Category: Events
ARL Announces Partnership with The BASE

ARL provides internships, and educational opportunities to expose The BASE youth to careers working with animals

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is proud to announce its ongoing partnership with The BASE, a Roxbury-based academy using the power of sports to engage urban youth, and provide programs focused on college access, career development, and health and wellness.

This past week, ARL’s Spay Waggin’® also visited the Roxbury location, providing subsidized spay/neuter surgeries for over 20 pets for residents in the Roxbury community.

ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino (L), with The BASE President and CEO Steph Lewis.

The visit not only brought vital veterinary services directly where they’re needed most, but also provided an opportunity for The BASE student-athletes to observe animal welfare in action.

ARL’s partnership with The BASE began in 2021, when ARL began offering paid summer internships to student-athletes interested in a possible career in animal welfare.

One summer intern enjoyed their internship experience so much, that they became a part-time employee at ARL.

ARL has also participated in The BASE’s annual career fair, and staff from different departments have presented to students on their respective jobs, to engage those who are interested in animals but may have never considered animal welfare as a career path.

“The world of animal welfare is an extremely rewarding career,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL President and CEO. “While many young people today may have a love of animals, they may not be aware of the career options that are available to them. ARL is privileged to partner with The BASE and to be able to offer insight, guidance and encouragement for the next generation of animal advocates.”

BASE President and CEO, Steph Lewis, praised the growing partnership between the two organizations. “The BASE is proud to partner with the Animal Rescue League and we appreciate the role they have played in introducing our student-athletes to career paths in the field of animal welfare. With the Spay Waggin at our site today, we are expanding our partnership and impacting the local community in a new way, bringing ARL’s critical veterinary services to the heart of Roxbury”, said Lewis.

This past week’s visit also marked the Spay Waggin’s first visit to Roxbury, and ARL looks forward to further opportunities in this community to keep animals healthy, happy, and in homes where they belong.

ARL Celebrates 125th Anniversary

ARL celebrates 125th anniversary with Anna Harris Smith Day of Service

On March 13, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) marked a momentous milestone, celebrating its 125th anniversary.

ARL held its first meeting in February 1899, but was officially incorporated on March 13, 1899.

To celebrate the occasion, ARL honored its founder with the Anna Harris Smith Day of Service.

The Day of Service included a number of community-based efforts to provide pet care and wellness services, staying true to Anna’s forward-thinking vision.

ARL’s Founder 

Anna Harris Smith, a social worker from Dorchester, took action when she witnessed both the cruel mistreatment of Boston’s working horses, and the hordes of stray and homeless animals living on the streets.

She publicly voiced her opinion in an editorial in the Boston Evening Transcript, advocating for a centrally located shelter for the rescue and care of homeless cats and dogs and remarked, “While getting dogs and cats off the street is work worth doing, the teaching of thoughtful kindness is the work that changes families, communities, and a nation.”

Establishing Boston’s first animal shelter combined with Anna’s fervor for humane education and the growing impact of her work for animals in need, communities across the United States began to take notice – ARL was used as a model for others to form their own rescue societies.

True then as it is today – ARL is much more than a local animal shelter!

Anna committed the rest of her days to helping animals in need, expanding ARL’s services to Dedham and Cape Cod, establishing humane law enforcement, advocating humane education for children, and countless other accomplishments to cement her lasting legacy.

Upon her passing in 1929, the American Humane Association stated “The passing of Mrs. Smith removes the outstanding woman in the history of animal protection in America. So long as humane history is preserved there will stand out among its records the name and fame of Mrs. Smith.”

A Day of Service

On the day of ARL’s anniversary, the organization set out in the communities the organization serves to continue its important work.

ARL was honored by Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn at Boston City Hall, in a resolution commending ARL’s 125-year history and ongoing work and advocacy for animals in need.

ARL’s community-based services were also scattered throughout the city offering pet wellness services to support both pets and the people who care for them.

Activities included ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals and Families Everyday) providing wellness services at a senior housing complex in Dorchester in collaboration with Boston Senior Homecare, ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ providing low-cost pet wellness services in Dorchester in collaboration with Action for Boston Community Development, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ stopping at the Franklin Park Zoo to provide spay and neuter surgeries for more than two dozen pets, the zoo also provided a space for local Keep Pets S.A.F.E. clients to pick up pet food and supplies.

Additional activities included hosting local children at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for “Coloring for Kindness” where kids had the chance to meet the animals and create inspirational anniversary cards to be placed on kennels.

Looking Ahead

Over the past 125 years, ARL has embodied Anna Harris Smith’s vision of thoughtful kindness by helping over 6.2 million animals heal, find homes, and stay with their families, while protecting them from cruelty and neglect.

