Pair of Special Senior Dogs Find New Home Together

Dogs recently lost owner, originally adopted by ARL in 2018

Franklin, a 9-year-old Shar Pei, and Frieda, a 6-year-old Shar Pei, are no strangers to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

The pair came to ARL initially in late 2018 as part of a transport of dogs from North Carolina, this, after sadly losing their owner.

The dogs won over everyone with their sweet demeanor and were able to find a new home quickly.

Sadly, their owner recently passed away, and the pair came back to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center to find a new home together to spend their retirement years.

Franklin and Freida had been together for their whole lives, and lean on each other, so it was important for them to find a new home together.

Senior animals, like Franklin and Frieda, make wonderful pets, and typically do not require the attention, training and patience that comes with their younger counterparts.

However, they are sometimes overlooked by potential adopters in search of puppies, kittens, or young adult animals.

While Franklin and Freida are fun-loving and extremely friendly, ARL was well aware that it would take a special home to take in not just one, but two senior dogs. While healthy overall, the pair do have medical needs that need attention from time to time — Franklin is prone to ear infections, while Frieda’s allergies can cause dry skin and/or ear infections.

Going Home

ARL knows there is a perfect match for every animal, sometimes it just takes a little longer to find the perfect situation.

Thanks to some local news coverage, Franklin and Frieda were introduced to the masses, and shortly after, they found their new home, and are now settling in with their new family!

ARL Participates in Special Ceremony to Mark Signing of Nero’s Law

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker took part in a stirring ceremony on Cape Cod, marking the passage of Nero’s Law.

Representatives from ARL, who advocated for the passage of the legislation, also took part in the ceremony.

The ceremony, held at a Yarmouth Police training center being built in honor of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon, had additional meaning, as the ceremony took place on the 4-year anniversary of a tragic event.

On April 12, 2018, Sgt. Gannon was shot and killed while serving a search warrant, and his K9 partner Nero, was critically wounded.

At the time, Nero could not be treated at the scene due to state law. The passage of Nero’s Law ensures that police dogs like Nero have access to emergency care and transport by first responders, should they be wounded in the field.

“We shouldn’t even have to debate or discuss whether or not they [K-9s] get shot or injured in the line of duty, that we should do what we can to save them because Lord knows they would save us if the role was reversed,” Governor Baker said.

Nero’s Law was an important part of ARL’s 2021-2022 legislative agenda, and Joe King, ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement, former K9 handler and major with the Massachusetts State Police, testified in support of the legislation, which passed unanimously at the State House.

Popular Spring Flowers Toxic for Cats

With the weather changing, you may have noticed the first signs of spring in the form of flowers beginning to emerge from the ground.

Soon these flowers will be blooming, but along their beautiful sight and smell, many species of spring flowers add a life-threatening element of danger for your cat.

Lilies of all varieties (Easter Lilies, Daylilies, Asiatic Lilies, Peace Lilies, Lily of the Valley) top the list of spring flowers that are extremely dangerous for felines.

For cats like Duchess, ingesting just a small amount of toxic spring flowers like lilies can be life-threatening.

Ingesting just a leaf or two, or drinking a little water from a vase holding the flowers, can cause kidney failure, and possibly death.

Lilies are so toxic that symptoms can be seen less than two hours after ingestion and include:

    • Dehydration
    • Lack of Appetite
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Lethargy

If you suspect your cat has ingested lilies or any harmful substance, seek medical attention immediately–do not wait! The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at (888) 426-4435, for any animal poison-related emergency. 

Other spring plants that are toxic for your cat include: daffodils, tulips, chrysanthemums, and hyacinths.

Our animals rely on us to keep them safe–if you have a cat, it’s certainly a good idea to remove lilies and other noxious plants from your home and yard to ensure their safety.


Contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s outpatient clinic, Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) at 617-226-5605 or email at bvc@arlboston.org.

ARL Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program Marks 2-Year Anniversary

Program has assisted more than 1,200 pets

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is marking the two-year anniversary of a program launched during the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to assist pet owners most in need of services.

In 2020, ARL realigned efforts and expanded pet support services by creating Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Serving Animals Facing Emergencies). The goal of the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program was to keep pets with families facing hardships caused by or exacerbated by COVID-19.

Through this innovative program, ARL has been able to offer delivery of pet food and essential pet supplies, emergency veterinary needs, as well as temporary emergency pet sheltering to aid those experiencing housing instability or at imminent risk of homelessness.

