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Category: Rescue
Non-Native Lizard Hitchhikes from Florida to Massachusetts

Finders brought lizard to ARL Brewster Facility

Recently, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center took in a curious, non-native lizard that decided to hit the road and had hitchhiked its way from Florida to Massachusetts.

To see local media coverage of this story click here!

This curious lizard took a little road trip and wound up at ARL!

The person who brought the lizard to ARL stated that the reptile had somehow gotten into the interior of the vehicle when leaving Florida and was discovered upon arrival in Massachusetts.

The lizard, described as a Brown Anole, is native to Florida and abundant in the Sunshine State, but a non-native species to Massachusetts — the lizard was transported to a reptile rescue organization in Connecticut to receive care and be rehomed.

ARL commends the actions of the lizard’s finder and reminds the pubic that non-native species should never be released into the wild, as they can create vast ecological problems.

Any non-native species should be taken to a rescue organization like ARL where they will receive the care they need.


A Friendship Forged Under Quarantine

For Ollie and Holly, they came from different areas, different situations, but fate (and a four-month quarantine) brought these two kitty friends together, and now the pair are set to spend the rest of their lives in the same home.

Five-year-old Ollie came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in November 2020 after he was stuck in a tree in Weymouth for five days.

When ARL’s Field Services Department went to rescue him, neighbors indicated he had been in the area for several months and that the neighborhood kids nicknamed him Oliver (Ollie) – the name stuck.

Ollie was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and because his veterinary exam revealed several puncture wounds of unknown origin, the former stray would need to undergo a state-mandated four-month-quarantine.

For Holly, she also came to ARL in November 2020 after being found as a stray in the North Dartmouth area. Along with being a little underweight, she had suffered wounds to her legs, and like Ollie, was required to spend the next four months in quarantine.

When Ollie Met Holly

Upon arrival at ARL, Holly was friendly but nervous, especially around new people – she did however enjoy being around other cats.

Ollie on the other hand was incredibly friendly upon arrival, saying hello to anyone who would pay him attention. When it came to other cats however, Ollie was not interested – until he met Holly.

The two were placed in an office so they could have more space to stretch out and interact with people during their quarantine period, and for Ollie, he quickly became interested in Holly.

The pair would play and were often seen napping together, and even eating together! With Ollie’s help, Holly slowly began to come out of her shell and be more social with people.

Going Home

Given the bond forged during their four-months in quarantine, it was decided that the former community cats should find their new home together.

It didn’t take long, just days after being made available for adoption they found their perfect match and are now enjoying their new surroundings – together.

ARL Community Cat Initiative

With approximately 700,000 community cats living throughout Massachusetts, ARL launched its Community Cat Initiative in 2018, and has already helped thousands of these animals in a variety of ways.

For more information about the initiative click here.

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.


Stray Cat Found Under Porch Finds Perfect Match

Community Post Leads to Rescue

A home owner in Newton, MA, recently noticed a 13-week-old kitten seeking shelter under her house, and turned to a community forum website in an effort to find his owner.

The kitten was under the porch for seven days and when no one claimed ownership, an Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) volunteer reached out to help get him off the streets.

After privately messaging the home owner, the volunteer sprang into action by responding to the home and with the help of another dedicated volunteer, was able to trap the kitten within 10 minutes and transport him to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Newton was given a thorough veterinary examination when he arrived at ARL, and it was clear that he had been on his own for a little bit.

The kitten was malnourished and underweight, his abdomen was distended, and ARL’s shelter medicine staff also detected a heart murmur.

Following his examination he was placed into foster care to rest and recuperate in a quiet, stress-free environment.

Newton spent a week in foster care, and after being neutered and reexamined, he found his way into the perfect home!

Volunteer for Animals in Need

ARL volunteers are at the core of fulfilling the mission to be an unwavering champion for animals in need.

ARL’s 840 dedicated volunteers donated more than 63,000 hours of their time in 2020!

Additionally, ARL’s 435 foster families took in nearly 850 animals in 2020, giving them the opportunity to spend time outside of the shelter environment, and in Newton’s case, recover from injury or illness in a quiet, loving space.

