Animal Rescue League of Boston To Host Take Me Home Today Adoptathon August 31

Simultaneous pet adoption events at the League’s Boston, Dedham, and Brewster shelters in end-of-summer push to save lives

Boston, MA – On Saturday, August 31, the Animal Rescue League of Boston will wind down the dog-days of summer with the Take Me Home Today Adoptathon at all three of its shelter locations in Boston, Dedham, and Brewster.

Featuring extended hours, extra staff, door prizes for all pet adopters and more, these fun public events also have a higher purpose: to help find homes for 400 cats and dogs.

“One of our driving priorities is to save more lives,” explains Mary Nee, President of the Animal Rescue League of Boston.  “In addition to finding loving homes for the animals in our care, we want to help more people experience the amazing love and devotion of a shelter pet.”

The Adoptathon is also part of the League’s participation in the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray Challenge, a nationwide competition among 50 shelters to increase pet adoptions and qualify for critical grant money for programs and services.

To win the Challenge, the League has from June 1 to August 31 to find homes for 1200 cats and dogs.  To date, the League’s shelters have found forever homes for about 800 pets and have seen an increase in summertime adoptions.

Because the League receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters, Nee says adopting a cat or dog from one of the League’s shelters on August 31 will make a big difference in the lives of animals in need: “Not only will you save the life of the pet you adopt, but you also save the one that will take its place in the shelter, along with countless others that will benefit from the veterinary care and rescue services Challenge grant money will help us fund.”

DSC_1227Animal Rescue League of Boston shelter locations and Adoptathon hours are as follows:

  • Boston: 10 Chandler Street, Boston, MA, 11:00 am- 8:00 pm
  • Brewster: 3981 Main St (Rte 6A), Brewster, MA, 11:00 am- 6:00 pm
  • Dedham: 55 Anna’s Place, Dedham, MA, 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

For more information about the cats and dogs available for adoption, visit

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TOMORROW: Pet Adoption Event in Mansfield

Mansfield, We’re Bringing Our Adoptable Animals To You

We’re holding a mobile adoption event at the Petco in Mansfield tomorrow. Help us reach our goal of finding homes for 1200 cats and dogs by August 31 by adopting from us. We’re coming to you to make it easier for everyone! Even if you can’t adopt, feel free to stop by and say “hi.” We always enjoy meeting animal lovers everywhere we go!

Mansfield Petco
280 School Street
Mansfield,MA 02048

Fees Waived for Adult Cats Starting Now

 Sponsored Adoption for Cats Over 5 Years

We currently have 15 cats over five-years-old available for adoption and most of them have been here for over a month. Now here’s the good news, thanks to an incredibly generous donor the fees for all 15 cats have been waived! We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the donor who stepped up to the plate to help our older cats.

With so many kittens and young adult cats at our shelters, our older cats really need some time in the spotlight. With this promotion we hope to highlight the beauty of adopting a fabulous adult feline.

Maryann Regan, Director of Shelter operations at the Animal Rescue League of Boston says, “There are many reasons as to why you should consider adopting an adult pet. For the most part, older pets have passed their critical development stages. Therefore, the personality you see is the personality you get.” Maryann goes on to say that “This might help an adopter make a successful match for his or her lifestyle. For example, senior animals can be calmer and perhaps better trained than their spunky, younger counterparts.”

View our adoptable cats online or stop by our Boston or Brewster shelters and we’ll help you find the purrrfect match! 07-12AdoptableOlderCats

Feline Focus: How to Choose the Right Companion Cat


Reggie, adoptable at our Boston shelter.

Living in a multi-cat household can be extremely rewarding. Contrary to popular belief, cats are highly social creatures that benefit from feline companionship. Cats will often play together, groom each other, and give each other much-needed socialization. So if you’re considering adopting a new feline pal, here are some tips for finding the “purrfect” match:

A New Cat or a Companion Cat?

It is important to know the reason why you’re looking to adopt a new cat. Is the cat for you, or is it a friend for your resident cat? If the former, then the cats only have to tolerate each other and be able to share territory peacefully. If the latter, then you’re looking for a cat who will be interacting with and getting along with your resident cat. If that is the case, then whichever feline you choose must be a good match for your cat, with your own preferences coming in second.

Kitten or Adult?

