Halloween Pet Safety Tips for a Spook-Free Holiday

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) share important tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween season.

Boston Terrier in Halloween costume

Tip: If it’s your pet’s first time wearing a costume this Halloween, spend a few days before the big holiday getting them acclimated to wearing it. Keep in mind, some pets are just not big fans of wearing costumes and would much rather wear a festive collar or bandanna.

With October coming to an end, Halloween 2016 is right around the corner! You may be a fan of the spookiest time of year, but for your pet, this haunting holiday can be truly scary.

Not to worry though, enjoying the festivities and keeping your pets safe is easier than you think – Follow these 5 tips to ensure your pet has a spook-free Halloween this season:

1. Keep your pets inside. The Halloween season often brings out tricksters who might taunt or harm an animal left outdoors. It’s always a good idea to keep pets inside with proper, up-to-date identification. If your pet must be outdoors, be sure to keep them leashed and an eye on them at all times.

2. Stash the sweet treats. Chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Additionally, many candies and gums contain Xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets. Always keep chocolate and candies out of your pet’s reach.

4. Be careful with costumes. If you decide to dress your pet up for this festive holiday, costume safety is key. Keep these costume safety tips in mind:

  • Always supervise your pet while they’re wearing a costume.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits properly and does not restrict their movement.
  • Be cautious of loose or dangling pieces that pets could potentially choke on.
  • Ditch the masks or other accessories that could potentially make it difficult for your pet to breath or obstruct their vision.

5. Play it safe with decorations. Discarded ribbons and packaging can be toxic and even deadly to pets if they are ingested. Balloons and glow sticks also pose a big risk to our furry friends. If swallowed, balloons can cause choking or blocked airways. Keep your four-legged friends safe by keeping decorations and wires out of reach. 

No plans for Halloween? Spend the day getting to know some of our adoptable animals at www.arlboston.org/adopt.



ARL Focuses on Low Stress Handling for Felines

3 techniques used by Shelter Veterinary Services to keep cats happy and healthy during exams

At the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) our Shelter Veterinary Services provide high quality, compassionate care to a variety of species. Cats, however, continue to comprise the greater part of our shelter population.

In an effort to expand our Shelter Veterinary Services’ ability to provide care that not only addresses the medical health of our cats, but also their behavioral well-being, Jessica Wright, ARL’s Lead Veterinary Technician, recently became certified in “Low Stress Handling Techniques” via Dr. Sophia Yin’s online course. The certification process required a commitment of at least 20 hours, during which online lectures and labs were viewed and follow up discussion questions and exams were completed.

As an organization, the ARL strives to reduce the stress that our shelter cats inevitably experience while in our care. These efforts can be seen in the double sided cages that the cats reside in, and the hiding boxes that each cat is offered. Upon completion of the Low Stress Handling course, Jessica was excited to incorporate the new techniques she had learned into the Shelter Veterinary Services’ daily rounds.

The 3 Low Stress Handling techniques that the ARL uses for felines are:

  1. Picture1Adjusting the methods by which a cat is moved between the cage and the exam room. To avoid exposing the cat to any number of stressors that may be encountered while moving between spaces, cats are now wrapped in a towel for transport. Some cats prefer to have their head exposed allowing them to look about whereas others prefer to have their head covered. This use of the towel allows the removal of potentially stressful visual stimulation and provides the cat with the feeling of being adequately supported.
  2. Incorporating the use of towels for comfort. Rather than sitting on a cold metal exam table, the cats now sit on the towel they were brought to the exam room with. This provides a sense of comfort for each patient. In addition, depending upon the behavior Picture2of each cat, a second towel may be placed over the cat. This again removes any potentially stressful visual stimulation and allows for more ease of handling of the cat during examination.
  3. Introducing food during examination. As surprising as it may be, many cats will often eat a snack during an exam or vaccination. Providing food to the patient can act as a distraction from any potentially negative or stressful event that may occur. In addition, if the cat chooses to eat during these procedures, a positive emotional response is encouraged rather than the typical fearful or stressed response often associated with veterinary care.

As a result of the introduction of Low Stress Handling Techniques, our shelter cats are that much more happy and healthy!

