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ARL Reminds Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe During Heat Emergency

Heat emergency in place, heat and high humidity poses threats to pet health

With oppressive heat and humidity poised to settle into the area over the next few days, the City of Boston has issued a heat emergency, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is reminding pet owners to take measures to keep pets comfortable and safe during this time.

Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important basic guidelines:

  • Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a cool humidity and temperature-regulated room.
  • If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  • Hydration is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest. Aside from the heat, the high humidity can cause respiratory issues for animals, particularly short-snouted animals (i.e. pugs).
  • When the temperatures rise, it’s Too Hot for Spot®! Never leave your pet alone in a parked car — even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked.

It is illegal in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle during extreme hot or cold conditions, and when a weather advisory is issued, it is also illegal to keep dogs tethered for longer than five hours in a 24-hour period. Dogs also cannot be tethered outdoors between 10 PM and 6 AM, unless for not more than 15 minutes and when the owner/keeper is present.

For more safety tips, log onto arlboston.org.


Friends of Falmouth Dogs and ARL Join for Spay/Neuter Event

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides spay/neuter surgery for a dozen animals

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ made a special stop in Falmouth, through a collaborative effort with Friends of Falmouth Dogs.

Seeing the needs of local pet owners, the Falmouth-based nonprofit provided funding to have a dozen animals spayed or neutered through ARL’s Spay Waggin’ – a mobile surgical clinic serving the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and Islands with accessible and affordable high-quality spay and neuter services for more than 20 years.

“Although the Spay Waggin’ makes routine visits to Falmouth, working directly with Friends of Falmouth Dogs, to be a resource to pet owners within their communities reinforces the core purpose of the Spay Waggin’,” said Sam Fincke, ARL Associate Director of Community Operations.

In addition to providing surgery, ARL was able to provide the organization with 150 pounds of dog food to help Friends of Falmouth Dogs further assist pet owners in the community.

Friends of Falmouth Dogs would like to thank the Falmouth Service Center and Falmouth Housing Authority for being so instrumental in getting the word out to the group’s target audience.

This is the second year that Friends of Falmouth Dogs has hosted the Spay Waggin’, and ARL looks forward to similar events in the future!

About the Spay Waggin’

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is a state-of-the-art mobile spay/neuter clinic that has provided the service for more than 65,000 animals since first hitting the road in 2000.

While the Spay Waggin’ has primarily served the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod communities, in 2020 the Spay Waggin’ returned to the city with a stop in East Boston, and the new Franklin Park Zoo stop will further broaden the reach to Metro Boston residents.

The Benefits of Spay/Neuter

There are numerous reasons to spay/neuter your pet, including:

  • Curb pet overpopulation and make your pet healthier
  • Reduce the number of homeless pets euthanized – In the U.S., an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals enter animal shelters every year
  • Spayed or neutered dogs and cats on average have a longer lifespan than intact animals
  • Increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain type of cancers including uterine cancer and cancers of reproductive tract
  • Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, uterine infections, and uterine cancer
  • Reduce unruly behavior

Are you looking for high-quality, low-cost pet wellness care? Check out ARL’s Wellness Waggin’. 


State Senate Takes Action on Animal Legislation

Bills Include Boarding Kennel Regulations

While the current legislative session may be winding down, this week several animal protection bills took a big step forward, as the Massachusetts Senate took action on several bills on ARL’s Legislative Agenda.

H.4442, An Act further regulating the enforcement of illegal hunting practices, would enter Massachusetts into a nationwide compact to prevent convicted poachers from hunting in other states, as well as update penalties that are outdated by almost a century. H.4442 passed the House earlier this year, so only needs to have some small differences ironed out before it is sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The Senate also passed H.901, An Act protecting research animals, which would ensure that cats and dogs used for research in Massachusetts get the opportunity to be adopted into loving homes. This bill also passed the House earlier this session, so the two versions will need to be reconciled in the legislature before moving on to the Governor.

S.2994— An Act protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns—was passed by the Senate on Monday. This session, ARL has been supportive of this and other efforts to regulate pet daycares and update kennel laws to protect animals throughout the Commonwealth.

While there are no statewide regulations surrounding these facilities, ARL’s Board Safely campaign provides pet families with what to look for before they board their pet. ARL is also a member of Ollie’s Coalition, founded after the death of Ollie, a labradoodle mauled at a pet daycare in 2020.

We only have until July 31 to get this bill through the House and to the Governor’s desk. Please reach out to your Representative today and ask them to support S.2994 and protect puppies and kittens this legislative session!