Age isn’t so important. It’s often thought to be easier to integrate a kitten into a household simply because they are less threatening to a resident cat than an adult. However, there are plenty of adult cats who would make great companions, and because feline personality doesn’t begin to solidify until a cat is about 8 months old, it is easier to make a good match with an adult.

The most important thing is to match energy level/playfulness and personality. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How energetic is my cat? How often does he/she need to play?
  2. What type of play does my cat like? Is he/she very athletic, or more mellow during playtime?
  3. Is my cat outgoing or shy?
  4. Has my cat had previous experience living with or meeting other cats? How has he/she reacted?

For older, less playful cats, a kitten might not be the best choice. Kittens are in constant motion and might aggravate a mellower cat. A kitten might also not do well with an extremely active resident cat who could accidentally hurt a kitten during play.

Male or Female?

With spayed and neutered pets, certain pairings are easier, in general, to integrate. In order:

  • Male/Male companionship is the easiest
  • Male/Female is intermediate
  • Female/Female is more difficult

Female cats can sometimes be more territorial with each other than (neutered) male cats. However, there are always exceptions. There are female cats who come into the shelter who are wonderful with other cats, and there are males who refuse to like other cats, so always ask a staff member or volunteer about a particular cat you’re interested in!

At the Adoption Center

When you’re adopting a companion cat, it’s important to let a volunteer or staff person know about your resident feline. We’re happy to help you pick out the best match and we know our cats pretty well!

For instance, every Monday in our Boston adoption center, we have cat playgroup in which we test our cats’ compatibility with each other. We then place them into groups depending on their interactions (such as, Group 1 for cats who like other cats and love to play, and Group 2 for cats who like other cats but are more mellow). We also often have information on cats from previous owners.

Making your home a multi-cat home can be a great experience, and can add enrichment and socialization for your resident cat. But for the best chance of success it’s important to make a good match.

Oliver Twist, Adopted!

We’re starting this Saturday off with some wonderful news! Oliver Twist has found the perfect home! When he first came to the League he was in very rough shape. His journey has been tough and we have no way of knowing everything that that he’s been through, but we do know that this playful puppy has gone to a fabulous home! Finally, he’ll have a chance to experience what being a puppy is all about with a family that loves him!


Staff members give Oliver one last hug before he goes home with his new family!

The Kitten Found In A Garbage Can Has Been Adopted!

We are excited to share that Paisley, the kitten found in wrapped in plastic bags in a garbage can in Roxbury, has been adopted! Just over two weeks ago she had been abandoned and her fate was unknown. Thanks to a concerned 5-year-old girl, her life was saved. Now Paisley has a great, long life ahead of her. The best part is… she’s going to a home with two other ARL of Boston alums!

Congrats, Paisley! We wish you and your family all the best!


Gwen Stefani Finds The Perfect Match


Our staff says goodbye to Gwen Stefani. Photo Credit: Allison Evans

Where would we be in life if it weren’t for second chances? When Gwen Stefani walked through our doors in March of 2012 we knew there was something special about this pretty girl. She had been found in Saugus as a stray, tied to a post. Though we didn’t know her full history, we could see that she was a very sweet and very sensitive dog. She had been with us for several months and had spent some time in a foster home until she was adopted in July of 2012. We we very happy that she had found a great home, but in the end it wasn’t a match. Gwen is a good dog, they were good people, but because they had an active household, and Gwen has a really sensitive personality she was not able to thrive there. And so in January of this year she came back.

Prior to her 2012 adoption she had spent several months in foster care with the CSD’s Dr. D’Arpino. Living with other dogs and a young child allowed her to alleviate the stress of her long term stay at the shelter. When she returned to our shelter in January we immediately started a kennel destress program with her since we were familiar with her anxiety issues and she spent most days upstairs in Dr. D’Arpino’s office where she felt comfortable.

gwen2Our volunteers and staff all loved taking photos of Gwennie and Gwen soon became a regular on our Facebook Page and Instagram. Last week we received a call from someone who was interested in adopting Gwen Stefani. When Silvana originally saw Gwen on our website, she instantly fell in love with her. Since she’s also a fan of Gwen Stefani, Silvana thought it was a sign that it was really meant to be! Silvana and her boyfriend first came in last week and met with Gwen while she was upstairs in office foster. Even though Gwen can be a little fearful of men, she went right up to both Silvana and David (her boyfriend) to say hi and tried to get them to play with her. Aimee, one of our Adoption Agents took them outside to the yard for a bit more space and Gwen was running side by side with David off leash. They came in again with David’s son and he got along great with Gwen. We knew that Gwen had found her forever home! She went home yesterday with her new family!