YOU can help keep shelter cats low-stress too: Please consider making a donation of regular sized bath towels to enable the ARL to continue our Low Stress Handling efforts! Donations can be dropped off at our Boston Adoption Center lobby located at 10 Chandler Street in Boston, Tuesday through Sunday, 7:30AM – 6:30PM.


Happy National Veterinary Technician Week

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) are celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week

October 16-22 is dedicated to celebrating veterinary technicians nationwide. Our compassionate veterinary technicians are a crucial part of our organization and play a vital role in improving the health and lives of the thousands of animals who come through our doors annually. Although we value our technicians every day of the year, we take this week to honor their dedication, hard work, and commitment to animals in need. 

Meet our Shelter and Community Veterinary Services technicians:

Jessica Jessica Wright, CVT, Lead Technician – Shelter Veterinary Services

Jessica graduated from the University of Vermont in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences. Since beginning her career with the Animal Rescue League of Boston in 2005, Jessica has held technician positions with our Pembroke Shelter, Spay Waggin’ and Boston Veterinary Care.

In 2008, Jessica became the Lead Shelter Veterinary Technician in our Boston Shelter. During this time Jessica has developed a strong understanding of not only individual animal care but shelter population management, as well. Since entering shelter medicine, Jessica has cultivated a particular interest in the needs of small, geriatric dogs with prominent eyes in the shelter setting. During her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her dogs, Pixel and Ruxin, reading, and gardening.


Jean Mahoney, CVT

Jean graduated from Vermont Technical College in 2005 with an Associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology.  During her studies at VTC, she gained diverse experience with domestic and farm animals.  She also completed an externship at Roberts Animal Hospital.  After graduation, she worked in a private practice for a year before joining the Animal Rescue League’s Boston Veterinary Care in 2006.  In 2007, Jean passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam and became a certified veterinary technician.  After a few years at BVC, Jean was promoted to Lead Veterinary Technician. In 2012, she decided to venture into another branch at ARL and joined the Spay Waggin, the organization’s mobile spay and neuter program. When she is not working, Jean likes to read, go for walks, and hang out with her family, friends and dog, Dirty.

 Bonnie Bonnie Morrissey, CVT

Bonnie has had a strong interest in animal welfare since childhood. She has worked at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Spay Waggin’ since 2003 and after taking the required courses at Dallas County Community College, she became a certified veterinary technician in 2013.

When not working, Bonnie enjoys spending time with her husband, four children, four cats and her Chihuahua mix, and loves being outside going for walks in the woods or at the beach.

Sue Tortolani Sue Tortolani, CVT

Sue had been volunteering at her local animal shelter for eight years before she made the decision to go back to school to become a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2011. She relocated to the Boston area in April 2015 and is excited to join the Animal Rescue League working out of the Boston city shelter.  Sue is passionate about shelter animals and hopes to be an advocate for those who need one.

When she isn’t at work, Sue is usually found cultivating her other skills, including karaoke, pinball, and trivia.  She lives with her two feline loves, Gibson and Miles.

Heather Heather D’Amarino, CVT

Born and raised on the South Shore, Heather has been an animal lover and advocate for as long as her entire family can remember. Since the young age of fourteen, Heather has had a career in the animal field and has been everything from a dog groomer, kennel attendant, and veterinary assistant. In 2006, she then began her career as a Veterinary technician and became a certified Veterinary Technician in 2013. Her favorite part about being a Veterinary Technician? Being able to help pets and owners who are in need! She also maintains a strong interest in avians, exotics, and equine.

When not on the Spay Waggin’, Heather enjoys spending time with her baby girl and husband. Her weekend activities often involve power boating, yoga, long walks with her pets (and child!), or just being outdoors. The animal part of Heather’s family include six chickens (her favorite is named Maple!), Mackerel (cat), Maisy (cat), Mikey (greenwing macaw), Bird (African grey), Fred (lab/great dane mix), Morgan (podengo mix), and Jameson (pointer mix) – how’s that for a full home?!

