A Moment of Paws: Ticks Remain Year-Round Concern for our Pets

While many embrace the mild winter New England has experienced this year, one of the downsides to a winter filled with above-average temperatures is an explosion in the tick population in Massachusetts.

With such a mild winter, tick-borne illnesses are no longer just a summer-time concern, and for pets who spend any time outdoors, pet owners should take steps now to better protect both themselves and their pets when venturing outside.

With ticks seemingly everywhere outdoors, consider the following to help protect your pet: 

  1. Put your pet on a tick preventative. There are numerous to consider, so speak with your veterinarian to determine what’s best for your pet.
  2. Consider vaccination.  Speak with your veterinarian about the Lyme disease vaccine.
  3. Avoid outdoor areas where ticks are known to inhabit. After spending time outdoors, whether in the backyard or after a hike, check both yourself and your pet for ticks. For dogs, pay particular attention to their ears, eyelids, between toes, genital area, and around the collar.
  4. Maintain your yard. Keep the lawn mowed and shrubbery trimmed around your home.

Tick preventatives can only go so far, the best way to protect your pet is to do a tick check as soon as returning from the outdoors. Start with your pet’s feet, paying special attention to areas between the toes. From there check the legs, then move onto the underbelly and finally check the head, neck, back, and tail.

If your pet has been bitten by a tick, it needs to be removed immediately! Using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible. Remove the tick in a slow, steady, and straight motion – don’t jerk as anything left behind could cause an infection. Treat the bite wound with antiseptic and monitor the site over the next few days for localized skin infection.

Some signs your dog has been infected by a tick-borne disease include fever, loss of appetite, acute lameness, and swelling in the joints, among others. A blood test can determine if your dog has been exposed to a tick-borne disease and follow up tests or an antibiotic may be recommended.

Given that tick-borne diseases can trigger chronic health issues, it is also vital to follow recommendations for ongoing follow-up care after diagnosis and treatment. 

ARL Announces Launch of Humane Education Program, Partnership with Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library locations to host monthly youth educational events

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to announce the launch of its Humane Education Program, which coincides with a special partnership with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to help create the next generation of compassionate animal advocates.

The monthly series entitled The Fun and Exciting World of Working with Animals aims to educate and inspire. These BPL events are free and open to youth ages 6-9, and future presentations will feature a variety of topics including the inner workings of an animal shelter, introduction to veterinary care, animal behavior, and being kind to animals. More information on this event series.

three small children use toothbrushes to provide enrichment to a tortoise

Children at The Fun and Exciting World of Working with Animals event use small toothbrushes to provide enrichment and grooming to a tortoise.


“For many, our love of animals began at a young age, and this innovative program and partnership with the Boston Public Library allows the city’s youth to learn directly from those who work with animals every day, and perhaps begin to forge a path for their own future,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “ARL cannot thank the Boston Public Library enough for the opportunity to inspire the next generation of animal advocates.”


Two small children and ARL staff member look at a humane cat trap

An ARL staff member shows attendees how a humane cat trap works at The Fun and Exciting World of Working with Animals event.

“The Boston Public Library is thrilled to partner with the Animal Rescue League of Boston to bring engaging, impactful programming to the youth of Boston,” said BPL President David Leonard. “A major focus for the BPL is youth engagement, and we’re dedicated to teaming up with organizations in our community that can help our youngest patrons discover their passions, explore their interests, and chart their futures, all in free, safe, and exciting new ways.”

child holding a small puppy

During Friday Night Teen Group, teens have the opportunity to meet adoptable animals like Dolphin, a Shiba Inu puppy.

Along with ARL’s partnership with the Boston Public Library, ARL’s Humane Education Program will also offer opportunities at the organization’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for area youth to help build confidence around and to show empathy for all animals in our communities.

ARL’s experienced and knowledgeable staff and volunteers will present interactive activities for both children and adults focused on topics related to animal welfare and care. Programs are tailored to the goals, ages, and needs of each group and will include a Friday night teen group and youth reading programs, where young people will actually get the chance to have hands-on experiences with the animals in ARL’s care while learning important life lessons.

More information about ARL’s Humane Education Program.

Press Release: ARL Named a Finalist in the 2023 Classy Awards

The Classy Awards honor the impact of innovative nonprofits

Boston, MA — Classy, a giving platform that enables nonprofits to connect supporters with causes they care about, has named the Animal Rescue league of Boston as a finalist for the 2023 Classy Awards. Launched in 2009, The Classy Awards shine a spotlight on the innovative work nonprofits are implementing around the globe.

Today, we’re proud to share that ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ has been recognized for its impact for providing low-cost, accessible, and high-quality animal wellness care for pet owners in the underserved areas of Greater Boston.

Launched in 2019, and in partnership with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), the Wellness Waggin’ has surpassed 11,000 appointments, serving pet owners in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, and East Boston.