We are so grateful to all of our volunteers, and if you are interested in giving back for animals in need, click here to see what opportunities are available!


Spay Waggin’ Treats Ill Community Kitten

Kitten needed eye removed due to severe infection

During a recent scheduled stop along the South Coast for the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’, an 11-month-old community kitten from Westport, MA, came in to be neutered and was slated to be returned to the field.

However, this kitten needed additional veterinary care due to a severe upper respiratory infection.

The infection had impacted one of his eyes to the point of rupture, meaning he would need the infected eye removed.

ARL agreed to take over his care and he was transferred to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption center where the neuter and enucleation surgeries were performed.

As with every community cat that comes into ARL, the kitten, now named Mike Wazowski in honor of a character from the Pixar movie Monsters Inc., was assessed behaviorally to determine if he was to be returned to the field or put up for adoption.

Mike was social almost immediately, and his playful personality quickly won over staff and volunteers alike.

The resilient 11-month-old kitten recovered quickly from his surgeries and less than two weeks after coming to the Spay Waggin’, Mike found his perfect match and is loving his new home!

Spread the Love to Help Animals Like Mike All Year Long!

During the month of February, as many celebrate love and affection, ARL is Spreading the Love to highlight the love we share for our furry and feathered friends!

Animals like Mike give us so much. They provide comfort, happiness, and, of course, love. And animals have been a huge support for so many during these difficult months.

Here are 3 way to join us and Spread the Love:

  1. Express your love for animals by making a gift 
  2. Make a gift in honor of a love one and send a special Valentine’s Day message with an eCard or a mailed card
  3. Become a Champions Circle member and help animals in need all year long

ARL’s Champions Circle is a special group of 800+ dedicated individuals who provide support in the form of recurring (usually monthly) donors. Their generosity provides the critical support to keep animals safe and healthy all year long.

If you’re interested in joining this select group, use our secure online form or call Derek at (617) 226-5662 to set up your gift over the phone.


Warm November/December May Result in Outdoor Kitten Surge

Outdoor kitten rate of survival low when temperatures drop

With November and December being relatively mild, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is expecting to see a rapid increase in the number of kittens being born outside, which may unfortunately lead to many fatalities in the harsh New England winter temperatures.

Survival rates for kittens born during the cold winter months is very low, and ARL is urging the public to take action if they become aware of kittens being born in or around their property.

Kittens just after coming into ARL.

ARL’s Field Services Department works extensively with community cats and can be reached by calling (617) 426-9170, option 1.

The winter months are, in general, difficult for community cats. However, adult community cats are resilient, able to forage for food and have the cunning ability to find a warm, dry place to be protected from the elements.

On the other hand, kittens, particularly under six-weeks-old, are unable to care for themselves, and lack the body fat and adaptive skills to survive the extreme cold.

Additionally, mothers of kittens may succumb to disease or an unfortunate accident, making the kittens orphans. The public should never remove, but always leave kittens with their mother and contact ARL for assistance.

It’s imperative to get these helpless kittens off the streets.

When ARL Field Services is contacted, the team will assess the site to determine whether the animals are in danger, and if so will remove them, along with their mother.

The kittens will then be transferred to an ARL Animal Care and Adoption Center for a veterinary exam, vaccinations, spay/neuter, and finally find them a loving forever home.

The mother cat will be vaccinated, spayed, and behaviorally assessed to determine whether they are adoptable or should be returned to the field.


ARL Assists Weymouth PD to Rescue 31 Dogs from Overcrowding Situation

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department assisted Weymouth Police and Animal Control in rescuing more than two dozen dogs from an overcrowding situation at a private residence.

In all, 31 Chihuahua-type dogs were removed from the home during the operation that involved ARL Law Enforcement and Field Services, Weymouth Police and Animal Control, and Animal Control Officers from Scituate, Braintree, and Cohasset.

ARL took in 21 of the dogs, while the remaining animals were transferred to another animal welfare organization on the South Shore.

The animals were removed due to unsanitary conditions, which it typically a byproduct of overcrowding.

