We’ll be at the South End Holiday Tree Lighting this afternoon from 3:30-5:30pm. Stop by and say “hi!” Several adoptable dogs will be with us spreading joy and holiday cheer! We love getting out into the community and sharing what the ARL is all about.
The afternoon will be filled with family-friendly entertainment and art-making culminating in the holiday tree lighting with Mayor Menino!
Enjoy live performances, holiday printmaking, festive music, refreshments and…Macy’s enchanted trolley with special guests from the north pole!
Featuring Animals Who Need a Home & Those Who’ve Already Found One
This is the time of year when everyone at the ARL especially wants to give the animals in our care the opportunity to experience joy and companionship. After all, it’s what the holidays are all about.
With that in mind, today we kick off “Home for the Holidays,” a month-long community outreach campaign to encourage adoption and support for our shelter animals.
We’ll feature stories on our blog about animals rescued from cruel conditions, now recovered and living happy and healthy lives.
Mike a 1-year-old guinea pig.
We will also share the stories of the many deserving animals available for adoption at our adoption centers in Boston, Dedham, and Brewster. Animals like Mike, a cute as can be guinea pig who’s been at the ARL since October 15. He’s great with kids and just an all-around stand-out guinea pig!
Our biggest holiday wish is to help the animals in our care and individuals and families willing to open their hearts to an animal in need find each other now.
Each of our adoption centers also has a holiday wish list of items and supplies that help make our furry, feathered and hoofed friends in our adoption centers feel comfortable and loved during their stay with us. You can download and share the holiday wish list for each shelter at:
The happiest part of the work we do all year is bringing animals like Mike and people together. Every year the organization unites over 3,000 deserving animals with loving human companions. Another 1,100 find foster homes with dedicated ARL volunteers, too.
We look forward to sharing stories, pictures, and videos this month to help the animals in our care find a home for the holidays!
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!”
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. Testthe 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.”
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.
Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. GIVING TUESDAY.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston is proud to partner with GivingTuesday for the second year in a row!
Our goal is to raise $5,000 for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund on December 3. Please save the date!
#GivingTuesday is a special call to action and creates a national day of giving around the annual shopping and spending season to inspire giving every day.
While you start your holiday shopping, please keep in mind that there are families who are sometimes forced to choose between paying their rent or getting Fido lifesaving surgery after he was accidentally hit by a car. On GivingTuesday we ask that you help those families by donating to the ARL’s Alice T. Whitney Helping Hand Fund.
The Fund provides financial assistance to families with limited economic means so they don’t have to make the agonizing choice between everyday necessities and caring for their pet at the time of an emergency.
Every Tuesday throughout the month of November we’ll share with you the story of a family and their pet, whose life was saved thanks to the Alice T. Whitney Fund.
You can give the gift of love and time to a family and their pet in their time of need.
Most of us love a good 4th of July fireworks display, but our pets are not so enthusiastic about the festivities of the day. In fact, animals with “noise phobias” – fear of noises and sounds like fireworks and thunderstorms – may be terrified.
Photo credit: sitmeanssit.com
To ensure that your 4th of July holiday is fun for you and your pet, here are a few tips from Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the League’s Vice President of Animal Welfare:
Leave your pet at home if you are planning on attending a fireworks celebration.
Keep small pets indoors preferably in a room with no windows. You can turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction
Have your pet constrained on a leash or kept in a carrier if you must be outside with them.
Be aware that some pets become “fearfully aggressive” due to loud noises. Protect your pets from people who are waving sparklers or setting off home fireworks.
Never punish your pet for his fearful behavior, but don’t reinforce the behavior by trying to sooth your pet with ‘It’s ok’ or similar words. Paying attention to your pet may positively reinforce the fearful behavior.
Dr. Smith-Blackmore also notes that many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animal intakes after the July 4th holiday due to the number of pets running away in an attempt to avoid the noise and excitement. “Be sure that your pet has a current ID tag and/or microchip so that you and your pet can be easily reunited in the case he or she runs off,” she advises.
If you believe any of your pets has a noise phobia, talk with your veterinarian about the best ways to keep your pet safe during the holiday.
While part of the fun of the holidays is decorating – part of the fun for pets may be UN-decorating, and holiday decorations can be dangerous. Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore and Dr. Amy Marder offer some suggestions to help keep your holidays from ending in disaster.
“Many a Christmas tree is felled by a rambunctious cat,” notes Dr. Marder. To prevent accidents, she suggests supporting your tree with a sturdy stand and wires. Try to hang ornaments (especially the more fragile ones) high on your tree to make them less accessible to pets.