ARL staff member delivering pet food for Keep Pets S.A.F.E. ProgramThe Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program has been
extremely successful and to date:

    • 1,266 pets and families have been assisted via Keep Pets S.A.F.E.
    • 195 pets have received vet care transportation
    • 54 pets with temporary housing
    • 358,900 healthy meals have been made available to pets in Eastern Massachusetts.

“ARL faced a pivotal moment during a time of crisis and uncertainty, would we refocus and adapt, responding to the pets and people that rely on us, or would we retreat, and wait out the unknown,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “We took swift action to leverage our programs to support communities in new and innovative ways, pushing our boundaries, and reimagining the future of animal welfare.”

The Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program remains available to qualified pet owners.
Learn more about ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program.

ARL Provides Critical Surgery for Transport Cat

The majority of animals who come to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) only have to travel a few miles to get the help they need. However, there are others, like Miso, a 3-year-old cat, who come from other regions of the country to get the help they need and the second chance they deserve.

For Miso, his journey began nearly 2,000 miles away in Fort Worth, Texas. He was part of a transport of cats recently brought to ARL.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, the cats received thorough veterinary exams, and it was clear that Miso’s needs extended beyond routine.

Along with an upper respiratory infection and advanced dental disease effecting more than half of his mouth, he was also diagnosed with entropion – a genetic condition where a portion of the eyelid is inverted.

Entropion is uncomfortable because it scratches the cornea causing irritation, and if left untreated, can cause corneal ulceration and possible blindness.

Miso’s Treatment

After assessing and diagnosing Miso’s condition, ARL’s shelter medicine team went to work, surgically repairing the eyelid, and also performing a dental procedure which included extracting 5 of his teeth.

Following the procedure, Miso was constantly monitored, and was given ample time to rest and recover.

Ready to Go Home

As Miso’s recovery went on, he started to feel better, and also began showing his personality.

Miso can be a little shy when first meeting him, but he is quick to warm up, and while his first three years have been an adventure, he is ready to settle into the loving home he deserves.

ARL Shelter Medicine

All animals who come to ARL receive veterinary exams, vaccines, are spayed/neutered, and microchipped by ARL’s shelter medicine team.

ARL also has the capability to handle a wide variety of surgical procedures to ensure that our animals are healthy, happy, and thriving.

ARL Receives Transport of Dogs Rescued from Cruelty and Neglect by the ASPCA 

Transport marks growing partnership with national organization

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its growing partnership with the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) receiving a transport of dogs who were removed from animal cruelty and neglect situations and are now looking for loving homes.

The dogs came from two separate cruelty investigations through ASPCA’s partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and presented with various medical needs.

Meet the Pups in Need

**Update: all dogs have been adopted!**


Waggington, a three-year-old pup, came to the ASPCA through its partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in February of 2022 as part of a criminal investigation with a suspected knife wound to one of his hind legs.

While in the ASPCA’s care, Waggington had his wound repaired and was treated for an ear infection and upper respiratory infection.

He is a very social dog who is loved by everyone who meets him and he is ready to find his safe, loving home.

Fern, Lavender, and Link

Fern, Lavender and Link also came to the ASPCA through its partnership with the NYPD in January of 2022 as part of a criminal investigation.

Fern is an energetic two-year-old lady who steals the hearts of everyone she meets. While in the ASPCA’s care, Fern was treated for a skin infection which has healed beautifully.

Lavender is a sweet and social girl who is a little older than a year. She was mildly fearful when she first arrived at the ASPCA but has since become quite the social butterfly.

Link, an approximately five-year-old pup, is a social and confident dog who had a sparse hair coat and dental disease when he first arrived at the ASPCA’s Animal Recovery Center in New York City. Now that his hair coat is filling in and his teeth have been freshly cleaned and treated, he is ready to find a safe, loving home.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, ARL’s shelter medicine team continued care, giving each animal a thorough veterinary exam; the dogs have also received behavioral evaluations as well.

“I am extremely pleased that ARL is able to assist the ASPCA, a wonderful partner organization, with these animals who came from difficult situations,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL President and CEO. “Through this collaborative effort, these dogs will be able to find loving homes where they can thrive for years to come.”

A Growing Partnership

In 2021, ARL officially became a part of the ASPCA’s Relocation Program, which relocates dogs from shelters in areas with high homeless pet populations to “destination” shelters like ARL, where adoptable animals are in high demand.

Additionally, in early 2022, ARL received several dogs rescued by the ASPCA from a tornado-ravaged area in Kentucky and placed them into loving homes.

Rabbits Make Excellent Household Pets!

