Category: News
Dog with Malignant Mass Left Outside ARL’s Boston Shelter

An 8-year-old Shih Tzu was recently left tied to a fence outside of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and after discovering and removing a malignant mass, ARL was thrilled to find this sweet pup a special home to live out the rest of her days filled with comfort and love.

In mid-August, the dog, named Raggedy Ann, was spotted by a trash collector around 5 a.m., tied to a fence outside of ARL’s shelter on the Tremont St. side, and notified staff a little while later when the Good Samaritan realized that the dog had likely been left by its owner.

The animal had a collar but not tags, and was also left with a bowl of water.

ARL surmises that the owner did not know what else to do, and left the dog in a moment of panic.

Raggedy Ann was given a thorough veterinary exam which revealed a mammary mass, which was removed and biopsied – unfortunately the mass was malignant.

And while a chest x-ray did not show any sign of metastatic disease, it is possible that additional mammary tumors may appear or that metastatic disease may become apparent as she ages.

Given her medical condition, ARL wanted to see Raggedy Ann find a new home as quickly as possible so she may enjoy the remainder of her life in a home with a loving family.

A dedicated ARL volunteer stepped up to open up their heart and home, and Raggedy Ann has settled in quickly and is thriving in her new environment.

ARL is a Resource 

With Raggedy Ann being left outside the Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, ARL wants to remind the public to please always surrender a pet in person.

Surrendering a pet is an incredibly difficult decision, and ARL understands this.

If a pet owner needs to surrender an animal, ARL asks that pet owners do so in person, so transfer of the animal can be done safely, and it’s also an opportunity for ARL staff to learn as much as they can about the animal.

Additionally, ARL understands that circumstances do arise in life when pet ownership is no longer feasible, and offers a comfortable, safe and perhaps most importantly, a judgement-free environment to complete a pet surrender.

If a pet owner is wrestling with the decision to surrender, ARL does offer a variety of services which may help keep the animal out of a shelter and in the loving home where they belong.

Services include ARL’s Free Pet Behavior Helpline, the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program, the Wellness Waggin’, Spay Waggin’, among others.

Supporter Spotlight: Jonathan Delgado and Catherine Bird

Like many, Jonathan Delgado and Catherine Bird were first introduced to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) when they adopted a new family member, a tuxedo cat they named Nippy. Both Jonathan and Catherine had always been cat lovers, but Nippy’s adoption was inspired by their daughter Athena’s desire for a kitten. A great companion to all, she could be found sleeping in bed with houseguests, squeezing into Athena’s dress-up clothes, providing grief support when other pet siblings passed, and startling tradespeople as they worked around the house.

When Athena left for college, Jonathan wanted to do something meaningful with his free time, which ultimately led him to start volunteering with ARL.

With his years of experience with cats, ARL’s Director of Volunteer Engagement suggested Jonathan start as a Feline Friend, caring for cats on Monday mornings. Little has changed: that was 10 years ago, and Jonathan has worked the same Feline Friend shift nearly every Monday since!

Volunteering brought Jonathan great perspective and insight into the work that ARL does for both animals and people in need. Jonathan noted that the various reasons for which an animal can be surrendered to ARL brought him a greater sense of empathy and compassion for those who must make difficult decisions regarding their animals. He witnessed first-hand the impact of ARL’s community programs that work to keep pets together with their families and the profound care given to those pets who needed to find new homes.

Jonathan and Catherine recognized the impact ARL has in the community and decided to put ARL at the forefront of their giving. Nearly ten years ago, they chose to become monthly contributors through the Champions Circle, and their dedication has not wavered.

They decided to start giving monthly to help smooth out the imbalance of seasonal giving. Catherine says “Many don’t realize organizations are running on fumes waiting for the large influx of donations at the end of the year.” Their commitment as monthly donors helps to keep operations running smoothly all year long. Jonathan notes that monthly giving also makes it easier to reach their giving goals by splitting up donations throughout the year. It allows them to “set it and forget it” and still have a measurable impact for ARL and the animals we serve.

The couple feels fortunate to be able to support ARL significantly as they do, and hope that their donations will allow ARL to continue its impactful work in the community for animals and the people who love them. Jonathan and Catherine’s generosity ensures ARL’s ability to do just that. ARL is extremely grateful to have them as friends, adopters, and benefactors of ARL.

September is Champions Circle month

Half of our donations arrive during the last four months of the year- and most of it during the last 2 weeks in December – yet animals need help every day.

