Trauma to Triumph: A Rough Road for a Boston Stray

Three-Legged Cat Ready for Puurfect Home

In his first year of life, “Sal” has endured quite a lot, but with perseverance and the help of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), the rest of this handsome tabby’s years should be smooth sailing.

Sal was in rough shape when he came to ARL’s Boston Animal Care & Adoption Center in late February; he was thin, his fur was grungy, and he was noticeably limping. An initial exam revealed previous trauma consistent with being hit by a car. Multiple fractures on Sal’s right front leg hadn’t healed correctly, and he had also suffered a left hip dislocation. Despite all the injuries and chronic pain, Sal was in good spirits and very friendly. His road to recovery however, would not be an easy one.

“Because of the poor healing of the fractures and his complete disuse of his right front limb, it was decided that the best (surgical) plan would be to amputate Sal’s right leg,” said Dr. Chelsea Reinhard, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Resident.

Additionally, Sal needed surgery to address the hip dislocation. A femoral head and neck ostectomy, or FHO was performed, and is a procedure that includes removing the top part of the thigh bone involved in the ball-in-socket hip joint. This helps relieve the pain, and will allow Sal to form a false hip joint and improve mobility. The two surgeries were performed at a partner organization simultaneously, which meant less time on the operating table, but a more difficult recovery.

Sal post op

Sal just after surgery.

Needing a quiet place and constant monitoring to heal, Sal has been in foster care for nearly two months, and because of his grit and determination, has made tremendous progress.

“He’s made a slow but steady recovery from surgery,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “Having both surgeries at the same time was necessary medically, but made for a bit of a challenging recovery despite extensive pain management. Thankfully he did steadily improve with his function of his three remaining legs over the time he’s been in foster care.”

Ready to go Home

It’s been tough couple of months, but Sal has shown his resiliency and remains a bright-eyed, loving young adult; and after just a few days, he has found his forever home and will join a family that already has a three-legged kitty! A happy ending for Sal, and you can help an animal find his/her own storybook ending by vising an ARL shelter and adopting! For more information, head to our adoption page.

 

One Dog’s New Life

The story of a dog rescued from a tenant farm and given a second chance 

You might remember Bear…a three-year-old Mastiff-mix who became the first animal adopted after Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) officials responded to the Westport Farm incident last July which resulted in more than 1,400 animals being rescued.

Bear Jpeg

Bear’s amazing transformation.

The case has since become the greatest example of animal cruelty in New England history. Bear is much more than a survivor—He is a thriver.

When he arrived at the ARL, Bear suffered from anxiety and poor socialization. As I write these words, I can’t help but think…’Well…obviously. Anyone would.’ He was shaken, and rightfully so. After weeks with ARL staff, he regained his confidence and found a new home with Angela and Adam. That’s the part of the story you might know already. But Bear’s life and the impact he has made on his new family is truly inspiring.

“Bear has brought love and a new sense of purpose for me,” said Adam. “I want to help him lead the best life he could possibly lead. He’s a dog, he is a completely good creature, so of course I would do anything for him.”

After Bear’s past suffering and subsequent rehabilitation, Adam’s words truly resonate.

Settling into his new home was not smooth sailing for Bear right away. “When we first adopted him he seemed to not enjoy much of anything,” said Angela, “he was always too nervous to really get involved.”  At first, he struggled with car rides and simple relaxation around his new owners. But over time, these anxieties melted away through a mix of positive reinforcement, routine, and even ARL dog training classes.

Besides behavior issues, Bear’s bowels also presented problems early on, with Angela and Adam trying half a dozen brands of food. Angela now makes his food herself, and she has noticed a tremendous difference. “His bowels are normal now, he isn’t a constant gassy mess, he is better hydrated and seems sharper mentally,” she said. “It’s taken a lot of my time but it’s probably the best thing I’ve done for him, and now that I know what I’m doing every batch is easier.”

