February is Pet Dental Health Month

BVC offering 25% off dental cleanings

It’s time to brush up on your pet’s dental health and enjoy 25% off dental cleaning at the ARL’s Boston Veterinary Care February in honor of National Pet Dental Health Month!

Your pet’s stinky breath may not just be the result of eating a smelly dinner.  Bad breath can be a sign of dental problems.  Bacteria, plaque, and tartar can build up on your pet’s teeth, causing bad breath, gingivitis, tooth loss, and infections.  According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three.

Just as it is for people, the best way to prevent dental problems in your pet is to brush their teeth.  Watch a demonstration of how to brush your pet’s teeth in the video below:

Seeing your veterinarian for a regular dental check up and cleaning also keeps your pet’s pearly whites healthy.

According to a 2013 analysis conducted by VPI Pet Insurance, the average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82, but it costs $531.71 to treat dental disease.  So talk to your veterinarian today about maintaining your pet’s dental health!

To book an appointment for a dental cleaning with Boston Veterinary Care with Boston Veterinary Care, visit bostonvetcare.com.


Puppy Transports: What You Need to Know

ARL’s Dr. Smith-Blackmore comments to CBS News

CBS News paid a visit to the Animal Rescue League of Boston to interview Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare, about the rising trend of “puppy transports” – when animals are relocated from one community to another state or region for adoption.

Watch the CBS Evening News story

Often because of socioeconomic or cultural, animal control facilities and shelters in many regions of the country find themselves with far more stray or abandoned puppies and young dogs than they can find homes for locally.

Since the practice of puppy transports began, many veterinarians have expressed concern about the health, welfare, and safety of animals traveling on a transport, as well as the risks that transported dogs may pose to dogs in the receiving communities.  Veterinarians  want to ensure steps are taken to control the spread and transmission of disease.

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore offers her insights on the rising trend of puppy transports.

As the chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Animal Welfare Committee, Dr. Smith helped craft the AVMA’s policy on the relocation of animals for adoption.  Ahead of her interview with CBS News, we sat down with her to talk more about what people should know about puppy transports.

ARL Blog: What are the major concerns veterinarians have about puppy transports?

Dr. Smith: The biggest concern veterinarians have is for animal and public health – that animals with mostly unknown medical backgrounds and lacking much preventive care would spread large amounts of infectious disease from the place they were leaving to the place they were headed.  The health, welfare, and safety of animals during the transport–how they are treated and cared for during travel–is also something veterinarians care about very much.

They also care about their clients, who may end up heartbroken if the unwittingly adopt a sick puppy.

ARL Blog: If someone is considering adopting from a puppy transport, what do they need to know?

Dr. Smith: Learning more about the shelter or rescue group you’re adopting from to find out how the health and safety of animals and people are addressed before and during transport is very important!

One of the major goals of the AVMA policy was to provide organizations with guidance on doing transports safely and humanely.  The public can also use the AVMA policy as a point of reference for the standards of care they should expect from any group transporting animals for local adoption.

Download the AVMA’s Best Practices for the Relocation of Animals for Adoption

Find out if and how the organization that is bringing the puppies in for adoption is helping the community where they came from.  Are they giving back to the sending community to improve access to spay/neuter and other veterinary services?  Organizations involved in puppy transports run the gamut from responsible, welfare-oriented groups, to uncaring individuals motivated by financial profit.

puppy transport group shot

The ARL works with rescue partners to bring puppies from the South to our Brewster shelter several times a year. Our Boston shelter also receives occasional transports of chihuahuas from California.

ARL Blog: Has the increased interest in puppy transports had an impact on local animals who need homes ?

Dr. Smith: The AVMA policy encourages communities to assess their local animal population first to figure out if there’s a real shortage of adoptable animals.  Because of higher spay/neuter rates of dogs in New England, for example, there aren’t as many stray or abandoned puppies as there are in other parts of the country.

There are dogs in many communities in Massachusetts that need help getting to a shelter where they stand a better chance of getting adopted.  To address this issue, the ARL collaborates with the Massachusetts Animal Coalition’s AniMatch program.

The idea is for organizations to pursue their passion for helping animals find homes in a healthy, safe, and responsible way for all animals, people, and communities.




