Do You Have Feral Cats In Your Neighborhood?

Help keep them safe by building a simple DIY cat shelter in your yard

A “feral” cat is defined as a cat that has had little or no human contact since birth. Many were initially former domestic cats that were either lost or abandoned. In many cases, these cats still depend on human caregivers for food and shelter.

Learn more about feral cats

Some feral cat colonies find shelter for themselves under sheds and uninhabited buildings. Living in these structures poses a risk for these cats because their safety is usually uncertain.

To help keep the feral cats in your neighborhood safe from the elements and potential predators, consider building your own shelter. DIY shelters are inexpensive and simple to build. Please keep in mind, there are many ways to build feral cat shelters.

Watch this video to learn how to build your own feral cat shelter:

Did you know…

That the ARL contributes to helping control the feral cat population in the Boston area? The ARL offers FREE spay and neuter TNR (trap, neuter, and release) clinics each year to feral cat caretakers in Boston.

During the clinics, cats receive a behavioral screening to identify “friendlies,” stray animals who could re-adjust to living with people as pets.  In addition to spay/neuter services, cats also receive vaccines and other veterinary services.

Learn more about the ARL’s TNR clinics by visiting www.arlboston.org/fix-a-feral/

 

A Mastiff Relief for Titan!

Big and Lovable Lovable Dog thriving after surgery

donations for titan

Titan, 6-year-old Mastiff, needed a $2,000 surgery to remove and test a large tumor in his abdomen.

During a routine neuter surgery,  our shelter veterinarian discovered shelter dog Titan had a large mass in his abdomen.  X-rays confirmed the 6-year-old big and loveable Mastiff had a tumor.

According to ARL shelter veterinarian Dr. Erin Doyle, about 50% of this type of tumor are benign and the other 50% are cancerous.  Sadly, dogs with the cancerous-type of tumor have a 6-month life expectancy after the tumor is removed without additional medical intervention.

Titan needed a $2,000 surgery to immediately remove the tumor and test for cancer.  The ARL moved quickly to get Titan the medical care and testing he needed.

Titan’s goofy grin and happy-go-lucky personality had quickly warmed the hearts of everyone at the shelter.  Everyone was hoping for the best when he underwent surgery a week later.

Thankfully, we got what we were hoping for!

Titan's adoption day

A recovering Titan (Mastiff on the right) post-surgery posing for a photo with his new family on his adoption day!

“Titan’s tumor ended up being a very rare type of benign kidney tumor,” happily reported Dr. Doyle.  “Now that the tumor has been removed, Titan should be able to go on to live a normal life.”

With the tumor gone,  Titan was cured and medically-cleared for adoption. He went home with a new family shortly after surgery and by all reports is doing better than ever!

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

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

The ARL doesn’t receive any government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters like you to provide veterinary care and treatment for shelter animals who have no one else to turn to for help when they’re sick or injured.

MAKE YOUR DONATION GO FARTHER NOW!  The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund will generously match your donation today dollar for dollar!

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

Donate Now

 

 

Meet the 2015 ARL Boston Marathon Team!

Our 5th Run with a John Hancock Boston Marathon Charity Team

Boston Marathon sponsor JH

Thank you to Boston Marathon sponsor John Hancock for including the ARL in the 2015 charity bib program!

Thanks to the generosity of the John Hancock Nonprofit Program, four inspired marathoners – Chris Aronis, Mal Malme, Scott Shapiro, and Alexis Sheehan – are hitting the ground running to raise money for animals in need at the ARL ahead of this year’s Boston Marathon.

Each year, Marathon sponsor John Hancock awards a limited number of runner’s bibs to select non-profit organization in Massachusetts.  To qualify for a charity bib, runners apply to the non-profit they care about most, explaining how they will raise money to support the organization’s work.

We’re very excited to introduce the members of the 2015 ARL Boston Marathon team who have two very big goals – to raise over $30,000 and finish the grueling 26.2 mile course!

Learn more about why our team members chose to run for animal welfare and how you can support them below….

Chris Aronis boston marathon team

Meet ARL Boston Marathon Charity Team runner Chris Aronis and his Boston terrier pal.

Meet Chris

“My family has forever been lovers of rescue animals – cats, dogs, and the occasional lost creature in the wild. The cause of ensuring that every pet is safe, care for, and ultimately has a forever home is near and dear to us.”