Meet our Boston Veterinary Care technicians:

Victor Victor Vigo, Lead Technician

Originally from Puerto Rico, Victor attended the University of Puerto Rico where he graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in General Science. He continued his studies in Medicine at the Universidad Central del Caribe and transferred to the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña where he obtained with honors the degree of Doctor in Veterinary Medicine. In 2005, he started working as an associate of veterinary medicine in a small animal general practice in Puerto Rico. In 2011, Victor moved to Massachusetts and started working as a veterinary technician at a specialty and emergency hospital. In 2013, he joined the Boston Veterinary Care team!


Stephanie Clark, CVT

Stephanie has been interested in working with animals for most of her life. She graduated from SUNY Canton with an A.A.S in Veterinary Technology in 2012.  She passed her certification boards in August 2012 and has been working as a Certified Veterinary Technician ever since. Stephanie has been working at veterinary hospitals since 2010 and began working at the Boston Veterinary Care in January 2014. Stephanie has attended multiple seminars and classes about animal health and she hopes to continue learning more. She lives at home with a dove, a rabbit, and two dogs!

 Lauren Lauren Litif, CVT

Lauren is a graduate of Mount Ida College with a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology and a minor in Legal Studies. She was on the Dean’s list for all four years at Mount Ida. As part of her studies, Lauren completed internships at New England Animal Medical Center, VCA Weymouth, and VESCONE. Lauren joined the Boston Veterinary Care team on May 19, 2014.

Sue Sue Miller, CVT

Sue graduated from Suffolk University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She began working for the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) as an animal care attendant in 2000. She then took a veterinary technician position on the ARL Spay Waggin’ in 2001 and became lead shelter technician in 2003. With her work experience and bachelor’s degree, she became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2004. Over the past decade, Sue has worked in the surgery and anesthesia department at Angell Animal Medical Center, the emergency department at a referral hospital in NH, and general medicine at some local veterinary practices. She rejoined ARL at Boston Veterinary Care in 2013. Additionally, Sue volunteers her time for the ARL Fix-a-Feral program and fosters sick or injured animals for our shelter. When not working, Sue spends her time with her husband, daughter, two lazy cats and one German Shepherd named Kernel.

Marissa Marisa Notarangelo, Veterinary Technician

Marisa is a graduate of Mount Ida College with a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology. She completed internships at Wellesley Animal Hospital, Tufts Wildlife Clinic, Tufts Large Animal Hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, and Biomodels. Marisa recently worked at Holliston Animal Hospital. She joined the Boston Veterinary Care team on May 27, 2014.

 Emily Emily Ograbisz, Veterinary TechnicianEmily graduated with high honors from Clark University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She began working at an animal hospital as a kennel technician and moved up to the veterinary technician position in 2006. Since 2012, she has volunteered at Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic in Worcester. Emily joined Boston Veterinary Care in June 2014.

Want to learn from our team? View our student opportunities:


Bark if You Love October

ARL Shares Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt an Adult Dog

If you’ve considered adding a canine companion to your family, there’s no better time than NOW to ADOPT! October is National Adopt-a-Dog Month and the ARL has many adult dogs looking for their forever homes!

Search adoptable dogs


Meet Coretta, an extra sweet 3-year-young mixed breed who would love an active home to call her own! Click her photo to learn more about her.

Many potential adopters visit animal shelters looking for a puppy. While puppies are absolutely adorable, they are also very energetic and their personalities, likes, and dislikes are still emerging.

That’s why adopting an adult dog can be a great decision for you and your family! (Hint: At ARL shelters, adult dogs are 1 year and older.)

When you come into ARL’s shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, our knowledgeable adoption agents will ask you about what you’re looking for in a dog in terms of energy level, personality, and compatibility with children and other pets.

It won’t take long for you to realize that one of the biggest perks of adopting an adult dog is that what you see, is what you get.

Adult dogs have passed their critical development stages, so you’ll get a good idea of whether or not their personality and energy level is the right fit for your home. They may also be an easier introduction info the family, as puppies can be fragile and act quite timid in an already active household.

