Articles Tagged with: Animal Rescue League
January is National Train-Your-Dog Month

Check out ARL classes at arlboston.org/dog-training

Shake a Paw TrickAccording to Kim Melanson, CPDT-KA Behavior Counselor at the ARL, you and your dog can benefit from training in five ways:

Freedom:  A well-behaved dog can have an enriching life by spending more time with his family.  He can hang out with visitors, go places with you and join in on family activities. If your dog has learned some basic house and outdoor manners, he will not jump all over guests or bother them too much. He can ride in a car safely, go to a relative’s house and settle, go to the park or the beach for an outing and come back when called.

Bonding:  With just a few minutes a day of active training and/or adding some training into every day activities, you and your dog can learn more about each other and have fun. The benefits of positive reinforcement humane training are abundant. Both human and dog enjoy the experience as they teach and learn from each other, as well as create a trusting, mutually-enriching, and lasting relationship.

It lets your “dog be a dog”:  Dogs like to do natural things that sometimes do not fit well in the human home such as: chewing, jumping, chasing, and digging. Training them in an appropriate way to have their fun lets them to do ‘doggie’ things and lets you join in too, all while making sure they do not disturb the household in a negative way. Train your dog to chew on dog chews and toys instead of shoes and pillows, sit for greetings and attention instead of jumping, playing ‘find it’ with treats and stuff Kongs instead of digging, and retrieving balls with a drop for chasing. Not only will your dog be happier, but you will also have fun!

Burns mental energy and relieves boredom:  Positive training promotes thinking in dogs and humans, and a thinking brain can relieve excess energy. A few minutes a day can really help your dog rest well and not seek out destructive ways of burning energy. Teaching tricks is a great activity to do on a rainy day – kids and friends will love seeing your dog do tricks!

Keeps dogs in their ‘forever’ home:  Many dogs are surrendered to shelters for behavior problems and or because they  have become too much for the owner to handle. A well-trained dog stays in her forever home because she has become part of the family and is a joy to live with. She can also become an ‘ambassador’ for dogs everywhere. There are public places, apartment buildings and areas that are banning dogs, and some people are frightened of dogs. If our dogs are well-behaved in public, people see that we can keep dogs as an integral part of our society and families.

Training obedience cues of sit, down, stay, drop, come and more are great for dogs to learn, but training also means teaching your dog to live in a human household and beyond. House training, learning to settle, go to a mat or crate, to chew appropriate chews, to play appropriate games, to walk on leash and polite greetings for people and dogs are the cornerstones of a well mannered and well liked family dog.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston offers many dog training classes that review basic and advanced cues, along with house and outdoor manners. We also offer some dog sports and fun agility classes. We are offering a 25% discount for ARL alums and 10% off for BVC clients. For more information about our Boston classes check out our schedule.

Can Dogs Feel Guilt?

10 Common Myths About Dog Behavior from Parade Magazine

01-25-14 Dog Myths PhotoParade Magazine recently published an article on the topic of pet behavior – specifically the feelings of guilt. As soon as we saw it, we had to pass the article along to our own dog behavior expert Kim Melanson, CPDT-KA Behavior Counselor, at the ARL to get a second opinion. 

Kim loved the article and said it is “right on,” with only one note about Myth 8.

“The only thing I disagree with slightly, and it probably comes from working in a shelter, is Myth 8. Although destroying the house and soiling when left alone can mean separation anxiety, it can also be a bored young pup or adolescent. Most adolescent dogs going home from the shelter will chew things if not crated.”

So while she agrees it’s not out of spite, people should keep in mind that a dog destroying the house could be separation anxiety OR it could just mean that your unsupervised pup is bored!

Take a look at the myths that Parade Magazine debunked and see if any apply to your dog!

Myth 1: When my dog looks guilty, it’s because he feels bad for doing something wrong.
When your pooch puts on that doleful look, he must be guilty of something, right? Wrong! Your dog knows you are angry or upset and is using that body posture to try in dog language to get you to calm down and avoid punishment.