So why wait until the holidays to help?

You can support animals in need ALL YEAR LONG by joining the Champions Circle, a monthly giving program that’s like a subscription for saving animals. Join today.

Change of Scenery Helps Fearful Dog Find New Home

ARL’s different geographic locations helps fearful dog thrive

When fearful dog Sprinkles, a 4-year-old Australian Cattle dog came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center this past spring, her level of fear was practically paralyzing for all aspects of her life.

Because she spent the majority of her life indoors, upon arrival at ARL, she was unable to go outdoors, the shelter environment and presence of other dogs were overwhelming, and she spent her days in an office with ARL staff members working diligently to make her comfortable, gain her trust and improve her confidence.

Despite her sweet demeanor, her fearfulness was a tremendous barrier to her finding her perfect home and she remained in the care of ARL.

Geographic Advantage

ARL is blessed to have three animal care and adoption centers, spread over a large geographic area.

For Sprinkles, the hustle and bustle of Boston was clearly not for her, and the decision was made to transfer her to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, which could offer her a quieter environment and the slower, more relaxed pace that Cape Cod is known for.

The change of scenery was just what Sprinkles needed.

Overcoming Fear

Sprinkles enjoying the company of ARL Staff.

Within 48 hours of being transferred, Sprinkles began showing signs that she was in the right place.

While not venturing too far from her cozy dog bed that was set up in an office, Sprinkles began outwardly seeking attention from new people and showing the desire to be more outgoing, it was just going to take some time.

During her time at ARL in Brewster, she continued to take small steps, from going outside to relieve herself to spending short periods of playtime in a paddock with staff, volunteers, and even other dogs.

As she continued to make progress, after a couple of months in Brewster, Sprinkles finally met her potential new family.

The married couple visited with Sprinkles on three separate occasions, first meeting with her one-on-one, then together, making sure to go slow while making a loving connection with the fearful dog.

Going Home

Following the third visit with Sprinkles, the couple decided that the sweet 4-year-old pup had notched a special place in their hearts, and decided to adopt!

While most dogs walk out the door with their new family when leaving ARL, because Sprinkles is learning to live with her fear, saying goodbye to ARL was a special process – she was placed in a crate and carried to her new family’s vehicle, and from there, her new dog mom sat in the back seat with her for the ride home – another sign that Sprinkles had met the family she was destined for.

ARL Resources

While Sprinkles’ level of fear was extreme, ARL does routinely see animals of all types that are fearful.

ARL’s behavioral team works diligently to assess and then work with every animal in ARL’s care to help them tackle their fear and better acclimate into their new homes – however, once an animal goes home, ARL continues to be a resource.

Through occasional check-ins, dog training classes, and ARL’s free Pet Behavior Helpline, ARL can help guide pet owners through a myriad of behavioral issues and concerns.

If you have basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, etc., ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.

ARL Hosting Small Animal Adopt-a-Thon

Small animal adoption fees to be waived during adoption event

Thinking of adding a small animal to your family?

Join the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) across the organization’s three Animal Care & Adoption Centers for a Small Animal Adopt-a-thon in honor of Clear The Shelters, a national pet adoption campaign.

From August 10 through August 13, from guinea pigs to rabbits, mice, rats, among others*, ARL’s adoption fees will be waived — they may be small, but they will hold a big place in your heart!

ARL’s Adoption Forward process will remain the same and our adoption team will require prospective adopters to bring a photo of the cage their pet will live in to ensure it meets our requirements.

Search small animals available for adoption.

ARL has seen a steady influx of these animals including guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters, even sugar gliders and chinchillas over the past several years, and a large component to these surrenders are animals that are incorrectly sexed and wind up mating — leading to unexpected litters.

There are countless benefits to adopting a small animal.

Aside from off-the-chart cuteness, these animals are perfect for smaller living spaces and for living environment that may not allow a dog or cat. They are also social, loving, and make wonderful companion animals! Additionally, many smallies can be trained to use a litter box, among other cute and amazing skills!

Visit an ARL Animal Care & Adoption Center from August 10 through August 13 from 1:00pm-6:00pm:

Boston: 10 Chandler Street

Dedham: 55 Anna’s Place

Brewster (Cape Cod): 3981 Main Street
Note this location is open by appointment only on Sunday, 8/13. Please call (617) 426-9170 x305 to schedule an appointment.

