fbpx
Category: Dedham
ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline

Your Top 10 Questions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is committed to keeping animals safe and healthy in their homes, and offers a free service to ensure that owners are providing the best care possible for the pets we love.

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a convenient and reliable resource for behavioral and health-related questions you may have regarding your pet.

We’re all spending more time at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, and over the past several weeks ARL has received a number of questions from concerned prospective or current pet owners.

We have answers from ARL’s Animal Behavior Manager Laney Nee for the top 10 questions, and here are the first five!

Q: “We don’t have a pet, but my kids want one. Does ARL have any resources for kids that I can refer to on pet ownership and responsibilities of owning a pet? Since they are home, I would like to take the time to teach them.” 

A: It’s important to set yourself up for success when choosing the right pet for your family, do your research and be sure to welcome a pet that fits easily into your daily routine.

Assess your daily life (outside of COVID-19 restrictions) and decide what type of pet would be the best fit for you and your family’s scheduleincluding a plan for summer travel and holiday gatherings. 

In addition, though this is a way to show responsibility to a child, it is also important to be realistic about that expectation as wellbe sure to choose a pet that the entire family can care for in case that particular child is not able to continue basic care.

Q: “How do I get two cats to get along?! We’ve contemplated getting our gal a friend.” 

A: A great question. When adopting a second cat, it is crucial to consider what your cat at home enjoys doing and what their personality is like.

You want it to be a good match for your cat from the start. For example, if your cat loves to play, you’ll probably want to consider a cat who will want to play with them. Once you find the right match, it is important to do a slow introduction when your new kitty gets home. Often times, having the two cats meet right away can cause issues between them from the start.

Remember, your cat at home needs time to adjust to having a new sibling, and your new kitty will be stressed moving into a new home that is unfamiliar to them, so baby steps are the key to success!

Baby steps include:

  • Keeping cats separate for a few days at least
  • Keep food for both cats at door separating them – this shows the cats that coming together is a happy experience i.e. food!
  • Switch the cat’s locations after a few days so they can investigate the scent of the other
  • Play with the cats near the door separating them – they may play paws under the door with one another (adorable)
  • If these measures don’t induce hissing or growling, slowly take the next step to introduce the cats by sight
  • Take it slow!!

Q: “Why is my cat biting all the time? Even when she comes to cuddle?” 

A: Cats can bite for a number of different reasons, but regardless of what that reason is, it is an attempt to communicate something to you.

Please reach out to us through our Free Pet Behavior Helpline with additional details for us to help explain what she might be trying to communicate specifically to you.

Q: “When I am walking my new puppy, people tend to want to approach us to say hi and pet her. What is the best way to social distance myself from the public when I am out walking?”

A: What you can do is simply say that ‘we are practicing social distancing’ and continue walking.

Right after you say that phrase, immediately offer your puppy a high-value treat to redirect her attention to you.

In terms of decreased socialization during social distancing, my advice is to really stick with the basics at home, develop a schedule to help create a solid foundation for your puppy including practicing basic cues.  

Q: “Will my dog get overly comfortable with me being home/no separation? What are some tips to help them through this?” 

A: Though your pet is very happy to have you home every day, you may start to see some anxiety and stress develop in them during these times of having the entire family home. These signs of anxiety or stress are likely caused by a change in their everyday routine.

Routine is key for any petincluding cats and dogsso there may be some adjustments necessary on both ends of this crisis, meaning an adjustment period when you are ‘all of a sudden’ home every day and another adjustment period when you go back to your daily routine again (leaving the house to go to work).

One great thing to do for dogs is to develop some new skills while you’re home, for example, if your dog has never adjusted to a crate, consider crate training to give them some time separated from you while he enjoys a delicious bone or stuffed Kong®.

If your dog is used to relaxing wherever they want, consider teaching them a ‘place’ cue to help them stay on their bed or mat for an extended period of time.

For cats, you can create playtime and feeding routines to help them get acquainted with a schedule that can be transitioned to when you go back to your daily routine again.

Thank you once again to ARL’s Animal Behavior Manager Laney Nee for providing her expertise on these questions, check back on Monday, April 6, as we reveal the rest of our Top 10 list!

ARL FREE Pet Behavior Helpline

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a FREE service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom.

If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


ARL Assists Winchendon ACO Reunite 22-Year-Old Cat with Owners

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department had the pleasure of assisting Winchendon, MA, Animal Control in a heart-warming reunion between a curious 22-year-old cat, and her family.

This reunion may not have been possible if the family had not filed a missing pet report.

Earlier in the week, the cat, named Tips, was found along a main road in the town that borders New Hampshire, and taken into the care of Winchendon Animal Control Officer Suzie Kowaleski, who then contacted ARL for assistance.

ARL brought Tips to its Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, where the cat received a thorough veterinary exam, blood work, as well as some medication and ointments.

