While the other kids he knew were working after school jobs to save money for cars, proms and clothes, Westwood high school student Adam De Parolesa preferred volunteering to clean the horse paddocks and tend to the sheep, birds, cats, dogs and other small animals he befriended at the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston’s Dedham branch.
When his family adopted a dog from the ARL of Boston a few years earlier, he knew that when he was old enough to volunteer, he would be back. He was drawn to the close-knit nature of the Dedham branch’s staff and volunteers, and their obvious love, expertise and concern for the animals in their care left a strong impression on him.
Lieutenant Alan Borgal, director of the ARL of Boston’s Law Enforcement Department, noticed Adam’s natural rapport with animals immediately. “The animals seem to implicitly trust him and to enjoy his company. For example, we had a German Shepard that was extremely timid and anxious around people. But he just took to Adam. Adam had a calming effect on him, and he came to life whenever Adam walked or played with him.”
A few years later, Adam’s commitment to animal welfare grew when he had the chance to care for a number of horses and sheep that arrived in Dedham due to a law enforcement seizure. “I had never worked with horses before and, when they first arrived, I was shocked by how badly neglected they had been – they were literally skin and bones,” he explains. “But the staff and volunteers have spent the last two years giving them the veterinary and behavioral care they need, and they are now being adopted into good homes.”
His experience with this particular case also exposed him to a different facet of animal welfare investigating cruelty and neglect. Now a freshman at Massachusetts Bay Community College, Adam is majoring in Criminal Justice with a focus on animal-related issues. Despite his hectic schedule, he continues to spend his weekends volunteering at the Dedham branch. “He’s one of the most caring, hardest working and reliable volunteers we’ve ever had” Borgal says. “We hope he’ll be with us for many years to come.”
To help the Animal Rescue League of Boston continue to help abused, abandoned and neglected animals, please consider making a donation.