After a tough morning commute, Rudolph, the dog rescued by MBTA Transit police officer after a concerned citizen spotted him roaming the commuter rail tracks between the Savin Hill and JFK-UMass stations, is resting comfortably at the ARL’s Boston adoption center.
Rudolph takes a nap at our shelter after his exhausting day.
The ARL’s Rescue Services team responded to a call from the MBTA and brought Rudolph to the Boston adoption center for a medical evaluation. He received vaccines and some much need r&r after such a tough morning.
“Rudolph is a sweet dog who has the quick actions of transit police to thank for getting him out of a very dangerous situation,” explains Danielle Genter, senior rescue technician at the ARL. “We’re very happy we were there to answer the call to provide care and shelter for him.”
According to the MBTA Transit Police, at approximately 10:00 am on December 9, a concerned citizen approached MBTA Transit Police Officer Murawski-Dupont at the Savin Hill station after spotting a pit bull roaming the commuter rail tracks between Savin Hill and JFK-UMass stations.
If you recognize Rudolph, please contact the Transit Police Special Crimes Unit at (617) 222-1170 or text any information (anonymously) to 873873 or call the ARL at (617) 426-9170
Give the Gift of Love, Joy and Cuddles
You may be surprised by this, but giving a pet as a gift is not a terrible thing. We can say that our shelter animals would love nothing more than a home for the holidays.
According to our friends at the ASPCA, there’s no significant relationship between the love or attachment the pet parents had for their animals and receiving a dog or cat as a gift, whether they received the pet as a present or not.
Very importantly the ASPCA discovered that pets given as gifts were not more likely to be returned or surrendered!
Involvement in the decision did not impact love or attachment, said the ASPCA: “In fact, a higher percentage of those who were surprised reported that how the pet was obtained increased their love and attachment!”
You can read the peer-reviewed study, published in Animals, here.
The ASPCA study is not the first to challenge the conventional wisdom that pets given as gifts were more likely to be returned or surrendered. Dr. Gary Patronek, now a research consultant for the ARL’s Center for Shelter dogs and our former vice president of animal welfare, and colleagues Doctors Glickman, Beck, McCabe and Ecker, examined risk factors for dog relinquishment at one shelter and concluded that dogs received as a gift were at significantly decreased risk of being relinquished, compared to dogs who were purchased or adopted.
Dr. Jan Scarlett et al found that “unwanted gift” was rarely a reason for relinquishment of dogs and cats to the shelters surveyed.
Now that you’ve taken all of this to heart and decided to give your loved one a pet for the holidays, please keep the following things in mind.
1. Test the waters. Before you give someone a pet as a gift, make sure to establish they are open to bringing an animal into their lives. Maybe they’ve hinted at the fact that they’ve been thinking about getting a pet. Maybe you’ve hinted at the idea and they seemed enthusiastic. Both are good signs.
2. Confirm any allergies in the household or residency restrictions. If your intended recipient has expressed an interest in adopting an animal, the next step is to confirm he or she can have a pet. If anyone has an allergy to cats in the household, for example, a kitten or adult cat is probably not a good idea.
3. Match to lifestyle. If the recipient you have in mind leads a busy lifestyle or has physical limitations, make sure to ask about an animal’s exercise requirements and personality. Grandma’s been lonely ever since Grandpa has passed and she’s hinted at wanting a pet. She has arthritis and trouble walking for extensive periods of time. A wiggly Lab puppy is not the best fit for her. Perhaps she’d do better with an older and small adult lapdog.
Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations, summed up our thoughts pretty well. “We feel that our shelter visitors who come in looking for a pet to give as a gift to a friend or family usually know their loved ones and what they are looking for.”
Maryann went on to say “we believe that most individuals are not going to get a pet for a friend or family member without the knowledge that their loved one wants a pet. We have had successful adoption experiences with this process.”
We’re “not suggesting that you bring the gift of a new kitten to the host of the next dinner party… but instead allow your husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners and parents to bring love, joy and…yes…a pet home for the holidays.”
Leave These Foods Off Your Pet’s Holiday Menu
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, eat great food and enjoy the company of our family and friends, which often includes our pets. While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to limit the amount and types of food that your pets consume on Thanksgiving. Foods that are fine for humans (and would seem okay for dogs) can actually be very dangerous for your pet.