Not yet convinced? The ARL’s shares top 5 reasons why you should adopt an adult dog this October:

  1. You’ll save a life. When you adopt, you actually save two lives: the life of the dog that you adopted, and the life of the dog that is going to take its place at the shelter. Your new pet will thank you again and again for being their hero with slobbery kisses!
  2. You’ll meet your perfect canine companion. At the ARL, each dog is thoroughly evaluated to assess their medical history and overall temperament. They are then given a customized behavioral and enrichment plan to prepare them for life in their future home. All this information will be presented to you at the time of the potential adoption so that you and your family members can decide if the dog you’re interested in is the right match for you.
  3. You’ll find variety. If you have your mind set on a dog of a particular breed or temperament, chances are that one of ARL’s shelters will  have what you’re looking for! Various purebreds and mixed breeds come into our shelter at any given time, so we always have new dogs available! Don’t see a canine that catches your eye? Keep checking our list of current adoptables, as it changes every day!
  4. You’ll save money. Every adoptable dog at the ARL receives the following included in their adoption fee: health screening and veterinary examination; spay or neuter services; vaccinations; heartworm test and preventative; flea and tick treatment; intestinal parasite scan; microchip identification and registration; tag and collar.
  5. You’ll be doing something especially kind for animals in need. Adult dogs usually stay at our shelters much longer than puppies do. That’s why shelters usually charge a smaller adoption fee for adult dogs- to incentivize people to adopt them!

To meet our adoptable dogs, stop by our adoption centers in BostonBrewster, and Dedham on Tuesdays – Sundays from 1pm – 6:30pm. If you meet the dog of your dreams, in most cases you can take him or her home with you the same day!



October is Pet Obesity Awareness Month at BVC

Receive 20% OFF all weight-loss formula food for cats and dogs

As humans, we’re reminded daily about the short and long-term health benefits of proper nutrition and exercise. To keep our weight in check, we can pretty easily monitor our weight loss or gain by stepping on our bathroom scale, trying on those “skinny jeans”, or observing our overall energy level. And, if we don’t like what we see or how we feel, we can make a conscious effort to get our health back on track.

When it comes to our pets, the same rules about a proper diet and maintaining a healthy weight apply, except that our pets cannot regulate it themselves; we must do it for them!

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 52.6% of dogs and 57.6% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. These statistics are concerning since there are many health risks for overweight pets, which include: diabetes, joint stress, arthritis, an increase in blood pressure, heart disease, lethargy, and overall poor quality of life. These worrisome negative health implications are why obesity in our pets is not only important to recognize, but also to control and prevent.

pet obesity

Let BVC help you achieve your pet’s weight-loss goal! Now through October 31st, *BVC is offering 20% OFF all weight-loss formula for cats and dogs.

Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) shares 5 important tips on how to manage your pet’s weight:

  1. Keep track of your pet’s weight, just as you would your own, so that any gains or losses can be easily detected. A 5-pound weight gain may not have a significant effect on a 160lb human, but it will on a 15lb dog. To determine if your pet may be overweight, stand directly over your pet and look down at them; if you do not see a waistline, then your pet may be too heavy.
  2. Monitor your pet’s eating habits. This includes snacks too! Proper calorie intake varies by animal, so consult your veterinarian to determine your pet’s ideal weight and a proper diet. If your pet seems hungrier than normal after mealtime, try to figure out if their eagerness to eat is from actual hunger or simply the desire to taste those yummy table scraps.
  3. Observe any changes in energy level. If your pet seems to be tired or less active than normal, weight gain or improper nutrition may be to blame. If the lethargy lasts more than a few days, contact your veterinarian.
  4. Create a lifestyle that encourages exercise. Most pets like to play, so find an activity that you both enjoy. If your dog likes to run, try jogging with them a few times a week. If they like to fetch, throw a ball around with them in the park after work. If you have a cat, find a toy that they like to chase. Remember, you’ll reap the benefits of the daily exercise too without even realizing it!
  5. Schedule vet appointments regularly. In addition to your pet’s annual wellness exam, you should take your pet to their veterinarian if you observe any significant weight gain (or loss!), or a change in eating habits or energy level. If your veterinarian determines that your pet needs to lose a few pounds, it’s important to help them slim down to a healthy weight- and to help them maintain it afterward.

