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Press Release: ARL Tallies First Cat Rescue of 2019

Feline trapped on rooftop three stories up in Dorchester

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services Department tallied its first cat rescue of 2019 Thursday afternoon, as a three-year-old male cat named Gadget managed to sneak out of his home on Wednesday and found his way atop a roof along Gaston Street in Dorchester, MA.

The rescue had a high degree of difficulty, as the cat was on a shingled area approximately two feet wide just below the jutting roof. Agents ascended the fire escape, however there was still a three-foot gap between where the cat was and the fire escape.

Attempts using nets and hook poles proved to be unsuccessful, however a narrow board placed from the fire escape to the shingled area turned out to be the best approach – particularly when Gadget’s owners came to the scene after leaving work.

Stephanie Mitchell, Gadget’s owner, conquered her fear of heights and climbed the fire escape with the cat’s favorite food. Slowly but surely the cat gained enough confidence to make it across the board and into the waiting hands of ARL Rescue Agents.

Gadget was hungry and scared, but was not injured during his adventure. Upon getting the cat home Mitchell replied “I’m so grateful and so happy to have Gadget back home!”

Answering the Call

ARL is the only animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue department and rescues thousands of animals annually, including more than 200 cats being trapped in trees and other precarious places.


Home for the Holidays: Shelley’s Amazing Story

Community Cat with Cerebellar Hypoplasia Finds a Home

For about a year, Shelley had been spotted in a Boston neighborhood and was described as having an “unsteady gait”. Shelley was one of the estimated 700,000 community cats living in Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone – and now she is off the streets and in a loving forever home!

When Shelley was taken into the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center in September, she was diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), which explained her unsteady gait.

CH is a condition where parts of the cerebellum aren’t fully developed. Since the cerebellum is responsible for movement and coordination, animals born with CH have tremors, uncoordinated movements and frequent loss of balance. To see a short video of Shelley click here!

While there is no treatment for CH, it is not contagious or painful – the animals simply learn to adapt to their condition.

However given the fact that Shelley has CH, it is remarkable that she was able to survive on her own for over a year on the streets and given her sweet demeanor, the immediate plan upon arrival at ARL was to find her the perfect home.

Shelley was a staff favorite during her time at ARL, making feline friends along the way, and although it took a couple of months, in early December, Shelley found her match.

In 2017, ARL’s Community Cat Initiative assessed 102 cat colonies, serving more than 600 cats. Nearly 80 percent of those cats were adopted into loving homes, and Shelley was just one of the hundreds of community cats ARL has helped in 2018.

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

With just days until the end of 2018, we need to raise $42,000 by December 31 to ensure we are fully funded to help even more animals in 2019. Please help us reach our goal and donate today!

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Home for the Holidays: Priscilla’s Story

On her own for some time and wandering the streets of Roxbury, it’s amazing that Priscilla, an 8-pound Shih-Tzu, found her way to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). Like many homeless animals, Priscilla showed a tremendous amount of resilience.

On a cold September night, Priscilla was discovered underneath a vehicle along Dudley Street – a busy thoroughfare in Roxbury. The 3-year-old pup was shivering and huddled underneath the car, and she clearly was not well.

The Good Samaritan who found Priscilla brought her to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center after showing signs of sickness.

Not only was she ill, but she had the typical conditions of a dog found living on the streets – underweight, matted fur and muscle wasting.

Despite her ordeal, Priscilla rebounded quickly and given her friendly and playful nature, she was quickly made available for adoption.

Going Home

An ARL volunteer instantly fell in love with Priscilla and decided to adopt. Changing her name to Ladybird, She became an immediate member of the family and is one of thousands of success stories ARL sees annually.

“Ladybird was a perfect addition to my family the instant she romped into my home. She is happy, playful and very smart. She isn’t demanding of attention and is happy to amuse herself sitting near me and chewing on one of her Nylabones. She has increased the quality of my life immeasurably and is a total hit to all who know her. A real favorite from the start.”

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

With just days until the end of 2018, we need to raise $50,000 by December 31 to ensure we are fully funded to help even more animals in need in 2019. Please donate today!