Myth 2. My dog understands me when I talk to him.
While dogs can understand about 500 words and a very talented Border Collie named Chaser can understand thousands, when we talk to our dogs they focus in on a few words, our tone of voice, facial expressions, and our body language.

Myth 3: My new dog of the same breed will be just like my last one.
Just like two children from the same family will be alike in some ways, they can be completely different in others. So while Johnny and Susie both have blue eyes, one might be easy going and the other very stubborn. Two dogs from the same breed can be very different too.

Myth 4: My dog should tolerate anything my children do.
The reality is that young children often do not know how to interact with dogs in a caring considerate manner. Allowing children to sit on dogs, pull on their body, hit them with toys, disturb them while they eat may actually teach children the wrong lessons. Dogs are living, breathing, emotional beings that need to be treated kindly and with respect.

Myth 5: A fenced yard should be entertaining enough.
Our canine friends live in a very rich world of smells and visual input. The back yard is the same day in and day out. What dogs long for is the smell of a new scent, the chance to check out that next bush or tree and see the world. And when out in the yard all alone they can make bad decisions, become extremely territorial and threatening to others, or even become destructive or attempt to escape.

Myth 6: All dogs who are afraid of people have been abused.
While it is unfortunate that many dogs are abused, many dogs that show signs of fear or anxiety around people and places suffer from another problem: limited socialization. If a dog lives in a very restricted environment during their sensitive time of emotional growth (from 8 weeks to 9 months) they may not have the tools to process, interact, and enjoy new experiences as they come along.

Myth 7: Dog training works best if we rely on dominance and punishment.
Just like people, dogs learn best by humane treatment and showing them the right things to do. Dogs are at a disadvantage—they don’t know the rules of living in a human world. They are not out to dominate or control us, but rather don’t really know what is the right thing to do. It is up to us to teach them how to behave using positive training and kindness.

Myth 8: Dogs that destroy the house when home alone are being spiteful.
Dogs that go to the bathroom indoors bark and are destructive when home alone are most likely suffering from separation anxiety. They are unable to relax and be calm when separated from their human family. They need a behavior modification plan, treatment and perhaps medication to learn how to be home alone.

Myth 9: Dogs that growl and bite are mean.
Dogs that growl are trying to tell people that they are uncomfortable and afraid. What they really want is for the threatening thing to go away or stop. By understanding and respecting the message we can teach dogs the proper responses and diminish the need for aggressive responses.

Myth 10: Dogs and wolves are the same.
While dogs and wolves share a common genetic connection, that is where it ends. Dogs have evolved over thousands of years to be partners with humans and interact with naturally in ways that wolves do not even with extensive training. Two great examples: dogs can follow a human’s pointing gesture and often “ask” people for help; wolves do not without specific training.

View the entire article online at Parade.com.


Happy Change a Pet’s Life Day

Adopt a Pet and Change a Life

“Saving one pet won’t change the world, but for that one pet the world will change forever.”

If you’re the parent of a rescue pet, you know the advantages of adopting from a shelter are infinite.  For those of you considering adopting from a shelter, we’d like to give you some more food for thought!

When you adopt an animal from a shelter, you’re saving two lives: the life of the animal that you adopted and the life of the animal that’s going to take its place at the shelter.  Search the adoptable animals at all three of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) locations at arlboston.org/search-adoptables.

A 7-year-old neutered Poodle/Pekingnese mix, lil’ Max loves to sit in laps, play fetch, and spend time with human friends. Gotta love his smile!

Interestingly, you don’t always have to go to a breeder for a purebred pet.  Studies have shown that over 25% of pets available for adoption at shelters are purebred.  There are also numerous rescue groups that focus on a specific dog or cat breed.

At the ARL shelters, we have a variety of breeds, mixes, hair-lengths, and colors – every day we have a little something different!  Our furry canine friend Max (photo at top right), for instance, is a Poodle/Pekingnese mix currently staying at our Boston shelter. Fond of orange cats?  Tommy (photo at bottom right) could be your perfect match.