Bear still gets anxious around new people. “This fear has often been an issue since he lives in such a populated area and Bear is such a handsome dog, everyone wants to interact with him!” Angela said. “People seem to often think that dogs are objects for human enjoyment, and feel somehow offended when you stop them from petting your dog. I wish there was more conversation and education about rescue dogs, especially ones adopted when they are adults.”

Bear chill

Bear relaxing and waiting for a belly rub.

While Bear has now adjusted to his new home, Angela also acknowledges his impact on her and Adam. “Bear has definitely reduced the anxiety in our household,” she said. “We both have pretty high-stress jobs and having Bear is the best, most relaxing thing to come home to. No matter what happened that day we have to come home, take the dog on a walk and are compelled to love and care for him. He has brought me a lot of education and friendships.”

One thing often lost in adoption stories is the impact on the adopters. It’s clear that Bear is loved and well-taken care of, but the drastic effect he has had on his adopters is also worth noting.

Pets make so many homes, lives, and families complete. As we look back on Westport, it’s easy to see hopelessness and distress. Look closer and you’ll see Bear and animals like him, who were given another chance and took it with four paws!

Why YOUR Support Matters

Your support helps animals like Bear to find safe and healthy homes, even when it seems bleak.

Be a champion for animals. Visit arlboston.org to learn more about the organization, ways to get involved, and how to support animal welfare in Massachusetts.

With your help, anything is possible.

Just ask Bear…donatenowbutton

 

 

 

 

 

Two Cats Taking Advantage of Change to Quarantine Law

Meet Lars and Bryan Adams!

With strong support and encouragement from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), in October 2016 Governor Charlie Baker made significant changes to Massachusetts state regulations, which included reducing the rabies quarantine period for shelter animals from six to four months. In the years to come, this change will have a tremendous positive impact on shelters throughout the Commonwealth, and ARL has already seen the effect – Which brings us to Lars and Bryan Adams.

Besides off-the-charts cuteness factors, Lars and Bryan Adams have several other things in common. On the same day in early December 2016, Lars was brought as a stray from Jamaica Plain to ARL’s Boston shelter; Bryan Adams was found as a stray in Eastham and brought to ARL’s Brewster shelter.

Both cats were injured: For Lars it was a pair of ugly wounds on his left hip, while Bryan suffered from a swollen and infected right front paw – both injuries were consistent with altercations with another cat.

The cats immediately entered the four-month quarantine period, just in case either animal engaged with a cat that was rabid, and transmitted the virus to Lars or Bryan. The handsome boys were treated with antibiotics and pain medication, and their wounds quickly healed. Both were isolated and received regular veterinary check-ups to see if they had been infected.

Lars and Brian Adams

Lars (L) and Bryan Adams began their four-month quarantine period in December 2016. The average cost for a four-month quarantine is about $1,500.

Why the Regulation Changes Help Shelters AND Animals

The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians issued new recommendations in the 2016 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention, advising the reduction of quarantine periods to four months. Why the reduction? Because evidence shows that animals in isolation for an extended period of six months can become stressed and depressed, even with regular human socialization.

Reducing the quarantine period also allow shelters like ARL to help more animals and ease financial constraints. From food, shelter to veterinary care, the average costs for a four-month quarantine are roughly $1,500, or $375 per month. The two-month reduction adds up to a $750 savings per animal.

“Overall the quarantine reduction does make a big difference,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “Four months is still well beyond our normal shelter length of stay so still requires extra measures such as office foster, but the two-month reduction does have a significant impact on how many rabies quarantine animals we’re able to care for.”

Ready to Go Home

Neither Lars or Bryan Adams have shown no evidence of a rabies infection, their wounds are healed, and with the quarantine period over, are ready to find their forever homes!

UPDATE: Certainly not a surprise, both Bryan and Lars were adopted quickly and are enjoying their new homes!

17626658_1474606422584339_6150052611345185621_n

Extended Care Needs Extra Support

When an animal is under a four-month quarantine, space is extremely limited, and special measures need to be taken. Along with regular checks by veterinary staff for signs of rabies, because the animal is in isolation, extra efforts need to be made by volunteers, staff and foster parents to spend time with the animal, keep them calm and give them love. While reduced quarantine periods save ARL shelters time and money, the costs for a four-month quarantine are still about $1,500 per animal, which is why we appreciate and continue to ask YOU for your support to allow us to help more animals in need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You WBZ Radio 1030!