Keeping true to Anna Harris Smith’s vision, ARL devotes its resources to helping animals thrive, keeping pets and people together, partnering with local non-profit organizations and creating the next generation of compassionate animal advocates.

“Our rich 125-year history is a huge source of pride for us,” says ARL President & CEO, Dr. Edward Schettino. “ARL’s present and future are still rooted in Anna Harris Smith’s original vision and beliefs about animal welfare, its intersection with human well-being, and what our role must be in maintaining both.”

You’re Invited: Anna Harris Smith Day of Service

125 years ago, Anna Harris Smith, a social worker from Dorchester, was called to action after seeing the cruel mistreatment of Boston’s working horses and the number of stray and homeless animals. She advocated for a centrally located shelter to care for them and remarked, “while getting dogs and cats off the street is work worth doing, the teaching of thoughtful kindness is the work that changes families, communities, and a nation”.

On March 13, 1899, thanks to Anna’s efforts, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was officially incorporated and began helping millions of animals heal, find homes, and stay with their families, while protecting them from cruelty and neglect.

In honor of Anna’s legacy of kindness and commitment to animals, we are excited to announce the Anna Harris Smith Day of Service on March 13, 2024.

Imagine the impact of 125 caring individuals, inspired by Anna’s words, “Kindness uplifts the world,” coming together to make a difference through acts of service. Will you be one of them?

Here are 7 ways you can spread kindness on March 13:

  1. Stock ARL’s pet food pantry
    Donate pet food through ARL’s
    Amazon or Chewy wish lists and have them shipped directly to ARL; or purchase them in-store and drop them off at one of our Animal Care & Adoption Centers in Boston, Dedham, or Brewster.
  1. Brighten the day of a shelter pet
    Draw a photo, write words of encouragement, or download one of our coloring templates from Facebook.  Submit your creations to
    marketing@arlboston.org for us to print; or mail them to Animal Rescue League of Boston, Attn: Marketing, 10 Anna’s Place, Dedham, MA 02026. We will hang your cards and photos on the kennels and share them on our social media channels. You can also join us in person at our Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center (55 Anna’s Place, Dedham, MA 02026) on March 13 from 3:30 – 6:00pm to make cards for animals.
  1. Leave a positive review
    Visit Great Nonprofits to leave a positive online review for your local non-profit, like ARL.
  1. Advocate for animals
    Contact advocacy@arlboston.org to learn more about our legislative agenda and how you can contact your legislator and ask them to support bills that protect animals.
  1. Be kind
    Do a random act of kindness in your community today. The possibilities are endless! Walk your neighbor’s dog, volunteer at your local library or nursing home, bring in treats for your coworkers, send a care package to a service member, give blood, or donate old sheets and towels to your local animal shelter.
  1. Get social
    Help spread the word and share ARL’s posts on
    Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  1. Pay it forward
    Donate to Jeff’s Fund which helps offset the cost of waived or reduced adoption fees to help animals who may be overlooked due to their medical needs, age, or personality, find the homes they deserve.

ARL Hosts Suffolk County District Attorney for Announcement of Animal Cruelty Task Force

Task force created to tackle a rise in animal cruelty cases

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was honored to host the Suffolk County District Attorney, state and local law enforcement officers, and other animal welfare groups for the announcement of the creation of an animal cruelty task force, which aims to coordinate law enforcement efforts to fight animal cruelty.

It is the first such task force in the county.

The announcement was made at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden was stern and steadfast in his office’s commitment to assisting law enforcement in confronting animal cruelty head-on.

“This task force will be designed to address our ability to more effectively investigate animal cruelty cases, to make sure that we’re employing intervention and prevention strategies to prevent animal cruelty cases from happening in the first place, and to hold people accountable for instances of animal cruelty whenever necessary,” DA Hayden stated.

ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino also addressed the throng of media in attendance, praising the creation of the task force, which will create a more streamlined investigative approach among the law enforcement community and preventing animal cruelty before it starts.

“It’s really about providing the resources we already have to keep pets and people together in their homes, that is critical,” stated Dr. Schettino. “We don’t want to take pets from people.”

Cruelty cases are on the rise, as in the last five years alone, ARL has received more than 4,200 calls of suspected animal cruelty, and has helped nearly 12,000 animals.

Along with improving collaborative law enforcement animal cruelty investigation, the task force will also identify and target legislation that will protect animals not just in Suffolk County, but throughout the state.

“We want people to know that we are working together, that we are unified, that we are collaborating and that we are working together in the best interest of obviously pets and animals that have been neglected, but also for society as a whole,” Hayden said.

