Pet Obesity and What it Means for Your Pet’s Health

Many Health Risks Result from Pet Obesity

Today is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Did you know that pet obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S.?

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention “an estimated 52.6% of US dogs and 57.6% of US cats are overweight or obese.” When it comes to your pets being over weight there is much more at stake than just good looks.

obese catSome of the many health risks resulting from pet obesity include:

  • Diabetes
  • Joint stress
  • Arthritis
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Heart disease
  • Overall quality of life
  • Maintaining your pet’s everyday quality of life can be much more difficult when he or she is overweight. Obesity in our animals is not only important to recognize, but to control and prevent.

So how can you really tell if your pet is over weight? Boston Veterinary Care‘s Dr. Kasja Newlin explains, “when feeling over your dogs ribs it should feel similar to the way your knuckles do when your hand is laid out flat. On the contrary, if your pets ribs feel the same way your knuckles do when forming a fist then your pet are under-weight.” An easier way to tell might be to stand over your pet and look down at them you. You should be able to see a waist. If you do not see a waistline, then your pet is too heavy.

Keep track of your pets weight just as you would your own, this way any gains or losses can be easily detected. It is important for pet owners to understand that your pet being a few pounds over weight may not sound like much to you, it is to him or her. An interesting thing to note is your pets constant eagerness to eat is easily confused for actual hunger. The truth is that our pets are a lot like us, we eat because we like to and not necessarily because we are hungry!

If your pet hasn’t been to the vet in a long time, consider making an appointment with Boston Veterinary Care. As part of your exam, you’ll receive nutritional counseling. Boston Veterinary Care is currently offering your first wellness exam for free. More details.

Thumbnail  and featured photo credit: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

 

Happy Tail Tuesday: Tuukka a Middleboro Puppy

1 Year Later, Tuukka’s One of the Kids

Tuukka today.

Tuukka today.

During a drug and weapons raid on a home in Middleboro in October of 2013, the police found 13 puppies in a small crate. The tiny puppies were rescued and brought to the Animal Rescue League.

After extensive time with our foster volunteers, where they grew strong enough to come to our adoption centers, the puppies were all adopted out to loving homes.

Their story touched the hearts of people across Eastern Massachusetts and their photos graced the cover of the Fall 2013 edition of the ARL’s magazine.

One year later, we are happy to report that the puppies are healthy and doing well. We have a very special update on one of the puppies named Tuukka (f.k.a Ollie).

Celebrating his 1st birthday.

Celebrating his 1st birthday.

According to his new family, Tuukaa is “the biggest love. He needs to be next to someone at all times.” Hi mom said, he “literally is our ‘baby’.”

It’s been an exciting year for Tuukka between fun with kids, vacations and his first birthday, he’s been a busy pup. He took his first vacations this summer to Newport, RI and New Hampshire and loved exploring the new places. On August 27 he turned one and his family celebrated in style by taking him to Petco and spoiling him with gourmet treats, new toys and a goofy birthday hat.

Tuukka absolutely loves children and is a big cuddle bug whenever someone comes over to pet him. According to his owners, “he is definitely the best dog ever.”

Not only does Tuukka have a great new family, but he actually gets to see his real dad. A relative of the family adopted Tuukka’s father, named Dante, also seized during the Middleboro raid.

Tuukka (L) with his father Dante (R)

Tuukka (L) with his father Dante (R)

Dante is doing great as well. He’s a big couch potato and loves lounging around. He and Tuukka are the best of friends and enjoy playing together. Tuukka loves to antagonize his dad, as all sons do, and Dante is so good with him, as if he knows that his son is just a baby and must be handled with patience and care.

Tuukka’s owners just had a baby and report that Tuukka has adjusted great around the newborn. He gets very concerned when he cries and tries comforting him by licking him. Congratulations, to Tuukka’s family on their newest addition! We’re so happy that Tuukka found such a loving family who clearly cares so much about him! Everyone at the ARL wishes you all the best.

Read more about the Middleboro puppies and view photos of Tuukka as a puppy.

Tuukka and the kids, including the family's new baby.

Tuukka and the kids, including the family’s new baby. Congrats!

 

Madeline Update: Sweet Survivor Cat is the Princess of the House

A Happy Tail for Your Caturday

10-2-14-Madeline

Madline enjoys spending time gazing out the window.

We just got an update on Madeline, the sweet survivor cat we told you about back in June!

Madeline’s fur had been so thickly matted that she had lost the ability to walk. Thanks to the dedicated staff at our Dedham shelter, Madeline made a great recovery.

Read Madeline’s story.

Today Maddie, as her new family calls her, is definitely the princess of the house! She is walking well, given her mobility issues, and can climb up and down the stairs in her home.

Maddie’s new-found joy is playing with catnip toys and a fluffy mouse on the end of a string. She plays with both the mouse end and the string end and gets very excited when the string twirls around and she has to grab it.