Have questions or want to get involved? Contact advocay@arlboston.org


ARL Assists in Two Overcrowding Situations

ARL Provides Spay/Neuter, Other Services for Overcrowding Situations

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently assisted two families with similar circumstances – having unaltered cats in the home, leading to overcrowding situations.

In all, the two situations resulted in ARL assisting with 20 cats.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

A family in Norfolk County reached out to ARL when they realized the struggle of a growing pet cat population.

Two cats taken in from overcrowding situations.

The family was struggling to find affordable spay/neuter options for the cats, which had resulted in additional litters of kittens.

ARL’s Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program, was the perfect solution for the family.

The Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program offers free spay/neuter surgery for the parent animals, and waived surrender fees for the offspring. After surgery, the parent animals are returned to the home, while the offspring are adopted into new and loving homes!

ARL’s Field Services Department transported nine cats from the home to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, where the animals received wellness exams, vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries.

The kittens were placed into new homes, while two of the adult cats were returned to the family!

Lending a Paw

A family in Plymouth County recently reached out to ARL for assistance regarding a family member’s cats they had been caring for.

The family member was ill and would be returning home, but would be unable to care for the nearly dozen cats in the home.

ARL’s Field Services agents went to the home to pick-up 11 cats, transferring them to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Two of the cats were returned to the family following spay/neuter surgery, while the remaining settled into Dedham’s “cat colony” room.

The cats were very shy, and were most comfortable as a group.

The “cat colony” room is a large, open space, giving shyer cats more room to sprawl and explore, and since being at ARL, the nine cats in the room are settling in, getting more comfortable in their new surroundings, and are currently awaiting their new homes.

ARL Here to Help

If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by having too many animals in their home, there is help available.

You can contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

ARL approaches every overcrowding situation with respect, compassion, and a staunch commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the animals involved, as well as their caretakers.

If you or someone you know may be overwhelmed with the number of animals in the home, ARL is here to help.


This July 4th, Help Keep Pets Safe and Calm

July 4th Fireworks can trigger anxiety in pets

Fireworks and July 4th go hand-in-hand, however, this is also a time of great anxiety for our pets, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to take extra steps to ensure our pets are safe and calm during the upcoming holiday weekend.

While exciting for us, fireworks can cause behavioral issues in our pets that may last for a long time, and signs to watch out for include: shaking, drooling, howling or barking, pacing, trying to find a place to hide, loss of bladder control, among others.

When stressed and exhibiting signs of fear, dogs may potentially redirect that fear into an aggressive behavior. Additionally, the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks may also cause a dog to run off. During this time of year, shelters around the national typically see an increase in lost dog reports.

The first and easiest step to take is to make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags, and if they are microchipped, to be sure that the contact information is current and correct; as a precaution just in case they become lost.

You can also set them up in a quiet, temperature-controlled room with some of their favorite toys, turn on some soft music, a television, or a white noise machine to help drown out the noises caused by fireworks.

If you are concerned about the bright lights, you can also move your pet into a room with no windows, however you may need to prepare for the chance they may run when the door is opened.

There are also medications to help reduce stress and anxiety, however this is something that needs to be discussed with your veterinarian to determine which, if any, medication would be appropriate for your pet.

Additional Summer Safety Tips

Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important basic guidelines:

  • Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a cool humidity and temperature-regulated room.
  • If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  • Hydration is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car — even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked. Remember, when the temperatures rise, it’s Too Hot for Spot®

For more summer safety tips, visit www.arlboston.org/summer-safety


The Most Vulnerable Community Cats, and How You Can Help

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Community Cats Program provides care for hundreds of community cats from throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on an annual basis, but as we get into the warmer months, ARL is seeing more and more of the most vulnerable – kittens born in the wild.

Dedicated to Making a Difference

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated agent working with community cats.

Working throughout the state, ARL’s Community Cat Agent will identify and assess a colony of cats, and formulate a trap-neuter-return (TNR) plan for each situation.

Once the cats are humanely trapped, they are transported to an ARL Animal Care and Adoption Center where they receive medical treatment, including vaccines and spay/neuter surgery, and are also assessed behaviorally to determine adoption potential.

Since its inception in 2017, the program has assisted well over 3,000 community cats, and the need to help these animals has increased every year of the program – and as we get into the warmer months of the year, kittens are being born in great numbers and are extremely vulnerable to the elements, predators, illness and injury, among other threats.

Tansy and Posie

Tansy and Posie are a sibling pair of female kittens, and former community cats, recently taken in by ARL.

Former community cats Tansy and Posie.

