It’s National ‘Check the Chip’ Day!

Sharon resident reunited with cat thanks to microchip

Today is National ‘Check the Chip’ Day, a day to remind pet owners of the importance of not only having a microchip implanted, but to make sure that all contact information is up to date. While not replacing a collar and tags, a microchip drastically improves the chances of being reunited with a pet should they become lost.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a dog with a microchip is twice as likely to be returned to their owners, while a cat with a microchip is 20 times more likely to be returned.

Microchip Success Story

In February, Sharon resident Tyler Martin’s four-year-old brown tabby Bailey went missing. Bailey’s owner posted flyers around his neighborhood, but as the days and weeks passed, the hope for a reunion dwindled and the belief was that Bailey was gone for good.

Fast forward six months to August – the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services team received a call from a resident in Norwood about a possible stray cat in their yard. Field Services agents responded to the scene and were able to corral the friendly cat, transporting the animal to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bailey was scanned for a microchip and the information led ARL to Martin. When contacted, he was emotional and ecstatic to hear the news, but shocked that Bailey had been found on the other side of Route 95 in another town! He left work and was in Dedham in less than 30 minutes.

At ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center, Bailey was shy and wasn’t looking to interact with anyone, however when his owner arrived, a quick sniff of the hand created an instant reconnection, and the reunion was complete.

A happy reunion to say the least, and if Bailey had not been microchipped, it’s unlikely this reunion would’ve happened.

How the Microchip Works

A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number that is unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required. The microchip is injected with a needle beneath the skin between the shoulder blades and is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it.

Your pet’s identification number is entered into a national microchip registry, and you can think of the microchip as a permanent ID tag for your pet – but if you move or change phone numbers it’s important to make sure that your contact information is updated to increase the chances of a reunion.

When you adopt a dog or cat from ARL, along with being vaccinated, spayed or neutered, medically and behaviorally evaluated, the animal will also have a microchip implanted before you take them home.

Press Release: ARL Law Enforcement, Malden Police Jointly Investigating Abandoned Dog Case

Two-pound, emaciated and ill Chihuahua abandoned near Malden Police Department

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department is jointly investigating a disturbing case of animal cruelty and abandonment with the Malden Police Department, after an abandoned dog was discovered in terrible condition in a popular recreation area in Malden.

On Monday, July 25, the one-year-old Chihuahua, named Bailey by his Good Samaritan finder, was discovered huddling in some bushes along the East Coast Greenway bike trail in the area of Dell and Branch Streets.

The finder carefully wrapped the animal in a blanket and brought him to the nearby Malden Police Department.

The dog was initially treated at an animal hospital in Charlestown and then transferred to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bailey is emaciated, weighing just 2.7 pounds and scoring a 2 out of 9 on the body condition score index.

He also suffered severe fur loss and his body is covered in scabs.

Additionally, he tested positive and is being treated for Giardia, a parasitic illness that may be a further indicator that Bailey was previously living in unsanitary conditions — when presented for medical treatment, the animal was described as “malodorous” (filthy).

Bailey is receiving ongoing veterinary care including medicated baths and a refeeding plan to ensure he gains weight slowly and safely.

Please note: Bailey is not currently available for adoption. There is no timeline for when this may happen, the animal has suffered greatly and will take some time to get healthy and be ready to find a new home.

How You Can Help

Bailey still has a long road to health and our work is far from over.

We need you now to help him heal and find those responsible for his neglect.

Here are two ways you can help Bailey and animals like him:

  1. Make a life-saving donation in Bailey’s honor
    Your emergency gift today can support:

      • Veterinary care and rehabilitation for animals that have suffered the trauma of neglect
      • On-going investigations of cruelty to pursue justice for animals
      • Emergency response when crisis strikes and animals like Bailey are in dire need

Report Animal Cruelty
Too often, animal cruelty is not identified. By many estimates, 4 out of 5 cases remain hidden, leaving animals to suffer.

If you suspect animal cruelty, please call your local authorities or ARL’s confidential Law Enforcement line at (617) 426-9170 X110, or email cruelty@arlboston.org so we can investigate.

Lost Logan Cat’s Infamous Journey Comes to an End

ARL Field Services lends a hand as “Rowdy” was lost at Logan Airport for three weeks

In late June, Rowdy, a 4 year-old cat, got out of her carrier while being unloaded after her flight from Germany landed at Boston’s Logan Airport, and over the next three weeks, the lost Logan cat captured the attention of animal enthusiasts across the country and the world.

Collaborative Effort

Upon hearing of Rowdy’s disappearance, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department reached out to Massport, who was already working to locate and retrieve the lost cat.

ARL offered to loan Massport humane cat traps, as well as technical advice to make the effort more effective.

Massport placed the traps and baited them with Rowdy’s favorite treats, and also laid out personal items from her owners to try and entice the cat.

Over the next few weeks the lost cat was spotted around Logan Airport’s Terminal E by airport employees on the ground and on surveillance cameras, but she continued to evade the traps.


ARL, Massport and Rowdy’s owners kept the cat top of mind, and then one morning, the lost Logan cat allowed herself to be trapped!

