedding bag and rescued by ARL.

Along with house soiling, as Chloe got older and her weight increased, she has been prone to vaginal infection and fur matting as she was unable to properly groom herself.

The 20-pound cat had her mats shaved and received medication for infection and also quickly became a staff and volunteer favorite with her pleasant demeanor and constant purring and vocalization.

Chloe is also on a strict diet to help her lose weight safely and her weight will need to monitored and kept in check for immediate future.

Going Home

ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers reopened to the general public this week, and no surprise to anyone who has met this adorable calico, Chloe was adopted the very first day of reopening!

Obesity in Pets

Like humans, obesity can lead to secondary health issues including diabetes, respiratory issues, arthritis, among others.

Obesity can also shorten a pet’s lifespan.

However, obesity in pets can be controlled through proper diet and exercise, so if you see your pet’s weight starting to increase, talk with your veterinarian to determine how to curb obesity and keep your pet healthy and active!

ARL Receives Grant from MAC’s “I’m Animal Friendly” License Plate Emergency Covid-19 Spay/Neuter Grant

June 16, 2021, BOSTON, MA – The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to announce that it received a $12,500 grant from the Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC) through their “I am Animal Friendly” license plate program.  The grant is to be used towards ARL’s spay and neuter services. Because Covid-19 has significantly impacted the availability of spay/neuter services, this has resulted in long waiting lists for cats, dogs and rabbits across Massachusetts.  MAC has offered this Emergency Covid-19 Spay/Neuter Grant funding to shelters, rescues, municipal animal control organizations and high volume spay/neuter providers.

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ and Community Surgical Clinic are vital resources for pet owners seeking subsidized spay/neuter for their beloved animals, and in 2020 performed nearly 3,000 surgeries between the two programs – however the need for services continues to grow exponentially.

Dr. Edward Schettino, President and CEO of ARL said: “The communities we serve – on the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod regions, and Greater Boston – need access to fully and partially subsidized spay/neuter services now more than ever and the support from the Massachusetts Animal Coalition and the public who supports the “I’m Animal Friendly” license plate is crucial to lend assistance to those who need it. Thank you!”

About the Massachusetts Animal Coalition and the “I’m Animal Friendly” License Plate Program:

Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC) is a statewide, non-profit organization comprised of animal professionals and individual volunteers dedicated to working together to decrease the number of homeless, neglected, displaced and abused animals in Massachusetts.  MAC’s “I’m Animal Friendly” License Plate program helps fund spay and neuter programs across the state.  These charitable plates are available through Massachusetts RMV and are tax deductible. www.petplate.org

Friends of Falmouth Dogs and ARL Join for Spay/Neuter Event

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides spay/neuter surgery for more than a dozen animals

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ made a special stop in Falmouth through a collaborative effort with Friends of Falmouth Dogs.

Seeing the needs of local pet owners, the Falmouth-based nonprofit provided funding to have nearly a dozen animals spayed or neutered through ARL’s Spay Waggin’ – a mobile surgical clinic.

“Although the Spay Waggin’ makes routine visits to Falmouth, working directly with Friends of Falmouth Dogs, to be a resource to pet owners within their communities reinforces the core purpose of the Spay Waggin’,” said Sam Fincke, ARL Associate Director of Community Operations.

“ARL was great,” stated Valerie Gresh, Friends of Falmouth Dogs Board Member. “Our goal was to provide free spay/neuter services to local families in need, and their professionalism, efficiency and compassion made our goal easily attainable. Kudos to ARL and their staff!”

In addition to providing surgery, ARL was able to provide the organization with pet food to help Friends of Falmouth Dogs further assist pet owners in the community.

Friends of Falmouth Dogs would like to thank the Falmouth Service Center and Falmouth Housing Authority for being so instrumental in getting the word out to the group’s target audience.

Friends of Falmouth Dogs hopes to once again host ARL’s Spay Waggin’ for another special event later this year.