Her fur is growing back, slowly, but surely. The fur around her face is now very full, and she loves sitting up straight and puffing up a bit to get admiration from anyone looking in her direction! Her adopters say that “Maddie is a wonderful addition to our family and we love her very much!”

Thanks to you, Maddie is clearly getting the royal treatment in her new home!

maddie 3

Maddie plaing with one of her many feather toys.

 

Dog of the Week: Tater Tot, A Sweet, Senior Dog Waits 3 Months

October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month! Open Your Heart to Tater Tot.

Yesterday marked Tater Tot’s 3-month anniversary from when she first entered the Animal Rescue League’s shelter. This great dog came to us from another shelter, and she’s clearly been through a lot, so we can easily say that it’s about time she found a loving home.

10-2-14-Tater-PicThis very sweet, senior dog just wants to find a family to call her own. Here are the most important things you need to know about Tater Tot…

  • If you want canine kisses, she’ll give them.
  • If you want a companion for leisurely strolls, she’ll waddle by your side.
  • If you want a snuggle-buddy to watch movies with, she’ll be your couch potato.

Tater Tot will make a great addition to a family with or without children and warms up quickly to new people.  Tater Tot would do best as an only dog, because being an older girl, she doesn’t like it when other dogs jump on her.

Please make this a special Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month for a great dog. Consider opening your heart and home to Tater Tot.

Watch Tater Tot’s video below.

If Tater Tot sounds like the dog for you, come meet her at our Boston shelter. Or if you know someone who’d make a great match, forward this email or share via social media..

Read Tater Tot’s profile

 

Spay or Neuter Your Cat for Only $25

Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats is this Thursday, October 2

There’s still time to make an appointment for Boston Spay/Neuter Day. On October 2, pet owners in financial need can have their cats spayed or neutered for the low cost of just $25 per feline. Priority will be given to residents of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.

09-12-14 SpayNeuterDayCatCall 617.226.5685 to book an appointment for your cat today!

Event Details
Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats
October 2, 2014
9AM – 4PM
United House of Prayer for All People
206 Seaver Street Dorchester, MA 02121
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

If your cat is already spayed/neutered please help spread the word about Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats, by sharing this blog post with your friends!

Can’t make it to Boston Spay/Neuter Day? Don’t worry. The Animal Rescue League and our Spay Waggin’ offer a variety of low-cost spay/neuter options for pet owners across Eastern Massachusetts. On Wednesday, September 9 we joined the Massachusetts Animal Fund for the kick-off of their Spay/Neuter  Voucher Program. The Program offers free spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccinations to homeless dogs and cats, as well as dogs and cats owned by low-income families in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Animal Fund has partnered with municipal animal control officers to identify the state’s most vulnerable animals, and veterinary practices that are committed to providing surgery and vaccination at a reduced rate.

DAR Commissioner Greg Watson, Dr. David Dunn of North Shore Animal Hospital, Animal Rescue League of Boston Vice President Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, Massachusetts Animal Fund Coordinator Lauren Gilfeather and two of the Hospital’s patients (Photo Credit: Amy Mahler)

DAR Commissioner Greg Watson, Dr. David Dunn of North Shore Animal Hospital, Animal Rescue League of Boston Vice President Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, Massachusetts Animal Fund Coordinator Lauren Gilfeather and two of the Hospital’s patients (Photo Credit: Amy Mahler)

The Animal Rescue League’s Vice President of Animal Welfare, Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore was at the event and said, “It is fantastic that the taxpayers of Massachusetts, who voluntarily choose to donate to this fund by checking the box at line32f on their state tax return, have given a mechanism that makes it easy for every private practice veterinarian and local animal hospital to join the fight.”

The ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is one of the first animal welfare organizations to accept the Massachusetts Animal Fund’s vouchers and you can use them when you make an appointment with our Spay Waggin’. If you know someone who could benefit from a spay/neuter voucher please visit massanimalfund.com/assistance for more information.

 

 

 

Unite in the Fight Against Rabies

On 28th September every year, the world unites in the fight against rabies.

World Rabies Day is a day of activism and awareness. It’s an opportunity to for you to join the global movement to put an end to suffering rabies causes by organizing or taking part in a World Rabies Day event.

world-rabies-day-logoRabies is a viral disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. The virus attacks the central nervous system and can be secreted in saliva. Infected animals show no fear of humans, drool and act in an agitated fashion.

In Massachusetts, outdoor cats are the “bridge” species, who are most likely to encounter a rabid animal, become exposed to rabies and bring it home.  The most common rabid animal is the bat, and bats can come into your home.  For this reason, all dogs, cats and ferrets, whether indoor only or not, are mandated by law to be vaccinated against rabies.