Massport contacted ARL, who immediately dispatched a Field Services agent to retrieve the wayward and elusive cat.

While news of Rowdy’s airport exploits spread quickly, she was brought to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center where ARL’s veterinary staff checked the cat over to make sure she was in good health after her ordeal.

A testament to Rowdy’s intelligence, survival skills and resilience, she was alert, free from injury and was able to maintain a healthy weight during her ordeal.

With her wellness check complete, ARL’s animal care staff was able to confirm Rowdy’s microchip number and were then able to contact her owner with the good news!


As Rowdy settled into her temporary surroundings at ARL, she began to relax and showcased her warm, playful personality.

The final piece to her journey was to be reunited with her owner, but unfortunately this could not happen overnight as her owner lives 1,300 miles away in Florida!

The joyful reunion had to wait two days as her owner made travel arrangements, and on a Saturday morning, Rowdy rejoined her family in front of a throng of media members and cameras.

ARL is proud to have played a small role in reuniting a cat who truly lives up to her name with her loving family, and we are happy to report that she has returned home and is once again basking in the love of her family!

ARL Reminds Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe During Heat Emergency

Heat emergency in place, heat and high humidity poses threats to pet health

With oppressive heat and humidity poised to settle into the area over the next few days, 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).
  • 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.

For more safety tips, log onto arlboston.org.

Friends of Falmouth Dogs and ARL Join for Spay/Neuter Event

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides spay/neuter surgery for a dozen animals

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ made a special stop in Falmouth, through a collaborative effort with Friends of Falmouth Dogs.

Seeing the needs of local pet owners, the Falmouth-based nonprofit provided funding to have a dozen animals spayed or neutered through ARL’s Spay Waggin’ – a mobile surgical clinic serving the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and Islands with accessible and affordable high-quality spay and neuter services for more than 20 years.

“Although the Spay Waggin’ makes routine visits to Falmouth, working directly with Friends of Falmouth Dogs, to be a resource to pet owners within their communities reinforces the core purpose of the Spay Waggin’,” said Sam Fincke, ARL Associate Director of Community Operations.

In addition to providing surgery, ARL was able to provide the organization with 150 pounds of dog food to help Friends of Falmouth Dogs further assist pet owners in the community.

Friends of Falmouth Dogs would like to thank the Falmouth Service Center and Falmouth Housing Authority for being so instrumental in getting the word out to the group’s target audience.

This is the second year that Friends of Falmouth Dogs has hosted the Spay Waggin’, and ARL looks forward to similar events in the future!

About the Spay Waggin’

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is a state-of-the-art mobile spay/neuter clinic that has provided the service for more than 65,000 animals since first hitting the road in 2000.

While the Spay Waggin’ has primarily served the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod communities, in 2020 the Spay Waggin’ returned to the city with a stop in East Boston, and the new Franklin Park Zoo stop will further broaden the reach to Metro Boston residents.

The Benefits of Spay/Neuter

There are numerous reasons to spay/neuter your pet, including:

  • Curb pet overpopulation and make your pet healthier
  • Reduce the number of homeless pets euthanized – In the U.S., an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals enter animal shelters every year
  • Spayed or neutered dogs and cats on average have a longer lifespan than intact animals
  • Increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain type of cancers including uterine cancer and cancers of reproductive tract
  • Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, uterine infections, and uterine cancer
  • Reduce unruly behavior

Are you looking for high-quality, low-cost pet wellness care? Check out ARL’s Wellness Waggin’. 

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

ARL Assists in Two Overcrowding Situations

ARL Provides Spay/Neuter, Other Services for Overcrowding Situations

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently assisted two families with similar circumstances – having unaltered cats in the home, leading to overcrowding situations.

In all, the two situations resulted in ARL assisting with 20 cats.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

A family in Norfolk County reached out to ARL when they realized the struggle of a growing pet cat population.

Two cats taken in from overcrowding situations.

The family was struggling to find affordable spay/neuter options for the cats, which had resulted in additional litters of kittens.

ARL’s Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program, was the perfect solution for the family.

The Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program offers free spay/neuter surgery for the parent animals, and waived surrender fees for the offspring. After surgery, the parent animals are returned to the home, while the offspring are adopted into new and loving homes!

ARL’s Field Services Department transported nine cats from the home to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, where the animals received wellness exams, vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries.

The kittens were placed into new homes, while two of the adult cats were returned to the family!

Lending a Paw

A family in Plymouth County recently reached out to ARL for assistance regarding a family member’s cats they had been caring for.

The family member was ill and would be returning home, but would be unable to care for the nearly dozen cats in the home.

ARL’s Field Services agents went to the home to pick-up 11 cats, transferring them to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Two of the cats were returned to the family following spay/neuter surgery, while the remaining settled into Dedham’s “cat colony” room.

The cats were very shy, and were most comfortable as a group.

The “cat colony” room is a large, open space, giving shyer cats more room to sprawl and explore, and since being at ARL, the nine cats in the room are settling in, getting more comfortable in their new surroundings, and are currently awaiting their new homes.

ARL Here to Help

If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by having too many animals in their home, there is help available.

