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Keep Your Pet Safe This Fourth of July

Some things to keep in mind while celebrating

This year, the Fourth of July holiday falls in the middle of the week – and in the middle of a string of hot and humid weather. It’s a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to remember that the sun, crowds, and loud noises can lead to over-stimulation, fear, and a potentially harmful situation for your pets.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) asks that you keep these five simple, but important tips to create a safe environment for your dog if they must be with you.

  1. Keep your dog away from potentially hazardous objects. BBQ’s are a source of tempting smells, and obvious danger. Fireworks – a sudden bang and a flash of light: these are ingredients for striking fear into your dog and could also illicit “fearfully aggressive” behavior. Keep your animal away from fireworks or even sparklers.
  2. There’s no place like home. Who doesn’t enjoy the comforts of home? And during the Fourth of July holiday, it may just be the perfect place for your pup. Turning a TV or radio on at low volume can distract your dog from all the outside noise, and they can also be in a cool, temperature and humidity controlled environment with access to water to keep them comfortable.
  3. If they must be outside, keep your dog in a carrier or on a leash. While outdoors, set your dog up in style, with shade, ample air-flow, and plenty of cold water.
  4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. When the temperature rises it’s Too Hot for Spot! Animals don’t sweat like we do and can overheat easily. Even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, the inside of a car can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, which can lead to deadly heat stroke. Massachusetts law also prohibits leaving an animal in a parked car; owners can face fines or even forfeiture of the animal.
  5. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report an uptick of stray animals after July 4th due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Be sure your contact information is correct and up to date, and always have your information on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they become separated from you.

Play it Safe

ARL wants you to enjoy the holiday as we celebrate the birth of our nation, and remember that prevention is always the best course of action for you and your pet. When possible, leave your pet at home to avoid a possible dangerous and stressful situation!


ARL Rescue Services Called to Power Plant Twice in One Week

Cormorant trapped in water inlet

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services Department was called to the Mystic Generation Station in Charlestown, MA, for two separate incidents of a cormorant being trapped in a water inlet at the power plant.

While cormorants are aquatic birds, their short wings make it necessary for them to get some running room to take off – which was all but impossible in this confined space.

Trying to snare the cormorant.

Due to the high tide, wet conditions and tight space the aquatic bird was trapped in, rescue agents needed to suit up with climbing gear, scale a ladder, and try to snare the bird using a wide catch net. Passing rain showers added to the degree of difficulty, as did the cormorant’s frightened state.

To see a video of this rescue click here!

As the cormorant dove and resurfaced, agents were able to get the bird into the net, and slowly and safely bring it out of the water and into a carrier for transport and release.

Both rescues happened in the same spot, making it possible that the same bird was involved in both incidents! Because of this, ARL wanted to release the bird farther away from the area, choosing a section of the Mystic River in Everett.

The cormorant took to his new home quickly, and was grateful to be back on the open water.

A Vital Resource

In 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped nearly 3,000 animals. As the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue department, these services are only possible through your generous support.


Triumphing Over an Abusive Past

“Luke” with ARL for 518 days, recently finds perfect forever home

In early January 2017, Luke, then an 11-month-old puppy, was seized by the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, when his owner was arrested on animal cruelty charges for allegedly beating the dog on multiple occasions.

Luke recently found his forever home, but was with ARL for more than 500 days – and during that time ARL staff and volunteers witnessed his awe-inspiring evolution from a puppy into a young adult dog. It was also a journey with plenty of bumps along the way.

To see a video of Luke’s story click here!

When Luke first arrived at ARL, he was scared, confused, and based on his former situation, he was understandably fearful of strangers – it was a hurdle.

“When Luke first came here, he didn’t want to trust anybody,” said ARL Animal Care Associate Anna Chaletzky. “He would bark, and while it would seem aggressive, he was just so afraid of everything.”

Building Trust

It took patience, but the more time ARL staff and volunteers spent with Luke, he slowly began to trust. And once that trust was established, Luke truly began to blossom. Showing his intelligence and love of learning, he went beyond basic commands, broke out of his shell and was soon showing off his playful personality.