Puppy Rescue, Thanks To Two Kind Boys

Jumping into action on a cold night

Thank you to the two boys who called the Animal Rescue League and Boston Animal Care (BAC) for help with a puppy rescue on a very cold night earlier this week.

puppy rescue in Boston

Two boys found the small puppy trapped between a fence and a wall in a local park.

After hearing whimpering noises coming from somewhere, the boys went outside to look around and try to find what was making them. They followed a trail of tiny footprints in the park across the street from their home and found the poor pup trapped between a metal fence and retaining wall!

Realizing the little dog was stuck and would not survive a night out in the freezing cold, the two rushed to get help.  The ARL and BAC arrived on the scene and worked together to pull the shivering and frightened puppy out from behind the fence.

Watch the short video of the gentle rescue below.

We’re happy to report the little guy is sweet as can be and recovering very well from his ordeal thanks to the two kind young men who helped an animal in need!




Cold Weather Alert!

ARL Says Bring Your Pets In From Cold

With wind chill advisories in effect for many parts of the state and forecasts predicting some of the coldest temperatures in Boston in many years, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is urging people to take precautions: “Minimize outside activities, particularly for the elderly and very young.  Also, consider your pets.”

The ARL asks pet owners to bring outdoor pets indoors.

Limiting outdoor time for indoor pets is a good idea during extreme cold weather, says the ARL.

Limiting outdoor time for indoor pets is a good idea during extreme cold weather, says the ARL.

Though they may have furry coats, animals are by no means immune to dangerously cold temperatures.  Even rabbits, cats, and dogs that typically live outdoors need extra assistance keeping warm as temperatures plummet.

“Because it’s been a relatively warm fall and early winter, animals who live outdoors have not developed their thick winter coats or had a chance to acclimate to this sudden cold,” explains Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare.

She adds that, “some breeds simply don’t develop winter coats and don’t belong outdoors in the winter at all.”

If you are concerned about feral or stray cats living in your neighborhood or around a store or business you are familiar with, also try to bring them indoors to a garage or basement if possible.  If that’s not possible, the ASPCA has put together a handy “how to” guide for making an inexpensive cat shelter to help community cats make it through this cold snap.

The ASPCA says an elevated foam bin filled with stray provides warm shelter for feral cats.

The ASPCA says an elevated foam bin filled with stray provides warm shelter for feral cats.

Other preparations you can make to protect animals during the winter include:

  1. Winterize outdoor accommodations. If your pets must stay outdoors, ensure they have adequate protection against the elements. Veterinary experts agree a winter-friendly shelter should have three enclosed sides, stand off the ground, and contain generous amounts of bedding such as clean straw.  Take steps to ensure your pet’s drinking water does not freeze.
  2. Check underneath the car hood. Cats love to warm up underneath cars and car hoods, leading to burns and other grave injuries when the car gets turned on suddenly. Make a habit to pound on the hood of the car and give a visual check underneath your vehicle before you start it to make sure no one is taking a nap or basking in the heat from the engine.
  3. Don’t leave your pet inside the car.  The warm temperatures inside your vehicle don’t stick around for very long once the engine is off.  Your car can act like a refrigerator and your pet can quickly start to freeze.

 SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.  Have concerns about an animal in your neighborhood out in the extreme cold this week?  Contact your local animal control office or authorities immediately to let them know about your concerns.

Visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health for more information about winter pet health and safety.


Take a Dog Training Class with Your Pup!

January is National Train-Your-Dog Month

Did Santa bring you a new puppy for Christmas? Or is teaching your dog not to jump all over your holiday guests on your 2015 to-do list?

There’s no better time to consider taking a dog training classes than National Train-Your-Dog Month this January!

As our experienced dog-trainers will tell you, a well-behaved dog is a happy dog.

09-08-14 Dog Training Photo

Registration for Winter 2015 dog training classes at the ARL is open!

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

Especially when it’s too cold for pets and people to be outside for a long period of time, teaching tricks is a great activity to do with your dog—it’s entertainment for the whole family!  A few minutes a day of positive training can really help your pet burn excess energy.

This winter, the ARL has many dog training classes for dogs of all ages that review basic and advanced cues, along with house and outdoor manners. All classes are held at our Boston headquarters and you have access to free on-site parking.