A family in Rochester, MA, began noticing a group of cats on their property, and over time began to care for the animals by providing food and also outdoor cat shelters – but they also began to notice an abundance of kittens being born.

Doing some online research, the family discovered ARL’s Community Cat Program.

“When I called ARL’s Dedham branch, I cannot tell you the relief I had when they offered their assistance!” said Sarah Aanensen. “I wanted so badly to help these cats but knew there was no way to afford to get all these feral cats vet care that they so badly needed.”

Sarah began to humanely trap the cats, and Tansy and Posie were brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal care and Adoption Center.

While too young to be made available for adoption, the kittens have spent several weeks in foster care and are getting stronger by the day!

In a few weeks the kittens will be spayed, vaccinated, and will then find their perfect homes!

How You Can Help Community Cats (and Kittens)

Join us for this year’s Kitten Shower, as we bring awareness of the reality of kitten season and rally support to help fragile babies like Tansy and Posie.

This is your chance to help kittens get the chance they deserve at a safe and healthy life in a home.

Here’s how:

    1. Make a gift today to provide kittens and cats with the care they need – Gifts of $100 or more will be recognized on the Kitten Kuddler Wall of Honor
    2. Send critically-needed supplies from our Kitten Shower Registry directly to those in need
    1. Help spread the word by voting and sharing our Cutest Kitten (or Cat) Photo Contest

Your support can mean the difference between a challenging life outdoors and a happy, secure home for these vulnerable animals.


Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund Provides Injured Puppy with Vital Surgeries

The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund recently provided a six-month-old puppy with two essential surgeries, which began as a collaboration between two of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) veterinary programs.

An Emergency Referral

Nina, then a three-month-old puppy, came to ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ in late February because she was limping after jumping off of her family’s bed.

Fearing a fracture, the Wellness Waggin’ staff referred Nina’s owners to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) – ARL’s clinic with a mission, to receive x-rays.

X-rays revealed a mild avulsion fracture, and during the visit an umbilical hernia was also detected.

Due to the mild nature of the fracture, BVC’s medical staff opted for pain management, rest, and limited activity to heal the fracture – the umbilical hernia did need to be repaired surgically, and Nina was also in need of a spay.

Veterinary care can of course be expensive, however, Nina’s family qualified for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, which would cover the costs of the x-rays, exam, and for Nina’s surgical needs as well.

Receiving Care

In early May, Nina returned to BVC for a recheck of her leg, and to undergo surgery.

The fracture had healed, and with the successful surgeries completed, Nina is now healthy, happy, and ready to get back to being a puppy!

“This is such a blessing, we can’t thank everyone enough,” said Nina’s family. “Nina means so much to us and having her healthy is the most important thing.”

“This was a tremendous collaboration between the Wellness Waggin’ and Boston Veterinary Care,” stated ARL Director of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Nicole Breda. “By referring Nina to BVC, not only were we able to get this puppy healthy, but the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund removed the financial burden for these procedures, helping to keep Nina in her home where she belongs with those who love her.”

The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, established by longtime ARL supporter and former Board member Jane Whitney Marshall, ensures that financial barriers do not prevent owners from providing vital veterinary care for their pets in treatable medical emergencies.

How You Can Double Your Impact!

The pandemic is straining our limited resources, and our neighbors are feeling the same financial pressures.

There is a critical lack of affordable veterinary care options, and many individuals or families are faced with heartbreaking decisions regarding their beloved animals.

At the same time, the shelter animal population in our region is changing and we are seeing more complex medical issues that require advanced diagnostics, special surgeries, medication, and recovery time.

Your support helps ARL solve these pressing challenges, and with your support today, your gift can go twice as far!

From now through June 15, your gift to provide medical care to a shelter animal will be MACTHED, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, to provide care to an owned animal through the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund.

Even in these challenging circumstances, your generosity can do TWICE as much good by helping a shelter animal AND a beloved pet. Make a gift today!


ARL Hosts Rabies Vaccine and Microchip Clinics

Nearly 100 animals receive rabies vaccine and microchips

This spring, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its efforts to provide low-cost and accessible pet wellness services, and recently held two rabies vaccine and microchip clinics in two towns that ARL proudly calls home.

ARL recently partnered with the Town of Dedham and Dedham Animal Control to host a rabies vaccine and microchip clinic outside of ARL’s new multi-use building, located on ARL’s historic Dedham campus.

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ provided the state-mandated vaccine for dogs, cats, and ferrets for nearly 60 pets, and the clinic was free for Dedham residents, $10 for the rabies vaccine and $10 for a microchip for non-residents.