ARL Programs Saturate the Airwaves as Featured Charity in March for WBZ Cares

As we head into April and the start of spring, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to take a moment to thank WBZ Radio 1030 for choosing ARL as a part of WBZ Cares, a public service initiative that showcases the hard work and dedication of local nonprofit organizations.

ARL with Dan Rea

ARL on NightSide with Dan Rea

Every week during March, award-winning journalist Kim Tunnicliffe presented reports highlighting the programs and services related to ARL’s mission, such as law enforcement, special community initiatives, shelter operations, volunteering, and more! WBZ also ran ARL public service announcements that rotated throughout the day, and ARL’s President Mary Nee and Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services Dr. Edward Schettino were also live in-studio with WBZ mainstay Dan Rea.

WBZ’s massive audience, coupled with its history and stellar reputation in the Boston market made it the perfect vehicle to broadcast ARL’s mission to animal lovers throughout the Commonwealth.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear any of the segments during March, please click on the links below!

3/1/17 – Listen to ARL’s President Mary Nee talk about our history and mission.
3/8/17 – Listen to ARL’s Associate Director of Shelter Operations, Caitlin Tomlinson talk about caring for animals, both in and out of the shelter environment.
3/15/17 – Listen to ARL Veterinarian Dr. Kyle Quigley, and ARL’s Associate Director of Community Services, Cheryl Traversi, who talk about community services.
3/17/17 – Listen to ARL’s President Mary Nee, and ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, Dr. Edward Schettino, who were live in-studio as special guests on NightSide with Dan Rea!
3/22/17 – Listen to ARL’s Associate Director of Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal talk about ARL’s role in keeping animals safe and ensuring that those who harm animals are brought to justice.
3/29/17 – Listen to ARL’s Associate Director of Volunteer Services, Debby Vogel, and Volunteer Betsy Jones, who talk about the important work that’s being done by the organization’s 500+ volunteers.

The reports on WBZ show the reach of ARL and our work is only made possible through the generosity of our donors, so please click the icon below to help us continue to be an unwavering champion for animals in need.

THANK YOU once again to WBZ Radio, for selecting ARL as charity-of-the-month for March 2017!

 

 

Bruins Make Off-Day Visit to ARL

RW David Backes Shows Passion for Animal Welfare

As the Boston Bruins continue to prepare for a playoff run, this week several players took some time during an off-day to visit the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston shelter and showed that while tough on the ice, RW David Backes, RW Drew Stafford, Defensemen Torey Krug and Colin Miller have a soft spot when it comes to animals.

During the players’ visit which included Backes’ wife Kelly, they toured ARL’s Boston shelter, cuddled up with number of our animals looking for their forever homes, and learned more about ARL’s programs and services.

“Being relatively new to Boston, it was great meeting the animals and staff, I was very impressed with the work that’s being done (at ARL); it was wonderful learning more about the Animal Rescue League (of Boston),” said Kelly Backes.

For the Backes’, animal welfare has been a passion for more than a decade, culminating with the formation of Athletes for Animals, an organization that unites athletes for a common cause.

“As athletes we have a public platform and because animals are a passion for my wife and I, I wanted to use that platform to educate and inform as many people as possible about animal welfare,” said Backes.

With a number of rescue animals already at home, David is the go-to guy in the locker room for teammates with animal questions, and as seen with this week’s visit to ARL, he’s sharing his compassion with fellow Bruins and able to demonstrate the life-changing magic that comes with helping an animal in need.

Get Involved

You too can be a champion for animals, and you don’t have to have puck-handling skills or even be able to skate backwards to do so! From volunteering, fostering or donating (just to name a few), there are many ways to help ARL fulfill its vision to keep animals safe and healthy in the communities where they live. Click here to get involved!

 

Thinking About Adopting a Puppy?