Take advantage of Boston Veterinary Care’s special October offer!

Pet obesity is the #1 health problem for pets in the United States. Is your pet overweight? If so, then let BVC help you achieve your pet’s weight-loss goals through our October offer!

Now through October 31st, *BVC is offering 20% OFF all weight-loss formula for cats and dogs. Call BVC at 617-226-5605 or email us at bvc@arlboston.org for details!

*Offer good for Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) patients who have had an exam within the last 12 months. May not be combined with any other offer.


Gov. Charlie Baker Visits ARL to Celebrate Reduced Rabies Quarantine

New regulations allow cats and dogs to find loving homes 2 months sooner

On October 10, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore joined the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) to highlight significant changes in Massachusetts state regulations.

Visit our Facebook page to watch a recap of yesterday’s press conference.

One of these changes in regulation included an adjustment to the rabies quarantine period for shelter animals. Under the new law, the quarantine period has been reduced from six to four months, allowing cats and dogs to find loving homes sooner. This decision will improve the lives of  animal in need and increase space and flexibility for animal shelters like the ARL.

“We applaud Governor Baker and his team for taking swift action ensuring the humane treatment of animals and providing greater access to shelter space for more animals in need,” said Mary Nee, President of the ARL. “These newly revised regulations prove that Massachusetts takes animal welfare standards seriously and is willing to lead the country in adopting the National Association of Veterinary and Public Health recommendations.”

Earlier this year, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians issued new recommendations in the 2016 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention advising reducing quarantine periods to four months due to evidence animals in isolation for an extended period of six months can become stressed and depressed, even with regular human socialization.

“Our shelter staff and veterinarians are eager to comply with these new common sense regulations. While rabies is a serious public health concern, science proves that excessive quarantine for animals is not necessary and is potentially harmful to otherwise healthy animals,” said Dr. Edward Schettino, VP of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services at the ARL. 


Governor Charlie Baker greets ARL staff and volunteers.



ARL’s President Mary Nee takes the podium at Monday’s press conference.



Governor Charlie Baker stops to take a selfie with adoptable rabbit, Nikki. Click the photo to learn more about her.

THANK YOU to Governor Charlie Baker and his administration for taking this important step for shelter animals!


The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss

Russell Friedman shares advice for grieving pet owners and their loved ones

The relationship between an owner and their pet is a special one… and the loss of a pet can be a heartbreaking one. National Pet Memorial Day, the second Sunday in September, is a day designated to commemorate the power of the human-animal bond. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that over 63 million people annually are grieving the loss of a pet, whether it be a dog, cat, bird, horse, rabbit, or other animal.

In a time when pets are considered by many to be an equal member of the family, why is it that we don’t always quite know what to say when a family, friend, or acquaintance’s pet passes away? In fact, research shows that over 85% of the comments that a grieving pet owner hears within the first few days of their pet’s death is not helpful for them, no matter how well-intentioned they are.

ARL blog sat down with Russell Friedman, director of the Grief Recovery Institute and co-author of the Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, to find out how to cope with the loss of your pet, and what you should and should not say to a grieving pet owner:

ARL Blog: Many people experience a very emotional or difficult time when their pet passes away. Some even report that they cry harder and longer over a pet’s death than a family member’s. Is that normal?

Russell Friedman: Just as we never forget the people who we love and who were important to us, the same goes for our pets. Grieving for animal in the same way that you would grieve a human being is completely normal, natural, and healthy.

Everyone has their own unique relationship with their pet. Even members within the same household grieving the loss of the same pet will react differently. Don’t forget that animals have very tangible emotions, so your other pets may grieve the loss of their companion too!

Unlike children who grow into adults, become more independent, and move out of the home, our pets do not. Although pets do age, they remain in our home and will always depend on us for food, shelter, and protection. The “parental” aspect to being a pet owner can make the emotional bond so powerful. For some couples who can’t have children, their pet is their “child” and they view them in that same way.

Our pets also give us a safe space to be ourselves and express our emotions without judgement. They are our loyal confidants. More often than not, what the person is feeling is a loss of the entity that used to always be there for them.