Dedham Animal Control was also able to provide on-site dog licenses for dog owners as well!

The Dedham clinic has been an annual tradition for a number of years, and ARL thanks the town and animal control for their collaboration on this important event!

Brewster Clinic

In late April, the Town of Brewster, home to ARL’s Cape Cod Animal Care and Adoption Center, held it’s annual Brewster in Bloom Festival, with ARL holding its rabies vaccine and microchip clinic in conjunction with the weekend-long event.

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ was on-site at Brewster’s Lemon Tree Village Shops, providing vaccines and microchips for nearly 50 pets.

A Community Connection

While these rabies vaccine and microchip clinics provide an essential service for pets, it’s also an opportunity for pet owners to get to know ARL a little better and learn what other services may be available for residents in the communities ARL proudly serves.

With the Dedham and Brewster rabies vaccine and microchip clinics complete, ARL now turns to upcoming events in Boston.

Starting in September, ARL will join Boston Animal Control for two rabies vaccine and microchip clinics – the first happening on September 27 at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and the second taking place in October in Dorchester.

Stay tuned for more details!


ARL Sees Steady Demand for Temporary Pet Housing Initiative

Temporary Pet Housing Initiative available for pet owners facing housing instability

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Temporary Pet Housing Initiative was launched in October 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with more pet owners facing housing instability, ARL is now seeing an increased demand for the service.

Fuzzy is just one of 63 animals ARL has taken in under the Temporary Pet Housing Initiative.

ARL took in just 8 animals during the first year of initiative, however, in year two, ranging from March 1, 2021-March 1, 2022, ARL provided temporary housing for 46 animals, and in the past two months alone, 9 animals have been placed into temporary housing.

Since its inception, the initiative has provided temporary shelter for 63 animals, totaling nearly 2,200 days in foster care!

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts offering this service, and the Temporary Pet Housing Initiative is potentially available for any pet owner in Massachusetts experiencing housing instability, or is at imminent risk of homelessness due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the core of its mission, ARL believes in keeping people and pets together, and is offering temporary shelter for animals whose owners may be experiencing housing instability or may be at imminent risk of homelessness.

This is an essential service for individuals facing eviction due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first step in the process is to contact ARL’s Admissions Office depending on location: Boston (617) 426-9170 x140; Dedham (617) 426-9170 x404; Brewster (617) 426-9170 x305.

Animal admissions is being coordinated through ARL’s animal care and adoption center management staff as space allows.

A prescreening process determines eligibility, and once accepted, the client is responsible for transporting the animal to the specified location.

The animal is held at the animal care and adoption facility temporarily to receive a veterinary exam and behavioral evaluation, and is then placed into a foster home.

Animals have a maximum 120-day stay within ARL’s foster care network, and pet owners must agree to parameters of conditional surrender to ARL including maintaining bi-weekly check-ins throughout the pet’s placement period.


Transport Pup with Chronic Skin Condition Still Seeking New Home

Skin condition causes extreme discomfort

Fern, a three-year-old female Pitbull-mix, arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in late March along with three other pups who were a part of animal cruelty investigations in New York.

As a transport partner with national organization ASPCA, ARL was seen as a great environment for these dogs to recover their previous trauma and to begin new lives in New England.

Upon arrival, Fern displayed her incredibly sweet personality, but she was also uncomfortable due to a chronic skin condition.

Fern showing her playful side.

Receiving Skin Condition Treatment

ARL shelter medicine team diligently worked to get Fern’s allergies and skin condition under control, but she needed more than just medication, she also needed a quiet place to recover.

ARL is blessed to have more than 500 dedicated foster families willing to open up their hearts and homes for animals like Fern — the shelter environment was just not conducive to her healing process, and foster care offered Fern not only a place to heal, but also an opportunity to become comfortable in a home-setting.

Ready to Go Home

After more than a month in foster care, Fern is ready to find her new family and begin her new life.

Fern is playful, full of energy, and while her skin condition is chronic, it is manageable through medication and regular visits to the veterinarian.

More information about Fern.

A Collaborative Wellness Effort

ARL is proud to be an official transport partner with the ASPCA, and Fern’s case demonstrates the amazing collaborative efforts taking place at ARL every day.

Fern needed assistance from ARL Animal Care Associates, shelter medicine and behavioral teams, as well as ARL’s extensive network of volunteers and foster families.

Every animal is an individual, and every animal requires needs that are unique to them.

But we can’t do this work alone: thanks to you and your generous support, ARL continues to help thousands of animals like Fern annually and we thank you!