Winter Weather Closings

ARL programs and administrative offices closed on February 8

Due to the winter weather, the following ARL programs will be closed to the public on Monday, February 8:

  • ARL adoption centers in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham
  • ARL rescue services
  • Boston Veterinary Care
  • Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery
  • Spay Waggin’

Shelter staff and volunteers will stay at the shelter to make sure the animals remain safe, warm, and in good spirits as the snow flies on Monday.

winter shelter ferl cats

You can provide feral cats with shelter during a snow storm! An elevated foam bin filled with straw offers warm shelter.

When a snow storm hits, we often receive an increasing number of calls from concerned citizens with questions about feral cats.  Our rescue team suggests trying to coax a feral cat indoors to a garage or basement if possible for shelter during a storm.

If that’s not possible, watch our helpful how-to video to build a DIY cat shelter.  Make sure to line the inside with straw and use cinder blocks or boards to get the cat shelter off the ground.

For more winter weather pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health.

 

Important Update from Mary Nee, ARL President

Dear friends,

I wanted to share some very sad news about Stitch, the young dog found starved and abandoned last week in Dedham.

As sometimes happens with cases of extreme malnutrition, Stitch was not responding well to re-feeding, a medically-guided process of providing nutrition after a period of deprivation.  To ensure he had no underlying conditions that might be interfering with re-feeding efforts, the ARL ordered extensive diagnostic tests.

dedham dog

“Stitch closed out his short life with dignity, respect, and love — the way a dog should be treated.” Lt. Alan Borgal, director, ARL law enforcement team.

Late on Friday evening, the tests revealed that Stitch had a muscular condition affecting his ability to digest food and water called megaesophagus.

Several diseases can result in megaesophagus.  An animal can also be born with a defect that produces it.

Unfortunately, the results of further testing ruled out the more treatable causes of this condition in Stitch.

When he was unable to take water on his own any longer on Saturday, Stitch’s weakened state and the severity of this condition brought us to the point where the most humane decision was to put him to sleep.

As Lt. Alan Borgal, director of the ARL’s law enforcement team said very eloquently, “Stitch closed out his short life with dignity, respect, and love — the way a dog should be treated.”

While we are heartbroken he came to us too late to save, we are grateful to have been there to surround him with kindness and caring in his final days.

Thank you to everyone who kept Stitch in their thoughts this past week and for your continued concern for animals in need.

– Mary

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING

Stitch’s case is an on-going investigation. If you have any information, contact Dedham animal control at (781) 751-9106.

 

It’s Hip to Snip – Spay or Neuter Your Pet!

February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

During National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month this February, the ARL reminds the public that there’s nothing cool about pet overpopulation. So, pet owners, adjust those cool shades and help us spread the word that IT’S HIP TO SNIP!

it's hip to snip

Marty the cat may look super cool in his bow tie but there’s nothing cool about pet overpopulation. Click his photo to learn more about ARL’s “It’s Hip to Snip” Campaign.

“There are too many cat and dogs in our communities that don’t have homes,” explains Dr. Edward Schettino, vice president of animal welfare at the ARL. “Every year, animal shelters like the ARL are inundated with stray and surrendered puppies and kittens that are the result of unplanned litters.”

In fact, national studies have found that amongst pet owners who indicate that their pets had at least one litter, 59% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners described the litter as “unintentional” or “accidental.”

Dr. Schettino believes that one reason that pet owners choose not to spay or neuter their pet is misconceptions about the low-risk surgery. “If we can increase spay and neuter rates, we can help prevent pet overpopulation,”

In addition to the benefits to the community, here are 5 more reasons why it’s hip to snip:

1. You Snip, You Save. The cost of caring for an unplanned litter of puppies or kittens far outweighs the cost of having a pet spayed or neutered. The good news – there are many affordable and free options in Massachusetts!

2. Snipping Reduces Spraying. Neutering resolves the vast majority of marking behaviors—even when a cat has a long-standing habit. Other nuisance behaviors such as howling in cats and excessive barking in dogs eases and even disappears after surgery.

HipToSnip_Flyer_Thumb

Sharing is caring! Click the photo to download our flyer to spread the word that “It’s Hip to Snip”.

3. Snipping Stops Scuffles. According to the National Canine Research Foundation, approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their urge to roam and fight with other males.