Check out ARL classes now

For the new puppy in your life, we recommend Puppy Kindergarten, a six-week course for puppies 8-20 weeks old. The first week is for owners only (we have much more to learn than our puppies!). Tuesday classes begin next week on January 15 and Thursday classes on January 20.  The “PK” experience includes:

• An off leash puppy play period for puppy socialization
• Training games for the enjoyment of both puppies and owners
• Basic commands
• Discussions about puppy behavior problems, proper nutrition and veterinary care

For the dog who needs to learn some better manners, we suggest Good Manners.  In just six week,s you will cover a variety of basic commands including sit, down, and stay.  Your dog will also have the chance to work on greeting skills with other dogs and people during this interactive and hands-on course.

And for the old dog ready to learn some new tricks, check out Sniffing for Fun and our Loose-Leash Workshop, offering tips, techniques, and advise on equipment you may need to teach your dog to walk nicely on leash.

For more information about class prerequisites, costs, and to enroll, visit arlboston.org/dog-training/enroll-in-class or call (617) 426-9170.

SPECIAL BONUS: The ARL offers a 25% discount for ARL adotpted alums and 10% off for BVC clients!


Donate to animals today!

Make it a happy new year for animals in our community

donate to animals like Rugby

Rugby came to the ARL with a severe deformity in his front legs. With help from shelter veterinarians and staff, he learned to walk and today can run, jump, and play like every puppy should.

Your donation to the Animal Rescue League of Boston today will help thousands of animals like Sadie, the 8-year-old adoptable pup in the photo above, get a chance at a better life in 2015!

We rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to help thousands of animals every year….

….Animals like Rugby and Madeline who recovered from neglect and found happy homes in 2014.

….Like Wally and Piper who got the medical assistance they needed after sustaining serious injuries.

donate to animals like piper

Piper was found all alone with a broken leg. The ARL paid for the $3,000 surgery to repair the serious fracture in her thigh. She continues her recovery with an ARL foster volunteer.

….Like the wide variety of domestic animals and wildlife our rescue services team and law enforcement officers save and protect.

….Like the animals in the City of Boston who will be cared for by a reforming Boston Animal Care and Control department.

….Like the cats and dogs who receive high-quality, affordable spay/neuter and other veterinary services from our Spay Waggin’.

You make all of this work possible!

Here are a few ways your donations to the Animal Rescue League of Boston help animals in need:

  • $25   Can help feed a shelter dog for a week
  • $35   Can provide nutrient-rich formula and feeding supplies for a litter of kittens
  • $50   Can help cover spay/neuter surgery for a feral cat or adoptable animal
  • $250 Can provide training for an unruly puppy so he can become a lovable family pet
  • $500 Can help a stray dog or cat receive emergency surgery after a serious injury

Only with your support can we provide high-quality, compassionate care for animals when they need it most.

Donate to animals now

Thank you for your kindness and compassion for animals in need.  And happy New Year from everyone at the ARL!


Exploring the Issue of Animal Cruelty with Phil Arkow

Focusing on the link between animal abuse and human violence

ARL President Mary Nee welcomed President's Council members and introduced the feature presenter, Phil Arkow.

ARL President Mary Nee welcomed President’s Council members and introduced the feature presenter, Phil Arkow.

Making animal cruelty prevention a priority for the entire community is a major part of the community outreach work the ARL has done in 2014.  Our “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” campaign, for example, is all about getting the public’s help in reporting suspicions of abuse to local authorities.

We also recently hosted a lecture event for our President’s Council donor group and other special guests featuring guest presenter Phil Arkow, a noted speaker with the animal welfare field on the connection between animal abuse and human violence.  Arkow co-founded The National Link Coalition in an effort to bring attention to what many believe is a critical public safety issue.

Phil Arkow discussed the connection between cruelty to animals and other forms of human violence.

Phil Arkow discussed the connection between cruelty to animals and human violence.

“We can prevent animal abuse and other forms of family violence by paying more attention to animal abuse as a potential indicator and predictor of crime,” Arkow said in the opening minutes of his presentation.  “What we do to prevent, prosecute, and punish animal cruelty are just as beneficial to Man – and Woman – as they are to Man’s best friend.”

To download the slides or see more pictures of the event, visit:  arlboston.org/pc-14-lecture

Inspired by the many decades of research and examples of domestic violence awareness campaigns that include pets in the message, Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, vice president of animal welfare  at the ARL, conclude the event suggesting to the audience, “we all need to think about how to share the message that helping animals is really helping people and helping improve society.”

