2nd Annual Happy Tails Celebration – Thank you!

Thank you to all who made the 2nd Annual Happy Tails Celebration a success! Over 100 people, 60 dogs and 2 cats joined the League on Saturday, July 16th for a day of food, beverages and fun!

Remy with Maria and Kate.jpgHappy Tails raised over $3,500 to benefit the animals at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

This would not have been possible without the support of local businesses that donated the food: Rome Pizza, Emilio’s Pizza, Silverbrook Farms, Berkeley Perk Cafe, Kayem, Cape Cod Potato Chips, Mike & Patty’s, Hannaford, South End Buttery, Peter Condakes Company, and Spikes Junkyard Dogs.

Thank you to all the supporters and vendors (The Well Fed Dog, Yoghund, Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa, and Polka Dog Bakery) who joined us and the volunteers who helped set up, prepare the food and stayed late to clean up!

We were joined by League Alum Remy, seen here with volunteers Maria and Kate. Click here to view more pictures from the event.

Protecting Your Pet in Hot Weather

by Dr. Martha Smith, DVM, Director of Veterinary Medical Services

With high temperatures in eastern Massachusetts this week, don’t forget what the hot weather means for your pet. You can prevent potential health problems by adopting some simple guidelines.

  • Never leave your dog in the car – even with the windows cracked. Although it may seem cool outside, the temperature inside your car can easily rise as high as 150 degrees in a matter of minutes. If you’re planning to run a few errands, it’s best to leave the pets at home.
  • Be sure to check the water level in your pet’s bowl regularly, and plan on bringing extra bottled water for your dog or cat when traveling away from home.
  • Make a point of keeping your pet on a leash to ensure that they don’t get lost and/or ingest anything that could make them sick.
  • If your pet has light skin or hair, apply sunscreen to the animal’s ears and nose and allow them to rest in a shady spot regularly.
  • Hot weather may encourage pets to drink from puddles, so be sure that your driveway and yard are free of any potential toxins. After a heavy rain, fertilizer, weed killer and other common lawn chemicals can contaminate puddles, and antifreeze poses specific hazards due to its sweet taste. Even small doses of these chemicals can be fatal. Puddles can also contain deadly bacteria called leptospirosis.
  • Check your pet for insect stings and bites. Typically the affected area will be swollen, but take note of any other symptoms and monitor them. If the animal seems especially uncomfortable or if the swelling is excessive, consult your veterinarian to ensure that your pet isn’t having an allergic reaction.

Via email: Turtle

Many ARL supporters will remember Turtle, who was rescued in 2009 after being used as a “bait dog” to train dogs for fighting. As you can see, Turtle is doing very well now after receiving care from the ARL. You can read more about Turtle’s rescue and recovery here.

Here is a picture of Turtle relaxing on my porch. She is by far the sweetest dog I’ve ever been around. My pups were good with her and we shared a great night and day today with Turtle and her elderly ‘sister’ Savanna. Turtle is an example of just how sweet this breed can be and she could go along way to help educate people. Hope you all enjoy this photo.


Not Just Cats and Dogs

The Animal Rescue League of Boston has been caring for cats and dogs since 1899, but we have always cared for other animals too. For example, we erected a drinking fountain for horses in Charlestown way back in 1903, back in the days when horses were a frequent sight in the city.

Fast forward to today and we continue to care for a wide variety of animals. A quick check of our animals list reveals just how many different kinds we have.

Right now, in our shelters we have rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, gerbils, hamsters and a chinchilla. We have parakeets, finches, cockatiels and a conure, and we even have three horses, five sheep and a pig.

So if you’re interested in adopting another animal, or if you want to make sure that all pets can find a safe home, you should remember that the ARL is not just for cats and dogs.

Happy Tails to you…

Save the date for the 2nd Annual Happy Tails BBQ, a celebration for all the animals that were adopted, from our three shelters, this past year.

Saturday, July 16th

11:00 – 3:00 p.m.
ARL of Boston
10 Chandler Street
Tremont Street Parking Lot

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
Click here to purchase your ticket today!

Vendors will include: Well Fed Dog, Polka Dog Bakery, and Yoghund! Food and beverages will be available for you, your friends and family, and your four-footed friend(s)! Boston Shelter will be open 1 – 4.

Please check back to the blog for more details as we get closer to the event! We look forward to seeing you and your four-footed friend(s) there!

And then there were the cats …

By Diane Toomey, ARLB volunteer

Cats enjoy time to roam our Adoption Center during feline playgroups. Photo by Allison Evans.

Some came to play. Others came to observe. Still others came to chill out. And then there were the cats…..