4. Snipping Lengthens Life Span. The USA Today reports neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered males, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed females.

5. Snipping is a Safeguard. Neutering male cats and dogs before six months of age prevents testicular cancer. Spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat offers protection from uterine infections and breast cancer.

For more spay and neuter resources, visit arlboston.org/spay-neuter.

DID YOU KNOW… That more than a third of pet owners have not spayed or neutered their pet?

VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our It’s Hip to Snip media sponsors WBZ, WEEI, WRKO, WZLX, WBOS, and 98.5 The Sports Hub!

 

Update: Stitch Continues to Receive Intensive Care

ARL and the Dedham Police Department’s Animal Control Division thank public for support

HAVE TIPS AND INFORMATION? Contact Dedham Animal Control at (781) 751-9106.

Stitch, the dog abandoned in the cold earlier this week in Dedham, Massachusetts, continues to receive intensive care from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

Dedham animal control officer Jayson Tracy discovered the extremely emaciated dog and immediately contacted the ARL for help.

“Stitch is getting extensive medical assistance,” explains Dr. Erin Doyle, the ARL’s lead veterinarian for shelter veterinary services. “He’s still very weak and we are monitoring his condition very closely.”

The ARL also continues to assist the Dedham Police Department’s Animal Control Division in following-up on information provided by the public.

Stitch is a dilute brindle pit-bull-type dog that had no collar on when he was found near the Bridge Street area of Dedham.  He is approximately 2 years of age.

We urge anyone with information about him to please contact Dedham animal control at (781) 751-9106.

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING….

Sadly, thousands of animals just like Stitch will suffer from abuse and neglect every year in Massachusetts. We all have a role to play in prevention and encourage urge the public to contact their local animal control officers anytime they suspect animal cruelty.

On behalf of everyone at the ARL, THANK YOU for the outpouring of support and information about Stitch.

DO YOU RECOGNIZE STITCH?  Please contact Dedham Animal Control at (781) 751-9106.

dedham dog

 

Dog Sweaters: Fashion vs. Function

Does your dog need a sweater this winter? Answer these 5 questions!

Love it or hate it, many animal-lovers can’t resist a dog in clothing. Whether it be a holiday sweater, a Halloween costume, or simply a fancy collar, photos of a dressed-up doggies are shared by the millions on social media each day.

While the pet retail business may seem frivolous to some, the reality is that some dogs, just like humans, need a little extra help staying warm in the colder months. Sure, your dog naturally sports its own “overcoat”, but some breeds are just not suited to survive in harsh winter climates.

Dog sweaters, coats, and booties may be fashionable, but they can also be extremely functional as well!

Not sure if your if your canine companion needs a dog sweater this winter? Answer YES or NO to our questions below:

protect your pet

Dog sweaters can be both fashionable AND functional! Answer YES or NO to these 5 questions to determine if your dog needs a sweater this winter!

1. Is your dog’s coat made up of short hair like a Boston Terrier’s or French Bulldog’s?

2. If your dog’s coat is made of fur, do you keep it groomed short, as you would a Poodle?

3. Is your dog considered a puppy (under one-year-old), a senior (over 7-years-old), or a toy breed, such as a Chihuahua?

4. Does your dog have a weakened immune system due to health issues, such as hypothyroidism?

5. Do you live in a climate where temperatures dip below freezing during the hours your dog spends time outside?

If you  answered “YES” to one or more of the questions above, you may want to consider buying a dog sweater for your canine companion to wear on cold days or during snowfall.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to run out and purchase 17 hound’s-tooth sweater options (unless you want to, of course!) you should browse a little to select outerwear that will work best for your dog.

Take your pooch shopping with you to determine what style, size, and fabrics fits your pup. Make sure whatever you select is simple to put on/pull off and has closures (buttons, zippers, etc.) that are easily accessible.

Your dog’s new sweater may just get everyone at the park saying, “now that’s one practical pup”!

For more useful pet safety advice, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.

 

DIY: Winter Pet Emergency Kit

Simple and inexpensive to make, a pet emergency kit is a must for your home

Blizzards, flooding, and power outages are par for the course during the harsh New England winters. When you’re stocking your pantry and gathering snow removal equipment for the next big storm, don’t forget to plan ahead for your pet too!