Other than typical signs of advanced age, Tips had no injuries, was in good spirits, friendly, and was clearly being missed by someone.

Tips wasn’t microchipped, however, her family had fortunately filed a lost report, making this reunion possible.

Welcome Home

Cats, no matter their age, are naturally curious and it seemed that Tips simply slipped out the door and was on her own for several days.

Tips’ family had actually seen her born and had cared for her ever since and was understandably worried that the 22-year-old cat was out in the world on her own.

Her family was absolutely thrilled to have her home, and ARL is proud to have played a small role in caring for the animal and reuniting Tips with her family.

ARL thanks Winchendon ACO Suzie Kowaleski and everyone involved for making this happy ending possible!

If A Pet Goes Missing

The American Humane Association estimates that 1 out of every 3 pets will go missing at some point in their lifetime.

A shocking statistic for sure, but remember, if your animal has gone missing, there are many resources available, including ARL, to help locate your beloved pet.

Filing a lost report with your local animal control, ARL, and other animal welfare organizations is a critical first step.

For other tips on how to handle a missing pet situation, click here.


Keeping Pets Occupied While Working Remotely

For many us, our schedules have been rearranged in recent days, and that means working remotely whenever possible.

You’re following the guidelines for working from home – showering, getting dressed, having a dedicated work space, avoiding temptations like a Netflix binge-a-thon – but what about your pets?

We’ve all seen the cute pictures online – a cat sprawled across a keyboard, walking all over a desk or table, or curled up in a person’s lap These images are cute, but they don’t necessarily correlate to you being productive.

Our furry friends are attuned to our human habits, and once they get over the confusion of you not walking out the door in the morning, they can see it as an opportunity to spend more time with you and become more clingy.

Here are some tips to keep you productive and ensure that your pets are engaged while you’re home.

For Dogs

Maintain your dog’s routine as much as possible.

  • Keep feeding time the same, and if your dog spends time in a crate while you’re not home, don’t be tempted to forgo that routine either.
  • If you do crate your animal while at home, a tempting bone or treat will keep them occupied while you get your work done.
  • Try not to give in to the scratches at the door to go outside every time, and try your best not to give in to a lot of attention-seeking behaviors (whining, barking, pawing, among others) that may be happening simply out of confusion and wonder as to why you are around for so long.

Enrichment is critically important!

Some ideas to keep your pooch entertained!

There are a number of things to keep your dog active, engaged and occupied, including:

  • Stuffed treats (like a Kong) can keep a dog occupied and engaged for quite awhile
  • Marrow and Nyla bones at various times throughout the day is a great way to keep them engaged, but the key is to put them away when their time with the bones is over
  • Add a walk or two if weather and your schedule permits (it could be good for both of you!)
  • Engage in a couple of constructive play sessions (not snuggle sessions) where you play and really get your dog’s brain working to let them have fun
  • Allow you dog to relax and have quiet time by themselves

For Cats

Keep your cat’s regular feeding schedule, but meal time by:

  • Place food or treats in food puzzles, or in recycled toilet paper rolls or egg cartons
  • Try scattering dry food throughout a room and make them find or chase it!

Experiment with some easy (and inexpensive) ways to get your cat playing which include:

  • Fill a large paper bag with a sprinkle of catnip – cats love the crinkling and will be sure to have fun with it!
  • Build a fort/obstacle course with cardboard boxes
  • Take away a few toys from their regular stash then reintroduce them later – they’ll seem like new!
  • Put on a video to stimulate their prey drive (birds, etc.) then get them playing with wand toys; they’ll be stimulated by the “hunt” and will tire out quickly.

Finally, you can do something simple like move their cat tree to another location. You give your cat a new view to focus on and a new sunny spot to nap!

Have Pet Behavior Questions? ARL Has Answers

ARL is committed to being a reliable resource for behavioral and health-related questions about your pet, and our goal is to help owners provide the best care for their animals.

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a FREE service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom.

If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


Cleaning Products and Our Pets

Typically this is the time of year for spring cleaning.

We organize the garage, donate old clothing, and move furniture to get into all the nooks and crannies we tend to neglect.

However, amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, cleaning has become more important than ever.

But, before you pick up the duster, industrial vacuum, and bottles of solvents and cleaners – keep in mind that not all cleaning agents are pet-friendly.

The ingredients to avoid in household cleaners are phenols – a parent compound used as a disinfectant. If the label says “disinfectant”, “antibacterial”, or “sanitizer”, chances are it contains phenolic compounds, which can be toxic to dogs and cats.

Let’s run through a few common cleaners and how they can be used safely around your pets.

Bleach/Bleach Cleaners

There are countless products that contain bleach, however if used properly, the risk of skin irritation or stomach upset is minute.