*exclusions apply

Anna Harris Smith Legacy Society® Spotlight: Pam Chatis

Pam Chatis is running out of ways to support the Animal Rescue League of Boston! She is a volunteer, monthly donor,
and member of the Anna Harris Smith Legacy Society®. In addition to her work with ARL, Pam also volunteers with the House Rabbit Network of Westwood and Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum.

Those who know Pam can attest that she is a busy bee. After obtaining her PhD in Virology and completing a post-doc fellowship at MIT, she worked for many years studying molecular virology and infectious diseases. She was also a competitive athlete and avid runner before an injury forced her to slow down — though clearly not in spirit. Even in retirement, she maintains a rigorous schedule, dedicating her time to the causes closest to her heart.

Pam’s journey with ARL began over 26 years ago when she made her first donation after seeing a story about our Wildlife and Rescue (now known as Field Services) department. ARL’s work with facilitating wildlife rescue was near and dear to Pam’s heart. Growing up in the rural Worcester area, Pam would often come across sick or injured squirrels and chipmunks and would help care for and rehabilitate them.

In addition to the wild critters she cared for, Pam’s family also had pet Beagles, rabbits, and parakeets. This foundational experience helped rabbits become her “heart animal.” Pam believes that they are often overlooked in comparison to cats and dogs, especially because rabbits are sometimes considered livestock and not given the same considerations as their larger, fluffier, companion animal counterparts.

This empathy for rabbits and other small animals has made Pam an incredible asset to our “smallies” team of volunteers here at ARL. “Smallies” is the affectionate term for small animals like rabbits, mice, hamsters, and guinea pigs used by our staff and volunteers. Pam also spends valuable time with cats demonstrating behavioral challenges such as fearfulness and aggression.

Though she has only been a volunteer with ARL for a little over a year, her impact has been tremendous. Pam’s knowledge, dedication, and patience has helped many of our shelter animals to turn a corner behaviorally, blossoming from frightened and angry to calm, loving, and most importantly, adoptable. By going at their own pace and earning their trust, Pam enables our most vulnerable animals to find the loving homes they deserve.

As a member of the Anna Harris Smith Legacy Society®, Pam’s planned gift will help ensure her impact will continue beyond her worldly years. We are extremely honored to have Pam as part of our organization now and forever, due to her generous legacy gift.

Did you know August is National Make-A-Will Month?

Just as animals have touched your life, you can forever touch the lives of animals by including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in your Will. Learn how to leave your print and make more than a lifetime of impact for animals.

When you include ARL in your Will or other plans, you become a member of the Anna Harris Smith Legacy Society® and join the company of compassionate supporters like Pam, who want their dedication to the well-being of animals to continue long into the future.

Have you included, or are you thinking of including ARL in your Will? Let us know so we can thank you! Please contact Jackie.

ARL Staff and Volunteers Going Above and Beyond to Help Morbidly Obese Cats

Volunteers helping 30-pound obese cats groom, and exercise to promote weight loss

With several morbidly obese cats recently being brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), the organization’s staff and volunteers have dedicated themselves to helping these 30-pound cats in any way possible to help them lose weight and find the forever homes they deserve.

Maleficent came to ARL weighing more than 30 pounds.

To put this into context, a typical healthy weight for a cat is approximately 10 pounds!

For Maleficent, a 3-year-old female cat, and King, a 7-year-old male cat, both exceeded 30 pounds upon arrival at ARL, and given their condition, they were unable to groom themselves, leading to painful mats in their fur, and were relatively immobile.

Following their initial veterinary exams, both cats needed a dietary plan to lessen their caloric intake, and as we all know, the key to weight loss is to get up and get moving.

ARL staff and volunteers have dedicated themselves to spending ample time with these cats during the day, helping them groom so they will remain comfortable, and getting them out of their kennels for playtime and exercise.

To date, the cats are both responding well, they have come out of their shells and are starting to show their sweet and playful sides, and have both lost several pounds over the past month or so.

King came into ARL weighing 33 pounds.

Despite the progress, both cats will need to be in homes with families that are committed to helping the cats continue their weight loss journey and help them in any way possible.

Like humans, excessive weight gain for animals can be extremely detrimental to their overall health and well-being.

Health risks for obese animals include diabetes, high blood pressure, renal disease, and respiratory disease, among others.

Both King and Maleficent are currently unavailable for adoption as ARL wants the animals to achieve a healthier weight before finding their forever homes.