Support Chris at crowdrise.com/AnimalRescueLeagueBoston2015/fundraiser/chrisaronis

Boston marathon runner Mal Malme

ARL Boston Marathon team runner Mal Malme with a sleepy canine supporter.

Meet Mal

“My experiences as a volunteer at ARL, working alongside staff to enrich the lives of the dogs at the shelter, and helping to ensure they get adopted into loving homes, has made my life immeasurably more meaningful. Now I get to say thank you by running the 2015 Boston Marathon with Team ARL!”

Support Mal at crowdrise.com/AnimalRescueLeagueBoston2015/fundraiser/malmalme

boston marathon runner scott

ARL Boston Marathon team runner Scott Shapiro at home with his personal cheering squad.

Meet Scott

“I’m running the Boston Marathon in memory of our first dog Gizmo and to honor everything ARL does to support our city’s animals.”

Support Scott at crowdrise.com/AnimalRescueLeagueBoston2015/fundraiser/scottshapiro

boston marathon runner Alexis Sheehan

ARL Boston Marathon runner Alexis Sheehan getting a pawsitive post-run pup talk from her canine pal.

Meet Alexis

“Why I am running the Boston marathon? I was born to run this race.  I love animals and I love running.  It just doesn’t get any better than this for a runner or a human with a heart.”

Support Alexis at crowdrise.com/AnimalRescueLeagueBoston2015/fundraiser/alexissheehan

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to the dedicated runners on our 2015 Boston Marathon team!  Through sleet, snow, ice, and bitter cold this winter, our four team members have trained hard and worked tirelessly to raise money for animals in our community.

Show your support for team members by making a donation to an individual runner or on the ARL Boston Marathon Team fundraising page at crowdrise.com/arl2014bostonmarathon.

 

 

March is Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month!

There’s more than just cats and dogs at ARL shelters

Many people assume that animal shelters only have cats and dogs, but here at the ARL we have a knowledgeable staff and are able to accommodate a variety of animals including guinea pigs.

And they are just waiting for to find their perfect match!

Meet BooBoo, an adorable 5-year-old female guinea pig available for adoption at our Boston shelter. She’s a friendly, but shy gal looking for a family to call her own.

Her two favorite activities?  Sitting on your lap to get a cheek scratch and snacking on tasty salads.

If you’d like to adopt a guinea pig like BooBoo from the ARL, make sure to bring a photo of the cage that your new pet will live in to make sure it’s a good size and shape for a guinea pig.

BooBoo

Adorable BooBoo strikes a pose during her photo shoot.

Just like any other pet, guinea pigs require special care and attention. Familiarizing yourself with their daily and long-term needs before adding one to your family is also an important step in the adoption process.

Learn more about guinea pigs

Guinea pigs can make great companions for both first-time or experienced pet owners, however they require a bit of patience and a gentle hand.

Once they are comfortable with you and their new surroundings, their personalities really shine through!

For more information on BooBoo or any of the other adoptable animals at our Boston shelter, you can speak with our shelter staff by calling (617) 226-5602.  Our shelters are open Tuesday through Sunday 1pm-6:30pm, excluding some holidays.

ADOPT A RESCUE GUINEA PIG MONTH FUN FACT Guinea pigs communicate through a variety of behaviors and sounds. These small animals will make a squealing or whistling sound, for example, to communicate anticipation or excitement–usually before they eat!  Meanwhile, a deep sounding purr indicates your guinea pig is comfortable and content.

 

 

Inside The Mind Of A Shelter Dog

The ARL’s Dot Baisly on working with shelter dogs

Ever wonder what goes on in a shelter dog’s mind? You know, aside from the usual, “When is it time to eat? When can I go outside to play? When is it time to eat….?”

Dot Baisly, the ARL’s new shelter enrichment and behavior manager, may not know exactly what shelter dogs are thinking at all times, but what she does know are the best methods to help them adapt to their new environment and get them ready to find a new home.

The ARL Blog sat down with Dot to learn more about how the ARL approaches shelter dog enrichment and giving potential adopters a profile of a dog’s behavior.

ARL Blog: What are some common behavioral issues that you come across related to shelter dogs and how do you work with them?