Our investment in the animals in our care includes learning their personalities and preferences, so that we can help you find the perfect match for your home and lifestyle.  For our dogs, we use the ARL’s Center for Shelter Dogs Match-Up II Shelter Rehoming program to thoroughly evaluate each dog and provide a fuller description of behavior.

A 4-year-old neutered male, Tommy is oh so handsome and oh so full of energy!

All adoptable animals at the ARL receive the following:

  • Health screening and veterinary examination
  • Spayed/Neutered
  • Vaccinations
  • Rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and ferrets
  • Microchip identification and registration
  • Heartworm test and preventative medication for dogs
  • Flea, tick and mite treatment
  • Deworming for intestinal parasites
  • Tag, collar, and leash or carrier

When you buy from a pet store or a breeder these cost are all additional expenses on top of the cost of the pet.

If you’re not looking to adopt a pet at this moment in time, you can help change a pet’s life by becoming a champion for animals.

One Night Stay for You and Your Valentine

Become a Champions Circle Member & Be Entered to Win

Looking to surprise your valentine? Why not get him or her two gifts? A chance to spread the love by helping animals in need all year and a chance to win a one night stay at the Seaport Hotel in Boston!

Your monthly donation will help shelter pets like ORLANDO.

Your monthly donation will help shelter pets like ORLANDO.

Join the ARL’s Champions Circle now through February 14 you’ll be entered to win a *one night stay at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.

Special thanks to the Seaport Boston Hotel for the generous donation of a luxury one night accommodation with dazzling city and harbor views and incredibly convenient access to all major points of interest including the Financial District, Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, Fan Pier and the North End.

Champions Circle donors make an immediate impact on the lives of animals in need  by providing the ARL with a steady source of revenue year-round.  This ongoing, generous support rescues animals from suffering, cruelty, abandonment and neglect.

As an active Champions Circle member you’ll receive a monthly letter with special updates on the current animals in our care and any upcoming ARL events.  You’ll also receive our bi-annual magazine, Our Four Footed Friends, that highlights all of the amazing work made possible by donors like you!  One of the most exciting parts of being a Champions Circle member is the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes tour of any of our shelters to see your gift in action.

Signing up is easy!  Click the button below and indicate the frequency of your gift – we’ll take care of the rest!

Sign Up Now

Winners will be notified on Wednesday, February 19 by phone and/or email.

*Room is subject to availability.

Your Winter Pet Health Questions, Answered

Dr. Schettino’s Answers to Pet Health Questions from Yesterday’s Twitter Chat

01-11-14 Dr SchettinoThank you to all who participated in and submitted questions to yesterday’s twitter chat with the ARL’s Director of Veterinary Medical Services, Dr. Edward Schettino.

In cased you missed it, you can see a transcript of the conversation below. We’ll be organizing another twitter chat at the end of February about spay/neuter, so stay-tuned!

Introduction: @ARLBoston: Hi everyone. Our Winter #PetHealth Twitter chat starts NOW! #ARLAskaVet

Q:@pawspluspals: @ARLBoston #ARLAskaVet Should dogs always wear doggie boots/booties when they go walking on snow/ice?
Dr.Schettino: Doggie boots help protect your companion’s pads from salt and ice so depending on location they can be helpful. #ARLAskaVet
A: however, some dogs may not like them #ARLAskaVet

Q: @ubergirl4: My cats shed a lot during the winter and get indigestion from hairballs. What should I give them to help?” #ARLAskaVet
You should give them love and affection by grooming them on a regular basis. This will help reduce shedding! #ARLAskaVet 

Q: @Dobrska: How do I remove sap from my pet’s fur? #ARLAskaVet
A: The best way to remove sap is to use some type of cooking oil (Olive oil ..) and gently rub into the sap. #ARLAskaVet
A: ‏
Once the sap is lose you then can use a liquid dishwashing detergent to wash out the oil. Problem solved!! #ARLAskaVet

Q: Do dogs need flea/tick treatment in the winter if they rarely interact with other dogs?