ARL Blog: Can you share some advice for people who are dealing with the loss of a pet?

RF: During a pet’s final care, we imagine unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations for the future. There are always things that we wish would have happened differently. Allow yourself as much time as you need to grieve and surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Think of fond memories you had with your pet, and visit the gravesite or plant a memorial.

One of the biggest myths is the concept of replacing the loss. You need to allow yourself to grieve your old pet before you get a new one. This is only fair to the new pet, so that they have their own persona. As far as the timeframe between the death of your new pet and brining home a new one, there is no right or wrong answer; it’s whenever you feel ready.

If you are a friend or family member of a grieving pet owner, remember to never buy someone a new pet without their permission. Although your intention of helping that person to “move on” is well-meaning, the griever may simply not be ready to attach themselves to a new pet.

ARL Blog: In the Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss you discuss some phrases NOT to say to a grieving pet owner. Can you explain what a few of them are?

The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss

Russell Friedman, co-author of The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, shares important advice for grieving pet owners and their loved ones!

RF: A few phrases that will actually have the opposite effect of what you intended are:

“I know how you feel.” This statement is always made in an attempt to commiserate, sympathize, or empathize with the person who is grieving. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to know exactly how the person feels, even if you have had a related experience. Every relationship is unique and everyone reacts to the loss of a pet, family member, or friend differently.

“They’re in a better place.” and/or “They’re not in pain anymore.” Perhaps their pet is in a better place and not in pain anymore, however the person who is grieving is not in a good place and feeling a painful loss.

“Don’t feel bad…” The person who just lost their pet does feel bad and is upset, even if their pet wasn’t suffering or lived its full life expectancy.

ARL Blog: Do you have any advice for what you SHOULD say to someone who has a lost a pet?

RF: Yes! First and foremost, make sure to acknowledge that you hear the person and the words that they are saying. Listen with your heart, not your head, and don’t give advice unless asked.

One of the best things you can possibly say is, “I can’t imagine what this has been like for you.” If you say it in the tone of question, it gives the grieving person permission to elaborate and express their feelings, should they want to. It shows the griever that you’re non-judgmental and that they’re in a safe space.

Alternatively, the truest and most failsafe statement when you encounter a grieving pet owner is probably, “Gosh, I heard what happened. I don’t know what to say.”

ARL Blog: Many parents are nervous to tell their children that their family pet is sick or has passed away in an effort to shield them from grief and sadness. Any suggestions of what you SHOULD say to children?

RF: Yes, be honest with them. When speaking to children about the loss of a pet, you can modify your language in terms that they can understand depending on their age; however the thoughts and ideas should remain the same. If you make the decision to put your pet to sleep, explain to your children gently what’s about to happen and give them the choice of whether or not they want to be there.

Encourage your children to show their emotions and teach them that grief is a normal natural reaction to loss. Have them tell you stories about their pet and how much they love them. Ask them to apologize to their pet and/or forgive their pet for any “wrongdoings”, such as chewing on their favorite doll. Remind them that although their pet won’t be there physically, that they will always have a place in their hearts and memories.


Animal Rescue League of Boston Rescues Dozens of Sick Birds

Animal owners in the Dorchester Neighborhood notified to be cautious while walking their dogs

Dorchester birds

Today, the ARL will send 15 birds to Tufts Wildlife Center in Grafton, MA for additional treatment.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) responded to 33 Bakersfield Street in Dorchester, MA on September 8, 2016  in response to a resident who called regarding her sick cat and the observation of birds falling from trees.

The ARL immediately gave emergency treatment to one cat, but unfortunately the cat could not be saved.

Additionally, 47 Grackle-type birds were either falling to the ground, sick, thrashing and unable to fly, or were found unresponsive.

It was determined that the birds should be isolated and neighbors notified to keep dogs and other animals from the area.

Current update on the 47 Grackles:

  • 12 birds found deceased on scene
  • 8 birds passed away shortly after rescue on their way to the shelter
  • 12 birds were humanely euthanized due to their poor condition
  • 15 birds remain in good condition in the custody of the Animal Rescue League of Boston Veterinary Team. Today, these animals will be sent to Tufts Wildlife Center in Grafton, MA.

