Category: News
Have a pet-safe holiday (Food alert!)

The last thing we want to do during the seasonal holidays is rush our pet to the animal emergency room. Unfortunately many pets are injured or become sick because of exposure to toxins or rich foods during this time. Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, Animal Rescue League of Boston’s director of Veterinary Medical Services and Dr. Amy Marder, director of the Center for Shelter Dogs offer some suggestions to help keep your holiday meals from ending in disaster.

Just because it tastes good to you doesn’t mean it’s good for your pet.
Although 60% of pet owners will share a holiday meal with our pets, there are a few basic guidelines to follow.

“This time of year, most animal related emergency room visits are due to eating something inappropriate, says Dr. Smith. “Some foods cause upset stomachs, some are poisonous, and some can cause life-threatening obstructions or perforations.”

A small amount of white turkey is an acceptable treat but definitely avoid turkey skin and bones! “The skin is often fatty and can cause pets to develop pancreatitis, a painful, serious and sometimes deadly illness that can cause costly hospital stays,” explains Dr. Smith. “In addition, poultry bones, both cooked and raw, can break off and puncture the digestive tract or, if large amounts or chunks are swallowed, cause an obstruction. Raw or undercooked meat poses the same salmonella and parasite risks to our pets as it does to people.”

Other foods to keep away from pets include: grapes and raisins, excessively salty foods, foods flavored with onion or garlic powder, desserts and sweets containing xylitol (found in some sugar free candies and chewing gum).

Chocolate alert!
Dog owners in particular should also be especially alert to the presence of chocolate, says Dr. Marder. “Chocolate, which contains theobromine, is especially dangerous for dogs and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, excitability, heart arrhythmias, increased body temperature, wobbliness, muscle tremors, seizures and coma. As little as two to three pounds of milk chocolate or four ounces of baking chocolate can poison a 30-pound dog.”

She advises that if your dog accidentally eats chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately. And while cat owners, also need to be alert, she notes, “Cats are rarely poisoned by chocolate due to their more discriminating feeding habits.”

Take out the garbage and lock up the leftovers!
Food preparation and leftovers disposal also require careful supervision.

“All leftovers should be secured behind a pet-proof door and your trashcan should also be secure. “Many items used in the meal preparation and then thrown away can be dangerous,” notes Dr. Smith.” A turkey string, foil wrappers, etc may smell like food and be eaten by a curious pet. These items can cause gastritis, enteritis and colitis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) or worse, intestinal obstruction or a deadly condition known as ‘string foreign body.’”

Keep your vet’s and local animal emergency hospital’s numbers handy.

Last but not least, keep your veterinarian’s phone number and the local animal emergency hospital handy in case your pet should become ill. A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER.

I played ball with Big Papi

Nana, a 10 month old spayed female pit mix is looking for a new home. She has been a shelter resident for a few months now and has won one of the staff’s ‘most improved’ awards.

She’s a friendly and loveable lady whose activities in the shelter include playing fetch with her human friends and romping around with her fellow shelter dogs in our play yard. In fact, Nana was able to combine her favorite activities during a visit from David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz, a member of the Boston Red Sox. She was the star that day, she loved running to the fence to retrieve the ball and would immediately give it back to Ortiz. Nana was not phased by all the cameras, other dogs, or people, she just really loved having a chance to play ball in the yard.

Nana would love to go to a home where she can play fetch regularly and cozy up on a warm bed at the end of the day. Being a young lady, she’s still learning her manners and would benefit from continuous daily obedience training. Stop by South End shelter on 10 Chandler Street or call our Adoption Center at 617-226-5602 for more information about Nana.

David Ortiz Meets Young Donor

November 15, 2011: Red Sox star David Ortiz spends some time with Josselyn Siegel of Wilmington, a young philanthropist who donated $100 to the League by selling her handmade clay creations.

“We were so touched by her wonderful gift from the heart,” says Melanie Sheffield, director of the President’s Council at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “It’s especially meaningful to see philanthropy begin at such an early age. It says a lot about the kind of person Josselyn is, and the adult she will someday become.”

Video courtesy of Matt Schooley, Wilmington Patch


Thank you Big Papi

Yesterday was a great day for the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Big Papi’s visit inspired and uplifted the League’s staff and garnered extensive coverage on the evening news. This event will attract many more adopters to our shelter and help find forever homes for needy animals.

Big Papi enjoyed a tour of the Boston Shelter where he met the cats, dogs and other animals that are available for adoption. Afterwards, he revealed his genuine care and concern for animals as he played ball with the dogs in the yard.

My special thanks go to Big Papi, event sponsor PopChips, to the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a success, and to the many League supporters who came to the shelter to meet Big Papi and bring attention to the needs of the animals in our care.

Jay Bowen

Our Shelter Tour with David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz

Hey guys,

Caitlin and Michelle here, we work for the Animal Rescue League of Boston and had the pleasure of taking David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz on a quick tour of the Boston shelter yesterday.