An extended stay in a shelter environment can be difficult for some animals, and it was important to keep Luke engaged and focused and in turn he progressed forward and gained confidence.

Time to Find a Home

In the spring of 2018, Luke’s former owner pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, and he was finally ready to find his forever home. While it took a bit of time, Luke found his perfect match in a couple who came all the way from Maine to adopt him!

From intake to adoption took 18 months, and while saying goodbye was difficult, seeing him walk off into his new life happy and full of confidence was a proud moment for anyone who witnessed Luke’s progression.

It also highlighted the effectiveness of ARL’s enrichment program, which is tailored to the needs of each individual animal.

“He matured here with us and we worked every day at keeping him in a good place mentally,” ARL Pet Placement Supervisor Alicia Muller said. “Enrichment for Luke was incredibly important and a focus for all staff. We were always looking for new ways to show him he was cared for and loved, and to see him go from scared little pup to a confident young adult was incredible.”

It Takes a Village

While the length of stay for Luke isn’t typical for an animal in ARL’s care, the collective efforts from numerous ARL programs is. From law enforcement to shelter medicine and daily shelter care, Luke was impacted by a wide swath of ARL services, and we as an organization strive to give each individual animal the same care, attention and love that was given to Luke. That being said, our work is not possible without your generous support – thank you for being a champion for animals!


Cat with Myriad of Medical Issues Finds Forever Home

June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently found a forever home for one amazing cat with a number of health concerns.

Rhade, a 10-year-old domestic shorthair, came to ARL when her previous owner was moving and presented with quite a few common and uncommon conditions.

Rhade undergoing a medical evaluation.

Rhade’s most noticeable issue is neurological, as she was born with the congenital abnormality called cerebellar hypoplasia. The condition affects her coordination and balance.

She also tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which was likely contracted via a bite from another infected cat. An offshoot of Rhade’s FIV was swelling to her lip, commonly known as a rodent ulcer. A biopsy did not reveal any underlying issues, but her lip is permanently deformed.

Previous ear mite infections has caused what’s commonly known as “cauliflower ear”, and finally, Rhade has developed Horner’s syndrome in her right eye. This condition is due to an unknown impairment to her sympathetic nervous system – which is responsible for the normal fight or flight reaction.

Despite all these issues, Rhade persevered and does have a good quality of life. Rhade responded well to all her treatments at ARL, however it’s hard to know what her medical future holds, and it’s important for her new family to monitor her closely.

“She’s Amazing”

This past week, Rhade found her forever home, and for all parties involved, it was love at first sight. Because of her medical issues, her new owners had a long medical consult with ARL’s shelter medicine staff and at the end summed up this sweet girl by saying “So basically she’s perfect from the neck down?”

“She’s amazing,” her new owner said. “We fell in love as soon as we saw her.”

Love at first sight! Rhade getting to know her new family.

Extraordinary Care

As with any animal that comes through our doors, ARL’s veterinary medicine staff spent an enormous amount of time diagnosing and treating all of Rhade’s health issues to ensure that any potential adopter would be as informed as possible before taking her home.
Rhade has been given a second chance and is ready to thrive in her new home.

At the Core of ARL’s Mission

Part of ARL’s core values are compassion and commitment – and while this extends to every one of the animals we serve, a cat like Rhade needs that compassion and commitment to live to her full potential with the greatest quality of life possible. ARL’s mission is to ensure that animals are safe and healthy in the communities they live, and our success in this mission could not be possible without your support.


Orphan Ducklings Find New Family

If at first you don’t succeed, ARL Rescue Services tries and tries again

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services rescued nine orphaned ducklings in Hyde Park at the Channing Elementary School. Once safe, the next mission was to find these fragile little ones a new family.

On the day of the initial rescue, ARL rescue agents made several attempts along local waterways to find and introduce the ducklings to duck families, hoping they would be welcomed. Unfortunately they were refused and it was back to the drawing board.

