Category: News
Dennis and Vinny

In the summer 2011 issue of Our Four-Footed Friends we brought you the adoption story of Dennis and Vinny. Dennis, a first-time dog owner wanted a moderately active dog with a mellow personality that he could take for jaunts around the Back Bay with his wheelchair. Vinny, a rat terrier mix who came to the Boston shelter as a rescue was at first very skittish and hand-shy (flinching if you’d reach over him in a certain way). However thanks to extensive work from the League’s Behavior Department Vinny became much more comfortable around people and took to Dennis immediately.

"... tiny dogs with their eyes all aglow, will find it hard to sleep tonight..."

As you can see, a year later, after continuing work with the Behavior Department (including such things as overcoming Vinny’s fear of elevators and getting him to walk with Dennis’s personal care assistants) Dennis and Vinny are doing great!

Your donation helped make this special story possible. Thank you for enabling the Animal Rescue League of Boston to continue helping both the animals that come into our care and their human companions.

CSD Reaches 2,000 Dog Milestone

Match-Up II Online Making Impact Across Country

The Center for Shelter Dogs has reached an important milestone with its Match-Up II Online program. On December 14, 2011, the CSD announced that over 2,000 dogs have been entered into the Match-Up II Online database.

“Today we have over 2,000 dogs entered into the Match-Up II Online system,” says Dr. Amy Marder, Director of The Center for Shelter Dogs. “This is an important milestone not only for the CSD, but for all of our national shelter partners as well.”

Match-Up II Online, is a multi-part online system, which incorporates information from a dog’s behavioral history, behavior evaluation, and behavior in a shelter, in order to get a comprehensive view of a dog’s individual needs. The program is designed to help shelters learn about the personality and needs of each dog so that behavioral interventions can be implemented and successful matches can be made.

By collaborating with multiple shelter partners across the United States, the Center for Shelter Dogs is creating the first national database ever used to compare shelter dog behavior, trends, and adoptability.

“We are learning more about how shelter dogs behave,” says Dr. Marder. “Which behaviors are most common, which ones are rare, what types of personalities they have. It’s very exciting.”

Some of the CSD’s Shelter Partners include:
– Animal Rescue League of Iowa of Des Moines, Iowa
– Wayside Waifs of Kansas City, Missouri
– Animal Care Sanctuary of East Smithfield, Pennsylvania
– Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center of Roseburg, Oregon
– Outaouais SPCA of Gatineau, Québec
– Forever Paws Animal Shelter of Fall River, Massachusetts
– Case Del Toro Pit Bull Education & Rescue, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana
– Gastineau Humane Society of Juneau, Alaska

Learn more about Match-Up II

Register for Match-Up II Online

A home for the holidays?

Yesterday, in yet another animal cruelty case, the League rescued two starving puppies who were loose on the streets of Boston.

They can’t talk, so we don’t know how they escaped – whether they broke free or if they were just abandoned – but their young bodies show clear signs of starvation and neglect. They are familiar with people, so we believe that someone is responsible for their condition.

The puppies, now named Donner and Blitzen, are now safe in the care of the League’s veterinarians and receiving food, water and medical attention. Thanks to the support of donors like you, one day we’ll be able to find them a loving home. But it will be a long road to recovery.

Our Law Enforcement department is investigating the case. “This constitutes felony cruelty against an innocent animal,” says Lt. Alan Borgal, director of the Center for Animal Protection at the League. “We are counting on the public to step forward with information to help bring the person or persons responsible to justice.”

We are able to care for these dogs, and others just like them, because donors like you give what you can to pay for their care. With thousands of donors, every gift counts, so please make a gift online today.

How do you feel about this story? Leave a comment below. We’ll post updates on the blog to keep you informed of their progress.



UPDATE: Donner and Blitzen in the news

Boston.com asks readers to help cover the costs of their rehabilitation.

Fox News has more video of the dogs.

MBTA riders read about the dogs on the front cover of the Metro today.

Water for Donner and Blitzen

Donner and Blitzen, the starving puppies rescued in Boston on Monday, receiving water. They receive small amounts of water at frequent intervals as they are unable to absorb a large amount of water at once. As you can see, despite their condition, they are as eager and playful as any puppy can be.