ARL is thrilled and honored to be a part of this newly formed task force, and look forward to implementing measures to prevent animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse, but to also hold those accountable who harm and jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of an animal.

A Round of A-paws for our Sponsors!

With the help of our amazing sponsors, we achieved record breaking fundraising at our Paws to Celebrate events in Chatham, Truro, Boston, and Dedham!

Thank you to the following businesses and individuals for their generous support:


Leader of the Pack

Best in Show

Top Dogtop dog sponsorships

Top Cat


Dedham Savings

The Norfolk Group

Team Guthrie Mabile, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Robert Paul Properties

Arthur & Paula Rabe

Wilson Partners


Animal Advocate

Scott Allegretti, DDS

Animal Arts


Busy Paws Pet Supply

Carlson Audio Visual Inc.

IDEXX Laboratories

Helen Kosinski: Certified Soul Level Animal Communicator®

Needham Bank

Northern Business Machines


Rutter Networking Technologies


TD Bank

Three Fins Coffee Roasters

Veterinary Wellness Center of Provincetown


Doug Zeghibe


ARL Reminds Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe During Heat Wave

Heat wave with high humidity poses threats to pet health

With an oppressive heat wave poised to settle into the area over the next few days, a wide swath of Massachusetts will be under a heat advisory, while the City of Boston has issued a heat emergency, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is reminding pet owners to take measures to keep pets comfortable and safe during this time.

Keep your pet safe and 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, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest. Aside from the heat, the high humidity can cause respiratory issues for animals, particularly short-snouted animals (i.e. pugs).
  • Be mindful of surface temperatures. Asphalt, concrete, or brick surfaces absorb heat and surface temperatures can exceed 145 degrees can cause severe burns to your pet’s paws! Apply the 7-second rule – place the back of your hand on a surface and if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
  • When the temperatures rise, it’s Too Hot for Spot®! Never leave your pet alone in a parked car — even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked.

It is illegal in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle during extreme hot or cold conditions, and when a weather advisory is issued, it is also illegal to keep dogs tethered for longer than five hours in a 24-hour period.

Dogs also cannot be tethered outdoors between 10 PM and 6 AM, unless for not more than 15 minutes and when the owner/keeper is present.

Ollie’s Law Coalition Rallies on State House Steps

Coalition urges Legislature to take action on Ollie’s Law to regulate Massachusetts boarding facilities

This week, the “Ollie’s Law Coalition”, which includes the Animal Rescue League of Boston, rallied on the steps of the Massachusetts State House, asking legislatures to step up and help protect pets throughout the Commonwealth while in the care of a boarding facility.

Currently there are no state regulations for these types of facilities, and during the rally, a number of Massachusetts residents relived their harrowing experiences while expressing how uniform regulations may have prevented the pain and suffering their animals endured while being boarded.

An Act to Increase Kennel Safety (H.2019; S.1309) aka Ollie’s Law, would establish standards regarding animal health and employee safety, allowing pet families to choose the best facility to suit their animal’s needs.

The coalition consists of a number of organizations including ARL, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), Dakin Humane Society, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Boston Dog Lawyers, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, JM Pet Resort, among others.

The Ollie’s Law proposed legislation was born out of tragedy.

In 2020, Amy Baxter brought her Labradoodle Ollie to a Western Massachusetts doggie daycare facility, only to receive a text shortly after saying Ollie had been attacked by other dogs.

He was severely injured, and sadly died of his injuries two months later.

While the facility was shuttered by town officials, Baxter was stunned to learn that there were no state regulations regarding boarding facilities, and soon took up the fight to help ensure tragedies like this never happen again.

ARL’s Board Safely™ Campaign

While there are currently no regulations for boarding facilities in Massachusetts, ARL’s Board Safely™ campaign helps guide pet owners when choosing a facility for their pets.

The campaign includes steps to take while researching boarding facilities, as well as what questions you should be asking.

How Can I Help?

ARL urges proponents of Ollie’s Law to contact their state elected officials, to urge the discussion and ultimate passage of this important piece of legislation.

ARL will continue to advocate not just for Ollie’s Law, but for other proposed bills to further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth.

Learn more about ARL’s Legislation Agenda, and how you can help advocate for animals in Massachusetts!

New England Revolution Teams Up with ARL

Pet food collected as part of New England Revolution’s Drive Series, players visit ARL’s Dedham location

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its partnership with the New England Revolution, with events taking place at Gillette Stadium and ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Before this past weekend’s match against FC Cincinnati, Revolution players arrived at Gillette Stadium wearing shirts with photos of adoptable dogs and cats to give attention to just a few of the animals ARL’s is working to find permanent homes for.