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Home for the Holidays: Bodhi’s Story

Bodhi, a five-year-old Saint Bernard/Cocker Spaniel mix, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center under unfortunate circumstances – his owner was facing financial hardships that made it impossible to properly care for him. Two things about Bodhi immediately stood out – his fear and health issues.

A picture says a thousand words, and Bodhi’s intake photo spoke volumes. His face was sunken, eyes filled with sadness and discomfort, and he wore an expression that would shake anyone who cares about animals to the core.

For several days, Bodhi needed to be hoisted to walk, which he then did reluctantly. He was not interested in treats, food, and had trouble going to the bathroom.

Every animal that come through ARL’s doors receives a thorough veterinary exam as well as a behavioral evaluation. Bodhi’s initial veterinary exam revealed a number of underlying issues, which were certainly contributing to his lack of enthusiasm.

Bodhi was suffering from ear infections, and a skin condition had caused loss of fur and scabbing all over his body. He was also overweight, and subsequent bloodwork revealed his weight gain was the result of hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid.

When the metabolic rate slows down due to hypothyroidism, it can literally affect every organ in the body. Symptoms include:

  • Weight gain (without increase in appetite)
  • Lethargy
  • Dry and dull fur with excessive shedding
  • Increased susceptibility to skin and ear infections
  • High cholesterol
  • Slow heart rate

Along with medication to reduce Bodhi’s anxiety, he was also started on thyroid medication, antibiotics for his ear infections and skin issues – he was also given medicated baths twice a week. Shelter staff also discovered an important tool to get Bodhi moving – tennis balls!

As his ear infections and skin condition improved, Bodhi broke out of his shell and began showing off his true personality.

He was accepting to new people, enjoyed being outdoors and especially loved getting his exercise by endlessly chasing tennis balls in Brewster’s large paddock area.

Going Home

Many animals who come into a shelter environment have behavioral hurdles to overcome, but for Bodhi, it was all about properly diagnosing his medical issues. Once these were identified and brought under control, Bodhi’s energy, comfort and happiness increased exponentially – and he was ready to find his forever home.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long. A local resident who has adopted from ARL in the past spent some time outdoors with Bodhi, and knew he was the one.

Bodhi now has ample space to run outdoors and is in a home filled with love and support and was able to spend the holidays with his new family!

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

As we look ahead to 2019, ARL will continue to be at the forefront of confronting the root causes of cruelty and abuse, and to help even more animals in need, like Bhodi, throughout Massachusetts.

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Home for the Holidays: Phinney’s Story

Senior Dog Afflicted with Enlarged Heart

In late October, Phinney, an 11-year-old Chihuahua, was brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, when his former owner could no longer care for him. Like every animal who comes through ARL’s doors, Phinney underwent a comprehensive medical examination, and unfortunately, some irregularities were found.

During Phinney’s exam, a heart murmur, a sound generated by the flow of blood to the heart, was noted.

Chest x-rays and an echocardiogram were performed, and discovered that Phinney has mitral valve regurgitation secondary to chronic valvular disease and mild left ventricular enlargement.

With an enlarged ventricle, its ability to pump blood out into the lungs and body deteriorates.

For Phinney, his heart disease has been deemed mild, however he will be on a medication called Pimobendan for the rest of his life.

Phinney was also diagnosed with MLP, or medial luxating patella. Lameness can occur as the patella (kneecap) slips out of position but slips back into position on its own. Both of Phinney’s patella’s are affected by MLP, however surgery has not been recommended. It is likely though that over time Phinney will develop arthritis as a result.

Despite his afflictions, Phinney has persevered and all he wanted for the holidays was a loving home and a cozy spot to curl up in.

Going Home

In early December, Phinney’s holiday wish came true, as he was adopted by a local resident who had adopted previously from ARL!

Given his medical condition, Phinney will need regular visits to his veterinarian, however the confirmed diagnosis by ARL’s shelter medicine staff and prescribed medication will certainly extend Phinney’s time with his new owner and improve his quality of life as well.