One of the dogs needed emergency care and was immediately transferred from the residence to a nearby animal hospital.

The remaining 20 dogs were brought to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers and have received thorough veterinary exams.

Several of the dogs were diagnosed with heart murmurs and dental disease, and the majority will be available for adoption later in the week.

ARL urges the public to reach out to their local animal control or ARL Law Enforcement (617-426-9170 x110, or cruelty@arlboston.org) should they know of an overcrowding situation.

Overcrowding can lead to serious health concerns not only for the animals, but for people living among the animals as well. Additionally, overcrowding often leads to under-socialized animals, creating ongoing behavioral issues, particularly for older animals.

ARL Law Enforcement also wishes to thank and commend Weymouth Police and Animal Control for their steadfast commitment to the safety and wellbeing of these animals, and for allowing ARL to assist in this operation.

This work cannot be done alone and animals urgently need your help now.

Our hearts ache to know that animals are suffering and we know yours does too. Your support today can mean the difference between hope and despair for an animal in need.

Your emergency gift today can support:

  • Veterinary care and rehabilitation for the sudden influx of animals that have suffered the trauma of neglect
  • On-going investigations of cruelty to protect vulnerable animals
  • Emergency response when crisis strikes and animals are in dire need

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USPS Mail Carrier Delivers Support for Stray Cat

Mail carrier built outdoor shelter, contacted ARL to rescue and rehome

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to acknowledge an incredible act of kindness that took place amid the holiday delivery rush in early December.

While delivering mail, a compassionate, yet anonymous, United States Postal Service mail carrier in Cambridge, MA, went above and beyond their duties to deliver special support for a friendly stray in the Jackson Circle area.

The mail carrier was not only feeding the cat, later named Jackson, but had also constructed a cardboard shelter to help protect the animal from the elements.

As temperatures dipped and winter began to take hold, showing great concern for Jackson, the mail carrier contacted ARL’s Field Services Department to rescue the cat from a life on the streets.

Jackson, who’s estimated to be eight-years-old, was extremely friendly when approached by ARL Field Services staff, and was brought to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

A thorough veterinary exam revealed extensive dental disease, to the point where all but one of Jackson’s canines were cracked down to the root.

Additionally Jackson had a number of abrasions, and tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, which cannot be transmitted to humans but can be spread via bite wounds between cats. It should be noted that cats who test positive for FIV do go on to lead normal and healthy lives.

ARL shelter medicine staff performed a deep dental cleaning on Jackson, and because of the severity of his dental disease, 10 teeth needed to be extracted.

After recovering from his medical procedures, Jackson quickly found his forever home just in time for the holidays, and is thriving in his new environment under a new name – Teddy!

ARL is grateful to this anonymous mail carrier and their incredible act of compassion and kindness to not only look after Jackson but to make sure he didn’t have to spend another winter on the tough streets of Boston.


Holiday “Star” Seeking New Home for the Holidays

“Star” was one of more than 20 cats that came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center in September, after being removed from an overcrowding situation in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Star’s journey has been lengthy, but she has displayed remarkable perseverance and is hoping to find her new home just in time for the holidays.

Like many cats from this type of situation, Star was diagnosed with a severe upper respiratory infection. But while overcoming this hurdle, Star was not done confronting medical difficulties.

Star is looking for her forever family!

A thorough veterinary examination by ARL’s shelter medicine staff revealed a nasopharyngeal polyp, as well as strabismus.

A nasopharyngeal polyp is a benign growth that can extend into either the ear canal or the throat area. It’s likely the polyp was caused by previous inflammation or viral infection.

Strabismus is a condition where the eyes do not properly align with each other. The condition can occur in any direction; in Star’s case, her eyes turn upward and outward.

Star’s polyp was successfully removed, and she did require time in a foster home to allow her to heal in a quiet and peaceful environment.

 Sweet and Shy

When Star arrived at ARL, she had a very sweet disposition, and was constantly seeking attention and purring.

Following her polyp removal, her behavior changed slightly, particularly upon returning from foster care. Star was now more reserved, shy, and unsure of new people.