10 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Adopting

We at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) love puppies. Let’s be honest who doesn’t? They’re adorable, loving and lots of fun. They’re also untrained, energetic and at times very destructive! While your heart may be in the right place, the bottom line is that puppies are not for every household. 10 Questions to ask Yourself Before Adopting a Puppy:

  1. Time Commitment: How much time do you have to devote to the puppy and are you willing to commit to the dog for its life? From training, to multiple feedings daily, to middle of the night potty trips, puppies need constant attention and cannot be left alone for long periods of time. If you cannot devote time to properly and responsibly raise the puppy, then it’s not the time to bring a puppy home.
  2. Socialization: This job is critical of a puppy owner, and is especially important in the first few months of life. Can you commit the time to socialize your puppy? Puppies need to be meet people and other dogs to become a well-adjusted and confident adult dog. Socialization is never complete in a dog, but the longer you wait the harder it gets.
  3. Housing: It’s seemingly a simple question, but is overlooked or ignored by many. Can you properly house a puppy and are you allowed to have a puppy? Renters: Check your lease to see if there are pet restrictions. Home Owners: Check your home owner’s insurance policy for restrictions. Every year thousands of dogs are returned because they were not allowed – this is not fair to the animal or to you, so please make sure that there are no issues if you bring home a puppy.
  4. Lifestyle: What is your lifestyle like? Are you an active family that spends plenty of time outdoors? Or are you more of a couch potato? Some dogs require a lot of exercise daily, and remember that small does not equal less energy. Some large breed dogs have a lower activity level than many smaller breeds.
  5. Cost: Can you afford a puppy? Food, veterinary visits, vaccinations, training, licensing and medical emergencies. Just a few of the costs to consider, and remember the costs of owning an animal need to be maintained for its entire life.
  6. Patience/Training: Are you a patient person? Puppies are of course babies and need to learn in order to become a well-adjusted adult. Remember it takes time and lots of patience! House training, crate training, obedience training, how to walk properly on a leash; these are just a few of the critical training areas. If you lack patience and get frustrated quickly, then maybe an older dog would be better for you.
  7. Long Term: What will happen to the dog if you start a family? What if you have to move? Again there are thousands that are given up every year for these reasons. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, and plans for these factors need to be made to ensure that the dog remains a part of the family for the next 10-15 years.
  8. Human Medical Issues: Are there any allergies or medical conditions in your family that could cause issues that may result in having to surrender the puppy? If there are suspected health concerns, consult a doctor before considering any pet.
  9. Grooming: All dogs need grooming – even hairless breeds! There’s brushing as well as regular attention to teeth, ears and nails. Some breeds do require professional grooming, while others may require a few minutes with a brush on a weekly basis. Are you able to handle this responsibility?
  10. Need: Finally – Why do you want a puppy? If you already have pets in the house, especially senior pets, they may not be crazy about the idea of having a rambunctious puppy running around. Along with current pets, consider other family members too and who will care the dog for its entire life, not just its formative years.

Answer “YES” to All the Above? You’re ready to adopt! All adoptable animals at ARL are spayed/neutered, receive a thorough medical exam as well as vaccinations and other treatments. Additionally, Boston Veterinary Care offers superb wellness services for your pet after adoption and it’s the clinic with a mission – All profits benefit the shelter pets under the care of ARL. And if you’re looking for training for your puppy, ARL offers that too! Click here for a complete list of classes that will help you bond with your puppy, and help them develop properly in their formative years!

Small-Fry the puppy

 

Happy National Puppy Day!

ARL Partners with Organization to Give Southern Puppies a New Life

Today marks the 11th anniversary of National Puppy Day, a day to celebrate all the cuteness, cuddliness, love and energy that a puppy can bring to your household. It’s also a reminder that there are countless puppies nationwide who need to find loving homes.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently partnering with Animal Rescue Front, a group dedicated to alleviating the severe pet overpopulation issue along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Mississippi; less than half of dogs in Mississippi are spayed or neutered. The organization was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and transports puppies to organizations like ARL throughout the country.