A: Yes! Fleas can live inside during the winter months. Year round protection is very important. #ARLAskaVet
A: And depending on the temperature outside and your location … ticks can still be a nuisance during the winter months. #ARLAskaVet

Q: @MRegan102205: #arlaskavet – If someone has an indoor/outdoor cat, when is it too cold for the cat to remain outside?” 
A: When the temperature starts to dip below freezing you need to be very careful with outdoor pets. #ARLAskaVet
A: You need to keep a careful eye on your cat when they are outside. They will let you know when it is too cold. #ARLAskaVet

A: If it is too cold for you … your cat is probably cold as well! Be very careful and monitor your cat carefully. #ARLAskaVet

Q: What is the longest a pet should be outside when the temperature is below 32F? #ARLAskaVet 
A: Some pets love the cold weather and can spend hours outside in the snow and cold. However, you need to keep a watchful eye #ARLAskaVet
A: on your pet and when they show signs of cold: holding up their paws, shivering and becoming less active #ARLAskaVet

Q: @BostonDailyNews: Can animals get frostbite? #ARLAskaVet #Boston cc:@ARLDrS

A: Yes! Usually on their paw pads, the tip of the tail and the margins of the ears. #ARLAskaVet #Boston

Q: Cats seem to eat plants frequently during the winter. Why and is this a cause for concern? #ARLAskaVet #Boston cc:@ARLDrS
A: You are either home more often or you have moved your plants inside for the winter months. #ARLAskaVet #Boston
A: It is vital that you are familiar with what type of houseplants you have and their degree of toxicity! #ARLAskaVet #Boston

Q: @AlyssaKane: @ARLBoston @ARLDrS Should I vaccinate my dog for lepto and canine flu? I’m not sure if I should be worried about these illnesses #ARLAskaVet

A: It all depends on the lifestyle of your dog. You should have this conversation with your local veterinarian.

Q: @CamillaRFox: @ARLBoston @ARLDrS #ARLAskaVet Any winter exercise tips for large dog whose arthritis lets him swim, but little else?

A: You can find a canine physical therapist who generally have underwater treadmills that you can use.

Q: @norwoodsworld:@ARLBoston @ARLDrS what’s the difference between kennel cough and canine flu? #ARLAskaVet

A: Great tweet! They both have similar symptoms but are very different – canine flu generally contd #ARLAskaVet
A: … is more severe. You should speak with your regular veterinarian regarding risks of each. #ARLAskaVet

Q: When should a dog wear a coat? #ARLAskaVet
A: It all depends on the dog. If you feel your dog is uncomfortable in the cold, feel free to try a warm winter coat.

A: Generally dogs lose heat through their paws, ears and respiratory tract.

Boston Globe Subscribers, You Can Help the ARL

Please Choose the ARL to Receive a Globe Ad Grant

The Boston Globe is enabling readers to show their support for their favorite non-profits by choosing which ones are given free advertising space in The Boston Globe. If you choose the Animal Rescue League, please know that you’ll be encouraging shelter animals to find loving homes faster and helping the ARL get the word out about important initiatives like spay and neuter through the free advertising provided in the Globe.

The Boston Globe is mailing vouchers to each of their subscribers. Seven-day newspaper subscribers’ vouchers are valued at $100; all other subscribers (including website-only readers) have been sent vouchers valued at $50.

It is up to the readers to decide which non-profit deserves his or her voucher the most. This is an easy way for you to help animals in need, so when you get that silver envelope in the mail, please write in the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Learn more about Globe Grants.

01-14-14 Globe Subscribers Photo


Top 5 Animal Rescues of 2013

Celebrating the happy endings for domestic animals and wildlife!

