Duck Race on the Charles

by Beth Finn, Assistant Manager, Dedham Shelter

This Saturday Deb and I attended the 9th annual “Duck Race on the Charles” in Dedham hosted by Neponsett Valley Sunrise Rotary Club. People can adopt a plastic duck for a fee and they are placed in the river to race. The first four ducks to cross the finish line win prizes and the proceeds go to local charities.

It was very nice little event and we were able to promote the Dedham Branch renovation and cat adoptions.  We brought Hester Sue, a hedge hog, and Sputnik, a Russian tortoise, along with Bo, Deb’s three-legged foster kitten.

Hawk rescue – photos

Photographs of a hawk stuck in netting at Oakley Country Club in Watertown. The hawk is at Tufts Wildlife Center in North Grafton. So far, doing well.

The hawk was rescued by ARL Rescue Technician Mark Vogel, with help from Ronald Rice, Oakley Country Club manager, Karen O’Reilly, Watertown Animal Control and Alex Martinez, Global Tree Care, Inc.

Update from Mark 6/28/11: “I guess it was the third time in a week that this hawk got stuck. It was able to free itself, but as you can see from the pictures, this was not happening this time. After trying a few different approaches, even climbing the tree behind the netting, it was with the help of a bucket truck we were able to get the hawk. Unfortunately, we had to cut the net. This was a four and a half hour ordeal. It was raining the entire time. The hawk, once untangled, was brought to Tufts Wildlife Center in North Grafton the next day.”

Cat portraits by Barbara Cuervo

Volunteer Barbara Cuervo shared some of her cat portraits.

This is just the first wave of animals I would like to sketch. The second wave will be some dogs, a ferret, horse, rabbits and birds. I’ve said it many times – your organization is so worth my time and talent. I’m hoping to retire the end of this year and will continue to sketch and hope I can continue to volunteer my services.

Thank you,

Barbara Cuervo

For more animal portraits, click here. (more…)

ARLB Helping at Joplin Emergency Shelter

In response to a call by the ASPCA, the Animal Rescue League of Boston is sending support staff to assist the Joplin Humane Society manage an emergency shelter in Joplin, Missouri. Approximately two-thirds of the city was devastated by a half-mile wide tornado on May 22. The shelter is currently housing over 600 animals displaced by the disaster.

 “The staff members at the emergency center have been working long hours and there is an enormous amount of work to be done,” explains Maryann Regan, assistant director, Training and Shelter Development. “A representative from the ASPCA reached out to us to see if we were able to send our highly trained and experienced shelter staff to assist with animal care/animal handling and adoptions at the shelter.  This is a great compliment to us that we were thought of for this.”                                                                                                                                          

 On June 15, Laney MacDougall from the Center for Shelter Dogs, Amy Webb from the Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and Dania Tonelli from the Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center were deployed to Joplin. They will be there for approximately a week assisting in the emergency shelter. Additional staff may be sent if needed.

 “The ASPCA is extremely appreciative of our ability to send our team, says Regan. “Thanks to everyone that made this happen including all the staff members staying behind to continue their hard work, as well as our senior management team and the department leaders who were able to shift their operations to make it work so that Laney, Amy and Dania could go.”

Ready to renovate – almost

by Lisa Lagos, Dedham Shelter Manager

If you know anything about the Dedham branch, then you know about our big plans for a full scale renovation of our main building. The original design of the building lacked facilities for housing animals other than dogs, and today, 27 years later, it is cramped, outdated and crumbling beneath our feet.

After months of planning, the contractors are on our doorstep and the project is due to start in less than a month. If all goes as planned we will be moving our operations into a large contractor’s trailer during the first two weeks of July. The next month is going to be a whirlwind of change but my staff thrives in dynamic situations.

We still need to raise about $700,000 to complete the project, so if you’ve ever thought of donating but never got around to it, the time has come to make a lasting mark by giving to our renovation project.  We need your dollars now more than ever to make this happen.  To find out more about the project please visit our website at


Be sure to stay tuned. It’s gonna be a great summer!

Via email: Mikey

I just wanted to let you know that our dear cat Mikey, who was adopted from the Animal Rescue League, left us yesterday. We will be forever grateful for having him in our lives for 14 years and for the Animal Rescue League in being there for us.

Mikey was a wonderful cat. Three years ago I wrote to you and he was selected to be part of the Champion Circle fund drive. The first picture is the day he was adopted, the second picture was taken by your photographer in the summer of 2008 for the drive.

Thank you for giving him the chance to represent your great work. I will be sending you a check in his honor and I hope it will help continue all the wonderful ways you connect these wonderful animals with people who cherish them. Mikey will be forever in our hearts.

Thank you,

Bob Page and Jerry Myers, who adopted Mikey on August 19, 1997

Via email: Mozart, aka Bear

Last October, “Mozart” found his forever home with a special lady named Laura who renamed him “Bear.” She recently sent us this progress report and photo:

I want you all to know this kitty is the best! He is warm and loving and happy to have a home; he loves me back and now he has a little sister who is a beautiful little 2-1/2 year old whom he adores. We couldn’t be a happier family. It took Bear a while to warm up to having a ‘mother’ but once he adjusted to me as his parent, he simply relaxed in his new home.