“The southern parts of the country have a significantly higher population of stray dogs with minimal spay and neuter programs that result in a high volume of homeless puppies,” said Caitlin Tomlinson, ARL’s Associate Director of Shelter Operations. “The New England communities, on the other hand, do not have the same concerns; spay and neuter programs are more popular and stray dogs are brought into shelters and municipal facilities quickly.”

puppy blog 276x200

Puppies — What’s not to love?

Twice a month ARL receives puppy transports from Animal Rescue Front, so if you are looking for a puppy or any companion animal, be sure to check ARL’s adoption page often! Puppy transports are truly a life-saving measure, as this year alone, ARL expects to take in more than 350 puppies from the south.

“Since there is a lower influx of dogs in the northern part of the country, shelters can help save lives by transporting puppies and adult dogs from these Southern shelters,” Tomlinson said. “By pulling dogs out of the Southern shelters it frees up space for more dogs to be cared for without having to resort to euthanasia. Since there are not many puppies entering shelters in the northern part of the country, puppies brought from the south are in high demand and adopted very quickly.”

Saving Lives

ARL is committed to helping animals in need, and remember that when you adopt you save not one but two lives – the animal you adopt and the animal that can take its place. Whether it’s a puppy, an adult dog, cat or goat, ARL’s staff and volunteers at its Boston, Dedham and Brewster shelters are there to answer your questions to ensure that the life you save is the right animal for you and your family.

 

 

Pet Me, I’m Irish!

Find your lucky charm at an ARL Shelter today

All the animals at ARL shelters in Boston, Brewster and Dedham are getting into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit!

If you’re looking to add a furry addition to your family, visit our adoptable pets at our shelters from 1 pm – 6:30 pm, Tuesdays – Sundays and find your lucky charm today. (Green top hat not included.)

Search adoptables

When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life.  All adoptable animals at the ARL also receive:

  • Spay or neuter services
  • Health screening and veterinary examination
  • Behavior screening and evaluations
  • Vaccinations and flea/tick/mite treatment
  • Microchip identification and registration
  • And much more!

Speaking of pet-friendly holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is most definitely a festive celebration of Irish culture, music, and the opportunity to dress up in bright green and shamrock prints. (Read: fun!) As with any holiday however, remember to take precautions with food and libations which may not be safe for pets to ingest.

If you plan to celebrate the holiday in a home where a pet resides, keep in mind three safety guidelines to ensure that everyone has a good time:

  1. Keep the leash.  If your dog is a genuinely friendly, relaxed, confident and calm dog with familiar and unfamiliar people, things and dogs, maybe he could be included in St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Still, it’s best to keep your dog leash. The smell of food, a large group of people, and other excited pets can easily overstimulate a dog, increasing the potential for poor behavior and bites.
  2. Watch the secret sippers.  Alcohol is poisonous to cats, dogs, and other animals and can lead to severe illness or death.  Do not leave alcoholic bottles, cans, etc. on the floor or in reach of a pet. Although the container may seem empty, even ingesting trace amounts can cause illness in animals.  If you suspect that a pet may have ingested alcohol, look for the following symptoms and seek emergency medical treatment: excessive drooling, retching, vomiting, stomach distension, elevated heart rate, weakness, low blood pressure, hypothermia, or coma.
  3. Beware the sneaky eaters.  We’ve all had it happen—turn your back for just a second and your pet starts to eat the food right off your plate!  Keep food and snacks out of paws reach because many party foods can be hazardous to cats and dogs.  Though you might be tempted to share your St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage with your furry friend, keep in mind corned beef contains a high amount of sodium, which isn’t good for cats or dogs.  Onions—a frequent ingredient in many corned beef and cabbage recipes—can also damage a cat’s red blood cells, restricting their capacity to carry oxygen effectively.

Find your lucky charm today! Search adoptables

 

ARL Gives Stray with Eye Condition a Second Chance at Life

Meet Zim: From a Rescue, to Patient, to Adopted!