You can contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

ARL approaches every overcrowding situation with respect, compassion, and a staunch commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the animals involved, as well as their caretakers.

If you or someone you know may be overwhelmed with the number of animals in the home, ARL is here to help.

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

The Most Vulnerable Community Cats, and How You Can Help

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Community Cats Program provides care for hundreds of community cats from throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on an annual basis, but as we get into the warmer months, ARL is seeing more and more of the most vulnerable – kittens born in the wild.

Dedicated to Making a Difference

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated agent working with community cats.

Working throughout the state, ARL’s Community Cat Agent will identify and assess a colony of cats, and formulate a trap-neuter-return (TNR) plan for each situation.

Once the cats are humanely trapped, they are transported to an ARL Animal Care and Adoption Center where they receive medical treatment, including vaccines and spay/neuter surgery, and are also assessed behaviorally to determine adoption potential.

Since its inception in 2017, the program has assisted well over 3,000 community cats, and the need to help these animals has increased every year of the program – and as we get into the warmer months of the year, kittens are being born in great numbers and are extremely vulnerable to the elements, predators, illness and injury, among other threats.

Tansy and Posie

Tansy and Posie are a sibling pair of female kittens, and former community cats, recently taken in by ARL.

Former community cats Tansy and Posie.

A family in Rochester, MA, began noticing a group of cats on their property, and over time began to care for the animals by providing food and also outdoor cat shelters – but they also began to notice an abundance of kittens being born.

Doing some online research, the family discovered ARL’s Community Cat Program.

“When I called ARL’s Dedham branch, I cannot tell you the relief I had when they offered their assistance!” said Sarah Aanensen. “I wanted so badly to help these cats but knew there was no way to afford to get all these feral cats vet care that they so badly needed.”

Sarah began to humanely trap the cats, and Tansy and Posie were brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal care and Adoption Center.

While too young to be made available for adoption, the kittens have spent several weeks in foster care and are getting stronger by the day!

In a few weeks the kittens will be spayed, vaccinated, and will then find their perfect homes!

How You Can Help Community Cats (and Kittens)

Join us for this year’s Kitten Shower, as we bring awareness of the reality of kitten season and rally support to help fragile babies like Tansy and Posie.

This is your chance to help kittens get the chance they deserve at a safe and healthy life in a home.

Here’s how:

    1. Make a gift today to provide kittens and cats with the care they need – Gifts of $100 or more will be recognized on the Kitten Kuddler Wall of Honor
    2. Send critically-needed supplies from our Kitten Shower Registry directly to those in need
    1. Help spread the word by voting and sharing our Cutest Kitten (or Cat) Photo Contest

Your support can mean the difference between a challenging life outdoors and a happy, secure home for these vulnerable animals.

Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund Provides Injured Puppy with Vital Surgeries

The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund recently provided a six-month-old puppy with two essential surgeries, which began as a collaboration between two of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) veterinary programs.

An Emergency Referral

Nina, then a three-month-old puppy, came to ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ in late February because she was limping after jumping off of her family’s bed.

Fearing a fracture, the Wellness Waggin’ staff referred Nina’s owners to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) – ARL’s clinic with a mission, to receive x-rays.

X-rays revealed a mild avulsion fracture, and during the visit an umbilical hernia was also detected.

Due to the mild nature of the fracture, BVC’s medical staff opted for pain management, rest, and limited activity to heal the fracture – the umbilical hernia did need to be repaired surgically, and Nina was also in need of a spay.

Veterinary care can of course be expensive, however, Nina’s family qualified for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, which would cover the costs of the x-rays, exam, and for Nina’s surgical needs as well.

Receiving Care

In early May, Nina returned to BVC for a recheck of her leg, and to undergo surgery.

The fracture had healed, and with the successful surgeries completed, Nina is now healthy, happy, and ready to get back to being a puppy!

“This is such a blessing, we can’t thank everyone enough,” said Nina’s family. “Nina means so much to us and having her healthy is the most important thing.”

“This was a tremendous collaboration between the Wellness Waggin’ and Boston Veterinary Care,” stated ARL Director of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Nicole Breda. “By referring Nina to BVC, not only were we able to get this puppy healthy, but the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund removed the financial burden for these procedures, helping to keep Nina in her home where she belongs with those who love her.”

The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, established by longtime ARL supporter and former Board member Jane Whitney Marshall, ensures that financial barriers do not prevent owners from providing vital veterinary care for their pets in treatable medical emergencies.

How You Can Double Your Impact!

The pandemic is straining our limited resources, and our neighbors are feeling the same financial pressures.

There is a critical lack of affordable veterinary care options, and many individuals or families are faced with heartbreaking decisions regarding their beloved animals.

At the same time, the shelter animal population in our region is changing and we are seeing more complex medical issues that require advanced diagnostics, special surgeries, medication, and recovery time.

Your support helps ARL solve these pressing challenges, and with your support today, your gift can go twice as far!

From now through June 15, your gift to provide medical care to a shelter animal will be MACTHED, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, to provide care to an owned animal through the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund.

Even in these challenging circumstances, your generosity can do TWICE as much good by helping a shelter animal AND a beloved pet. Make a gift today!