The following foods should be avoided on Thanksgiving, no bones about it!
- Turkey Bones
Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.
- Fat Trimmings
Fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest, and consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.
- Dough/Cake Batter
Since dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.
Though the causes of their toxicity are unknown, ingesting grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs.
- Garlic, Mushrooms, and Onions
All three of these foods can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and the central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.
Photo: BBC News
Keep your vet’s number handy.
Should your pet become ill and show any of the above symptoms, be sure to have your veterinarian’s phone number and the local animal emergency hospital’s number on hand. A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. You can reach Boston Veterinary Care at (617) 226-5605.
For a comprehensive list of all foods that dogs should avoid visit: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx
How We Give A Voice to the Victims of Animal Cruelty
Ollie, one of the original Middleboro Puppies who has already been adopted! (Photo: Amelia Hughes)
The public and media attention to the recent cases of Puppy Doe, Kitty, and the Middleboro puppies has shined a light on the issue of animal cruelty, and many are calling for tougher laws.
We wholeheartedly endorse legislation that helps to protect animals in Massachusetts to the level that they deserve. Heightened awareness of penalties not only helps reduce the number of tragic cases of animal suffering, but also moves us closer to a more just and humane society where both people and animals are valued.
The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys released a strong statement of principles regarding the prosecution of animal cruelty crimes which we applaud.
Now some of our readers might be thinking, that’s all well and good, but what exactly does the ARL do about it?
First, we can tell you that we meet with elected officials and legislators at the local and state level to help them understand and craft animal welfare policies and laws. Members of our staff attend and testify at public hearings as different legislative committees and state agencies review practices, policies, and laws.
We also actively collaborate with the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in pursuit of legislation that advances animal welfare and protection.
To further influence positive change for animals in our state, we also work with organizations and agencies such as Massachusetts Animal Coalition, the Department of Agriculture, and the Animal Control Officers of Massachusetts on a variety of animal welfare issues.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore
By way of specifics on our legislative and policy work…..
- The ARL’s Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore serves as the chair elect of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee. This committee makes policy recommendations for issues related to animals on a national level and influences national animal welfare law and practices by working closely with federal agencies such as the USDA, APHIS, and others.
- We have prepared a friend of the court brief in conjunction with Animal Legal Defense Fund for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court Massachusetts, in support of granting police the ability to enter a property without a search warrant if they believe any animals are in immediate danger. A hearing will be held at the SJC on December 3rd.
- The ARL also participated in the development and passage of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Act (HAPCA), the tax check off that will help to provide training to Animal Control Officers in Massachusetts to advance the level of humane care of animals. The HAPCA also supports the spaying and neutering of homeless animals and animals owned people of limited economic means in the state.
Learn more by visiting arlboston.org/take-action
On Giving Tuesday Help Families and Their Pets When They Need it Most
Imagine the heartbreak of being unable to afford veterinary care when your cherished pet is hurting. It is a scenario that we all hope never to face, but sadly it is the unfortunate reality for some pet owners who are struggling to make ends meet.
The Phillips family was faced with this exact situation when their beloved 8-month-old black lab mix Riley suddenly became very ill back in February 2012. The family watched helplessly as he went from a playful and rambunctious puppy to a sickly pup that refused to eat or drink.
After calling numerous clinics in the area in hopes of finding someone who could help and being declined due to financial constraints, they started to fear that their only option to stop Riley’s suffering was to put him down. Thankfully, they called Boston Veterinary Care at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where they were finally able to get the assistance Riley so desperately needed by utilizing the ARL’s Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund.
The Fund aims to help owners that are suffering from financial hardship by providing the emergency care their animals need at little to no cost.
We hope you’ll make a gift to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund on December 3 for Giving Tuesday, so that animals like Riley and owners like the Phillips family can have a second chance together.
Riley was immediately given a thorough examination by the dedicated team at Boston Veterinary Care and it was determined that he had an obstruction in his intestines. Although the family was not entirely sure, they suspected that Riley had gotten a hold of a styrofoam takeout container right before he became ill.