Straight bleach should be properly diluted with water, and if using either a bleach solution or cleaner, it’s important to thoroughly rinse and air dry. Bleach odor can be overpowering for both pets and humans alike, so use it in well-ventilated areas.

Carpet Shampoo

Carpet shampoos can cause skin irritation or stomach upset, but most are safe for households with pets. Make sure the carpet is completely dry before allowing pets to re-enter the area.

Carpet Deodorizing Powders

Carpet deodorizing powders, if ingested, can cause respiratory irritation, resulting in coughing, sneezing or a runny nose. Keep pets out of the room until you have vacuumed up the powder – and make sure to do a thorough job, as it can linger deep inside the carpet fibers.  If your pet comes in direct contact with the powder, you should wash their paws with soap and water to avoid skin irritation.

Aerosol Air Fresheners and Disinfectants

Chemicals common in many popular air fresheners and disinfectants, can cause skin irritation, as well gastrointestinal issues.

When spraying, make sure the pets are out of the room and do not come in contact with any surfaces until they are dry.

Floor Cleaners

When it comes to cleaning floors, many of us prefer the quick and easy method, like disposable microfiber pads that spray a cleaning solution.  The chemicals in these products are usually diluted, which means they do not present serious health risks to pets.

If you opt to use the traditional mop and bucket, be sure to dilute the solution properly with water, and always make sure the floors are dry before allowing pets back into the area.

Taking the time to find household cleaning products that will not create unnecessary risks for your beloved pets and taking care to use them properly, will ensure clean and healthy living spaces for everyone in your household!


Rescued Golden Pheasant Finally Finds a Home

“Buckbeak” spent 272 days at ARL

In September 2019, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department seized two dozen animals from horrific, unsanitary conditions at a Middleboro commercial breeding facility.

“Buckbeak”, a young golden pheasant, was rescued from the same property several months earlier.

Buckbeak quickly made himself at home in ARL’s iconic barn, located at the Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and over a series of weeks was tested for several avian diseases, and was banded for identification purposes.

While extremely beautiful, golden pheasants are not native to Massachusetts.

They can however be kept as pets – but only by obtaining a permit from the MA Department of Fisheries and Wildlife which is required to be renewed annually.

Along with a permit, potential adopters also needed a secure enclosure, as Buckbeak is able to fly.

Unfortunately, these circumstances kept the golden pheasant at ARL for nearly nine months.

 A Perfect Match

This past week, ARL received an inquiry from a person who not only had a permit and a perfect setup, but was also caring for another pheasant!

After 272 days in the care of ARL, Buckbeak is now in the company of a female pheasant and enjoying his forever home!

Caring for Livestock

ARL’s livestock population is constantly changing.

From goats, pigs, horses, to roosters, pigeons and of course pheasants, ARL provides more than a temporary shelter for these animals – ARL gives these animals another chance at life.

We encourage anyone with the passion and capacity to care for livestock to check our website often to find your next barnyard friend!


Update: 2020 Virtual Lobby Day for Animals Postponed

UPDATE: This event has been indefinitely postponed due to ongoing actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are hoping to reschedule the event before the end of the legislative session on July 31, 2020. Thank you for your understanding, please stay tuned for further updates.

State House suspends sponsored events due to COVID-19 precautions

Due to on-going precautionary measures put in place in regards to the continued spread of COVID-19, the 2020 Lobby Day for Animals that was scheduled for March 24 at the Massachusetts State House has been postponed.

In light of this postponement, ARL and its animal welfare partners have decided to take Lobby Day in a virtual direction.

As you may know, the Commonwealth has taken a number of actions to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The State House informed our coalition late yesterday that all sponsored events—including Lobby Day for Animals—are being postponed for at least the next 30 days.

Ideally, we hope to reschedule this important event before the end of the legislative session on July 31. However, that will of course remain dependent upon the ongoing developments related to COVID-19, the potential for large events to impact public safety, as well as the ability of the State House to accommodate the number of events that will need to be rescheduled.

We will be cancelling the appointments we have made with your legislators, however, you can still take action for animals! 

  1. Please contact your state senator about several priority animal protection bills referred to Senate committees.
  1. Please contact your state representative about several priority animal protection bills referred to House committees.
  2. We will be hosting a Virtual Day of Action for Animals on Tuesday, March 24, including a lunchtime webinar and afternoon call-in to your legislators. Please register to join us for the webinar.

Press Release: ARL Assists in Wellesley Beaver Rescue

Beaver spotted in same position along the Charles River for 4 days

Shortly after noon today, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services assisted Wellesley Animal Control in rescuing a distressed beaver at the Cordingly Dam Fish Passage along the Charles River.

The beaver had reportedly been seen in the same spot below a footbridge over the dam since Sunday, and Wellesley Animal Control had received countless calls from concerned residents.

For video of this rescue click here!