Additionally, as part of the Revolution’s Drive Series Presented by Dan O’Brien Automotive group, the team invited fans to donate dog and cat food for ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program, which provides pet food and supplies to pet owners in need throughout Greater Boston.

More than 200 pounds of food was collected!

During this past week Revolution players delivered the supplies to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and also enjoyed a tour of the facility and spent some quality time with a number of animals and even took part in a scavenger hunt with a pair of pigs currently looking for their new home!

Partnering for Animals in Need

ARL proudly began its partnership with the New England Revolution in 2022, with the Revs hosting ARL, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts State Police at Gillette Stadium to promote ARL’s summer pet safety campaign, Too Hot for Spot®.

ARL thanks the New England Revolution’s players and staff for supporting ARL’s mission and is looking forward to continuing this blossoming partnership!

ARL Announces Launch of Humane Education Program, Partnership with Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library locations to host monthly youth educational events

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to announce the launch of its Humane Education Program, which coincides with a special partnership with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to help create the next generation of compassionate animal advocates.

The monthly series entitled The Fun and Exciting World of Animals aims to educate and inspire. These BPL events are free and open to youth ages 6-9, and future presentations will feature a variety of topics including the inner workings of an animal shelter, introduction to veterinary care, animal behavior, and being kind to animals. More information on this event series.

three small children use toothbrushes to provide enrichment to a tortoise

Children at The Fun and Exciting World of Animals event use small toothbrushes to provide enrichment and grooming to a tortoise.


“For many, our love of animals began at a young age, and this innovative program and partnership with the Boston Public Library allows the city’s youth to learn directly from those who work with animals every day, and perhaps begin to forge a path for their own future,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “ARL cannot thank the Boston Public Library enough for the opportunity to inspire the next generation of animal advocates.”


Two small children and ARL staff member look at a humane cat trap

An ARL staff member shows attendees how a humane cat trap works at The Fun and Exciting World of Animals event.

“The Boston Public Library is thrilled to partner with the Animal Rescue League of Boston to bring engaging, impactful programming to the youth of Boston,” said BPL President David Leonard. “A major focus for the BPL is youth engagement, and we’re dedicated to teaming up with organizations in our community that can help our youngest patrons discover their passions, explore their interests, and chart their futures, all in free, safe, and exciting new ways.”


child holding a small puppy

During Friday Night Teen Group, teens have the opportunity to meet adoptable animals like Dolphin, a Shiba Inu puppy.

Along with ARL’s partnership with the Boston Public Library, ARL’s Humane Education Program will also offer opportunities at the organization’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for area youth to help build confidence around and to show empathy for all animals in our communities.

ARL’s experienced and knowledgeable staff and volunteers will present interactive activities for both children and adults focused on topics related to animal welfare and care. Programs are tailored to the goals, ages, and needs of each group and will include a Friday night teen group and youth reading programs, where young people will actually get the chance to have hands-on experiences with the animals in ARL’s care while learning important life lessons.

More information about ARL’s Humane Education Program.

ARL Joins MAF for Special Spay/Neuter Clinic in Fall River

Spay/neuter clinic provides vital surgery for 30 cats

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ was once again in Fall River for a special spay/neuter clinic for more than two dozen cats as part of an ongoing collaborative effort with ARL, the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF), and Fall River Animal Control.

For four years, ARL has participated in the clinic in collaboration with MAF and Fall River Animal Control, with well over 100 animals receiving the vital spay/neuter surgery throughout this partnership.

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, 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 Berard-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.”

Clinics like this that provide subsidized spay and neuter services are at the core of MAF, which is primarily funded by the voluntary tax check off (Line 33f) on the Massachusetts resident income tax form. Since 2014, the MAF voucher program has helped provide spay and neuter services for more than 17,500 animals.

Along with these clinics, ARL continues to be extremely active in the Fall River, as the city is a hotbed when it comes to community cats.

With community cat colonies scattered throughout the city, ARL’s Community Cat Program has provided ample assistance to Fall River Animal Control over the past several years, trapping hundreds of cats, providing them with veterinary care, spay/neuter surgery, and finding the vast majority of them loving homes.

This work has become a year-round effort, and ARL cannot do this work alone.

Donate Today and Your Gift will Have Double the Impact!

The last few years have been extraordinarily difficult and soaring inflation has stretched our budget to the limit. Half of ARL’s donations arrive in the last three months of the year, and most giving happens in the last two weeks of December, yet animals need help every day. This is why GivingTuesday is such an important event for animals in need.

ARL’s Board of Directors, President & CEO, and Friends of ARL, are matching all gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 until Giving Tuesday, 11/29. Please make a gift today through our Facebook fundraiser (100% of your donation will go towards helping animals in need) or directly through our secure, online form.