DB: The most frequent issue in shelter dogs is over-arousal and “jumpy mouthy” behavior. This issue is common for many reasons, such as lack of stimulation, the animal’s adolescent age, and a lack of proper training.

I like to treat the animal holistically by working to enrich their daily experience while teaching impulse control, and by finding ways to help the dog relax and find a quiet space at least three times a week.

Dot with rooster on her head

Dot Baisly faces every day at the ARL with a positive attitude–and with her party hat (a.k.a. ARL adoptable rooster Leonidas – come meet him at our Dedham shelter!)

ARL Blog: When the ARL does a “behavioral screening” for animals, what exactly does that mean?

DB: Our behavior evaluation process takes in all the information available to us for each animal. When possible, we start with a profile when an owner relinquishes a pet to us. If the animal comes in as a stray, we do everything that we can to gather as much information about an animal’s behavior.

We process all dogs through a systematic behavior evaluation in which the animal is screened for friendliness to humans, excitement levels, fear, aggression, and how well they know cues.

Finally, we gather and report all behavior observed in the shelter and compile this information to best match each individual dog with a new home.

ARL Blog: What is a typical enrichment plan that you give to a shelter dog?

DB: A typical enrichment plan should address the individual needs of each dog. For heavy chewers, for example, we feed them from a toy daily so that food acquisition is a mentally stimulating part of their day.

Basic obedience training is a part of every enrichment plan and quiet time outside of the kennel should happen regularly.

In many cases, we encourage play to learn impulse control and other aspects of interacting with humans.  This can be done with fetch, tug, and other games for the young adolescent dogs in need of physical exercise. When possible, I also include agility, appropriate social interactions with other dogs, and handling/massaging from humans.

 MORE ABOUT DOT – Dot first came to the ARL as an under-grad looking for a part-time job. She found she loved the work so much, she joined us full-time for several years before going back to school for her master’s degree. She operated her own dog training business, through which she continued to work with shelters.

Most recently, Dot worked at the SPCA of Westchester, New York, designing and implementing a volunteer-based dog walking and training program and fulfilling all behavior needs of that shelter.

 

 

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 for a pet-friendly St. Patrick’s Day activity, visit our adoptable pets at our shelters 1 pm – 6:30 pm 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
St. Patrick's Day cat

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from everyone at the Animal Rescue League! ARL adoptable Henry (pictured above) doing his best leprechaun impression.

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 though, 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.

Wishing you and your pets a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

 

ARL Assisting Bridgewater PD Dog Investigation

Providing Forensic Assistance in Breaking Case

Bridgewater Police today release information about two deceased pit bull-type dogs found on Sunday, March 15, by a local resident out walking his dogs.   Both dogs had wounds on different parts of their bodies that could be consistent with dog fighting, though their origin has not yet been confirmed.

The Police turned to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL)  for forensic assistance to determine potential causes of the wounds.  The ARL will provide findings from the necropsy of the two dogs to the Bridgewater Police within the next several days.

In the meantime, anyone with information about this case should immediately contact the Bridgewater Police Department at (508) 697-6118.

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING – Because 4 out of 5 cases of animal cruelty go undiscovered, the public plays a critical role in prevention.  Thank you to the concerned citizen who contacted police after finding the two deceased dogs.

You saw something.  You said something.  And it made a difference in your community.

 

 

Spring into Action: Cat Food Drive

Two-day cat food drive to help feed homeless cats in Boston

cat food drive

Help spread the word! Share this graphic with your followers on twitter to let them know how they can help feral cats in Boston this weekend.

Help feed homeless cats in Boston by donating unopened wet or dry cat food during the ARL’s Spring Cat Food Drive this weekend!

When:
Saturday and Sunday
March 14-15, 10 am – 2 pm

Drop Off Location:
Lobby of ARL’s Boston Shelter
10 Chandler Street, Boston, MA

Free on-site parking!

Every day, a dedicated group of concerned citizens feed feral cats living in areas around the city. This group covers the cost of providing large quantities of food often at their own expense.

All cat food donations collected during the drive will go directly to feral cat caretakers in Boston, as well as ARL foster volunteers who provide one-on-one care to cats recovering from surgery or re-acclimating to life in a home prior to adoption.

As a special thank you for your kindness, everyone who donates food during the cat food drive this weekend will receive an ARL pet emergency pack, while supplies last.