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is the only animal welfare organization in Massachusetts that has an entire department dedicated to rescuing animals from a variety of emergency situations.  Domestic animals and wildlife can get trapped, displaced, injured, or otherwise distressed anywhere at any time of day, and our Rescue Services team is trained to help animals in need as quickly as possible.

The team had their work cut out for them last year!  They answered calls from local authorities, concerned community members, and pet owners.  They helps dogs and cats; deer and squirrels; geese and pigeons; goats and swans…Let’s just say they could give Noah and his ark a run for his money!

From the 4,426 rescue activities completed in 2013, five stories topped the list of happiest endings for the animals involved:

Happy Ending #1: Seraphina and her Three’s Company crowd

11-14 Billerica Goat Baby PhotoPerhaps the most famous goat in Massachusetts history, Seraphina roamed the yards and business parks of Billerica during the later summer.  Read the full rescue story

While staying at our Dedham adoption center, Seraphina gave birth to two does and a buck—a.k.a., two girls and a boy—in November. Named after the characters from Three’s Company, Jack, Chrissy and Janet have grown by leaps and bounds.  In the next couple of weeks Chrissy and Janet will go together to their new home; Seraphina and Jack will stay together and head to their new pad(dock)

Happy Ending #2: Goose with arrow through the head


Concerned citizens called on the Rescue Services team in early August after spotting a Canada Goose at a pond near Ellis Haven Campground in Plymouth with an archery arrow through its head. Read the full rescue story

After three and a half weeks of rehabilitative care, as well as medication and nutritional support, the goose was returned back to his pond to the joy of his mate and goslings.

Happy Ending #3: Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist. Now healthy and strong.

Oliver Twist. Now healthy and strong.

Early in the spring, a kind FedEx driver named Jeff called the Rescue Services team after spotting a severely emaciated puppy shivering in the cold and wandering the streets along his delivery route in Boston.  After rescuing the poor dog, the team brought the severely emaciate and neglected puppy to the Boston adoption center for medical treatment and care.  Read the full rescue story

With special care and attention, the puppy dubbed “Oliver Twist” was ready to go home with his new family.  Today Oliver is thriving, and enjoys fetching big sticks in the woods nearby his home.

Happy Ending #4: Coyote stuck in foundation

Construction workers called in the Rescue Services team after they returned to their Billerica work site to find a coyote trapped within the four walls of the foundation they had poured a couple days prior.  The coyote appeared unharmed, yet stressed as it tried unsuccessfully to climb out. 

The team humanely netted the coyote and lifted him out to safety.  Almost immediately, the coyote dashed off into the surrounding woods.  Watch the entire rescue in the video below:  

Happy Ending #5: Philbert

Perhaps the happiest ending to the year, Philbert the cat finished his quarantine time on Christmas Day!’

Photo: Amelia Hughes

Photo: Amelia Hughes

In late June, Athol animal control placed an emergency call to the Rescue team for immediate assistance with a the stray cat found under a porch with an illegal leghold trap clamped to one of his legs.  Read the full rescue story

Though he lost his leg as a result of his ordeal, Philbert’s affectionate personality has shined through and he’s a very happy man these days.  We will continue to provide updates on his on-going recovery!

Winter Playtime Tips for You and Your Dog

Protect Your Pup from the Winter Weather

Winter is upon us and with it comes snow and freezing weather.  Just as people need to keep active, healthy, and—of course—warm in during these colder months, dogs need extra help as well.

To protect your pup in winter weather….

Keep your dog on leash in the snow and ice.  Dogs can easily lose their scent in the snow, so never let your dog off-leash during a snowstorm, or when there’s ice or snow on the ground.  If you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember ice is not always uniformly thick or stable, and your pup could fall through into frigid water if he or she is allowed to explore off-leash.

Wipe your dog’s paws AND stomach when he’s been outside in the snow or sleet. Sidewalks are often treated with rock salt, antifreeze, and other dangerous chemicals. Not only are these bad for your pet’s paws, but if ingested these chemicals are often poisonous. Make sure your pet does not lick his paws or stomach before you’ve wiped them down.

