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Memorial Day Weekend Travel Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool and Calm

Things to keep in mind if you’re bringing your furry friend along for the ride

Memorial Day Weekend is here, and for many of us it means three things — Honoring our service men and women; spending time with friends and family and; travelling!

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to remind you that busy holiday weekends can be stressful and dangerous for your pup.

While temperatures during Memorial Day Weekend are expected to be seasonal, even when the outside temperature is 70 degrees, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes — even with the windows left partially opened! That’s why leaving your pet inside of a hot car is the most common cause of deadly heat stroke — it’s just TOO HOT FOR SPOT®! Remember, pets don’t sweat like humans do and cannot cool their bodies efficiently in hot temperatures.

If you plan on taking your best friend along for the ride this weekend, here are some tips to help keep your dog safe:

  1. Never leave your pup alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. Not only are hot cars the most common cause of heat stroke, but leaving an animal inside a parked car is ILLEGAL in Massachusetts.
  2. Just like us, dogs need bathroom breaks! When driving long distances, be sure to periodically find a safe area to pull over to allow your pup to do their business, and get a little fresh water and perhaps some food.
  3. Always keep your canine on a leash or in a carrier if they must be outside. Find a shady spot with plenty of airflow and lots of fresh water.
  4. Keep them away from dangerous objects. Secure your pet a good distance from sparklers, BBQs, and pools. Additionally, there are many plants and flowers that can be toxic to dogs, so make sure your pet is under constant supervision while outdoors.
  5. Loud noises can be spooky! Things like fireworks and other loud noises can make a dog “fearfully aggressive,” so monitor your dog and keep them calm, especially around children.
  6. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals during holidays due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Make sure your contact information is current and always on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they be separated from you.

Prevention is responsible pet ownership. When in doubt, leave your pet at home in a quiet, cool room. Turn on a TV or radio to help distract from outside noises and leave them free to roam around so they don’t feel too confined.

ARL Joins ABCD for Mobile Food Pop-Up Program

Agency provides groceries and pet food for qualifying families and individuals at no cost

(Boston, MA) — The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is expanding its partnership with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), by participating in two monthly ABCD FOOD POP-UPS to help distribute groceries and pet food for individuals and families in underserved and under-resourced communities in Greater Boston.

A May 2019 report by Feeding America revealed that Massachusetts has the most expensive food prices in the country, with residents of Eastern Massachusetts shouldering the highest food costs statewide.

ABCD FOOD POP-UPS are among several new initiatives designed to strengthen ABCD’s food security program.

To qualify, residents of Boston, Medford, Everett, Belmont, Newton or Winchester must have a household annual income under 80 percent AMI (Area Median Income).

Monthly, FOOD POP-UPS visit Mattapan, Roslindale, East Boston and South Boston, providing fresh produce, meats and grocery staples.

Additionally, ARL will be present at the East Boston and Mattapan pop-ups to provide dog and cat food.


A line forms at ABCD's pop-up

A line forms outside of the East Boston pop-up.


ARL staff members work to hand out pet food at ABCD pop-ups

ARL’s team happily hands out pet food during Friday’s pop-up in East Boston.

There are no appointments required. Community members must register through ABCD’s online portal by visiting bostonabcd.org/mobilefood. Supplies are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

ARL’s collaboration with ABCD began in 2019, with ARL’s Wellness Waggin’, offering low-cost, high-quality wellness care for pets in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, and East Boston, and the organization is thrilled to be able to expand this partnership to offer continued assistance to our local communities.

“Food insecurity is an unfortunate reality for many, and can extend to pets as well,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “ABCD is continually finding ways to better serve clients, and ARL is privileged to be able to be a part of this important program to help both people and animals in our communities.

ABCD President and CEO Sharon Scott-Chandler, Esq., said that high inflation and food costs could force people to make the difficult choice between feeding themselves or their beloved pets. “Right now inflation and grocery prices are through the roof for everyone. Pets are family members. They improve emotional well-being and make life a little brighter all around. Deciding which family member gets fed is crushing. ABCD thanks the Animal Rescue League for this expanded partnership and for providing free pet food to clients at our FOOD POP-UPS.”

ARL’s contribution of free dog and cat food makes the difference for residents who are trying to make ends meet.

ABCD client Diogenes Castillo supplements his grocery budget by visiting an ABCD FOOD POP-UP for fresh meat, produce and staples.

He said, “With grocery prices being so expensive, everything helps. My dog is like my best friend. Receiving pet food from the Animal Rescue League of Boston when I visit ABCD FOOD-POP UPS lets me stretch my dollars and make sure that my good boy is well fed.”

Feeding America also reports that in 2021, 53 million people turned to food access centers and community programs for help with putting food on the table. These pop-ups are ideal for those who don’t live near a food access center, can’t get to one during regular hours or who have mobility issues.

