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.
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.
Big and Lovable Lovable Dog thriving after surgery
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Boston Marathon is two weeks away and our runners could not be more prepared!
After months of training through extreme winter weather conditions, the runners are relieved to finally enter into the taper portion of their training. This means that they run less and rest more for the last 3 weeks before race day, giving their bodies time to recover from the intense training that they have been doing.
They’ve been working hard and deserve some love! Please show your support for the ARL’s Boston Marathon Team, by donating to them on their Crowdrise page and cheering for them on Marathon Monday. For information on how to track the progress of our runners using the AT&T Athlete Alert visit: http://bit.ly/1e9LjEZ
To receive alerts for our runners, you’ll need their bib numbers which are listed below:
In their prior circumstances, the animals did not have adequate shelter and their previous owner has been charged with 36 alleged counts of animal cruelty. The ARL’s rescue services team assisted the MSPCA in providing emergency transport and care for 12 of the 35 animals involved in this case.
Since arriving at the barn at our Dedham shelter, the Ludlow 12 – including standard donkeys, miniature donkeys, goats, sheep, and Shetland ponies – received medical attention, proper nutrition, and a visit from the farrier, a specialist in equine hoof care.
All have made terrific progress in their recovery. Those with overgrown hooves learned to walk properly again and all began going out into the livestock paddock on sunny days.
Thanks to special TLC from shelter staff, the personalities of these gentle creatures started to shine through as they relaxed in their new environment. With their friendly and cuddly ways, the standard donkeys, FORREST (pictured below) and JENNY, in particular have endeared themselves to all their visitors!
Late last month, their previous owner officially surrendered them to the Animal Rescue League of Boston and potential adopters began asking about them almost immediately.
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of World Spay Day, a day that allows us to shine a spotlight on spay/neuter.
Spay/neuter represents one of the most humane ways to lessen the number of homeless animals in our communities.
To celebrate the occasion we’re hosting an Ask the Vet Twitter Chat on February 25,12pm -1pm. You can join fellow supporters of animal welfare and Dr. Edward Schettino, our director of veterinary services to discuss this important issue.
Conversation topics include:
How to encourage more people to spay/neuter their pets
Common myths about spay/neuter
Health benefits and cost savings
To participate in the conversation, follow the ARL on Twitter (@arlboston) and submit your questions using the hashtag #ARLAskaVet. Questions may be submitted real time or in advance.
Boxes of Pup-Peroni & Blankets All the Way from Jersey
A few weeks ago we put out a call for Pup-Peroni (great for dog training) and our usual request of towels, blankets and poop bags and were completely overwhelmed by the generosity of one person in particular.
Rachel, an ARL volunteers, shared the Boston shelter’s Facebook status requesting these items. Out of nowhere, all of these boxes, pictured right, showed up at her office. They were filled with goodies for the shelter, completely unexpected. Sami, a former co-worker of hers who now lives in New Jersey, had seen the ARL’s request on Rachel’s timeline and surprised her by shipping several boxes of much needed items for our shelter.
According to Rachel, Sami had a dog many years ago, but because he travels a lot for work, he’s not in a position to have one right now. It’s obvious to us all that he’s a huge animal lover and is making a difference for animals in need.
Rachel said “he’s a pretty great guy, so genuine and obviously very, very generous. I’m so thankful to him for this gift. It’s simply amazing.”
Even when you can’t make a donation, simply by sharing the ARL’s status or photo, you could help animals just like Rachel and her friend did. You never know, who will see and feel moved to make a donation.
Thank you Rachel and Sami for being such fantastic supporters of shelter animals!
Siskel and Ebert are best buds who have been at the ARL’s Boston shelter since November. They are two very friendly guinea pigs who would make great pets!
These two boys are very attached to each other and we would love for them to go home together this Valentine’s Day weekend!
Siskel and Ebert are charming and talkative little animals and their unique personalities will provide you with hours of joy and love.
Guinea pigs can make great companions for both first-time or experienced pet owners. Given that they are prey animals, guinea pigs require time, patience and a gentle hand. Once they are comfortable with you and their new surroundings, their personalities really shine. Just like any other pet, guinea pigs require a lot of care and attention. It is important to familiarize yourself with their daily and long term needs before adding one to your family.
If you or your friends or family members are considering getting a guinea pig (or two) please consider adoption first. Throughout the year our shelters have many small animals including guinea pigs just waiting for their perfect match.