As these dogs show signs of starvation, this video may not be suitable for some viewers.

[wpvideo VUgZ9s2P]

Meet Sam, an animal you are helping now.

Sam is a two-year-old Labrador Retriever who was surrendered by his owner, an Army Veteran, to his local Animal Control facility. Sam’s owner was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and, as a result, felt that he wasn’t providing the attention and care that Sam deserved and could no longer keep him.

When Sam started favoring his back right leg, he was transferred to the League because the Animal Control Officer knew that we could provide the care that Sam needed.

Sam arrived at the League in late October and was examined by shelter Veterinarian, Dr. Erin Doyle. Sam was diagnosed with a cruciate tear and required surgery.

We are happy to share with you that Sam’s surgery was a success and he is recovering beautifully!

Sam does not let his injured leg slow him down; he wants to run, jump and play like the other shelter dogs. His favorite activity is to cuddle – despite being well over fifty pounds, Sam will not hesitate to climb into an empty lap!

Sam is currently available for adoption at the Boston shelter.

We couldn’t be helping Sam without you. Help more animals like him today. Please donate, and help change a life.

Since you asked ….. update on Hope

“Hope” is an often overused word, so common that sometimes the force of its meaning gets lost. In February, the owner of a female pit bull mix moved out of his Fitchburg apartment, locking the dog in a closet and never looking back.

Don’t stop reading – this was one of the most moving cases we handled this year, and the dog in question would end up being named “Hope” for a reason.

Once rescued, Dr. Martha Smith, director of Veterinary Medical Services at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, revealed the horrifying extent of Hope’s crippling injuries: numerous leg and rib fractures consistent with blunt force trauma. Because she was abandoned and confined to a closet, some of the fractures had healed crookedly, giving her an unsteady, bow-legged gait.

Further x-rays of Hope’s face also showed fractures to both cheekbones, leading Dr. Smith to conclude that Hope was suffering from ‘Battered Pet Syndrome.’

She had to walk by placing the bulk of her body weight on her front legs (to view a video of Hope’s determination to regain mobility, click here).

After a number of corrective orthopedic surgeries and extensive physical therapy, Hope now has a reasonable level of mobility and can live a pain-free life.

But would a dog treated so badly ever learn to trust people again? Amazingly, from the moment she was found, Hope just seemed grateful to be alive, relishing in the most basic of life’s pleasures: be it a belly rub, a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in, and the love and affection of another living being.

We recently received the following update about her:

“Hope is amazing! I started to call her ‘Honey’ because she is such a sweetheart. She is walking really well, and it does not seem to bother her that she has limited mobility on her back legs. She has a little bit of trouble going up and down stairs but is determined to climb them no matter the size.”

Hope’s latest accomplishment is that she just learned how to play ball. She loves to take the ball in her mouth and show her ‘mom’ how she can bounce and retrieve it. At last, she is finally living the life she was meant to as a happy, healthy dog.

Your donation ensured that the League could shelter and care for Hope. Thank you for showing her the healing power of love.

New windows shine light on Dedham renovation

The “new and improved” Dedham shelter is definitely taking shape! As interior renovation continues, the new front windows that will let in much more light and make the shelter a much more inviting place for both animals and people are now in place. In addition, the new pavement signals that much of the underground work has been completed.

The renovated shelter, scheduled to be completed in spring 2012, will include indoor/outdoor dog kennels, larger group housing spaces and playrooms to improve animals’ socialization and interaction with staff and visitors. In addition the green design also leads to elimination of contagious disease within the shelter, minimizing holding times and length of stay for each shelter animal.

As of December over $711,000 of the $1.2 million fundraising goal has been received. Gifts of $2,500 or more provide opportunities to honor or memorialize a beloved person or pet, and donors of $5,000 or more can be recognized on the “Wall of Honor” in the main lobby. Specific naming areas still available are:

  • Dog Wing ($400,000)
  • Lobby ($50,000)
  • Dog Outdoor Training Area ($50,000)
  • Dog Exam Room and Grooming Room ($35,000)
  • Triage Exam Room ($25,000)
  • Dog Rooms ($5,000)
  • Cat Cages ($2,500)

To learn more about the shelter renovation project and named gift opportunities, please contact: John J. Bowen, President, (617) 226-5680 jbowen@arlboston.org or Melanie Sheffield, Director of the President’s Council (617) 226-5622 msheffield@arlboston.org.