The reason for this behavior change is unknown, but continuing to show her resilience, over a period of days and weeks in the shelter environment Star has reverted to her former self and is once again seeking attention – she does however remain shy with new people.

Animals at ARL continuously show us awe-inspiring examples of strength, determination and resilience – Star has certainly demonstrated these qualities and is ready to find her forever home.

For more information about Star click here!

You Make These Outcomes Possible

While it is difficult to predict the on-going impacts of this global crisis, one thing remains constant – animals in our communities are still in need.

And with a great need for these ongoing and expanding community services, Champions Circle members are there to answer the call for help.

Thanks to you, Star was able to not only be rescued from her situation, but received the extensive support she needed in order to have a second chance.

Champions Circle members provide steady support that sustains life-saving measures and second chances for homeless and at-risk animals all year long.

During unprecedented times like these when fundraising events have been cancelled or modified, monthly gifts are crucial to providing life-saving care and assistance to animals when they need it most.

By becoming a Champions Circle member today, you are ensuring that animals in need will the care they deserve, even during crisis.

Why does monthly giving matter?

  • Spreading out your donation in increments throughout the year makes your giving budget work harder and creates an even bigger impact for animals.
  • Monthly giving is a convenient, affordable, and efficient way to make a difference in the lives of animals in our community.
  • 60% of ARL’s funding comes in during the last quarter of the year- and most of it during the last 2 weeks in December – yet animals need help every day. Monthly support from Champions Circle donors provides animals with care and assistance when they need it most.

Use this secure link to join now, or call Derek at (617) 426-9170 x162.


ARL Cares for Pair of  Turtles Found in Apartment

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was contacted about a pair of aquatic turtles that had been discovered by a landlord who was cleaning out an apartment that had recently been vacated.

ARL’s Field Services Department responded to the Greater Boston apartment and transported them to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The red eared slider and alligator snapping turtle were not getting the proper amount of UVB light and were also being kept in water that was too cold for them.

Once in ARL’s care, the turtles were placed in a proper environment, and later released to a local wildlife expert for further care.

Check Local Regulations

It’s important, particularly with reptiles, to consult local regulations to make sure that the animal is legal to own.

A permit is needed to own the turtles involved in this incident.


ARL Law Enforcement Seeking Public’s Help Identifying Stray Dog

Senior dog possibly abandoned at Winchendon, MA recreation area

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is caring for a stray senior dog found in Winchendon, MA, and while the dog is on the mend from a number of ailments, ARL Law Enforcement is asking the public for any information about where the dog may have come from.

The 10-year-old Norfolk Terrier was discovered outside the Lake Dennison Recreation Area along route 202 in Winchendon on November 5, at approximately 2 p.m.

The person who found the dog, now named Twyla, contacted Winchendon Animal Control and mentioned that the dog was shivering. ARL was then contacted to provide her with shelter, much-needed medical care, and to assist in the now ongoing law enforcement investigation.

ARL Law Enforcement is treating this as a possible animal abandonment case and asks anyone with information to call (617) 426-9170 x110, or email cruelty@arlboston.org.

A thorough veterinary exam at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center has revealed a number of medical issues for Twyla. Skin infections has led to significant fur loss, she also suffered from ear infections. Additionally, she had overgrown nails, dental disease and was underweight as well as dehydrated. ARL continues to treat Twyla for the aforementioned conditions.

Twyla is expected to have full recovery from her medical issues, and given that November is National Adopt a Senior Pet month, in the near future ARL hopes to find this senior dog a loving home in time for the holidays.

Due to her ongoing medical treatment and ongoing law enforcement investigation, Twyla is not yet available for adoption.

Double Your Impact for Animals in Need

The COVID-19 pandemic has created so much uncertainty and strained our limited resources—animals like Twyla need you now more than they have before.

Extraordinary need calls for extraordinary measures, so our Board, past Board members, Leadership Council, and President & CEO will MATCH gifts received now through midnight on 12/1, up to $155,000!

This is your chance to DOUBLE your impact for an animal in need and give them hope, comfort, and stability during a tumultuous time.