The feline playgroup, held weekly at the League’s Boston branch, attracts a lot of people participants. And who wouldn’t want to watch animals having loads of fun? Playgroups for dogs have been going on at the shelter for some time now. But cat playgroup is relatively new. Every Monday afternoon an area of the adoption center turns into a living version of the game, How-Many-Cats-Can-You-Find-In-This-Picture? There’s one leaping for a feather toy. Two more are making a dash for a laser pointer. And two more still are standing on their hind legs, practicing a skill that appears to be a cross between patty cake and boxing. And just when you think you’ve found all the cats… Look up, and you’ll spot one lounging in the windowsill above your head.

Photo by Christine Barton

Playgroup fun. Photo by Allison Evans.








Presiding over this controlled chaos is long-time volunteer Michelle Gelnaw, who chooses the cats who might enjoy the group. “I think what a lot of people don’t get about cats is that they can be really social. A lot of people think they’re solitary and comfortable by themselves. But the playgroup shows that they enjoy the comfort and fun of other cats.”

Some of the cats have never met a fellow feline they didn’t like. These animals quickly become playgroup stars. Or a more apt description might be feline cruise directors, urging vacationers to chase that toy mouse just one more time. Other cats take time to warm up to the group. Michelle, assisted by fellow volunteer Liz Pashley, slowly introduces each new cat. “We try to follow their leads. If some are shy, we hold them on our laps. If one seems nervous, we put down food. We play with them using a laser pointer or feather toy. It’s a slow process. We don’t just throw them in.”

Michelle says a maximum of ten cats at any given time seems to work best. While the cats get a break from their cages, staff gets to learn about an animal’s compatibility with other cats. Caitlin Berkery, Animal Care and Adoption Supervisor, says many people come to the shelter looking for a companion cat. “We’ve always said they should base their choice on personality. So we try to gauge that through time spent in a visiting room with the cat. But sometimes that can only give you so much information. You don’t see how the cat is with another cat. So playgroup gives us a better sense of that.”

At the end of one recent playgroup session, each cat had staked out a spot to sleep it off. For Michelle Gelnaw, this is the most difficult part of playgroup. How come? Because, she says, “It’s time to put the cats back into their cages.” At least until next week.

Tears in Joplin

By Laney MacDougall, Behavior Programs Supervisor, Center for Shelter Dogs

Laney travelled to Joplin, MO to help run the Joplin Humane Society’s emergency shelter. Approximately two-thirds of the city was devastated by a half-mile wide tornado on May 22.

Although I remember hearing the news of the tornadoes that hit Joplin, MO in May, I didn’t realize the extent of the devastation until I arrived on Thursday, June 23rd.

The ASPCA has gotten together with the Joplin Humane Society to create a massive operation called the Joplin, MO Tornado Response.  It includes three huge warehouses; one holding over 400 dogs, another with 400+ cats and the third holding all of the supplies to run the operation along with other supplies from around the country for residents affected by the storm. The operation has required a solid crew of a minimum of 120 people to re-create a shelter environment and care for the animals as best they can.

My assignment began in the dog warehouse. When I walked in, the air immediately seemed cooler, which was refreshing for many reasons but mostly because we knew the dogs were staying cool with temps predicted in the 100’s the rest of the week.  The dogs were sectioned off by temporary gating and fencing and housed in crates with cardboard barriers all around them. It was loud but looked and smelled relatively clean considering there were more than 400 dogs inside.

The sections were labeled: stray puppy area, boarded dogs area (dogs with owners who were currently looking for housing), general stray population, fractious stray (mostly fearful but otherwise non-aggressive) and isolation stray. Dania Tonelli and I were assigned to the ‘fractious’ dog section. I quickly learned that the best way to team up for this project was to have one person walk while the other stayed behind and cleaned. It worked well and seemed efficient.

The next day I was switched from dog walking to working as a volunteer manager helping register and orient new ASPCA responder volunteers as well as assigning community volunteers to where they were needed.

One of the most touching experiences was when a couple came in to get their time card signed off.  The woman was telling me how much she depended on “Joe” (the guy with her) because he had been helping her so much since the tornado hit, since she lost her husband in the storm. She seemed so grateful to Joe for his help and the one small thing she could do for him was to take him to our site to get his time card signed off so he could get paid.  There were so many more stories like that.

There were lots of tears shed in Joplin: tears of joy because of the amount of response, tears of sadness for all of the animals that were displaced by the devastation of the tornado and also tears of awe because of the amazing operation that the ASPCA had put together for these animals that really needed and deserved the help.

Teamwork leads to success

By Mark Vogel, Senior Rescue Technician

This cat stuck in a tree was from Winthrop MA. Rumor had it that the cat was up since Saturday. We were able to get to the call on Monday.

The cat was meowing to get attention. Upon getting close to it, it would hiss and spit. It would also try to climb higher and slipped a few times.

I arranged for Mike Hammer to help with this rescue, aiding with a tarp system to protect the cat from a fall that we knew was going to happen. As predicted, the cat fell and was quickly rounded up by Mike in a net. I came down from the tree as quickly as possible to assist with putting the cat in a soft carrier. The cat then brought inside, thus, returning it to the owner. Teamwork leads to success. I like it!