For $10, the Wellness Waggin’ offers pets a physical exam, rabies and distemper vaccines, flea treatment and microchip.

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ delivers these services directly where they’re needed most, helping pet owners overcome the hurdles of accessibility and cost, to ensure their pets are happy and healthy.

This year, 11 Classy Awards will be distributed including the People’s Choice Award, which is determined by public vote.

Supporters can vote here for (insert organization name) from April 6-April 25, 2023. Winners will be announced live on June 7 at the Collaborative by Classy conference in Philadelphia, PA.

For more information on the Classy Awards, visit awards.classy.org.


The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. Founded in 1899, ARL provides high-quality veterinary care, adoption, and rescue services; while also confronting the root causes of animal cruelty and neglect through innovative community programs, police investigations, and public advocacy. In 2022, ARL served 20,601 animals throughout Massachusetts. ARL is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The Animal Rescue League of Boston does not receive government grants or public funding and relies on the generosity of our supporters to help animals in need. For more information please visit us online at arlboston.org; and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Classy Awards
Started in 2009, the Classy Awards recognize nonprofits for their unique approaches and impact on our world. Decided by a well-respected group of judges, the Classy Awards bring together groundbreaking nonprofits and impact leaders to honor the achievements driving lasting change around the globe.

About Classy
Classy, an affiliate of GoFundMe, is a Public Benefit Corporation and giving platform that enables nonprofits to connect supporters with the causes they care about. Classy’s platform provides powerful and intuitive fundraising tools to convert and retain donors. Since 2011, Classy has helped nonprofits mobilize and empower the world for good by helping them raise over $5 billion. For more information, visit www.classy.org.


ARL Caring for Injured Stray Cat Likely Attacked by Wildlife

Injured stray cat suffering from multitude of wounds

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for an injured stray cat that used up one of his nine lives escaping a likely wildlife attack, suffering severe wounds in the process.

The Good Samaritan who rescued the 2-year-old cat, now named Gummy Bear, stated the cat had been a regular in their West Yarmouth neighborhood for about a year, but when he showed up one day clearly in distress, the finder trapped the cat and brought him to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center for the emergency care he desperately needed.

Gummy Bear suffered from deep, raw wounds on both cheeks, hind limbs, as well as an injured toe.

He also had scars on his body from previous encounters with unknown animals.

ARL’s shelter medicine team proceeded to clean and debride the wounds, and he is currently residing at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center to receive ongoing treatment.

Because his wounds are of an unknown origin, he will be quarantined for four months, per state law.

Despite his harrowing ordeal, Gummy Bear is settling into his new surroundings and is improving both physically and behaviorally.

ARL staff and volunteers are spending ample time with the wounded cat, who has begun opening up and is constantly seeking pets, accepting treats, and purring to show his appreciation.

Although he will be residing with ARL until the early summer, his finder, who likely saved his life, has expressed interest in adopting him when his quarantine period ends, which would make for the perfect beginning to the next chapter of his life.

ARL would like to thank Gummy Bear’s finder for their act of kindness, and acknowledge all the Good Samaritans who take action when seeing an animal in distress and need of assistance.

ARL Caring for Stray Cat Saved by Good Samaritan

Senior stray cat with several medical issues found along VFW Parkway in Dedham

A senior former stray cat is getting the second chance he deserves thanks to the actions of a Good Samaritan who was concerned after spotting the cat near a busy highway in Dedham, MA.

The cat has been in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), and had he not been rescued, his medical issues would’ve certainly been exacerbated and possibly life-threatening.

Mr. Belvedere, a 10-year-old male cat, was brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center in February after a person on their way to work noticed the cat on the side of the busy VFW Parkway in Dedham.

The Good Samaritan took note of the stray cat, and when returning from work the same day, the person once again noticed the cat and decided to take action.

Concerned for the animal’s welfare and believing he was either sick or injured, the Good Samaritan was able to gather up the friendly cat, and bring him to ARL.

Upon his arrival, a thorough medical exam revealed some underlying medical concerns, including diabetes, muscle wasting on one of his hind limbs, and chronic dry eye.

The cat was also suffering from advanced dental disease. Had Mr. Belvedere not been rescued, it’s likely his diabetes would have worsened over time and developed into a life-threatening condition.

Over the past month, ARL’s shelter medicine has worked diligently to regulate the cat’s diabetes, and Mr. Belvedere is currently on a restricted diet, and also receives daily insulin injections.

He also needs daily medication for his dry eye condition.

Mr. Belvedere, a very friendly and outgoing cat, has enjoyed living in his foster home since his intake, and it’s likely his foster family will adopt him once he’s ready.

ARL would like to thank the Good Samaritan for their act of kindness, and acknowledge everyone who takes action when seeing an animal in distress and need of assistance.