Info you can use for these cute and cuddly herbivores

From Rex to Angora to the French Lop, there are a wide variety of domestic rabbits, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) routinely has a large population of adoptable rabbits to choose from.

Rabbits make excellent pets!

Aside from being a great option for families living in smaller spaces, rabbits are incredibly clean, intelligent, friendly, and curious, making them fantastic pets!

Rabbit Basics

ARL believes that rabbits should always be housed indoors.

Your rabbit’s enclosure must be large enough to contain a litter box (yes, they can be litter box trained!), food bowls, a place to sleep, and enough room to explore and play.

Additionally, rabbits should experience at least three hours of out-of-enclosure time every day.

This allows rabbits more space to explore and play, and time for you to handle, work on training and cuddle up, which will strengthen the bond between you and your rabbit.

A Proper Diet

Rabbits need a variety of food in order to stay healthy, happy, and active.

The bulk of their diet should be high-quality fresh greens, with timothy hay provided at all times.

Pelleted rabbit food should used only as a supplement to the greens.

You’ll want to avoid alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets, as alfalfa is too high in protein.

And while we all associate rabbits with carrots, carrots and fruit should only be offered in moderation as occasional treats, as the sugar content can promote tooth decay and also lead to weight gain.


To keep you rabbit’s fur fluffy and mat-free, brushing should be a regular part of their out-of-enclosure time.

Keep in mind the frequency of brushing will depend on the length of your rabbit’s fur, and how well they groom themselves.

Brushing minimizes shedding, maintains a healthy coat, and aids in reducing hair ingestion.

Nail Trimming

Just like cats and dogs, rabbits need their nails trimmed carefully so as to not hit the blood vessels that run through the base of the nail (commonly called the “quick”).

Use a clipper designed specifically for pets, and nails should be trimmed every 3-4 weeks.

While trimming your rabbit’s nails, look for any urine staining on the paws, which is a sign the enclosure needing to be cleaned more regularly.

Oral Health

Rabbits need to have their mouths checked every few weeks for abscesses, as well as any abnormalities in their teeth.

Should you find any abnormalities, you’ll want to follow up with your regular veterinarian for a visit.

If your rabbit will not allow this type of handling, check for bad breath, drooling, eye or nasal issues, which are all signs of dental issues.

A proper diet will go a long way in promoting good oral health!

Litter Box

As previously mentioned, rabbits can be litter box trained!

Litter boxes designed for rabbits are available, but you can also use one made for cats.

Place a layer of hay on top of the litter, as this will entice the rabbit into the box to eat the hay and they often go to the bathroom and eat at the same time.

A second litter box is also recommended for use while your rabbit is exploring out of the enclosure.


Over time, you will get to know your own rabbit’s favorite games and what truly makes them happy, as well as what he/she is trying to communicate to you with specific behaviors.

Here are a few behavior-related tips:

    • Chewing – Rabbits teeth grow continuously; therefore, they need things to chew in order to keep their teeth filed down. They can also chew if they’re bored or stressed.
    • Digging – Burrowing and digging is fun for rabbits. Give your rabbit a box of hay, or even just a big blanket that they can dig into.
    • Napping – Rabbits are most active during the morning and evening. During the middle of the day, they tend to enjoy short naps with small amounts of activity in-between.
    • Grunting/Thumping – Grunting and thumping are ways that your rabbit is telling you they are frightened, angry, or annoyed. You’ll want to give your rabbit a little space if you see these behaviors.
    • Chinning – Sometimes your rabbit may rub their chin on your stuff. This is your rabbit’s way of getting his/her scent all over your things in order to claim it as their territory.
    • Nudging – At times, your rabbit may approach you and nudge you gently with their nose. This can either mean they would like to be pet, or that you are in their way.
    • Binky – When your rabbit is really happy and having fun, they may run around your house and randomly jump up in the air, kicking their legs and wiggling their bodies – it’s of course very cute and fun to watch!

Ready to Adopt?

If you think a rabbit would be a great addition to your home and family, ARL is here to help.

ARL’s three Animal Care and Adoption Center locations routinely have a number of rabbits who are waiting for their perfect match, and the Adoption Forward adoption process is a conversation-based, application-free process designed so that the needs of both the animal and the adopter are understood and compatible with one another.

Rabbit Brought to ARL with Lameness Improving, Looking for New Home

Ida, a 5-year-old female French Angora rabbit, was recently surrendered to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and while stunning in appearance and a wonderful temperament, Ida also presented with rear-limb lameness.

Ida, a 5-year-old female French Angora rabbit.