Every dog, cat and ferret adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston is vaccinated against rabies. Every dog or cat that we spay or neuter on the Spay Waggin’ or at our Fix A Feral clinics is vaccinated against rabies. We offer rabies clinics in the spring in Boston, Dedham and Brewster to help provide easy access to rabies vaccination.  We are doing our part to help prevent the spread of rabies in Massachusetts.   Please do your part and make sure your pets are vaccinated!

If your cat is not vaccinated against rabies, make an appointment for a vet exam at Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats on Thursday, October 2. For just $10 an Animal Rescue League of Boston veterinarian will be on-site to see your cat and your cat can receive a vet exam, vaccinations (including rabies vaccine), flea treatment and a microchip. Boston Spay/Neuter Day is sponsored by the Massachusetts Animal Coalition License Plate Fund.

More about Boston Spay/Neuter Day: http://bit.ly/spaybos

 

Thank You Thursday: Granite Telecommunications Surprises ARL with Special Donation

Thank you Granite Telecommunications for Helping Animals in Need

Mary & Granite_final_web

ARL President, Mary Nee holds shelter dog, Granite.

Earlier this week ARL president, Mary Nee accepted a donation of $163,000 from Granite Telecommunications in Quincy, MA.

The company’s CEO Rob Hale decided to celebrate hitting $1 billion in revenues by donating $1 million across five charitable organizations.  He asked Granite’s 1200 employees to nominate charities that “make a difference” and the ARL was one of the final five recipients.

Joining Mary to accept this gracious gift was Granite, an adoptable chihuahua from our Boston shelter. Mr. Hale was so taken with this adorable dog, that he announced that he would give $1,000 to the person who adopts her. Many people expressed interest in giving Granite a good home and she went home yesterday with her wonderful new family.

Granite CEO, Rob Hale said, “While Granite as a company is very proud to reach this billion-dollar achievement, we are even prouder of our employees as they embrace the spirit of giving back to the community.”

We are deeply grateful to Granite Telecommunications, CEO Rob Hale, and all of the employees who voted to donate to the Animal Rescue League.

You can read more details about Granite’s donation here: http://on.mktw.net/1mC5G1O

 

 

Deaf Dog Wiggles Her Way into Staff Member’s Heart

Bringing Awareness to Special Needs Pets

Here at the Animal Rescue League our staff have all sorts of pets and among them is a deaf dog named Tippy. What better time to share her story with you than during Deaf Pet Awareness Week? Read on to learn about Tippy.

Tippy1

Tippy

A little over 8 years ago, Maryann Regan, director of shelter operations at the ARL, was managing the animal intake office of our Boston adoption center when a local animal control officer brought in an extremely wiggly and happy white dog.

The officer explained that the municipal shelter had no room and wanted to know if we had kennel space to house this stray dog. “Almost the moment the officer handed the leash over to me,” says Maryann, “this dog was tugging at my heart strings.  She immediately began to give me kisses and her wiggles were out of control- she seemed like a very happy, sweet girl!”

Maryann found herself spending extra time with her, –going for long walks, giving her extra play time in the play yard, and sharing a few extra treats. Something told her that this dog was meant for her family.

“I introduced her to my husband and it was love at first site. We decided, after her medical exam and behavior evaluation, we would adopt her as long as she and the other family members got along.  The other family members are two senior cats that also have a very special place in our hearts.”

During her behavior evaluation, the wiggly white dog performed true to form–high energy, playful, happy, and sweet!

As affectionate and people-oriented as she behaved, however, she also tended to ignore us when we called for her.

Maryann explains: “It wasn’t consistent with what she was typically displaying in her personality because she was usually very concerned or interested in being near every person she met.  She loved people!  Then, why was she ignoring us?”

The pre-adoption medical evaluation identified the issue: this dog was deaf.

“It’s not uncommon for white animals to be deaf.  This dog was all white, with the exception of a few, adorable black dots here and there bounced around on her body,” says Maryann.  “All the times we called for her attention that she did not respond to was not her ignoring us, she simply couldn’t hear us.”

Neither Maryann or her husband had experience with a deaf dog, but Maryann felt confident that they could educate themselves on how to handle her appropriately.  “I had such a strong bond with this dog, I had no reservations about doing all the homework necessary to make this a successful adoption for us, the cats and for her.”

So, if you’re considering adding a pet to your family, don’t overlook deaf pets in your search.

To learn more about Deaf Pet Awareness Week visit trupanion.com/deaf-pets.

09-24-14 trupanion deaf pets

 

Remembering Puppy Doe

Momentum growing in efforts to prevent animal cruelty

One year ago today, the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston, Quincy Police Department, and Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey issued a public appeal for help identifying the person responsible for abusing Puppy Doe, a young adult dog found tortured, starved, and left for dead near a park in Quincy.