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

As we look ahead to 2019, ARL will continue to be at the forefront of confronting the root causes of cruelty and abuse, and to help even more animals in need, like Phinney, throughout Massachusetts.

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Home for the Holidays: Etha’s Story

Animals come to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in a variety of ways: stray, rescue, law enforcement, transport – as well as owner surrender. There are a plethora of reasons why animals are surrendered, and for Etha, a one-year-old female cat, it was due to prohibitive medical cost.

In her former home, Etha had managed to slip a front leg through her collar, causing irritation in her armpit region. This went unchecked for a number of weeks, getting to the point of the collar being embedded in her skin. The wounds underneath were open, infected and painful for the young cat.

Her former owner brought Etha to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for surrender in mid-November, and as soon as her intake was complete, ARL’s shelter veterinary staff went to work to remove the collar and treat her wounds.

Etha was spayed, and the wounds from the collar needed several rounds of cleaning and treatment with antibiotic ointment.

For many animals recovering from traumatic or serious injuries, foster care provides an environment where the animal can heal in relative quiet and receive the constant attention and care they need.

Given her amazing temperament, Etha was quick to heal and although shy at first, she was quick to warm up and showcase her sweet personality.

Within two weeks of being surrendered, Etha was rehabilitated and ready to find her forever home!

Home for the Holidays

ARL is proud that the median length of stay for dogs and cats in our shelters is 10 days or less, and for Etha, she was adopted just one day after being made available!

Etha has found her Home for the Holidays and has adapted very quickly to her new surroundings.

“We’re so happy having Etha around,” said her new owners. “It took all of one day for her to stop hiding now she’s a serious lap cat!”

Help Even More Animals in 2019!

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

As we look ahead to 2019, ARL will continue to be at the forefront of confronting the root causes of cruelty and abuse, and to help even more animals in need, like Etha, throughout Massachusetts.

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Home for the Holidays: Cuddy’s Story

In early November, Cuddy, a vocal and fluffy 13-year-old cat, was transferred to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center from Boston Animal Control.

For many senior animals, initially entering a shelter environment can be an overwhelming, fear-inducing experience – but for Cuddy, he was already familiar with ARL.

Originally adopted from ARL in 2010, Cuddy returned a little older, and a little wiser. Additionally, like many senior animals, Cuddy had advanced dental disease and had put on a few pounds.

While the majority of senior animals are surrendered due to an owner’s declining health or unfortunate passing, some, like Cuddy, are the victims of circumstance. Cuddy was surrendered to Boston Animal Control due to an eviction.

In a shelter environment, puppies and kittens typically get top billing because let’s face it – they’re adorable! The unfortunate reality is that sometimes senior animals can be overlooked simply based on their age.

At ARL, our Adoption Forward philosophy aims to match the adopter with the perfect animal – and for some senior animals better fit the person’s lifestyle or needs as their personalities are fully formed, they will be housebroken more often than not, and tend to be less active.

Cuddy Finds His Forever Home

Cuddy’s return stay at ARL was brief, as he was adopted in less than 3 weeks! His outgoing but relaxed personality was the perfect fit for his new owner, his adopter tells us, “Cuddy is a such a good boy – I awakened the morning after his very first night here to find him deep under the covers of my bed, nestled against my feet!” We’re beyond happy that Cuddy will be spending the holidays in his new forever home!

Help Even More Animals in 2019

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

As we look ahead to 2019, ARL will continue to be at the forefront of confronting the root causes of cruelty and abuse, and to help animals in need throughout Massachusetts.

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Pets As Gifts… CAN Be a Good Idea!

5 factors to consider before you give pets as a holiday gift

It seems like a no-brainer… Giving a pet as a present can be a win-win situation for everyone involved: the animal has a cozy home to call its own, the recipient is in a state of awe, and the giver (you!) has made your loved one’s holiday even more joyful.

While this is the gift-giving scenario that every animal lover dreams of, make sure it really is the purr-fect present for the person on your list.