January is National Train Your Dog Month

Start Your Pet’s Year Off on the Right Paw

January is National Train Your Dog Month, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is reminding dog owners that no matter the age of their pup, now is a perfect time to consider training to have a positive impact on your dog’s health, safety, and overall well-being.

ARL is a resource for pet owners and offers a variety of dog training courses with certified, experienced, and caring dog trainers to help teach pups physical and mental skills including basic manners, advanced commands, healthy socialization skills, and mental enrichment exercises, among others. Group classes and private training sessions are available at ARL’s Boston and Dedham locations. Enroll in a dog training course today!

Have a question about your pet’s behavior? ARL also offers a free pet behavior helpline to address a myriad of potential concerns including crate training, excessive barking, and house soiling. To contact ARL’s free pet behavior helpline, call (617) 226-5666, email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org, or submit a question online.

Additionally, consider the following to get your pet’s year off on the right paw:

1. Increase Activity. An additional daily play session with our pets, no matter the species, can go a long way in improving their overall health, particularly as our pets age. More activity also decreases boredom and helps keeps their bodies and minds in peak condition.

2. Improve Their Diet. When bringing in your pet for their annual wellness check with your veterinarian, you can discuss your pet’s diet to see if there’s anything we can improve upon to fulfill the animal’s dietary needs. This is key especially for our aging pets as their nutritional needs change over the years.

3. Try Something New. Whether it be a play date with a new dog, bringing your pup on a hike or to the beach, or introducing your cat or small animal to interactive toys like food puzzles, allowing your pet to try something new is a great way for them to increase activity and engagement, practice social skills, and helps improve their overall happiness and well-being.

4. Get Your Pet Microchipped. A microchip drastically increases the likelihood of being reunited with your pet should they go missing, so if you have not microchipped your pet, please consider doing so. The process for your pet is pain-free and it is a low-cost and lifelong added peace of mind for you and your pet.

We all want to start the year off on the right foot or paw, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone in the journey of pet ownership and to take advantage of all the resources you can to ensure your pet is happy and healthy in 2023 and beyond.

State Senate Takes Action on Animal Legislation

Bills Include Boarding Kennel Regulations

While the current legislative session may be winding down, this week several animal protection bills took a big step forward, as the Massachusetts Senate took action on several bills on ARL’s Legislative Agenda.

H.4442, An Act further regulating the enforcement of illegal hunting practices, would enter Massachusetts into a nationwide compact to prevent convicted poachers from hunting in other states, as well as update penalties that are outdated by almost a century. H.4442 passed the House earlier this year, so only needs to have some small differences ironed out before it is sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The Senate also passed H.901, An Act protecting research animals, which would ensure that cats and dogs used for research in Massachusetts get the opportunity to be adopted into loving homes. This bill also passed the House earlier this session, so the two versions will need to be reconciled in the legislature before moving on to the Governor.

S.2994— An Act protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns—was passed by the Senate on Monday. This session, ARL has been supportive of this and other efforts to regulate pet daycares and update kennel laws to protect animals throughout the Commonwealth.

While there are no statewide regulations surrounding these facilities, ARL’s Board Safely campaign provides pet families with what to look for before they board their pet. ARL is also a member of Ollie’s Coalition, founded after the death of Ollie, a labradoodle mauled at a pet daycare in 2020.

We only have until July 31 to get this bill through the House and to the Governor’s desk. Please reach out to your Representative today and ask them to support S.2994 and protect puppies and kittens this legislative session!

Have questions or want to get involved? Contact advocay@arlboston.org

This July 4th, Help Keep Pets Safe and Calm

July 4th Fireworks can trigger anxiety in pets

Fireworks and July 4th go hand-in-hand, however, this is also a time of great anxiety for our pets, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to take extra steps to ensure our pets are safe and calm during the upcoming holiday weekend.

While exciting for us, fireworks can cause behavioral issues in our pets that may last for a long time, and signs to watch out for include: shaking, drooling, howling or barking, pacing, trying to find a place to hide, loss of bladder control, among others.

When stressed and exhibiting signs of fear, dogs may potentially redirect that fear into an aggressive behavior. Additionally, the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks may also cause a dog to run off. During this time of year, shelters around the national typically see an increase in lost dog reports.

The first and easiest step to take is to make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags, and if they are microchipped, to be sure that the contact information is current and correct; as a precaution just in case they become lost.

You can also set them up in a quiet, temperature-controlled room with some of their favorite toys, turn on some soft music, a television, or a white noise machine to help drown out the noises caused by fireworks.

If you are concerned about the bright lights, you can also move your pet into a room with no windows, however you may need to prepare for the chance they may run when the door is opened.

There are also medications to help reduce stress and anxiety, however this is something that needs to be discussed with your veterinarian to determine which, if any, medication would be appropriate for your pet.