In the event of an evacuation, natural disaster, or other emergency the Animal Rescue League of Boston wants to make sure that your pet is already packed and ready to go with you!

Follow these 7 steps to keep your pet safe during an emergency

In addition to having a sturdy comfortable crate or carrier on-hand for transporting your pet, be sure to prepare a pet emergency kit ahead of time with the following supplies:

  • Water-resistant backpack or lightweight bag to hold everything

    pet emergency kit

    Don’t forget to bring a photocopy or portable USB drive of your pet’s medical records.

  • Food and water – at least 3 days worth!
  • Portable food and water bowls
  • Manual can opener and fork, or measuring cup
  • Litter or newspaper to shred and litter boxes
  • Paper towels and trash bags for additional pet sanitation needs
  • Bleach (dilute 9 parts water to 1 part bleach for cleaning)
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Collar with ID tags – be sure the information is up-to-date!
  • Leash
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Bedding
  • Grooming items

ALSO, DON’T FORGET… to make your pet easy to ID! If you become separated from your pet, you’ll want to locate and claim them as quickly as possible. Microchipping your pet is always a good idea and a fail-safe way to verify that you’re their owner. Also, keep a photo of you and your pet together handy to help others easily identify them.

For more useful pet safety advice, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.

 

Winter Routine: The Dos and Don’ts

These 5 cold weather habits will help keep animals safe

Let’s face it: residents of New England are no stranger to the frigid temperatures and harsh precipitation that winter can bring. Whether it’s salting our walkway, defrosting our car windows, or layering ourselves with heavy fabrics, we are quick to adapt to the changing elements.

When the blustery weather hits, adjusting a few more of your daily habits can actually help protect your pet and the animals in your community too! Just add these 5 Dos and Don’ts to your winter safety routine:

1. DO watch the thermometer. Although some animals are conditioned for cold weather, many are not. Whenever possible, bring all pets indoors when the temperature plummets below 20 degrees. Animals with short hair, puppies and kittens, senior pets, and those that have a lowered immune system are most at risk and should be moved inside when the mercury drops below 40 degrees.

2. DON’T forget to check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Unfortunately, this method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check to wake a napping kitty before you stick the key in the ignition.

3. DO winterize outdoor accommodations. If your livestock or neighborhood feral can’t be moved into a warm garage or basement, ensure that they have adequate protection against the elements. A winter-friendly outdoor shelter should have three enclosed sides, be raised off the ground, have heated water bowls to prevent freezing, and contain bedding, such as clean straw. The space should be big enough for the animal to lay down, stand, and turn around, but small enough to help trap the heat.

4. DON’T leave flames unattended. Pets gravitate toward warm spaces when they’re cold, just as humans do. If you have a working fireplace, wood stove, space heater, candles, or other heat source supervise your pet at all times to keep them a safe distance from hot surfaces and to avoid serious burns.

5. DO pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Long-haired pets, especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable..

For more helpful tips about dog and cat health and behavior, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.

 

January is National Adopt a Bird Month

5 reasons to SPREAD THE LOVE and ADOPT a feathery friend today!

January is national Adopt a Bird Month and the ARL wants to SPREAD THE LOVE! Often overlooked in animal shelters, these beautiful and majestic creatures can make great pets, especially for families with limited living space or allergies.

If you feel like a furry friend may not be quite the pet you’re looking for then consider birds like Pipsqueak and Saphire that promise to make your heart soar! Search adoptables

Here are 5 other reasons why YOU should branch out and adopt a bird this month:

adopt a bird month pipsqueak

January is National Adopt a Bird Month and parakeets like Pipsqueak are eager to meet their new family! Click his photo to learn more about him.

1. You’ll have someone to talk to. Because of their above average intelligence, birds are very communicative and love to socialize with humans.

2. You’ll have fun training them. Since birds are relatively small, training them can be less physically demanding than working with larger creatures, making them a good choice for the young, elderly, or disabled.

3. You’ll have more space. A bird’s, food, water, and toys are typically self-contained in their cage, so smaller households will still have plenty of room to move around.

4. You’ll have a loyal friend for the long-run. Many bird species have extraordinarily long life expectancies, some living more than 100 years! This often eases the concerns of people who want to make sure they adopt a pet that they can love and enjoy for a very long time.