With the animal right at the edge of the rushing water and approximately 15 feet below a ridge, it was a precarious and potentially dangerous position to be in for both the beaver and ARL’s Field Services team.

With a throng of onlookers watching from the footbridge above, agents, armed with two nets, were able to corral the beaver into one net while covering him with the other, and then slowly raised the animal to the surface of the ledge.

Beavers typically are not very cooperative in rescue situations, however, once the beaver was on the surface, ARL’s team was able to coax the beaver into a carrier and then transport him to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

The animal did not appear to be injured in any way, however he’s likely malnourished given the fact that he remained in the same spot for several days and was seemingly too weak to swim.

ARL Field Services

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies with equipment and training and in cases like the beaver, will actively assist in rescue; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.


The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Edward Schettino, DVM, PhD as the 9th President & CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). His term will begin May 1, 2020.

After thoughtfully examining the qualities and skills desired in a new president, ARL’s Board concluded that Dr. Schettino’s extensive knowledge of veterinary medicine, deep understanding of animal welfare, business acumen, and leadership skills, makes him uniquely qualified to lead ARL’s vision for the future.

Dr. Edward Schettino

For the past five years, Dr. Schettino has served as ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, and before this post was the organization’s Director of Veterinary Medical Services. As Vice President, he has overseen ARL’s animal care and operations, law enforcement, community and shelter medicine, and community programs. He has been instrumental in advancing ARL’s vision for the future—to reach animals and people most in need—and led the program design and implementation of many ARL’s innovative community-based programs.

Previously, Dr. Schettino worked for over 12 years in both private veterinary hospitals and animal shelter settings. He is an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and, on behalf of ARL, has trained hundreds of police officers and veterinarians on reporting animal cruelty.

Dr. Schettino is recognized for his ability to collaborate with local and national organizations to enhance the animal welfare field as demonstrated by his service on a variety of boards and committees. This service includes the Massachusetts Animal Coalition Board, Massachusetts Veterinary Medicine Association, the Tufts at Tech Advisory Board, the Shelter Medicine Steering Committee at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and the Veterinary Technology Advisory Committee at North Shore Community College.

Today, ARL stands as the Massachusetts leader in providing affordable veterinary care to underserved communities, is in the forefront of responding to animal cruelty and neglect, and is a tireless advocate for law and public policies that will protect all animals from harm. We believe Dr. Schettino possesses the skills, passion, and leadership to support these objectives and advance our vision to reach, and positively impact even more animals and people in the years to come.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our current president, Mary Nee, for her enormously effective leadership of ARL. During her tenure, Mary conducted a strategic assessment of ARL’s programs, facilities and resources. Guided by this resulting plan, and through her vision, determination and hard work, she enhanced areas of strength, implemented necessary changes and successfully led the organization through a period of changing animal welfare needs. ARL today is helping more animals more meaningfully and effectively than ever before. The Board of Directors congratulates Mary for leading ARL to this proud place, and we wish her the best in her retirement.

 

 

 

Walter Kenyon, Chair

Animal Rescue League of Boston Board of Directors


An Amazing Transformation

Olive, seized in law enforcement investigation, finds her forever home

When we first met Olive in September 2019, she had just been rescued along with 18 other Cane Corsos as the result of an Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) law enforcement case.

Back then she was known only as MD46.

Like the majority of the animals seized from the unsanitary conditions at the Middleboro, MA breeding kennel, Olive was terrified at the world beyond her kennel and it was clear the days and weeks ahead would be challenging.

However, nearly six months later, Olive has continuously shown her resilience, and her amazing transformation has come full circle, as she recently found her forever home!

A Slow Process

For Olive, ARL’s shelter staff and volunteers immediately went to work, providing daily encouragement and enrichment, and slowly began introducing her to new things like outdoor walks and playtime.

At first these activities would be short, and she would quickly retreat to the more familiar and self-imposed sanctuary of her kennel.

But as the days and weeks passed, more and more Olive was enjoying the time spent outdoors (highlighted by sudden bursts of the zoomies in Brewster’s outdoor paddock) and her once sad and sullen expression was replaced with joy and happiness.

Going Home

It did take a bit of time to find the right match for Olive, but when she met her new owner, the connection was instantaneous.

Olive is now enjoying a quiet life in Western Massachusetts and everyone who worked with Olive was thrilled when her adoption was finalized.

The Importance of Enrichment

For Olive and her fellow Cane Corsos, they came to ARL after living sheltered and unhappy lives.

ARL’s behavioral staff was steadfast in ensuring that these animals received the love, attention, and encouragement to help them break free of their previous circumstances in order for them to thrive.

Olive is just one example of the incredible work that goes into helping thousands of animals overcome adversity and find loving homes each and every year.

Congratulations to Olive and her new owner!


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; serving more than 59,750 animals.

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.