“Ribbons and tinsel are especially attractive and hazardous to cats (they can end up in your pet’s intestinal tract, causing string foreign body blockage), and chewing on electrical cords can cause severe oral burns and even fatal shocks for dogs and cats. To help prevent this, try to cover the cords with a bad-tasting, non-toxic substance like Tabasco sauce or a bitter-tasting product from your local pet supply store.”
Decorative plants are also a source of danger. “Mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting and lilies are often deadly to cats,” warns Dr. Smith. “Poinsettias, despite their reputation, are not deadly but can cause blisters in the mouth and mild stomach upset.”
If you think your in-laws are stressful for YOU …
The holidays are traditionally a time for families to get together, but if your pet is uncomfortable around new people or people they rarely see, it may be best to separate him or her from company, says Dr. Marder. “Make sure that your young guests know to let your pet rest when in bed or while eating. And your cat may appreciate a new ‘kitty condo’ or merely cardboard boxes or paper bags in which to hide.”
Dr. Smith also advises monitoring people going in and out of the front door as pets might take advantage and try to escape.
“In addition, be sure to make time to spend quality time exercising and playing with your pets. The holidays can be stressful for all of us, a little play can be a great stress reliever (for both pets and owners alike!), and tired pets are less anxious pets. She concludes, “Our pets are family members too, we have to be sure they don’t get lost in the holiday shuffle!”
Keep your vet’s and local animal emergency hospital’s numbers handy.
Last but not least, keep your veterinarian’s phone number and the local animal emergency hospital handy in case your pet should become ill. A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER.
”Wiley is one of my favorite dogs to greet in the shelter each day and I can’t imagine how he’s been in our care for 229 days!
I’m writing all of you, because I need you to help me find Wiley a home for the holidays. You may read this article and say ‘gosh he’s cute but I can’t take him in my house’ but you’ll share this post with a friend and they’ll pass it to their friends and pretty soon you’ve helped to find Wiley his new home!
He started off his journey in Cape Cod at our Brewster branch where staff and volunteers became enthralled with his personality and fell completely in love. Sadly he didn’t get many interested people in Brewster. Perhaps his ‘rough exterior’ (short cropped ears do make people think a dog is mean) was one of the reasons. So even though Brewster was madly in love with him they decided to ask me, the Shelter Manager in Boston, if Wiley could come up and live with us. Maybe a bully breed would get more interest in our city shelter.
He’s well-mannered in his kennel which is why he is a favorite of mine. He is quiet when you greet him and he does the cutest little dance to get you to say hi. Picture a dog that is half lifting his paw to wave at you while the same time trying to give you an adorable play bow – that’s Wiley!
He loves to play with toys especially to play fetch. He attends our morning playgroup with some other dogs.
My ideal match for Wiley would be a family with older children who understand bully breeds are lovable just like any other dog. If the new home had a dog it would be best if that dog was not too rambunctious during play because Wiley can get easily overwhelmed by another dog that wants to wrestle him to the ground. The new family might have experience with crate training or be willing to learn because Wiley enjoys the crate that he has at the shelter and crate training prevents a dog from getting into items that are off limits.
So, come on! Let’s get working on this together and find Wiley a home for the holidays!”
Sincerely, Mariannne Gasbarro Manager of the Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center
Watch a video of Wiley being his usual adorable self below!
We’re continuing this week’s “home for the holidays” spotlights with an animal on the smaller side. If you’re looking for a small animal to fill your home with holiday cheer this season then look no further, Tito is the guinea pig for you! Tito is a charming 2 year-old male guinea pig who was brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston due to landlord restrictions. Tito has been at the League’s Boston shelter since August and this little fella deserves to find his forever home for the holidays. Please help Tito find a home by Christmas by sharing this with any small animal lovers you know.
Here’s a little more info about Tito:
His favorite snack is dried cranberries!
He doesn’t mind being held and carried.
He loves to hide.
He may seem shy at first, but once he feels comfortable with you he lets his personality shine.
When you pet him he sometimes makes the little guinea pig purring and bubbling sound!
This multi-colored guy is a real charmer, so come meet him today! Our Boston Adoption Center is open from 1-7pm.
Thanks to all of you, our Holiday Tree for Pets tree lighting was a huge success! We had a great turn-out and a fun time was had by all. The event took place on Saturday, December 8 on the BCA Plaza in the South End. If you would like to see your pet on our Holiday Tree, it’s not too late to order your ornament!