Additional Summer Safety Tips

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.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car — even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked. Remember, when the temperatures rise, it’s Too Hot for Spot®

For more summer safety tips, visit www.arlboston.org/summer-safety

Tis the Season for Fun Contests! Help Spread Cheer this Season by Participating or Voting.

Ugly Sweater Contest

Did you know that the third Friday in December marks National Ugly Sweater Day?  What better reason to break out your ugliest holiday sweater and pose with your pets!

All you need to do to enter is to submit a photo of yourself in your most festive sweater with your favorite animal friend OR a photo of your pet in holiday attire or accessories. Photos can be sent to marketing@arlboston.org or tag us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Contest opens: Friday, December 10, 2021

Deadline to submit your photo: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at Midnight

Voting: Begins at 9:00AM on Friday, December 17, 2021, National Ugly Sweater Day!

Four finalists will be selected by ARL and votes will be cast on social media. Each entry will be assigned a number. To vote, comment on the social posts with the number of your favorite finalist.  Please, just one vote per person, but you can ask your friends and family to vote!

The winner will be announced by 5:00pm on December 17, 2021, and will receive ARL Swag and bragging rights!

Whisker Wonderland Coloring Contest

Show off your creativity and coloring skills in this contest that is suitable for all ages!

Download our printable coloring sheets by clicking here.

We’re asking contestants to pick one of three choices: dog, cat, or rabbit.  Color in your critter and background as festive as you like!

All you need to do to enter is to submit your completed coloring page by emailing marketing@arlboston.org or tagging us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Contest opens: Friday, December 10, 2021

Deadline to submit your coloring page: Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at Midnight

Voting: Begins at 9:00AM on Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Finalists will be selected by ARL and votes will be cast on social media.

Each entry will be assigned a number. To vote, comment on the social posts with the number of your favorite finalist. Please, just one vote per person, but you can ask your friends and family to vote!

The winner will be announced by 5:00pm on December 28, 2021, and receive ARL Swag and bragging rights!

There’s still time time to make a difference for animals this year!

Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

There Is Still Time to Make a Difference for Animals This Year

The past twelve months have been challenging, however, you have shown that there is compassion and kindness in this world – thank you.

With your support, we adapted our programs to do everything we could to keep more pets with their families and help the animals who came through our doors.

Because of you, the following was made possible:

The road ahead is uncertain, but we know the pandemic will have a significant lasting effect on animals in need and the people who love them.

For all of us, and especially for animals in need, this has been a trying time. The pandemic has made our work much more difficult.

We launched two new programs, Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals Facing Emergencies) and Temporary Pet Housing, aimed at keeping pets with their families during this crisis.

To meet the increased demand for affordable care, we expanded our service area for our mobile clinics, the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’, to improve access to care, decreasing barriers for pet owners in underserved communities – areas that are disproportionally affected by COVID-19.

These new programs, coupled with the increased demand for our programs means the need is greater than ever.

Today, you have the chance to help us meet the needs of animals and the people who love them. Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

Yes I want to help animals in need

More than 35% of ARL’s funding arrives in December – now is a critical time to give to ensure we are ready to help animals and the people who love them today and in the new year.

symbolic gifts

Thank you for being there for animals during these unprecedented and challenging times.We wish for you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!


Prefer to give by check? Please have your envelope postmarked by 12/31/2020 and mail to: Animal Rescue League of Boston ATTN: Development, 10 Anna’s Place, Dedham, MA 02026

Need assistance or prefer to give by phone?  Please call us Monday through Friday at (617) 426-9170 x603

Gifts of Stock not only help animals in need, they may also provide tax benefits including avoiding capital gains tax. To donate stock or other appreciated securities, contact Jackie Smith.

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), also known as IRA charitable rollovers, allow individuals who are 70½ years or older to donate to qualified charities like ARL. QCDs may help offset an individual’s required minimum distribution, which could have tax benefits. To donate by QCD, please contact your IRA custodian.

If you have a Donor-Advised Fund, you can make a grant recommendation to support ARL

Halloween Pet Safety Tips for a Safe Holiday

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) share important tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween season.

Boston Terrier in Halloween costume

Tip: If it’s your pet’s first time wearing a costume this Halloween, spend a few days before the big holiday getting them acclimated to wearing it. Keep in mind, some pets are just not fans of wearing costumes and would much rather wear a festive collar or bandanna instead.

With the month of October almost half over, Halloween 2021 is right around the corner! You may be a fan of the spookiest time of year, but for your pet, this haunting holiday can be truly scary.

Not to worry though, enjoying the festivities and keeping your pets safe is easier than you think – Follow these 3 tips to ensure your pet has a safe Halloween this season:

1. Keep your pets inside. The Halloween season often brings out tricksters who might taunt or harm an animal left outdoors. It’s always a good idea to keep pets inside with proper, up-to-date identification. If your pet must be outdoors, be sure to keep them leashed and an eye on them at all times.