Zim, an 11-month-old tabby classic, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after being trapped for more than two days nearly 50 feet off the ground in a tree in Brockton, MA. Responding to calls from surrounding neighbors, ARL’s Rescue Services was able to scale the tree and save the scared and vocal stray.

“He was certainly happy to be out of that tree,” said Mike Brammer, ARL’s Assistant Manager of Rescue Services. “Almost immediately you could tell that he’d been around people and was very friendly.”

Zim’s beautiful markings and sweet demeanor garnered instant attention, but so did a congenital defect called Eyelid Agenesis that was discovered during his intake exam. It’s a condition where part of the eyelid doesn’t form properly, causing fur to rub up against the cornea, resulting in chronic irritation. For Zim, both eyes were affected, increasing the concern.

“If the condition is left untreated, this chronic irritation can permanently damage the cornea and cause vision impairment,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “This chronic irritation also causes significant discomfort.”

The only way to truly fix the condition is with a skin graft; however the surgery is complicated and requires extensive post-operative care. While Zim’s condition affected both eyes, it wasn’t extremely severe, making cryosurgery an option. Zim had the procedure done by an ophthalmologist at a partner organization less than a week after being rescued out of the tree in Brockton.

“Cryosurgery does not fix the eyelid, but is used to freeze the hair follicles of the fur that is rubbing on the cornea,” Dr. Doyle said. “As such, the cryosurgery removes the chronic irritation caused by the fur and restores comfort to the eyes.”

Zim recovers from cryosurgery wearing a protective cone.

Zim recovers from cryosurgery wearing a protective cone.

ROAD TO RECOVERY

With the surgery complete, Zim settled in for a few days to recover. Despite undergoing the procedure and being placed in a protective cone, he continued to showcase his personality, purring almost immediately for all the shelter staff and volunteers who would check on the handsome tabby.

Making an excellent recovery, ARL’s veterinary staff determined exactly one week following his surgery that Zim was ready to find his forever home. Certainly not a surprise to anyone at ARL who came in contact with Zim, just a few days after being made available, he has been adopted!

Zim is ready to go to his forever home!

Zim is ready to go to his forever home!

DOING THE WORK ONE ANIMAL AT A TIME

Zim represents the collaborative effort that is necessary to fulfill ARL’s mission of being an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. No matter how they come into our shelters, all animals are treated with kindness and compassion, but we cannot do the work alone.

ARL receives no government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to support programs that help animals in need. Please lend your support so ARL can continue to give animals like Zim a second chance at life.

donatenowbutton

 

February is National Adopt a Rabbit Month

Hop on over to the ARL and ADOPT a bunny today!

Thanks to our knowledgeable staff and volunteers, the ARL has many types of animals available for adoption- not just cats and dogs. If a feline or canine is not the pet for you, or you have limited space in your home, consider SPREADING THE LOVE and adopting a rabbit!

Bunnies like Tifa are searching for a family to love this Valentine’s Day.

Search adoptables

tifa

8-month-old Tifa is ready to hop her way into your heart! Click the picture to see her profile.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider adopting a rabbit this February:

  1. Bunnies spend the majority of their day quietly inside their cage, making them the perfect companions for apartment dwellers.
  2. Cottontails can be trained to use a litter box, so you won’t have to rush home from work to let them out.
  3. Hares need minimal exercise every day, so they require less attention than cats or dogs.
  4. Rabbits are curious, friendly, and will entertain you for hours with their silly antics.
  5. Hop-a-longs keep themselves tidy and are all about “clean eating”, snacking on salad, hay, and carrots as treats.

Need a 6th reason? All adoptable rabbits at the ARL receive the following: Spay/neuter services, health screening and veterinary examination, behavior screening and evaluations, vaccinations, parasite treatment, and more!

Don’t forget… to please bring a photo of the cage your rabbit will live in, as it’s required for adoption.

SPREAD THE LOVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY: Not able to ADOPT right now? That’s OK! Consider sponsoring a rabbit’s adoption fee to help a deserving bunny find a home this February! Contact our Boston, Brewster, or Dedham shelter for more information.