10-16 Puppy Doe Update Photo rest in peace

Moved by her story, people created a temporary memorial for Puppy Doe near the park where she was found in Quincy.

Her case captured the attention of animal welfare advocates and concerned citizens around the world as investigators diligently worked through the hundreds of leads brought forward to police.

Within a few weeks, the police arrested a suspect and the district attorney formally charged him with 11 counts of animal cruelty.  The prosecution of the case continues as we speak.

Puppy Doe and the extreme level of abuse she suffered also inspired new conversation on the topic of animal cruelty and how to prevent it.

Massachusetts lawmakers began to consider ways to update and evaluate existing laws relating to the protection of animals in the state.

One year later, S2345 - a bill passed by both the Massachusetts House and Senate at the end of the 2014 session – will become law within a few weeks.

The bill increases penalties for animal cruelty substantially, requires veterinarians to report abuse, and creates a task force to comprehensively review all animal-related laws in Massachusetts.

The ARL is especially pleased about the impact S2345 makes on the issue of animal cruelty:

  • Massachusetts has gone from a state with one of the most lenient fines for animal cruelty to one more in line with – and in many cases stricter – than other states.
  •  The law establishes a legal obligation for veterinarians to bring suspicions of abuse to authorities for further investigation.
    Consider this: If the veterinarian who initially treated Puppy Doe had not taken the initiative to report concerns to the ARL, the world might never have known about her case.
  • The formation of a task force of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine, and the legal profession holds promise for more progress on the issue.

Outside the state on a national level, the National Sherriffs’ Association (NSA) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund launched the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse in August.  The Center provides resources to the law enforcement community to assist with animal cruelty prevention and investigation strategies.

Inspired by Puppy Doe's case, the ARL has issued a public call-to-action to report concerns about animal cruelty to local authorities.

Inspired by Puppy Doe’s case, the ARL has issued a public call-to-action to report concerns about animal cruelty to local authorities.

And as of earlier this week, the FBI will begin tracking animal cruelty cases as a separate category of crimes.  Law enforcement for the first time will have a way to track the number of reported incidents of animal cruelty cases each year to better channel resources and violence prevention programs.

Perhaps most importantly, public awareness of the role we can all play in preventing horrific cases like Puppy Doe’s is growing.

The fact remains that 4 out 5 cases of animal cruelty remain undiscovered by authorities, so public awareness and action will play a critical role in making our community a safer, more humane place for animals and people.

One year on, Puppy Doe’s case continues to inspire conversation and activity.   At the ARL, we look forward to pushing for progress and change.

We remain ever-grateful to our supporters and animal-lovers everywhere who are speaking up and out about the importance of preventing cruelty to animals!

Visit arlboston.org/take-action to learn more about how you can prevent animal cruelty.

 

 

Wally the Cat Recovering from Serious Injuries

Beloved cat survives a perilous walk on prison wall

Last week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston received a call about Wally, a fluffy gray and white cat badly injured during a dangerous walk along the razor wire that lines the top of the wall at Bridgewater State Prison.

09-15-14 Wally PicWally’s mom had given birth to him and his siblings about two years ago outside the prison, and continued to live in the vicinity as her family grew up.  Prisoners and guards had kindly fed and cared for the cats ever since.

The very friendly and sweet Wally had endeared himself to his caregivers who watched him grow from a rambunctious kitten into a particularly curious cat.

No one is quite sure how he did it, but Wally managed to climb 30-40 feet up the prison wall and gotten himself stuck.

For two days he walked along the razor wire line, becoming more frantic as staff, the fire department, and animal control officers from Bridgewater and Halifax tried to rescue him.  The frightened cat injured himself very seriously in the process, cutting himself repeatedly all over his body on the sharp, jagged wire barbs.

A determined prison maintenance worker finally cornered Wally along the wall, threw a blanket over him, and – to echoing cheers from guards and prisoners alike – brought him down to Lisa McKay, the animal control officer in Bridgewater.  She immediately brought Wally to New England Animal Medical Center where veterinarians determined he needed over $3,000 in surgery to repair the damage from his wounds.

Desperate to find an organization willing to cover Wally’s medical costs, help him recuperate, and ultimately find him a new home, McKay called the ARL.

The ARL answered “yes” to the call for help!

Wally sadly lost his tail to his injuries, but thankfully surgeons mended the deep cuts in his back leg and above his eye.  He is now recovering in the care of a dedicated foster volunteer and will eventually come to the ARL when he is ready for adoption.

Very importantly, Wally will survive.  The kindness, compassion, and love so many have shown him will continue to carry him through.

Would you like to help Wally and other animals like him?

Only with your support can animals like Wally get emergency medical assistance when they need it most.

Please visit arlboston/kintera.org/wally or click the button below to make a donation to help pay for the care and treatment of Wally and other animals like him.

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