The following day, ARL tried an area at Spy Pond in Arlington, and discovered another duck family who needed help – a family of six (mom and five ducklings) were stuck behind a wall that the ducklings couldn’t navigate around.

Once helping the family around the wall, as they were ambling towards the water, agents slyly added the nine ducklings to the brood – lucky for us mama ducks can’t count! The brood swam off to a papa duck already on the water, and are now one big happy family.

Experience, patience and dedication led to this happy outcome!

A Vital Resource

In 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped nearly 3,000 animals. As the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue department, these services are only possible thanks to your support.


Massachusetts House Passes PAWS II

Historical animal protection legislation closer to becoming state law

This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed H.4565 – An Act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns (PAWS II). The measure passed unanimously 145-0.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston is thrilled with the outcome of this vote and offers heart-felt congratulations to the House of Representatives, particularly Representative Lou Kafka for sponsoring this bill, House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo for their continued efforts to further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth,” said ARL President Mary Nee.

The House and Senate will work together to prepare the bill for Governor Baker’s desk.

PAWS II is a far-reaching piece of animal protection legislation and includes the following provisions:

  • Ensure that property owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prevent the automatic euthanasia of animal fighting victims
  • Prohibit the drowning of animals
  • Ensure efficient enforcement of animal control laws
  • Prohibit sexual contact with an animal

PAWS II extends from the original PAWS Act which was passed in 2014 on the heels of the horrific 2013 discovery of a tortured dog in Quincy who would forever be known as Puppy Doe.

Along with increasing cruelty penalties and strengthening Massachusetts law, the original PAWS Act also created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force. The Task Force examined areas of Massachusetts animal law that needed to be updated. PAWS II is the culmination of the task force’s work and recommendations.


Hurricane Season has Officially Begun

Make sure to include animals in any emergency plan

The 2018 hurricane season officially began on June 1, and it’s a perfect time to review and possibly revise the emergency plans for you, your family, and your pets – yes your pets.

Imagine: A storm on the horizon, people are scrambling in grocery stores for food, water and supplies, your neighbors are boarding up windows and making preparations, everyone around you is anxious – this is when your pets need you most and it’s up to you to ensure they’re safe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near-or-above-normal hurricane season that could include 10-16 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes.

The threat is there and here are some things to keep in mind when planning for an emergency:

1. Disaster Kit. Each animal in your household needs their own kit and should include at least a one-week supply of food and water, along with collapsible dishes; a week supply of medication; photographs, tags, and other identification; leash, harness, crate/carrier; toys, blankets and treats; poop bags, litter and litter tray
2. Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers. Many, but not all, evacuation centers allow pets. Check your area for not only evacuation centers, but pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, and even friends or relatives that would allow you and your pets to stay.
3. Make Sure Your Pet is Microchipped. It’s the simplest way to be reunited with your pet should you become separated. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure all contact information is correct and up to date.
4. The Buddy System. Connect with friends and neighbors to ensure that someone is willing to evacuate your pets if you are unable to.

Preparedness is responsible pet ownership! For more useful pet safety advice, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.


Dedication and Love Help Former Stray Find Forever Home

Dean Overcoming Behavioral Challenges

In September 2017, Dean, a two-year-old Pitbull-type mix, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) as a stray who was found in West Bridgewater, MA. This past week Dean found his forever home, and for this energetic boy, it’s been a long road home.

When Dean arrived at ARL, he was a whirlwind of energy and presented with a number of behavioral issues – jumpy/mouthy, severe over-arousal, inability to focus, and resource guarding. While friendly, working on these issues simultaneously was a tremendous challenge.

Over a period of days and weeks, Dean began to bond with staff and volunteers, which helped him find focus. From this foundation, Dean started learning basic commands, making eye contact, focusing on his handler, looking to humans for attention, among other things.

Additionally, because Dean was still having high-arousal issues, he was sent to a train and board facility for two weeks to intensely focus on training.

“When Dean came to ARL he knew nothing,” said ARL Animal Care Manager Carolyn Curran. “We saw the potential in him and knew that with time, dedication and love, we would be able to find him his perfect home.”