2. Stash the sweet treats. Chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Additionally, many candies and gums contain Xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets. Always keep chocolate and candies out of your pet’s reach.

3. Be careful with costumes. If you decide to dress your pet up for this festive holiday, costume safety is key. Keep these costume safety tips in mind:

  • Always supervise your pet while they’re wearing a costume.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits properly and does not restrict their movement.
  • Be cautious of loose or dangling pieces that pets could potentially choke on.
  • Ditch the masks or other accessories that could potentially make it difficult for your pet to breath or obstruct their vision.

No plans for Halloween? Spend the day getting to know some of our adoptable animals.


ARL, Animal-Related Budget Items to be Debated in State Legislature

Annually, the Massachusetts Legislature debates to prioritize and solidify a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

After the Governor files suggestions in January, both branches of the legislature work together to hold hearings to discuss revenue and issues facing the Commonwealth.

The House then releases and debates a budget in April, with the Senate debating theirs in May.

The budget includes funding for state programs, so-called “earmarks” to address specific concerns of legislators, and “outside sections” that include policy changes that do not deal with funding.

Over 1,000 amendments are filed in each branch, and both branches take multiple days of deliberation.

After both budgets are debated, a conference committee of six legislators will work together to come to agreement on each item.

Budget amendments are filed on a variety of topics, to both increase existing funding and add new funding.

The State House will be conducting the debate mostly virtually, and you can watch along on https://malegislature.gov/

Animal-Related Budget Items

There are three amendments filed to the House budget that would directly improve the lives of animals in Massachusetts.

#433 Mass Animal Fund

The Massachusetts Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund (MAF) helps provide spay/neuter to some of the most in-need residents across the commonwealth.

While some of the funding for this comes from an optional check-the-box on your taxes (33f if you haven’t filed your taxes yet), over the past few years the fund has been supplemented by funding secured in the budget.

This amendment would increase funding to MDAR for this fund.

#721 Hen Welfare

In 2016, Massachusetts passed a first-of-its kind law through ballot initiative to require that all whole eggs sold in Massachusetts be “cage-free” and fit certain requirements.

As other states have passed similar laws, they have adopted other protections and adopted a slightly different standard.

This amendment, also filed as a stand-alone bill, would strengthen hen welfare by affecting more hens and requiring more enrichment for these animals.

#1002 Animal Rescue League of Boston

For the first time, ARL is seeking funding from the state to help us continue our community programs, which include the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’.

Over the past year, we have seen incredible need in the communities we serve, and the need only continues to grow.

This funding would help ARL continue the critical community work we do, and help pets in the process.

Your Voice Matters!

As always, legislators rely on their constituents to reach out to them and share their priorities.

As a constituent, ask them to support these amendments and the welfare of animals in the FY22 budget.

The House will begin their budget debate early next week, so make sure to speak up for animals now!

For an example of how to format your email to your legislators, click here.

Find your representative here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Together, we can provide a better Commonwealth of Massachusetts for animals – Thank you!

Benji’s Remarkable Transformation

ARL granted bond request in case

In 2017, legislation was enacted in an effort to strengthen financial protections for animal care facilities like the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), who provide long-term care for an animal who is the subject of an active animal cruelty investigation and prosecution.

The legislation allows the prosecuting agency to request a court order for the accused to post a security bond, which can be used to recuperate costs of shelter, food, medical care, behavioral training, and other related costs.

If granted, the accused would have to either cover the bond or forfeit the animal.

ARL staunchly advocated for this piece of legislation, and in early 2021 ARL was granted a bond in a case dating back to late 2019. It was the first time since the passage of the legislation that ARL was granted such a bond.

Benji’s Story

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department took custody of Benji, now a four-year-old pitbull-type dog in November 2019 – along with dehydration, skin issues, foreign material in his stomach and other medical concerns, he was severely emaciated, weighing just 30 pounds, about half of what he should’ve weighed at the time.

Animal cruelty charges were filed, and while the case made its way through the judicial system, the incredibly friendly and resilient dog began his long journey to recovery.

Given the level of his emaciation, he was put on a strict feeding program and placed into foster care.

With dozens of shelter medicine visits and plenty of love and care, over time Benji got back to a normal weight, and his persistent skin issues were treated.

Case Closed

In early 2021, ARL was granted the security bond, and the accused ultimately agreed to forfeit Benji.

Caring for Benji for well over a year, his foster family had formed an amazing, loving bond, and wound up adopting him!

Benji Adopted

Advocating for Animals

The 2021-2022 Massachusetts legislative has begun and ARL’s Advocacy Department will continue to push for statewide legislation on issues critical to animal welfare in the Commonwealth.

Click here to see ARL’s legislative agenda and for more information on how you can be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.