It’s been a just over a year since Gwen first stepped through our doors and we’ve all grown to love her so much. We are thrilled that she has finally found the perfect match! Rock on Gwen Stefani!

If you would like to help us continue helping animals like Gwen find the perfect match, you can donate today.

Gwen tries to go for a walk with her teddy bear. Photo Credit: Hannah Kahler

Gwen tries to go for a walk with her teddy bear. Photo Credit: Hannah Kahler

Sandy Needs You

SandyMeet Sandy …

She is approximately 7-years-old and is a Chow Chow mix. She has been a stray for the past year or so, and came to us in need of love and care. With some serious TLC, nutritious food and a warm and comfortable bed, Sandy has grown more confident and relaxed around us everyday. She’s a smart girl and knows “sit,” “down” and “paw.” 

She would do best in a quieter home with older children, and maybe with another quiet dog. Sandy is a mellow girl who loves her squeaky toys and going for walks around the neighborhood.

Due to her extended time outside without proper care, Sandy tested positive for heartworm. We are hoping to find someone willing to foster-to-adopt until she completes her round of treatment with our veterinarians.

Do you have room in your heart and home for Sandy? Please contact us at  617-226-5602 or by email at

Heidi and U-Haul Celebrate Adopt-A-Guinea Pig Month


Heidi (L) & U-Haul (R)

March is Adopt-A-Guinea Pig Month!  Most people assume that animal shelters only have cats and dogs, but here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston we have a knowledgeable staff and are able to accommodate a variety of animals including guinea pigs! Julie Morris, ASPCA senior vice president for National Shelter Outreach, designated March as Adopt-a-Rescued-Guinea Pig celebration month. “The idea behind the celebration month is to encourage future adopters to think of shelters and rescue groups first.” Between our three branches, we currently have 6 guinea pigs available for adoption, so if you’re thinking about getting a guinea pig, why not consider adopting one from the League?

U-Haul and Heidi are 3 year old female guinea pigs who were brought to the League because their owner was moving. They have lived together since they were babies and are best friends  As you can imagine they are very attached to each other and would like to go to their forever home together. They are well socialized, very friendly and like being held and petted. Will you help Heidi and U-Haul celebrate Adopt-A-Guinea Pig Month in  new home? Share this with anyone you know who’s thinking of getting a guinea pig! If you’re interested in adopting Heidi and U-Haul, stop by our Boston Adoption Center or give us a call at 617.426.9170.

Welcoming Your Adopted Dog Into Your Home

NewDogSo you’ve adopted a new dog and he’s coming home with you this afternoon. What next? We have some advice from Donna Iovanni , CPDT Behavior Counselor at the Animal Rescue League of Boston about how to welcome your new adopted dog into your home.

Before You Bring Your Dog Home:

  • Gather Needed Supplies - Leash, Collar, ID Tag, Crate or Gates(if needed), Bed, Bowls, Food, Treats, Toys, Grooming Supplies, Waste Bags, Enzymatic Cleaner.
  • Dog-Proof your house by looking for and removing hazardous items and valuable items that the dog could chew.
  • Setup your house for the dog’s arrival. Determine where the dog’s crate, bed, and bowls will be placed. Decide where food, treats, and supplies will be stored. Determine the house rules for the dog and make sure all family members know what they are.
  • Decide what the dog’s schedule will be for walks, play, training, feeding, and potty time and who will be responsible.