SPREAD THE WORD: Share news about the ARL’s Spring Cat Food Drive with family and friends!  Let them know how they can help animals in need!

 

 

It’s Hip to Snip! Helping Feral Cats in Greater Boston

How Spaying and Neutering Feral Cats Prevents Animal Homelessness

Do you know a “neighborhood cat?” Maybe there’s a familiar feline around the city streets near your work or around your block? One that you see roaming around abandoned buildings, restaurants or dumpsters?

Often these cats are known as “feral.”  They have either lived for an extended period of time with little or no human contact or away from human contact long enough to revert to a wild state.  As a result, they cannot easily adapt back to living indoors with people as pets.

feral cat clinic volunteer

A volunteer checks on a feral cat waking up from spay/neuter surgery during a Fall ARL Fix-A-Feral clinic

Sometimes these cats have been abandoned or put outside by previous owners.  Other times they are the offspring of stray or other feral cats.

While ferals tend to avoid human contact because they aren’t properly socialized, they often live in cat colonies in close proximity to humans.  Especially during the winter when food supplies can be scarce, they frequently rely on people to provide them with food.  Dedicated volunteers around the state feed, monitor, and support many – but not all – colonies.

“There are several feral cat colonies all around Massachusetts,” says Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations. “These colonies grow in numbers when owned cats who are not spayed or neutered are put outdoors or abandoned.  Their offspring have offspring, the cycle continues, and the number of feral cats grows.”

Spaying and neutering feral cats is an important part of solving the problem of animal homelessness.

According to Maryann, “studies have shown that humanely trapping, spaying/neutering, and releasing–or what people in animal welfare call ‘TNR’–feral cats back to the colonies where they have been living is one of the most effective ways to decrease the number of homeless animals in our community.”

feral cat friendly

The ARL evaluates all cats during the clinic to find “friendlies,” stray cats who could re-adjust to living with people as pets.

Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor in 2013, the ARL launched Fix-a-Feral clinics to spay and neuter feral cats in Greater Boston.   During the clinics, cats receive a behavioral screening to identify any “friendlies,” stray cats who have more recently joined a colony.  With support from our shelter staff, the friendlies have a very good chance of getting used to living indoors with people again and finding a new home.

In addition to getting spayed or neutered, cats going through the clinic also receive vaccines and other medical attention as necessary.

In 2014, over 250 feral cats in the greater Boston area came through our TNR clinics.  Our Spay Waggin’ also spays and neuters feral cats on the South Shore and Cape Cod, where sizable colonies also exist.

This winter has been especially hard on feral cats in our community, and you can help!

  • Donate cat food for feral cat caretakers during our Cat Food Drive on March 14 and 15
  • Learn how to build a warm and protective feral cat shelter
  • Volunteer during an ARL Fix-a-Feral clinic this spring

IT’S HIP TO SNIP SPAY/NEUTER FACT: In one year, an unspayed female cat can have as many as 6 litters of kittens.   Spay/neuter efforts for feral animals not only decrease the number of homeless animals born each year, but they also reduce or eliminate unwanted “nuisance” behaviors such as fighting, yowling, and spraying. 

 

ARL Joins City of Boston Animal Control Commission

Maryann Regan to serve on important animal welfare group

Late last week, Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations, received a letter announcing her appointment by the Mayor to the City of Boston’s Animal Control Commission. The Mayor convened the commission to ensure continued forward progress on animal care and control in the City.

After bringing concerning conditions at the Boston Animal Control facility in Roslindale to the attention of Mayor Walsh this summer, the ARL has continued to support the City’s reform efforts.

Maryann Regan signing

Maryann Regan signing after taking the Oath of Office

Yesterday, we followed Maryann to Boston City Hall where she completed the swearing in process. We’re happy to announce Maryann along with eight others are now officially members of the Animal Control Commission!

Members of the Animal Control Commission will meet at least once a month to coordinate the work of public and private agencies concerned with animal care, protection, and control. They will also establish and maintain a spay and neuter clinic within the city. For more information on the Animal Control Commission please visit cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions

A special thank you to City Clerk Maureen Feeney and everyone at the Boston City Hall for graciously welcoming the ARL!

Maryann Regan and Maureen Feeny

Maryann Regan and Maureen Feeney share a hug at the end of the oath process.