Prepare your pup for the elements. If your dog typically has a longer coat, let it grow for the winter. A longer coat provides more warmth and protection from colder temperatures. If your dog has a short coat, make sure to get him a coat or a sweater.  Just like you, he’ll enjoy the outdoors much more if he isn’t shivering.

Don’t leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. Many dogs love a car ride to their favorite park or play area, just remember the warm temperatures inside your vehicle don’t stick around for very long once the engine is off.  As the thermometer plummets, your car can act like a refrigerator and your dog can freeze to death.

Pay attention to protein.  If your dog spends a lot of time outside, playing, running, or going for long walks, make sure he’s getting enough protein. Among other benefits, protein helps maintain a healthy coat.  And a coat in excellent condition will keep him nice and warm while he frolics in the snow!

While it’s not always easy to get excited about going outside in the freezing cold, nothing beats the winter blues like watching your dog plow through the fluffy stuff.   If your dog likes to play in the snow, go ahead and join him!

There’s probably nothing that he’d like better than to have his best friend (that’s you) play fetch in the snow or just run around with him—it’s great exercise and bonding for you both.

12-31 Wintertime Snow Play Tips_Photo

Photo: The Ski Channel

For more helpful tips about dog and cat health and behavior, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips

Phoenix is Home for the Holidays

Sweet Girl will ring in 2014 with her new family!

phoenix at home

Phoenix at home with the feline and canine members of her new family.

Just before Christmas, we shared the story of Phoenix, a beautiful, sweet softie of a dog who came to our Dedham adoption center in July.  She was a total staff favorite – she was always so happy and full of playful energy.

Since arriving at the adoption center, Phoenix had waited patiently for a family.  We all wanted her to find a home for the holidays, so feel especially excited to share the news that after more than 160 days of waiting, she has!

After seeing Phoenix’s video, a very nice family from Weymouth adopted her.  She will ring in 2014 with her new people and their other pets, a cat and a one-year-old mastiff mix named Dozer.

A very special thank you to everyone who helped Phoenix find her new home and of course to her new family for welcoming her into their hearts!


Debra and Zera Update: Happy for the Holidays

Two Sisters Who Found an Amazing Family and are Home for the Holidays

12-22 Deb & Zera Hilarymeets PhotoDo you remember Debra & Zera? These 5-year-old beauties arrived at the ARL back in mid-August and no matter how difficult it would be, we knew we had to find them a home together. They waited over two months for their forever family and finally on October 30, Liz and Carl of Brewster, MA adopted these two sweet sisters, making it a fantastic end to Adopt-A-Dog Month! We are so happy that they are celebrating the holidays with a family who loves and cares so much for them! Liz recently shared this update with us:

Zee and Deb are the happiest dogs ever, and we’re lucky to have found them. I’m glad to say that they are fitting into a nice routine here in Brewster. They wake us up each morning by jumping in our bed. They sleep all night in their dogbeds. They are perfectly housebroken and we take them out to the marsh behind our house everyday for a long walk in their harnesses. We’re training them, with treats, to come to a training whistle out on the marsh- so far so good.

They are adorable, affectionate, sweet girls and we are thrilled to have them. Thank you so much for taking such wonderful care of them! Whoever raised them did a great job- they’re calm, and love to learn.

We’re taking them to Dr. Labdon at Veterinary Assoc. of CC, using the discount offered in your folder, for a check-up on Monday. We don’t see any lameness in Deb’s hind leg- they both seem very healthy!

ARL made it so easy to adopt them and gave us free food samples, really nice collars, tags, leashes, a coupon to a great vet, which we have already used! Thank you all so much for your kindness and hard work. Happy holidays!” – Liz and Carl

12-22 Debra & Zee Photo w Liz & Carl


If you’d like to help us continue to find loving homes for animals in 2014 please make a gift today. Your support is what keeps the ARL going.

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