He was greeted in the lobby, by long time resident, Sapphire and Shelter Agent, Hannah Harvey. “Oh you like me little girl” – Ortiz said to Sapphire, the two bonded quickly.

He also spent time with a kitten, named Francis, who was recently rescued from a drain pipe by the League. Francis, whose fur resembles a Lion’s main, impressed Ortiz, he told Veterinary Technician, Jessica Wright, that as a child he always wanted to adopt a Lion but now he is happy with his 3 year old Terrier, Foxy.

The tour was full of moments of laughter, Ortiz was down-to-earth, friendly and funny! When we took him to see the dogs, he took his time making sure each dog received a treat and some special attention. Ortiz immediately gravitated to our largest resident commenting on his size and how similar they were.

When we told Ortiz about our Rescue Department, he was impressed by the scope of our services. As an animal lover, he recognizes the importance of the work that the League does and told us how much he appreciated the opportunity to get to meet the animals and see behind the scenes. Everyone at the League is so thankful for him taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit.

Transporting Fido Across State Lines

The following article appears in the November issue of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Animal Welfare Focus”.  Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore is director of Veterinary Medical Services at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore and Mr. Glenn Kolb

The Challenge

Puppies and dogs are increasingly being transported over long distances across the United States in response to societal interests. A shortage (or sometimes the perception of a shortage) of certain types of dogs available for adoption in a particular area creates a demand for puppies and dogs that may outstrip the local supply. Shortages may be the consequence of spay and neuter efforts that have substantially reduced the unwanted dog population resulting in few adoptable puppies or dogs in the community. In other cases, there may be locally available puppies or dogs, but good communication or transportation is lacking to get the dogs from under-resourced shelters or municipal facilities (pounds) to sites where adoptions can occur. Or, the types of dogs available for adoption (e.g., larger breed, energetic, poorly trained adolescent dogs) may not fit the profile of the type of dog adoptive families are seeking. The availability of purpose-bred dogs in the community may or may not impact demand, because people looking to add a puppy or dog to their family may feel strongly about ‘rescuing’ a dog rather than purchasing one. Please click here to continue.


332 Animals Adopted in October

October saw 332 animals adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s shelters in Boston, Dedham and Brewster including 249 cats, 41 dogs, 13 birds, 12 rabbits, six guinea pigs, five hamsters, three sheep, a ferret and a horse.

Among the birds were lovebirds named Avocado (shown at left) and Lily, three cockatiels named Summer, Sunshine and Free Willy; two parakeets named Ocean and Sky, a cockatoo named Bubbles and five chickens, three of whom were named Seria, Severus and Zulu.

The League’s Animal Care and Adoption areas continued their excellent track record of finding forever homes for older animals:
– Among the cats adopted in October were 11-year-olds Angel, Charlie and Princess; 10-year-olds Galaxy and Shadow;, 9-year-old Handsome, 8-year-olds Beauregard and Wendy; 7-year-olds Corey, Eddy, Molly, Morris, Spencer and Miss Olivia; and 6-year olds Amber, Bessett, Big Boy and Hughie.
– Older dogs adopted were 8-year-old Romeo (Chihuahua); 7-year olds Sam (Siberian Husky) and Finnigan (Aust. Shepherd – shown at right);
– And an 18-year-old horse named Sammy.

You can view a list of all available dogs here, all available cats here  and other animals here.

League celebrates endorsement of guidelines for standards in doing what’s right for shelter animals

The Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, published last December fills a huge void in the animal welfare community. The first comprehensive report of its kind, which Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, director of Veterinary Medical Services, helped author and edit, is centered on meeting animals’ needs given the vastly changed nature of animal sheltering in the last decade.Read More

“Mouth” now “Tux” in Olivia’s loving care

As noted in an earlier posting, after being rescued by Senior Rescue Technician Mark Vogel, the spunky, five-week-old cat he nicknamed “Mouth” was brought to the Dedham shelter for a checkup, inoculations and bath by Dedham’s Ashley Arseneau to get rid of some pesky fleas. Initially trembling from the procedure and unfamiliar surroundings, Mouth found himself being swaddled, comforted and dried off in a fluffy towel in Ashley’s arms, and within moments the trembling changed to contented purring.

Later that day the kitten was taken into foster care by the family of staff member Alyssa Kane, with 13-year-old sister Olivia taking on particular care and feeding responsibilities … as well as renaming him “Tux.” As you can see, “Tux,” stretched out on Olivia’s bed is being well taken care of. Taking her duties seriously, his young protector also made a sign to alert the family as to where Tux is and to be sure that they don’t leave any doors open. As her older sister notes, “She LOVES this little kitten and it is her first kitten to foster on her own. She has watched me for many years and is doing a great job on her own.”