5. You’ll save money. Most landlords only charge “pet fees” to tenants with cats or dogs. Additionally, at the ARL, all of this is included in your pet’s adoption fee: health screening and veterinary exam, behavioral screening and evaluation, vaccinations, parasite treatment, and more!

DON’T FORGET… to bring a photo! If you’re interested in adopting a bird or other small animal, the ARL requires that you bring a picture of the cage that your new companion will be living in to ensure it’s adequate.

 

Play it Safe in the Snow

5 winter pet safety tips to protect your dog from the elements

Oh, the weather outside is frightful… but playing in it is so delightful!

It’s winter in New England and the snow, ice, and frigid winds from the Atlantic are upon us. While our human instincts are to cozy-up indoors with a heated blanket and cup of hot cocoa, we know that it’s impossible –and unhealthy–to hibernate all winter long.

Just as people need to keep active, healthy, and — of course— warm during the colder months, our canine companions need to as well. In fact, January was designated as National Walk Your Dog Month for that very reason!

When you and your pup brave the outdoors for exercise, follow these 5 winter pet safety tips to ensure fun for everyone:

1. Prepare Rover for the elements. If your dog typically has a longer coat, let it grow out for the winter; it will provide warmth and protection from the cold. If your pup has a short coat, keep him warm with a coat or a sweater. Just like you, your furry friend will enjoy the outdoors much more if he isn’t shivering!

winter pet safety tips

BONUS TIP: Snow can sometimes affects a pet’s sense of smell and their ability to navigate home! Make sure your pet’s microchip and identification tag are up-to-date in the event you and your pet become separated.

2. Keep Fido on a leash. Dogs can easily lose their scent in the snow, so never let your pet off-leash during a snowstorm, or when there’s ice or snow on the ground. If you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember that ice is not always uniformly thick or stable, and your pup could fall through into the icy water!

3. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Sidewalks are often treated with rock salt, antifreeze, and other dangerous chemicals. Not only can these chemicals sting your pooch’s paws, but they can be poisonous if ingested. Keep pet wipes by your front door to clean off you dog’s paws and stomach before he licks them first!

4. Never leave Spot alone in a cold car. Just as it’s TOO HOT FOR SPOT in the summer, the temperature in your car can become TOO LOW FOR FIDO and dangerously cold in the winter. The toasty temperatures inside your vehicle don’t stick around for long once the engine is turned off. Always bring your dog indoors with you or leave them safe and warm at home!

5. Pay attention to your pooch’s protein. If your dog spends a lot of time frolicking outdoors make sure he’s getting enough protein in his diet. Among other benefits, protein helps maintain a healthy coat–a thick barrier that will help protect him from the cold!

For more helpful tips about dog and cat health and behavior, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.

 

Cold Weather Warning: Bring Your Pets Indoors

The ARL asks pet owners to please bring their animals inside, when possible

Our local weathermen issued a cold weather warning: bundle up this week!

A wave of frigid air hit New England, causing temperatures to plummet 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal around The Greater Boston Area. Overnight temps are expected to drop into the teens and single digits in some of the northern and western suburbs.

Just as you’ll protect yourself with a warm coat, hat, and gloves when you head outdoors, your pets will need the extra protection too! 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 drop to alarming lows.

5 steps to keep animals safe during this cold weather warning:

  1. If possible, bring pets or feral cats that you’re familiar with indoors to a garage or basement.

    cold weather warning

    Keep community cats safe this winter by building your own DYI cat shelter in your yard. Click the photo for a basic how-to video.

  2. Bundle up your pup in a jacket or sweater during their walk, especially if their coat is made of hair (vs. fur)
  3. Before you start your engine, look under and pound on your vehicle’s hood to wake a napping cat trying to keep warm.
  4. Never leave your pet alone inside your vehicle, which won’t stay warm for long after your engine has turned off.
  5. If your pet MUST remain outdoors, make sure that are in a winter-friendly shelter that has the following components: three-sided enclosure, stands off the ground, contains generous amounts of bedding, and plenty of (un-frozen!) drinking water.

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. If you’re concerned about a neighborhood animal outdoors in the cold this week, be sure to contact your local animal control office or authorities.

For more information about winter pet healthy and safety, visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health.