I sensed that he was lonely and by February, I couldn’t bear for him to be so alone, just waiting for me to come home at night. The moment he met his little sister, Gidget, he adored her. Her, not so much. She smacked his face the moment he came near her, but within a couple of weeks, she teased him, and began to chase him back and together they are precious.

They are so cute together. She is half his size, about 6 lbs to his 13 lbs. They are hysterical to watch running around the house together. When she settles down from her youthful antics, he grooms her, eyes closed and she — all princess — just expects it. They tussle for top dog status, he gives in and then she climbs on top. He jumps her, rolls on her, and she is feisty and rolls right back over him.

So far so good keeping them inside the house. Gidget got out once and was frightened to death. If it wasn’t for Bear crying at the window for her to come home, she would have had a harder time finding her way back. He just kept calling to her and she responded and happily found her way back inside. Whew – that was a scary night! Where he was very interested to see what was out there previously, he seems far less interested now. And neither has tried to get out since. I hope it stays that way.

– Laura

Tax deductions for taking care of animals

From the Wall Street Journal.

When Jan Van Dusen appeared before a U.S. Tax Court judge and a team of Internal Revenue Service lawyers more than a year ago, there was more at stake than her tax deduction for taking care of 70 stray cats.

Hanging in the balance were millions of dollars in annual tax deductions by animal-rescue volunteers across the nation—and some needed clarity on the treatment of volunteers’ unreimbursed expenses for 1.55 million other IRS-recognized charities.

Read the full article at

Our Growing Community

Jay Bowen and Theodore

By Jay Bowen

The rain and chilly temperatures of the past days did not dampen the spirits of the hundreds of people and dogs who attended a series of events which helped advance the mission and programs of this wonderful organization. Wednesday evening 120 people and a number of dogs gathered at the Boston Design Center (BDC) for a wine tasting hosted by The Urban Grape of Chestnut Hill. Hadley and TJ Douglas, the proprietors are residents of the South End and are ardent supporters as are the other sponsors for the event which included Rebecca Willson of the Urban Hound Hotel, Deborah Gregg of Polka Dog Bakery, Jim Little of Choice Catering and of course Julie Rogowski and Lauren Young of the BDC. More than $3,000 was raised for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund which supports the medical care of ill animals at the League’s Boston Veterinary Care whose families have financial need.

Thursday evening Bob and Kathy Mahoney opened their Wellesley Hills home for a reception of area residents who are members of The President’s Council. This is the leadership track of our annual giving program which was launched in late 2006. Their daughter Alana, who works at our Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, was present and we learned about her remarkable work over the years rescuing dogs from different parts of the country and finding loving homes for them. Bob and Kathy introduced us to their five rescue dogs including three Greyhounds. It was very special to have Louise Coleman, Founder and Executive Director of Greyhound Friends with us.

On Saturday for the fifth consecutive year the League was part of the Boston Pride Parade. In a downpour of rain we set off on Tremont Street and made our way through downtown past the Massachusetts State House to Boston City Hall. Our contingent included humans of all ages, dogs and a ferret! It is quite exciting to hear the cheers and kind words of support for the League from the many thousands of people who gather along the parade route. Special ARL of Boston treats were passed out to dogs.

Sunday was Paws for Celebration an event that took place on the magnificent site of Drummer Boy Park in Brewster. As I drove to the Cape I wondered how many people would brave the elements to be part of this fundraiser for the League’s Cape Cod Branch in Brewster. I pulled into the parking area about 11:30 a.m. and found about 200 cars in place. Later in the day I was able to announce that the “car count” was 560 which means that about 1,200 people and 560 dogs were present for the celebration. The day included a wonderful walk to the beach and back as well as a series of contests and demonstrations. Proceeds are $13,000 and counting!

Tuesday, for the eighth consecutive year, the League had a presence in the Dedham Flag Day Parade. This is a wonderful community celebration which attracts many thousands of people. One gets a sense how much the staff of our Safford Memorial Animal Care and Adoption Center is appreciated. This year the Parade was an opportunity to highlight Building For the 21st Century which is the fundraising program to support the renovation of the Safford Center which is just getting underway. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job as the seventh president is to have the opportunity to attend these events and meet people who truly respect the power and beauty of the animal human bond and value the work completed each day by the staff and volunteers of the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

In the news: Fundraising to renovate Dedham branch

DEDHAM — Once Dedham’s branch of the Animal Rescue League of Boston reaches its $1.2 million fundraising goal, approximately 50 animals waiting for adoption could get a new temporary home.

Jennifer Wooliscroft, director of communications for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, said the renovations to the group’s 27-year-old building will start in the next few weeks and will be done in the fall to avoid cold weather expenses.

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