Animal Rescue Leagues are teeming with love and humanity

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The Animal Rescue League of Boston is a multi-function, animal-centric place of humanity. Its three locations offer more than rescue and temporary shelter before the animals are adopted by loving families; they also provide spaying and neutering services, health and veterinary exams, behavioral screening and evaluation. Additionally, they offer vaccinations and micro-chip identification/registration to those they rescue and those they treat routinely as patients.

To spend time touring the well-lit, pristine facility in Boston is to spend time in a shelter of love. The shelter was founded in 1899 by Anna Harris Smith, a social worker who believed that caring for animals-in-need taught thoughtful kindness to families, communities, and even our nation, said ARL spokeswoman Ami Bowen.

Animals frequently arrive at one of the ARL’s facilities when a well-intentioned owner realizes their pet would do better in a more appropriate setting. Some animals arrive at the ARL because their owners are relocating to a non-pet-friendly building, while some owners find they can’t afford to provide medical care for a pet’s chronic condition. All pets surrendered are welcomed with the understanding that it’s in the animal’s best interest to be given up for adoption rather than abandoned.

Sadly, on occasion, some animals are found abandoned on the streets, while others arrive through the intervention of a concerned neighbor or community leader. There are times police or local animal control officers have been notified of animals living in unsanitary conditions. Oftentimes those animals have been living with someone who simply can’t keep up with the care of themselves or pets. Ultimately, taking the animal from that setting is a gift to both the owner and the pet.

A Ghost you can see. (Courtesy of Animal Rescue League)

A Ghost you can see. (Courtesy of Animal Rescue League)

Birds, bunnies, cats, dogs, goats, Guinea pigs, even horses have all been cared for at the Animal Rescue League. While waiting to be adopted, age and health conditions never preclude animals from receiving attention with tender loving care. At the ARL, furry and feathered residents are treated with compassion, respect and playfulness until they find more permanent homes.

As potential adoptees visit, pets at the Rescue League play with toys, chirp in love nests, snooze on blankets or on fresh straw in cages designed to consider their emotional health as well as their physical well-being. Volunteers have been trained to observe and interact with each animal in the manner most suited to the individual needs of the pet. Charts attached to cage doors note approximate age, activity preferences, personality traits and social skills of each animal.

At the League’s Boston site, one especially pretty black kitty, Mathilda, prefers to listen to the radio as she purrs around her cage. Bam-Bam the bunny enjoys making a loud noise as he slurps from his water bottle, while Gandolf, a silent snow-white snuggler, is a social bunny who cozies up to the front of his cage to have his ears rubbed by visitors.

The needs of dogs are similarly attended to at the ARL. Each wagger’s breed, age and physical condition is explained on the door chart, which also includes a brief history of the animal’s life. Tiny treats rest at each door as volunteers come and go, taking them to play groups, on walks outside, or next door to be evaluated at the veterinary clinic attached to the adoption suite.

The Animal Rescue League’s dedicated personnel are trained to anticipate and understand signs of distress in animals sheltering with them. They screen potential adoption families for the best fit emotionally while considering physical expectations. Owner’s preferences, the preferences of their children, and other pets in the home are all factors that are weighed in the thoughtful process.

The Animal Rescue League is funded through adoption fees, veterinary fees, and private donations. Fees are determined per animal.


10 Chandler Street
Boston, Mass., 02116
617-426- 91790
[email protected]

3981 Main Street (Rte. 6A)
East, Brewster, Mass., 02631
[email protected]

Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery
55 Anna’s Place
Dedham, Mass., 02026
[email protected]