Former Abandoned Pig Finds New Home

Once abandoned pig now thriving with new pig friends in New Hampshire

After being with the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) for over five months, a one-year-old pig that had been abandoned at a Boston residence has found her new home.

Local news coverage of Clarendon going home.

In late October 2022, Clarendon was brought by her former owner from Northern New England to the residence of a relative in Boston, however, when the former owner left, Clarendon was left behind.

Concerned for her welfare, the resident contacted Boston Animal Control, who then reached out to ARL, who gladly took in the young sow.

Clarendon settled into her new surroundings at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center quickly, and immediately became a favorite among staff and volunteers with her sparkling personality and playfulness, and ARL went to great lengths to find this special pig the perfect home.

When the pig was featured in Boston-area media reports in early February 2023, a family in New Hampshire, who already had two large pet pigs, saw the reports and were immediately interested in adopting Clarendon.

This past Friday, ARL brought the young pig to her new home, and upon arrival, Clarendon, now named Rosie, took to her new home with great enthusiasm.

She met her new pig friends, and the family was overwhelmed with excitement to welcome this special pig to her permanent home.

ARL Saves Life of Transport Kitten

Transport kitten required leg amputation due to unrepairable fracture

A seven-month-old transport kitten in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is getting a second chance thanks to both the transport, and the emergency surgical procedure performed by ARL’s shelter medicine team.

The kitten was part of a transport of cats through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Relocation Program, and was suffering from a severely fractured leg.

Because the kitten, named Raquel, was found as a stray, it’s unknown how she suffered the injury.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, Raquel’s leg was x-rayed and due to the extent and severity of the fracture, the leg was removed which will result in Raquel living a pain-free, and normal life.

Just one day after surgery, Raquel was playful, energetic and displayed no mobility issues.

Raquel is literally receiving a second chance – given the combination of shelter overcrowding and her medical issues, it’s very likely that the kitten would have been euthanized had she not been transported.

ARL is thrilled to have the opportunity to give Raquel and the 14 other cats that were part of the transport the chance to find permanent homes and have the fulfilling lives they deserve.

While ARL’s feline priorities remain focused on serving the countless homeless cats living in our local communities through the organization’s Community Cat Program, ARL is a proud partner with the ASPCA and regularly receives transports of both cats and dogs to lessen shelter overcrowding in other regions of the country and finding these animals homes.

The ASPCA Relocation Program removes cats and dogs from shelters in areas with high homeless animal populations and transports them to areas (like Massachusetts), where the demand for adoptable animals is high.

In 2021, the program relocated more than 34,000 animals to shelters across the country.

ARL Offers Tips During Animal Poison Prevention Week

Animal exposure to poison impacts countless animals annually

It’s National Animal Poison Prevention Week, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is raising awareness to common household items that can be toxic, or even fatal, for our furry friends.

Watch ARL discussing this topic with Boston Fox affiliate WFXT.

Cleaning Products

The ingredients to avoid in household cleaners are phenols – a parent compound used as a disinfectant. If the label says “disinfectant”, “antibacterial”, or “sanitizer”, chances are it contains phenolic compounds, which can be toxic to dogs and cats.

Helping keep our pets safe means reading labels to find pet-friendly products, diluting solutions, keeping pets out of rooms until surfaces are dry to the touch, and cleaning with care.

Also make sure there is ample airflow, to avoid possible respiratory issues for pets that could arise due to the strong fumes of some cleaning products.


It’ll soon be time to get out into the yard as the weather warms, and for many, this means gardening projects, including flowers.

It is important to keep in mind that there are a number of flowers that can be toxic to pets, especially cats.

Lilies of any variety, daffodils, tulips, chrysanthemums, and hyacinths should be avoided.

There are also a number of garden pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals that are pet-friendly and should be utilized if your pets will be frolicking in the yard when the weather turns warmer.

Food Concerns

Not feeding our pets from the table promotes good manners, but also promotes good health, as many of the foods we eat are toxic to our pets.

When it comes to food, it’s important to keep the following foods away from our pets;

  • If ingested in significant amounts, citrus can cause stomach upset or even nervous system depression
  • Grapes and raisins. Although it’s unknown what the toxic substance is, the fruit can cause kidney failure in pets
  • Almonds, pecans, and walnuts contain high amounts of fat and can cause pancreatitis in pets
  • Onions and garlic. These can cause gastrointestinal issues, or even red blood cell damage
  • Salt and Salty Snacks. These foods produce excessive thirst and can lead to tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures, or even death

Additionally, we all know that chocolate is a no-no, but there are plenty of other foods that are off the menu for pets.

Along with chocolate, many foods contain the sweetener xylitol and if ingested, could lead to liver failure.

Poison Control 

Fortunately, pet poison control hotlines are available and are ready to help. 

This is a service that is offered by a number of microchip companies, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also has a poison control hotline, which can be reached at (888) 426-4435. 