As weeks turned into months at the shelter, Dean persevered and continued to learn — staff’s hopes for him never wavered and knew the right situation for him would present itself eventually.

It took nearly eight months, but Dean has met his perfect match and is now enjoying his forever home!

Catering to Individual Needs

Every animal that comes to ARL receives not only a medical evaluation, but a behavioral evaluation as well — it’s through this process that an individualized plan is developed based on that animal’s specific needs. Dean is just one of the thousands of success stories ARL sees annually, and we cannot do our important work without your support!


Memorial Day Weekend Travel Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool and Calm

Things to keep in mind if you’re bringing your furry friend along for the ride

Memorial Day Weekend is here, and for many of us it means three things — Honoring our service men and women; spending time with friends and family and; travelling!

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to remind you that busy holiday weekends can be stressful and dangerous for your pup.

While temperatures during Memorial Day Weekend are expected to be seasonal, even when the outside temperature is 70 degrees, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes — even with the windows left partially opened! That’s why leaving your pet inside of a hot car is the most common cause of deadly heat stroke — it’s just TOO HOT FOR SPOT! Remember, pets don’t sweat like humans do and cannot cool their bodies efficiently in hot temperatures.

If you plan on taking your best friend along for the ride this weekend, here are some tips to help keep your dog safe:

  1. Never leave your pup alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. Not only are hot cars the most common cause for heat stroke, but leaving an animal inside a parked car is ILLEGAL in Massachusetts.
  2. Just like us, dogs need bathroom breaks! When driving long distances, be sure to periodically find a safe area to pull over to allow your pup to do their business, and get a little fresh water and perhaps some food.
  3. Always keep your canine on a leash or in a carrier if they must be outside. Find a shady spot with plenty of air flow and lots of fresh water.
  4. Keep them away from dangerous objects. Secure your pet a good distance from sparklers, BBQs, and pools. Additionally, there are many plants and flowers that can be toxic to dogs, so make sure your pet is under constant supervision while outdoors.
  5. Loud noises can be spooky! Things like fireworks and other loud noises can make a dog “fearfully aggressive,” so monitor your dog and keep them calm, especially around children.
  6. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals during holidays due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Make sure your contact information is current and always on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they be separated from you.

Prevention is responsible pet ownership. When in doubt, leave your pet at home in a quiet, cool room. Turn on a TV or radio to help distract from outside noises and leave them free to roam around so they don’t feel too confined.


In a Tree to Underground – An Afternoon Rescue Adventure

When the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services responded to a quiet neighborhood in Plymouth this week, Minerva, an indoor/outdoor cat, had been about four stories up in an evergreen tree for four days. Aside from her owners worrying, the cat was scared, hungry, and needed to get back on solid ground.

ARL rescues approximately 200 cats out of trees annually, and each rescue presents unique challenges. This rescue was no different.

With nets, rigging and other climbing gear ready to go, rescue agents ascended the tree to get the nervous but friendly cat safely back to the ground. The climb was smooth, and Minerva came willingly to be rescued. Smooth sailing – until Minerva got closer to the ground.

Not ready for her rescue to be over, Minerva wriggled out of the carrier bag she was in and bolted into a wooded area at the front of the residence. The woods were dense, and the cat had plenty of places to hide.

Minerva’s owner and rescue agents walked through the woods with food and shaking bags of treats, but the cat would not show herself. Adding to the cat’s anxiety were the sounds of a landscaping crew working nearby.

During a final pass through the woods, a rescue agent noticed a hole in the ground at the base of a tree that was about the size of a bowling ball. Fixated on the hole, there was movement, and two green eyes suddenly appeared. Minerva had gone from in a tree to underground!

Calling her name gently, Minerva emerged from her hiding place, took a few nibbles of food and was again placed in a portable carrier. From there she was brought out of the woods to her owner, who gratefully took her inside.

A Vital Resource

In 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped nearly 3,000 animals. As the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue department, these services are only possible thanks to your support.