At 374 surgeries, November is Spay Waggin’s biggest month of 2011

November saw the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Spay Waggin’s best month of the year with 374 spay/neuters performed, including an average of 26.7 cats per day of operation, bringing the 2011 year-to-date total to 3,485 spay/neuters.

The Spay Waggin’ is on the road four days a week and the staff works at least 10 hours a day. Because of the gross overpopulation of feral cats in the greater Boston area, the Spay Waggin team only focuses on dogs one out of every eight days.

“I’m particularly proud of our accomplishments in November,” says Assistant Director of Community and Shelter Medicine Andrea Forry, who is in charge of the Spay Waggin’ program. “The November figures represent 94.7% of capacity. Taking into account 15 no shows/cancelled appointments, we were booked at 98.5% of capacity, which we feel is pretty impressive and a good indication of the great need for the Spay Waggin’s services.”

In addition the December 2011 issue of Boston Tails magazine featured an article on the Spay Waggin’ noting League Director of Veterinary Medical Services Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore’s “conservative estimate” of over 10,000 spay/neuter procedures since she joined the program.

Since you asked…update on Elsie Maude

Remember Elsie Maude, the sickly, stray cat that was found shivering in the bitter cold last February? She is now in a warm and loving home, enjoying her new life. You helped the League rescue, shelter and care for Elsie. Your donation provided the resources our rescue team needed to pick her up, for our shelter veterinarian to care for her and your support helped Elsie Maude find her forever home.

A call to the League’s rescue dispatch line on a freezing February day is how Elsie’s story began. An employee at Wentworth Institute of Technology needed us to help a visibly suffering cat with frostbitten ears shivering in the cold. League Rescue Technician Bill Tanguay made the short drive to Wentworth, but needed to spend time gently coaxing the poor cat – later named Elsie – out of her hiding spot near a busy loading dock. As she cautiously approached, he was eventually able to pick her up. He placed her in a carrier inside his rescue vehicle/ambulance so she could be warm as they drove back to the League’s South End headquarters. However, during the trip, one of Elsie’s injured ears actually fell off – her frostbite was that severe.

Unfortunately, Elsie’s troubles didn’t end there. Soon after her arrival, she lost her other ear and, due to the extent of her frostbite, her tail also had to be removed.

Despite looking a little worse for the wear, Elsie’s prognosis was otherwise very good. She was just happy to be in a warm, safe place. Although appearing small and frail, she was a tough little cat which only endeared her to everyone even more.

The local news even took an interest in her story. Impressed by her ability to survive – while managing to remain adorable without ears or a tail – Elsie also became a local celebrity that day.

She was quickly adopted by a North Andover resident who recently sent the following update:

“Elsie is doing really well. She is the sweetest cat I’ve ever had – and I’ve had some very nice, sweet and gentle cats over the years. I have never had a cat that likes people so much – she can’t get enough attention.  She will run right up to someone new, flop over on her back and wait for the belly rub. She is a bit uncoordinated – wherein the past my cats have had 5 or 6 foot vertical leaps – Elsie is closer to 5 or 6 inches.”

Her adopted dad also notes how smart Elsie is – she has learned how to open doors, drawers, cabinets, etc. Elsie’s favorite activity is to play with milk jug caps, which she prefers to all of her other toys. “I couldn’t be happier and judging from Elsie’s behavior, I think she feels the same way.”

Thanks to your support we were able to rescue, shelter and care for Elsie. Please help us continue to be there for animals in need.

Yankee Magazine features Christmas for Horses

Yankee Magazine posted about the League today on their blog, featuring a 1919 photograph of the League’s “Christmas for Horses” event. Thanks Yankee Magazine!

“It’s easy to forget how important urban work horses were in the days before the automobile, but in the late 19th century and early 20th century, horses were critical in the day-to-day workings of all US cities.  These “draft horses” not only transported all manner of goods within the city and to and from railroad stations, but also facilitated both public and private transportation and emergency services, such as ambulances and fire trucks…before there were trucks.”