Unfortunately, Riley’s condition had become so severe that in order to save his life, BVC’s veterinarians had to perform emergency exploratory surgery. Once inside, they discovered that Riley did in fact have an obstruction that was causing him extreme pain and required the removal of a portion of his intestines. This complex surgical procedure cost $1,700, which was more than the Phillips family could afford to pay, but thankfully the League’s Alice T. Whitney Fund covered the entire cost of the procedure and saved Riley’s life.
When Riley and his family were finally reunited after his surgery, Riley’s tail wagged furiously and he showered them with kisses. Soon thereafter he was back to being the rambunctious puppy the Phillips family knew and loved.
Please consider giving to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund. You can help families like the Phillips when they need it most.
Check out our blog next Tuesday for another story about a family and their pet, whose life was saved thanks to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund.
Learn more about Giving Tuesday and the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund: arlboston.org/givingtuesday2013/
Identifying Potential Pet Abuse
We’ve been emphasizing this message for the past few months, but it never hurts to say it again. If you see something, say something. Meaning, if you suspect that an animal is being abused, please call your local authorities.
Here are a few signs that may suggest that an animal is being abused.
Take note of the following:
- If a person keeps changing the story about their pet’s history
- Listen to children’s responses to questions about their pets
- Ask about other household pets
- Observe how family members interact with each other
- Observe how an animal acts around certain family members
Warning signs that could raise suspicion a.k.a. red flags:
- Pets with chronic injuries or medical conditions that go untreated
- Other injuries that are healing, in addition to a new injury
- Pet owners who use the services of several veterinarians
- Pet owners who constantly have new puppies or kittens, but not adult or aging pets
- Injuries attributed to unknown causes, i.e. someone tells you that their pet has many accidental injuries
- Multiple injured animals at the same house
If you know or suspect that an animal is being neglected or abused, contact your local authorities. Thank you for helping us protect and improve the lives of local animals!
*Portions of this blog post have been reposted from an article called How to Recognize Animal Abuse and What to do About it by the Veterinary Team Brief by Lisa Bourazak, DVM, MPT, Kate Creevy DVM, MS, DACVIM, and Karen Cornell DVM, PhD, DACVS.
Happy Veteran’s Day to Both Human and Canine Veterans
We were touched by this story from the Washington Post about canine veterans and how even after their tours over seas, they continue to serve their country. What better way to observe Veteran’s Day than to celebrate the bond between human and canine veterans? Thank you to the Washington Post for featuring such an insightful story.
By Clarence Williams, Published: November 9
Reblogged from the Washington Post
Outside the U.S. Capitol, Gus impatiently sat at the ready in the Senate parking lot, eyeing the tennis ball in his handler’s right hand.The chance to play with K-9 Tech Charles McGuire enticed the 5-year-old black Labrador retriever, but work comes before play for this member of the U.S. Capitol Police canine unit.
“You ready? I’ve got the ball, you have to get ready,” McGuire scolded before he launched Gus into action one recent afternoon.
(Prince George’s County Police Department) – Zeva is a retired war veteran who served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps. Zeva’s handler is Cpl. Geoff Brown.
In a matter of minutes, the pair swept around a row of parked cars — a red Ford Focus, a silver Saab sedan and a black Ford Explorer among them — with Gus eagerly sniffing tires, trunks and hoods. The dog kept moving, a sign that he had not found explosives.
Sniffing cars and abandoned purses, along with inspecting the Capitol’s busy hallways and offices, is part of a new life for Gus. But these are tasks he learned well in his former job with the Marine Corps.
Many men and women who serve in the military find second careers with police forces back home — and so do some of the canine veterans who served alongside them.
In war zones, Gus and other dogs hunted for makeshift bombs, facing serious danger as they worked off-leash, sniffing as far as a half mile ahead of patrol units. In Washington, they bring their skills to ensuring the safety of events planned for politicians, dignitaries and the public — assignments that take on new significance in the wake of this year’s Boston Marathon bombings.
“Much of what they did overseas is classified, so we don’t know the details,” said Prince George’s County Police Cpl. Scott Allen, who has partnered with a black Lab named Slick since February.
