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Future Focus: Strategic Plan Goal 2

Support animal health with our professional services


Advance pet health and well-being through dog training courses and exceptional veterinary care.

Vision in Action

Gigi was adopted from ARL and her new mom, Chelsea, reached out to our dog training team to help provide Gigi with more structure and enrichment. Since completing their first course, Chelsea now has a better understanding of Gigi’s needs and it has improved the way they interact. This is just one of the ways we can help strengthen the human-animal bond and support pet families in our community.

Learn more about ARL’s 2024-2028 Strategic Plan for the Future.

A dog standing looking up at his owner to the side

Gigi and her owner during an ARL dog training class.

ARL Participates in Lobby Day for Animals

Lobby Day for Animals aims to cast light on animal-protection legislation

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined a number of animal welfare organizations at the Massachusetts State House to participate in Lobby Day for Animals, to help citizen animal advocates make an impact by meeting and encouraging their elected officials to prioritize animal-protection legislation.

ARL at Lobby Day for Animals.

Dozens of animal advocates representing counties throughout the Commonwealth gathered to learn more about legislation and hear from both advocates and elected officials who are passionate about animals including Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, Senator Adam Gomez, and Representative Sam Montaño.

With the current legislative session ending in July, ARL continues to advocate for a number of priority bills including:

An Act to Increase Kennel Safety aka Ollie’s Law (H.4564; S.2731)

Currently, kennels in Massachusetts have limited standards. This proposed bill would create regulations for kennels, including commercial boarding and daycares. The bill is named after Ollie, a puppy who died from injuries sustained at a pet daycare in Western Massachusetts.

An Act Relative to the Use of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, and Bears in Traveling Exhibits (H.3245; S.2197; S.2189

If passed, this piece of legislation would end the cruel use of these types of animals in circuses and other traveling exhibits.

An Act to Maintain Stable Housing for Families with Pets in an Economic Crisis and Beyond (H.1367; S.876)

This bill would provide housing protections during states of emergency and immediately afterward, preventing animals from being used as a reason for eviction. It would also prohibit insurance companies from refusing coverage, canceling, or increasing rates on the basis of dog breed.

Get Involved

The Legislature will take up the aforementioned bills in the coming weeks, and ARL encourages anyone invested in animal-protection law to contact their elected officials and as them to consider the current legislation to further propel Massachusetts in being a national leader when it comes to protecting animals.

Learn more about ARL’s Legislative Agenda and how you can become involved.

Digital Resources Round Up
A Moment of Paws: Diabetes in pets text and tabby cat looking at the camera

Video and Event Recording Library

ARL has a number of recording webinars and informational videos you can access any time to learn more about our programs or animal welfare topics.

ACCESS the video and event recordings

Is your Pet Lost?

There isn’t a more sinking feeling then when you realize that your furry or feathered companion might have gone missing.  Whether it’s a door left ajar, a booming thunderstorm, or slipped harness during a walk, our pets can all too quickly slip away from our sight.  In that moment of panic, it’s important to take immediate action by following our 5 steps to increase the likelihood of a happy reunion with your pet.



Board Safely™

Did you know there are no statewide regulations that govern boarding kennels and pet daycare facilities in Massachusetts? Our Board Safely™ campaign encourages pet owners to do their own research before leaving their pet in the care of a boarding kennel or daycare facility.


Downloadable Resources

Adopting a new animal is very exciting and can also come with a lot of questions. We hope these downloadable tips sheets are helpful.


Welcoming Your Adopted Dog into Your Home

Congratulations! You’ve adopted a dog and it’s going home with you this afternoon, so what’s next? After dog-proofing your house and gathering the necessary supplies (collar, ID tag, water bowl, crate, food, toys, and cleaning products), you’ll need to think about how to acclimate your pup the moment his paws walk through your front door.


Keep Pets Safe During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and ARL is reminding pet owners of some things to keep in mind to help keep our pets safe and healthy as we celebrate with friends, family, food and festivities!


Cold Weather Safety Tips

Frigid conditions can endanger the well-being, safety, and the lives of the pets we love.


Free Pet Behavior Helpline

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a free service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom. If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.

Animal Advocacy 101

Advocacy looks different for every person who decides to get involved. We can advocate for ourselves, for others, and for causes we care about. Advocacy goals can be to change laws, to change regulations, to change practices, and to change minds.

One of the most common ways of advocating is contacting your elected officials. Wherever you live, you are represented by many layers and levels of government. This includes city or town level, county level, state level, and federal level. There are a lot of people who represent and work for you, who have different abilities to change laws and regulations.


A Round of A-paws for our Sponsors!

With the help of our amazing sponsors, we achieved record breaking fundraising at our Paws to Celebrate events in Chatham, Truro, Boston, and Dedham!

Thank you to the following businesses and individuals for their generous support:


Leader of the Pack

Best in Show

Top Dogtop dog sponsorships

Top Cat


Dedham Savings

The Norfolk Group

Team Guthrie Mabile, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Robert Paul Properties

Arthur & Paula Rabe

Wilson Partners


Animal Advocate

Scott Allegretti, DDS

Animal Arts


Busy Paws Pet Supply

Carlson Audio Visual Inc.

IDEXX Laboratories

Helen Kosinski: Certified Soul Level Animal Communicator®

Needham Bank

Northern Business Machines


Rutter Networking Technologies


TD Bank

Three Fins Coffee Roasters

Veterinary Wellness Center of Provincetown


Doug Zeghibe


Protecting Pets During the July 4 Holiday Weekend

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, and 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 nation 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®

More summer safety tips.

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

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.