Thank you to the Susannah A. Knight Law Enforcement Fund for sponsoring the ARL’s Fall Lecture event.  Your generous support made an evening of meaningful and important discussion possible.

And of course, thank you to all of our President’s Council members who attended this event.

Website Susannah Thanks


Wally Says Look at Meow!

Home for the Holidays Happy Tail

Then: Wally needed over $3,000 in emergency surgery to repair wounds to his face, legs, and tail.

Then: Wally needed over $3,000 in emergency surgery to repair wounds to his face, legs, and tail.

Earlier this Fall, we shared the story of Wally.  The small grey and white cat had seriously injured himself after somehow scaling the 30-40 foot wall at Bridgewater State Prison and getting stuck in the razor wire.

Read Wally’s story

Soon after returning to the ARL’s Boston shelter to complete his recovery following surgery to repair his wounds, Wally found a wonderful new home.

Today, Wally is now known as Silvio (aka Mr. Sil).

His family reports that he continues to be a spunky little guy! He and his big sister Cleo, a Siamese mix and ARL Dedham alum (’09) became fast friends and are really enjoying having a kindred playful spirit around.

During the day, Silvio and Cleo love looking out windows together to watch the birds and squirrels. And at night, both cats snuggle up with their human companions after a long day of play.

Say Silvio’s parents, “We are so happy to have Silvio in our lives. Such a wonderful, resilient and loving animal!”

Stories like Silvio’s are truly like a holiday wish come true.  Thank you to our supporters who donated over $7,000 for medical assistance for Wally and other animals like him.



Bring Greg Home for the Holidays

Pet of the Week: Greg has been waiting since October

12-12-14 Greg_PicGreg is a goofy and active 2-year-old pup who loves a good squeaky toy! He’s been patiently waiting for a home since October and would like nothing more than to go home with you for the holidays!

He was a long-term stray before being transferred to us from a local animal control facility, so he is thrilled to have recently discovered squeaky toys. Because he is so playful, he can sometimes become overexcited and grab for his toys, so he would do best in a home without small children.

He’s a very clean dog and doesn’t make a mess in his kennel in between walks.

Greg’s ideal home would have a large fenced yard where he can run around during supervised time outside and play fetch or catch a Frisbee

After enough exercise, Greg likes to be a couch potato and settle down inside. He is also treat motivated and would be a great candidate for obedience classes, which are offered here at ARL, which are discounted for adopters. 

Greg is a fast learner and a pro at playing fetch. Watch the video below to see his skills!

View his online profile to see more videos of Greg.

Will you bring Greg home for the holidays? If you’re interested in meeting this playful pup, please stop by ARL’s Boston shelter during our open hours.

Not able to adopt, but still want to help? Please share Greg’s story with your friends and family!

Greg trying catch snowflakes.

Greg trying to catch snowflakes.




Piper the Kitten Getting Special Care at the ARL

“She’s like our very own Tiny Tim”

ARL_Piper_Vet_1_emailThe Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) newest addition, little Piper the kitten, is recovering from delicate surgery performed on Monday to repair her broken back leg.

Just as the cold weather hit, kind Samaritans discovered the 6-8 week-old brown tabby all alone and struggling to walk near an ice cream shop in Orleans, MA. After police brought her to the ARL’s Brewster shelter, ARL veterinarian Dr. Kyle Quigley recommended bringing Piper up to Boston to explore all the options for repairing her leg.

“Piper was anemic, dehydrated, and clearly in some discomfort because of her broken leg,” Dr. Quigley explained. “Because she was so little, we wanted to make sure we helped her heal with minimal pain.”

An x-ray of Piper's leg with the pins and steel plate post surgery.

An x-ray of Piper’s leg with the pins and steel plate post surgery.

The ARL funded Piper’s surgery at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment and Specialties in Walpole, MA, where veterinary surgeons inserted a steel plate and pins to repair the serious fracture in her thigh. The organization will continue to help Piper rehabilitate over the next 6-8 weeks and begin the process of finding her a permanent home.

“She’s like our very own Tiny Tim,” said Marianne Gasbarro, the ARL’s Boston shelter manager. “She got the treatment she needed just in time and will have a much better life in the new year ahead.”

The ARL expects Piper’s medical costs will top $2,000 with surgery and after care. The organization does not receive any government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help stray animals like Piper recover.

To make a donation to help Piper and other animals just like her, visit arlboston.kintera.org/piper