Allen knows that Slick served two deployments in Afghanistan and that the dog’s medical chart shows he suffered eye damage from a makeshift bomb. He also knows that Slick is good at his job.
The canine veterans, mainly German shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labradors, arrive back in the states with a knowledge of what to sniff, a willingness to bond with officers in uniform and a heavy drive to work in all sorts of environments.
Most of the dogs have shown no awareness of the dangers they faced, officials said, although one dog washed out of the Capitol Police program because of post-traumatic stress disorder.About a year ago, Klieah showed great promise as a friendly, eager worker, said Technician Charles Hill, a Capitol Police training instructor. But when Klieah was faced with large trucks, she tucked her tail in fear and became skittish. Hill worked with her for weeks, but something during her tour of duty left her spooked around semis.
“Dogs are affected just like people are,” Hill said. ‘There’s a connection there’Read the rest of the story on the Washington Post’s website.
Your Vote Helps Animals Win $2,500
The Somerville Dog Festival will donate $2,500 to one of five animal-related charities, including the ARL. The festival’s organizers have asked the public to cast their vote and help pick a winner from among the five.
Every dollar makes a difference in the work that we do and this $2,500 would go to helping our shelter animals.
Voting ends on Monday, November 11, so please vote daily and tell your friends to do the same.
We’re in second place, but have a ways to go to get to the top!
Voting is easy! Just click the link below, “Like” the Somerville Dog Festival page and cast your vote for us.
Vote here: http://on.fb.me/HFtn5m
Foxy was Hit by a Car and Her Family Had Fallen on Hard Times
Every Tuesday leading up to GivingTuesday on December 3, we’ll be sharing with you a touching story of a family who got the special gift of love and time thanks to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund and supporters like you. We’re starting with Foxy, a four-year-old Chihuahua who was hit by a car.
Candace was getting Foxy ready to go out for her morning walk. Foxy, hearing the jingle of the leash, was excitedly bouncing around Candace’s legs. Candace’s son, not knowing Foxy’s leash was unsecured, opened the front door to head to work. In Foxy’s excitement, she dashed out the door and into the busy street.
They called out to Foxy in a panic, but it was too late. Foxy was hit by an oncoming car while her family watched helplessly. At a mere 6 pounds, it’s a miracle that the impact of the collision did not kill her instantly.
Candace and her son sprinted to Foxy – she lay whimpering in pain, unable to use her hind legs and struggling to get up. Being as gentle as possible, they lifted her injured body into their car and rushed her to the nearby animal hospital.
They arrived; hopeful that Foxy’s pain would soon be eased, but instead were faced with an impossible decision. The emergency surgery that Foxy needed to survive was going to cost $4,000 and Candace did not have the money to pay the bill.
The only other option that was offered to her was to humanely euthanize her companion, which was unthinkable.
Unfortunately, Candace had fallen on hard times and was living on a very strict budget. Frantically trying to figure out what to do, a friend referred her to Boston Veterinary Care, the veterinary clinic at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
When Candace called the ARL, her prayers were answered. ARL staff informed her that she qualified for the Alice T. Whitney Fund.
After several lengthy surgeries and countless days of medical treatment and rehabilitation, Foxy was reunited with Candace. Although it was hard for her to be apart from her best friend for so long, Candice is forever grateful that Foxy was given a second chance.
Please mark you calendar and remember to give to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund on December 3 for #GivingTuesday.
Your donation will help animals like Foxy and people like Candace – in times when they need it the most.
Learn more about #GivingTuesday and the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund: arlboston.org/givingtuesday2013/
Because of the generous people who donate to the Alice T. Whitney Fund, Foxy is with us today! Please give on #GivingTuesday.
Spay/Neuter for Pets with Financial Need in the South Shore and on Cape Cod
If you live on the South Shore or on the Cape, the ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is coming to a town near you! Book an appointment on the Spay Waggin’ for your pet today! The Spay Waggin’ is a subsidized spay/neuter program created by the Animal Rescue League of Boston to assist clients in financial need.
They have stops in Brockton, Wareham, Taunton Plymouth and Hyannis. See the schedule for a date that works for you. Please note that all cats and dogs should be between the ages of two months and five years. Visit the Spay Waggin’ site for more information.