Ida had difficulty moving, and according to her previous owner, she was kept in a small enclosure and that the condition had worsened over time.

ARL’s shelter medicine provided Ida with a thorough veterinary exam, including x-rays, to determine the underlying cause of her condition.

X-rays did not reveal any spinal fractures, but ARL’s veterinary team could not rule out spondylosis (arthritis of the spine), or intervertebral disc disease, a condition in which one or more of the discs between spinal vertebrae protrude and press on the spinal cord, causing neurologic deficits (including difficulty using back legs).

Because Ida was kept in a small enclosure, ARL’s shelter staff placed her in a large kennel, with ample space for Ida to move around, and allow her time out of her kennel in an even larger space for play time.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, Ida’s ability to move has improved, but it’s likely she will never regain full function of her hind limbs – it is worth noting that her hind-limb lameness does not cause her pain.

Looking for a Home

Ida has a wonderful personality, is very social and is great for handling.

Her new family will be encouraged to take Ida to her veterinarian for regular visits to formulate a course of treatment for her condition.

Read Ida’s full bio.

Caring for Rabbits

It’s important when adopting a rabbit or any small animal, to have a properly-sized enclosure – ARL does require a photo of the enclosure your rabbit will be living in before the adoption process is completed.

A proper enclosure allows the height and width for a litter box, food bowls, sleeping quarters, and open space to play, stand-up, and explore.

In addition to a proper enclosure, rabbits need time out of their enclosures every day.

This time gives the animal more space to play and explore, and allows you time to handle, play, work on training, snuggle – all of which strengthens the bond between you and your rabbit – and of course adds to the fun of having a rabbit as part of your family!

ARL is here to help and want you and your rabbit to thrive together. Our team can help you with all aspects of caring for small animals – from diet, environment, enrichment/training, and more!

It’s National Animal Poison Prevention Week!

As we celebrate spring, a number of activities usually define this time of year – cleaning, gardening, and social events that involve friends, family and food.

It is also National Animal Poison Prevention Week, a perfect time to inform pet owners and raise awareness to common household items that can be toxic or even fatal for our furry friends.


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.

Keeping 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!


Spring means flowers, and lilies are a spring staple for many households. However, lilies of any variety can be extremely toxic for our pets, especially for cats. Daffodils, tulips, chrysanthemums, and hyacinths are also dangerous flowers for pets and should be avoided.

If you’re looking to jump start your outdoor garden or yard for the coming season, keep in mind that there are a number of pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals that are pet-friendly and should be utilized if your pets will be using the yard to frolic when the weather turns warmer.


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 it 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
    • 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, and 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.

Remember, more often than not, if it’s on our menu, it shouldn’t be on theirs.

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 Continues Spay/Neuter Clinics with Massachusetts Animal Fund

Over the past several years, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has been the focal point for a number of special clinics to deliver vital spay and neuter services to underserved communities, in partnership with the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF).

Primarily the clinics have taken place in Fall River, MA, an area along the South Coast of Massachusetts with a severe lack of accessible and affordable spay/neuter services.

This week, ARL and MAF teamed up once again, but this time delivering services to two dozen pet owners in New Bedford, MA – another South Coast area hard hit by a lack of accessible and affordable spay/neuter services.

The surgeries for these special clinics are under the MAF voucher program, which distributes vouchers to qualifying low-income pet owners to cover the cost of the important procedure.

Due to an incredibly high demand, many clinic clients had been on a waiting list for months and some upwards of a year to have their pets spayed or neutered.

These clinics give clients easy access to high-quality veterinary care, and the MAF vouchers remove the financial burden from pet owners who would otherwise be unable to afford the important procedure.

“I’ve been waiting for 8 months and was told there was a big demand but would be contacted and they reached about a month ago,” said Nicole Canfield, whose cat Jynx was spayed during the clinic. “It’s very important, and a giant help, my normal vet wanted over $300 just to fix her which I couldn’t afford on a fixed income.”

“My cat Midnight, – he’s year-and-a-half, and I needed to get him fixed,” said Spay Waggin’ client Brandi Mosher. “This program is great, I wouldn’t be able to get him fixed without it, I heard about this program through the animal control officer and am very grateful (for this service).”

ARL is slated to take part in clinics in both New Bedford and Fall River later this spring.

Making a difference since 2000

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has been at the forefront of providing accessible and affordable high-quality spay/neuter services to the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and the Islands since the program first hit the road in 2000.

Click here for more information and to book an appointment on the Spay Waggin’.