The First Day:

  • Determine ahead of time where the dog will ride on the way home. It’s best to have two people if possible; one to drive and the other to pay attention to the dog. Bring towels just in case the dog gets car sick.
  • Bring the dog straight home – try not to run errands on the way.
  • No welcome-home parties. Limit/discourage visitors for the first few days so that your new dog isn’t overwhelmed.
  • When you arrive home let the dog sniff around the yard or outdoor area near your home on a leash. Bring your dog to your designated potty spot and reward the dog with a treat for going there.
  • Introduce your dog to your family members outside, one at a time. Keep it calm and low-key. Let the dog be the one to approach, sniff and drive the interaction. Offering a treat can help the dog to associate family members with good things(food!). No hugging, kissing, picking up, staring at, or patting on the top of the head during the initial introduction – these things can be scary for some dogs.
  • Stay close to home initially. No major excursions. You need to learn your new dog’s behavior before you can predict how it will respond to different stimulus. Establish a walk routine in an area you are familiar with. Structured play in the yard is also a good form of exercise, bonding, and training.
  • Bring your dog into the house on a leash and give it a tour of the house. Try keeping the mood calm and relaxed and redirect any chewing or grabbing of objects with a “leave-it” and offering an appropriate toy.
  • Bring your new dog outside often. Dogs don’t generalize as well as we do, so even though your dog may have been house trained in its previous home, your dog needs to learn your house rules, which includes a house training refresher.
  • Make sure your new dog gets ample “quiet time” so that your dog can acclimate to the new surroundings. Be observant of the dog’s responses and go at the dog’s pace.
  • If you have a resident dog(s), have the initial meeting outside (one dog at a time if you have several). Don’t rush it. Keep the leashes loose with no tension.  Make sure they meet in a food-free, toy-free zone.  Don’t leave them alone together until you are absolutely sure it is safe to do so. Watch and manage all interactions between the dogs initially. When walking the dogs a different person should walk each dog.
  • If you have a resident cat(s), keep the cat secure until you know how the dog will react to it. Use doors, gates, and leashes to prevent contact initially. Don’t give the dog the opportunity to chase the cat. Make sure the cat has escape options. Keep initial encounters brief. Manage all interactions.

Establish Daily Routines:

  • Sleeping-Initially the crate or bed should be in the room you would like the dog to sleep in eventually. The area should be safe, dog-proofed, easily cleaned, cozy and quiet, with familiar scents. Don’t put your new dog in an uninhabited area like the garage or basement.
  • Feeding-Check with your vet about what the recommended food and amounts should be for your dog based on breed, size, age, activity level, and health. If possible, feed two smaller meals per day rather than one large meal. You may need to reduce the meal size to allow for treats during training. Make sure the dogs food dish is in a safe, out of the way area.
  • Walks – Keep the walks short at first (5-10 minutes) until you get to know your new dog’s behavior and how it responds to different stimuli. Keep to relatively quiet places at first. Avoid interaction with other dogs and unfamiliar people until you and your dog are comfortable.
  • Chew Toys/Interactive Toys – Use of the crate and appropriate toys are great ways to keep your new dog out of trouble. Management of your dog and the environment prevents problem behaviors. Chew toys are a great way to direct your dog’s attention to appropriate toys, and away from objects that you don’t want your dog to destroy. Interactive toys help your dog to use its mind and tire them out, mentally. With a new dog, avoid rough and tumble, slapping, wrestling, and chase games when playing with your dog.
  • Prevent separation anxiety – Use the crate and a toy in combination with leaving for short periods and coming back several times a day, starting with your first day with your new dog. Don’t make a big fuss of coming or going.

Relationship Building:

Patience- have patience with your new dog’s behavior, level of training, and the time it takes to establish a bond with you. Give your new dog time and space to adjust. Commit time the first few days to get to know your dog’s habits and personality. Establish a routine for the dog and balance interaction and down-time. This is a period of trust-building, so don’t scare or yell at the dog or try to force close contact. Watch your dog’s postures and expressions. Learn to read him. It may take even up to several months for you to get to know your dog’s true nature. And don’t forget, your new dog is trying to do the same with you!

Training- physical and mental stimulation are necessary parts of your dog’s well-being. Training helps your dog settle into a new home, teaches your dog how to fit in to a new family, and strengthens the relationship between you and the dog. Once your dog has settled in and you are familiar with your dog’s responses, take a positive reinforcement style training class(avoid dominance-based methods!). You can sign up for humane dog training classes at the Animal Rescue League’s Boston or Dedham’s Branches.

Last: Remember to manage your dog’s environment so that you set him up to succeed. Be proactive, not reactive. In other words, prevent inappropriate behavior from happening, and then you won’t have to correct it.