With Loving Attention Sweetie Finds a New Life

While all animals receive special attention here, some cry out for just a little bit more than others. Such was the case with a 10-year-old, 21.6 lb., grey-haired cat named “Sweetie” who came to the Dedham shelter in May 2010.

“Sweetie’s owner passed away she was really fearful and pretty overweight,” says Dedham Assistant Shelter Manager Beth Finn. “Because of her weight, she had trouble grooming herself, and her fur was so matted that she couldn’t really move around.” During her initial vet exam, Shelter Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Goeman discovered she had dental disease and needed  tooth extractions.

“Sweetie’s spent her first few days here pressed against the back of her cage hissing at staff,” Finn continues. “After adjusting slowly to the routine of shelter life and a new diet, she started to enjoy a simple head scratch. A week or two later she started to seek our attention. After shedding a few pounds, she began to come out of her cage and explore.”

Sweetie was further diagnosed with painful feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions that would require a full mouth surgical extraction, and the League made sure she got the care she needed.

“We moved Sweetie to a kitty condo in the office area where she became the queen of the shelter,” says Finn. “At first she had difficulty maneuvering its perches but as more pounds came off, her true personality really came to light. This one-time couch potato became a mountain climber. When the shelter was closed, Sweetie would explore by jumping on chairs, the front desk or shelves. It was amazing because a few months before she had difficulty climbing into her litter box. Her favorite spot was sitting on the front -desk counter sun bathing. She thrived at the shelter and the staff, volunteers, and visitors loved her.”

Ten months after arriving at Dedham, Sweetie had slimmed down to a svelte 15 pounds and she was adopted into a wonderful new home. “Sweetie touched us all – volunteers and visitors alike. Now months later we still have people coming in to ask about her.”

Fast Friends: Squeak, Sony and Smedley

Sara has a conure named Squeak who recently lost his cockatiel companion. Looking for a new friend for Squeak, she came to the Brewster shelter to meet cockatiels Sony and Smedly, and sends us this update.


Just wanted to update you a little. I know it hasn’t been very long, but I think the cockatiels are adjusting nicely. They’re still a little hand-shy, but they are completely comfortable around people. They crawl all over us even though they’re still a tad skeptical about hands.

Smedly is quite the adventurer and is more outgoing than Sony right now; Sony prefers staying inside the cage and singing to himself. I’m sure they’ll both be fine though once they continue to adjust. We were surprised that Squeak almost instantly took to both of the cockatiels. Their cages are next to each other and since they’re all out most of the day, they all hang out on the playgrounds together without any fighting or aggressive behavior; I didn’t expect the ‘tiels to be aggressive, but I am very surprised about my conure. I’m glad he’s found some friends though!

Thank you so much! You are part of a fantastic organization and someday when I have more time I would love to volunteer for a shelter. I’ll send more pictures once they’re more adjusted.


Dedham Country Day School Fun Run

The Dedham Country Day School’s 4th grade students hosted an event called the “Fun Run”. This event is a race where  students from grades one to eight run a mile course and the money raised from the registration fee is donated to a local charity.

This year the fourth grade students selected the Dedham branch of the Animal Rescue League of Boston as their charity, specifically for the Dedham shelter’s renovation project.

This year about 120 students ran and raised about $1,200. It was a funfilled event that the teachers, students, and parents all enjoyed.

Jerry in jail

On Saturday May 21, staff from the ARL of Boston’s Dedham shelter attended the Riverdale Elementary Annual Spring Fair with shelter residents Jerry (the corn snake) and Hester Sue (the Hedge Hog). At our table students could come by to meet and learn about Jerry or Hester Sue.

Another booth at the event was the “Riverdale School Jail.” Visitors could make a donation to put a friend, sibling, parent, or teacher in jail, or to bail someone out with a donation. This photo is of Jerry and volunteer Jackie Chen in jail. The funny thing is that during their 15 minute sentence, kids were breaking into the jail to meet Jerry!

Harwich Elementary School Donation

Here’s something to make you smile …

Harwich Elementary School students Charlotte Hawthorne (left) and Mackenzie Cardillo organized a donation drive to support our Brewster branch. This week, they delivered blankets and dog food to help us take care of our shelter animals. A big thanks to Charlotte, Mackenzie and the students of Harwich Elementary for their kindness – it really means a lot to us.

Dr. Smith Wins Henry E. Childers Award

On May 22, 2011, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine awarded Animal Rescue League of Boston Director of Veterinary Medical Services Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore its Henry E. Childers Award, given to part-time instructors who have made extraordinary contributions to educating veterinary students. The award was presented at the school’s 29th commencement.

Commenting on the award, Dr. Smith-Blackmore noted, “I was very grateful to be given this award, but even more grateful to be part of the graduation ceremonies where I was able to recite the veterinarian’s oath with the class of 2011. For the first time, thanks to work that I participated in at the American Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Committee, the oath referenced animal welfare and the prevention of suffering.”

“Specifically, the oath now includes, ‘Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.’”

A 1997 Cummings School graduate, Dr. Smith-Blackmore is also president of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Please join us in extending congratulations to her!

Dr. Goeman’s new friend

This week, ARLB Staff Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Goeman met Mingo, a one year old Green Conure, found as a stray in Brighton. Within a few minutes of meeting her, Mingo crawled inside her sweater and made himself comfortable.

Mingo is healthy, ready for adoption and, as you can see, is very friendly. We’re sure he’ll be adopted into a new family soon.

Thank You Kathy Griffin

A big thank you  to comedian Kathy Griffin for her kindness toward one of our shelter dogs before her show at the Wilbur Theatre on Friday night.  In spite of her busy schedule, she made time to meet with Brian O’Connor (pictured, left)  of Rescue Services who brought Selina – a sweet girl from our South End shelter – backstage to say hello. Kathy (whose own dogs were adopted from shelters) posed for photos in the hope of helping her get adopted. It really meant a lot to us.

Thanks also to Joe Donlavey of ARTSBoston and Bill Blumenreich (below, center) and Andrew Mather of the Wilbur Theatre. You guys are always there to help us get the message out about pet adoption and we greatly appreciate it.

Click the links below to see the Herald and Globe’s coverage.

Boston Globe

Boston Herald

Oakdale School Blanket Collection Drive

From Oakdale School, Dedham

How are you? My students have really enjoyed collecting blankets and towels. Since we just finished our mammal unit we called it “Mammals Helping Mammals. Attached is a picture that you can use for the newsletter. Would you be able to send us a copy of the newsletter, too?

Thank you!