The ARL continues to work with the State Department of Agriculture, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, City of Boston Inspectional Services Department, and Boston Public Health Commission to determine the cause of this unusual incident.

DONATE NOW to ensure that animals in need, like the many Grackles involved in this case, receive the critical veterinary care that they need.


BVC’s September offer will keep your feline friend in PURRfect shape!

It’s no surprise that American families love their cats- and their cats love them back! According to the 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, there were over 85 million owned cats in the United States making them the new “man’s best friend”. MEOW!

September is Happy Healthy Cat Month at Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), so what better time to bring in your kitty companion for their annual wellness exam! Your feline friend will love you even more for keeping them in tip-top shape, since, well, you know how meticulous they are!

healthy cat

Schedule an appointment with Dr.Breda, BVC’s Lead Veterinarian, at (617) 226-5605 or meet the rest of our team at www.arlboston.org/bvc/meet-our-staff.

Yearly check-ups are essential for cats of every age so that their veterinarian can carefully monitor their overall health and nutrition, while also making sure that they are up-to-date on all vaccinations and internal and external parasite preventatives.

Click here to download our promotional flyer – be sure to share this flyer with your friends and family!

Take advantage of BVC’s Happy Healthy Cat Month offer this September and receive:

  • 25% OFF a cat wellness exam*, even for seniors!
  • FREE goody bag filled with pawsome items for your feline friend, while supplies last.

To make an appointment, call (617) 226-5605 or visit arlboston.org/bvc.

All profits from Boston Veterinary Care support the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Boston Veterinary Care is located at 10 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116 in the South End with easy access via I-90 and I-93. FREE on-site parking is available for your convenience.

*Not to be combined with any other offer. Offer ends 9/30/16. 


Shelter Veterinary Services: Not Just For Cats & Dogs

Espresso, a 1-year-old rat, recovering from surgery to remove a large tumor

Everyone knows that the Animal Rescue League of Boston helps cats and dogs, but did you know that we help all other types of small animals, livestock, and wildlife too?

Espresso, a 1-year-old female rat, was picked up by ARL’s Rescue Services after being abandoned at a local veterinary clinic with her sister, Mocha. The adorable pair were brought to our Boston shelter where they received a veterinary exam, behavioral evaluation, and kind attention from staff and volunteers.

Unfortunately, during Espresso’s initial examination at the shelter, a large tumor was found over her left shoulder. Our Shelter Veterinary Services team immediately brought her to surgery, which cost approximately $250, to remove the tumor.

Espresso rat surgery before & after

Espresso, a 1-year-old rat, is recovering comfortably from tumor-removal surgery at the ARL. She and her sister Mocha are available for adoption and looking for a loving family!

DONATE NOW to ensure that animals like Espresso receive the critical preventative or emergency veterinary care that they need.

Espresso was a trooper throughout her surgery and recovered very well. In fact, she was walking around her enclosure and eating within an hour after waking up.

Through all of this process, Espresso never lost her love of people and remained as sweet as ever!

After surgery, the removed mass was sent to a lab for analysis and was determined to be a benign mammary tumor.

Mammary tumors are very common in middle-aged to older rats. Because rats have mammary tissue that extends well beyond the area of their mammary glands, mammary tumors can occur in locations you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

Thankfully, the tumors are nearly always benign, as was the case for Espresso.  This means it’s very unlikely that they will metastasize or recur in the same location.

It’s important to know, however, that rats who develop one mammary tumor will often go on to have additional mammary tumors develop at new locations in the future.

We recommend that Espresso’s adopters have a discussion with their family vet about whether to consider additional treatment, such as hormone injections, to help prevent future tumors from forming.

MEET ESPRESSO AT OUR BOSTON ADOPTION CENTER! Espresso and her sister Mocha are both available for adoption and would make lovely little additions to your home. Visit us at 10 Chandler Street in Boston, email adoption@arlboston.org, or call (617) 226-5602 for more information about this pair.

UPDATE 9/5/16: Espresso and her sister Mocha have been adopted!