When you call a pet poison control hotline, the operator will gather information from you and depending on what they’ve ingested and symptoms they’re displaying, you will either treat at home, or bring your animal to a veterinarian for emergency treatment. 

If it’s the latter, poison control will contact your veterinary office, relay the information, and a plan of treatment is in place and ready to go once you arrive.  

Despite the safeguards we take, our pets are curious and sadly, thousands of pets are impacted by ingesting something poisonous every year. Remember, should you suspect your pet has gotten into something they shouldn’t have, take immediate action as every second counts! 

ARL Joins ABCD for Mobile Food Pop-Up Program

Agency provides groceries and pet food for qualifying families and individuals at no cost

(Boston, MA) — The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is expanding its partnership with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), by participating in two monthly ABCD FOOD POP-UPS to help distribute groceries and pet food for individuals and families in underserved and under-resourced communities in Greater Boston.

A May 2019 report by Feeding America revealed that Massachusetts has the most expensive food prices in the country, with residents of Eastern Massachusetts shouldering the highest food costs statewide.

ABCD FOOD POP-UPS are among several new initiatives designed to strengthen ABCD’s food security program.

To qualify, residents of Boston, Medford, Everett, Belmont, Newton or Winchester must have a household annual income under 80 percent AMI (Area Median Income).

Monthly, FOOD POP-UPS visit Mattapan, Roslindale, East Boston and South Boston, providing fresh produce, meats and grocery staples.

Additionally, ARL will be present at the East Boston and Mattapan pop-ups to provide dog and cat food.


A line forms at ABCD's pop-up

A line forms outside of the East Boston pop-up.


ARL staff members work to hand out pet food at ABCD pop-ups

ARL’s team happily hands out pet food during Friday’s pop-up in East Boston.

There are no appointments required. Community members must register through ABCD’s online portal by visiting bostonabcd.org/mobilefood. Supplies are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

ARL’s collaboration with ABCD began in 2019, with ARL’s Wellness Waggin’, offering low-cost, high-quality wellness care for pets in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, and East Boston, and the organization is thrilled to be able to expand this partnership to offer continued assistance to our local communities.

“Food insecurity is an unfortunate reality for many, and can extend to pets as well,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “ABCD is continually finding ways to better serve clients, and ARL is privileged to be able to be a part of this important program to help both people and animals in our communities.

ABCD President and CEO Sharon Scott-Chandler, Esq., said that high inflation and food costs could force people to make the difficult choice between feeding themselves or their beloved pets. “Right now inflation and grocery prices are through the roof for everyone. Pets are family members. They improve emotional well-being and make life a little brighter all around. Deciding which family member gets fed is crushing. ABCD thanks the Animal Rescue League for this expanded partnership and for providing free pet food to clients at our FOOD POP-UPS.”

ARL’s contribution of free dog and cat food makes the difference for residents who are trying to make ends meet.

ABCD client Diogenes Castillo supplements his grocery budget by visiting an ABCD FOOD POP-UP for fresh meat, produce and staples.

He said, “With grocery prices being so expensive, everything helps. My dog is like my best friend. Receiving pet food from the Animal Rescue League of Boston when I visit ABCD FOOD-POP UPS lets me stretch my dollars and make sure that my good boy is well fed.”

Feeding America also reports that in 2021, 53 million people turned to food access centers and community programs for help with putting food on the table. These pop-ups are ideal for those who don’t live near a food access center, can’t get to one during regular hours or who have mobility issues.

ARL Tops 100 for Overcrowding Cat Intake in 2023

Latest overcrowding cat situation involved two dozen cats removed from home in Bristol County

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) took in two dozen animals from a cat overcrowding situation in Bristol County, and already in 2023 ARL has taken in more than 100 cats from these types of situations in our local communities – nearly twice as many as the same time period in 2022.

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated community cat agent working within our local communities to help these animals directly where they live.

The cats currently in ARL’s care came from an individual that previously reached out to ARL for assistance through the organization’s Community Cat Program to support care for outdoor cats in the area as well as owner surrender for cats the individual had taken into their care.

After providing refuge and shelter for so many outdoor cats, the situation had become too overwhelming and assistance was required to ensure the cats were provided with proper care and the opportunity to find loving homes through ARL’s adoption services.

Once removed from the home, the cats were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center where they continue to receive ongoing medical and behavioral care.

Cats living in overcrowding situations tend to have chronic medical issues due to a lack of proper care and sanitation, and because they are more used to interacting with other animals rather than people, tend to have behavioral challenges to overcome before being placed in a permanent home.

The majority of the cats are doing remarkably well and while many are available for adoption, others will need ongoing care, but should be ready to find their new homes soon.

Taking in such a large and sudden influx of animals is a daunting task, however, ARL has the experience and expertise to provide the care these animals need, and reminds the public that 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.