If giving your loved one a new pet as a present is on your mind, here are 5 things to consider:

  1. Manage the surprise. Even at the risk of spoiling the surprise, make sure that the intended recipient wants a new pet. Check in with someone who currently has pets or has recently lost one to make sure they are ready.
  2. Don’t make them sneeze. That’s not a twinkle in their eye; it’s allergies. Confirm any allergies among all household members. No one wants to go get an allergy shot after opening what’s supposed to be an extra special gift, after all.
  3. Know where they live. Even if you know your intended recipient really wants a pet, ensure that their building and development allows them. If their home is pet-friendly, be sure to confirm any weight or breed restrictions.
  4. Find out what they can handle. You want to know that the animal you are getting matches the lifestyle, physical limitation, ages, and personalities in the household.
  5. Adopt from a shelter.  When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life.  Adopting from a reputable animal shelter like the ARL’s adoption centers, also has many practical benefits. All our adoptable animals, for example, receive spay/neuter services, vaccines, and a health and behavioral screening.

Keep in mind… It never hurts to run the idea by your loved one beforehand or take them along to pick out their new pet. They and their new furry friend will be thanking you for many years to come!

ARL has many deserving animals looking for a home!

It’s not just snowing cats and dogs here at ARL’s shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham. We have many special small shelter pets like birds and rabbits who are looking for loving homes!

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Home for the Holidays: Maya’s Story

8-Year-Old Chihuahua Finds Forever Home Following Life-Saving Surgery

Maya, an adorable 8-year-old Chihuahua, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in early October as an owner surrender. Like many animals who come to ARL, she was shy and fearful of strangers and other dogs.

Additionally, Maya had underlying medical issues – including a mammary mass (which was benign), and an extraordinarily large bladder stone that, if gone untreated, could’ve been life-threatening.

Bladder stones are a build-up of minerals and other materials and common symptoms include:

  • Urinary accidents
  • Frequents attempts to urinate without success
  • Straining to urinate
  • Discolored or bloody urine

Maya was showing classic symptoms of bladder stones, and ARL Shelter Medicine staff were shocked at the size of the stone which was clearly seen in her x-rays. While antibiotics and a therapeutic diet are sometimes used to help dissolve the stone over time, a surgical approach was necessary in Maya’s case.

The 10-pound sweetheart made it through surgery with flying colors, recovered quickly and was soon made available for adoption.

It took longer than expected given her cuteness factor, but 26 days after Maya’s surgery, she found her perfect match!

As we get into the heart of the holiday season, Maya has found her Home for the Holidays, and this is a gift we wish we could give every animal at ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers this holiday season.

Ready to Adopt?

If adding a furry member to your family is on your to-do list for the holidays, stop into ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers — located in Boston, Dedham, and Brewster to speak with an Animal Care Associate. With ARL’s Adoption Forward philosophy, the conversation-based, application-free process aims to match you with the perfect animal to suit your lifestyle and your family. Visit us today!


Press Release: Pair of Six-Month-Old Cats Abandoned on Busy Dedham Street

Cats Left in Cardboard Box, One Suffering Broken Leg

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for a pair of six-month-old cats who were left in a cardboard box along High St., a busy thoroughfare in Dedham, MA. One of the cats is suffering from a broken leg and ARL Law Enforcement is seeking information to find the person responsible for this cruel act.

While driving along High St. this past weekend, a Good Samaritan witnessed a man standing in front of a box along High St., and drove away when the driver pulled over. Stunned to find the cats in the box, the Good Samaritan brought the cats to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, along with the contents of the box. There was pertinent information inside the box which ARL Law Enforcement is following up on.

The man was driving a dark-colored SUV, and is described as a white male in his 30’s or 40’s.

The cats, named Arnold and Helga, are not microchipped, and both are extremely friendly. Along with an injured leg, a rabbit nail was found embedded into Helga’s tail – both cats were dirty but overall in good health.

As the law enforcement investigation continues, the cats will continue to be monitored and undergo medical treatment — the goal is to have them both into new, loving homes for the holidays.

ARL Law Enforcement is the lead agency in this investigation, and anyone with information is urged to contact ARL Law Enforcement (cruelty@arlboston.org; (617) 426-9170).