Volunteering at ARL

ARL volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, performing many tasks to help ARL achieve its mission to be an unwavering champion for animals every day of the year.

In 2022, 1,100 volunteers donated nearly 118,000 hours to help animals in need, the equivalent of 57 full-time staff members!

If you have a passion for animals, consider volunteering at ARL.

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.

ARL Teams with NE Revolution, Mass State Police, MassDot, RMV for Too Hot for Spot® Demonstration

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 the New England Revolution, Massachusetts State Police (MSP), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDot), and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, for ARL’s 10th annual summer safety campaign, Too Hot for Spot®, to remind pet owners about the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot car.

ARL hosted a press event at the organization’s Dedham Campus, which included a demonstration of how quickly the interior of a vehicle can heat up.

A large thermometer was placed in a vehicle by Slyde, the NE Revolution’s mascot, and with an outside temperature of 80 degrees, in less than 10 minutes the interior temperature of the vehicle soared to over 115 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.

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.

Learn more about summer pet safety tips.

Thank You

ARL would like to thank the New England Revolution, Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and Registry of Motor Vehicles for helping spread ARL’s Too Hot for Spot® summer safety campaign to the masses.

This campaign saves lives and ARL thanks you!

ARL Assists Boston Animal Control to Rescue Family of Ducks from Busy Boston Street

Ducks relocated to the Back Bay Fens

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department assisted Boston Animal Care and Control in the rescue of a family ducks from a patio along a busy Boston street, and moving them to a safer location.

The mama duck and her seven ducklings were on a patio along the 800 block of Boylston Street in Boston, creating a dangerous situation, particularly for the ducklings.

Boston Animal Control contacted ARL for assistance and once on-scene, the ARL’s Field Services agents were able to safely corral and trap the ducklings with a net before placing them in a transport crate.

Once the ducklings and their mother were ready for transport, Boston Animal Control brought the family of ducks to a waterway along the Back Bay Fens, where the family quickly acclimated to their new surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Boston streets.

About 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 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.

Foster Feature: Ning Pan

ARL foster parent and volunteer Ning Pan has traveled throughout the world, and is currently working towards the goal of traveling to all 50 states (with only four states left to go)! But one of her favorite places to travel is to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Ning started volunteering in October of 2021 at the recommendation of a co-worker. Having recently lost her beloved rescue dog Eva in 2020, Ning was ready for some animal love in her life again. Fairly soon in her volunteer journey, Ning noticed the critical need for foster families, and decided that fostering could be a good first step to welcoming dogs back into her and her family’s everyday lives.

Her first foster experience was with Kaylee and Macie, two senior Rat Terrier mixes. She took them home just before the holidays, and they remained in her care for 7-weeks before they were adopted together to a loving new family.

Since those first two fosters, Ning has fostered six more dogs! One of which was a “foster fail”, Buddy. “Foster fail” is an affectionate term for when a foster parent adopts their foster animal. But of course, it is never a failure when an animal finds a loving home, which was the case for Buddy! Buddy was originally adopted by someone else, but then had to be returned due to a family emergency. When he came back to ARL, Ning knew that he was meant to be a permanent member of her family, and they made it official by adopting him the same day he came back.

After adopting Buddy, Ning has continued to foster. Currently, she is fostering a dog involved in an active law enforcement investigation. This particular dog has been in ARL’s care since May of 2022, and has been in Ning’s care for over 6-months now!

Ning with her dog, Buddy, outside

Ning with her dog, Buddy, giving belly scratches outside of ARL's Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center

Law enforcement cases involving animals can take a long time to resolve, so having a foster who is able to provide that animal with a safe place to land while they await release to adoption is absolutely invaluable. Foster homes reduce stress for the animals and allows them some reprieve from shelter life, and at the same time, it opens up the facility to care for more animals in need. This is part of what motivates Ning to continue fostering.

Even though many people may ask her, “how can you do it”, “don’t you fall in love with them”, and “isn’t it sad” when asked about fostering. Ning is quick to explain how the fulfillment of the life-saving impact that foster care has for animals in need far outweighs any sadness she may feel saying goodbye to an animal. She also keeps in touch with the adopters of many of her fosters, and receives happy updates that help fill her cup with hope for other animals in need.

We are so thankful to Ning for all that she does for animals in need, like Buddy and the 6 other fosters that have come and gone through her home. She makes so much life-saving work possible, and for that we are eternally grateful.

Learn more about fostering and volunteering at ARL.