Our Four Footed Friends Spring/Summer 2017

Page 1


Friends Spring/Summer 2017

Together We Helped


Animals in 2016

and how you help them

Buster This sweet 2-year-old black and white guinea pig was adopted in March 2017.

We carry out our mission through the following programs: • Advocacy • Animal Care and Adoption Centers (Boston, Dedham, & Brewster) • Anti-Cruelty Law Enforcement • Boston Veterinary Care • Community Services • Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery • Rescue Services • Shelter Veterinary Medicine • Spay Waggin’ (Affordable Spay & Neutering)

Our Four-Footed Friends is a publication of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, 10 Chandler Street, Boston, MA 02116. Please address all editorial and subscription correspondence to us at the address above, attention Our Four-Footed Friends Managing Editor.

We do not receive government funding and rely solely on the generosity of our supporters to help animals in need.

Managing Editor: Lisa Graham

Stay connected with us! arlboston.org AnimalRescueLeagueofBoston @ARLBoston arlboston



—————————————— Spring/Summer 2017 Photographers: Angela Altobelli Michael DeFina Lauren Rose Contributing Writers: Dot Baisly Jackie Smith Michael DeFina Nadine Pellegrini Lisa Graham Cheryl Traversi Mary Nee Jessica Wright Genya Mazor-Thomas

Front Cover: Tina & Louise, Adopted March 2017

Our Mission The Animal Rescue League of Boston is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes.

Contents 12 Message from ARL's President

Impact Report: 4 2016 Together We Served 17,884 Animals in Need

6 Growing Support for Community Cats 18 Changing Lives of Animals & Residents in Dorchester Humane Lobby Day 2017: 11 Advocating for Stronger Animal Protection Laws in Massachusetts

12 Stray Cat Sees a Brighter Future 14 Westport Animals: Where Are They Now? 17 Low Stress Handling Techniques for Cats & Dogs 18 Meet Darleen Wood, ARL’s Associate Director of Law Enforcement 20 Remembering Mike Thomas, ARL's Cemetery Caretaker 1

Sprite This gorgeous parakeet and his friends were adopted in March 2017.

Message from ARL's President Dear Friend, I write this letter as I am listening to the windows rattle from the blizzard blowing outside. Though I am not a fan of March snowstorms, this forced retreat has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the great progress that ARL has made during the past year.

In 2016, ARL helped 17,884 animals in need. This number includes the 1,400 animals that were rescued from Westport, MA, the largest case of farm animal cruelty recorded in the Northeast. This case is notable for the sheer number of animals found in deplorable circumstances. What is not unusual is ARL’s decisive and determined action when confronted with such conditions. This commitment to act and protect animals is deeply embedded in what I think of as, ARL’s DNA. We were involved in over 150 other animal cruelty or neglect investigations that resulted in 68 prosecutions, and convictions for 34 counts of felony animal cruelty. These law enforcement cases complimented major legislative victories that ARL worked for including protecting companion and farm animals from cruel confinement and puppy mills.

Our vision for the future is to target more of ARL’s services toward the animals and communities with the greatest need. 2

We took a major step toward this goal with the award of the "$100K for 100" grant from The Cummings Foundation to support our Healthy Animals-Healthy Communities initiative. Focused in the Codman Square neighborhood of Dorchester, this initiative seeks to create partnerships with community-based organizations to raise awareness about the link between the health of animals and that of people. To date, we have: 3 Formalized a partnership with the Codman Academy Charter Public School to offer an enrichment course on the human-animal bond that teaches students the importance of this link on our overall health and well-being; 3 Offered Let’s Talk Pets workshops open to the public, focused on basic animal care; 3 Participated in a cooking course, FitKitchen: Pet Edition, where we showed families how to prepare healthy meals for themselves and their pets. These new programs build upon our ongoing community work through the Spay Waggin’, where nearly 4,700 dogs and cats were spayed or neutered.

I'm also delighted to report that we are making new efforts to address community cats. ARL hired a dedicated rescue staff member to respond to the needs of these animals through spay and neuter services, as well as through the development of a community cat volunteer squad. Our work in this area is also greatly enhanced by our newly renovated Animal Care and Adoption Center in Dedham. In addition to providing wonderful space for our shelter animals, the facility has an expanded surgical suite, which allows us to offer veterinary care for community cats. We are so excited by the potential of the Dedham facility and hope you will plan a visit this spring to see for yourself! All of these activities are in addition to our ongoing work for rescued or surrendered animals. Over 6,000 animals came through our doors receiving veterinary services, behavioral assessments, care and feeding, and adoption services. This publication is filled with photos of these beautiful companions that I hope you will enjoy. If you are receiving this publication, it is because you are one of our most dedicated supporters. The accomplishments I have listed here could not have happened without people like you. Finally, I hope we will all soon enjoy the warmth and renewal of spring! Sincerely,

Mary Nee President

"I thank you for your support in 2016 and I hope you join us to make even greater impact in 2017."

Remembering Mike Thomas The year 2016 ended on a very sad note for the extended ARL family. In December, Mike Thomas, ARL’s Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery Caretaker for over 46 years, passed away. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our wonderful friend and colleague. Read more about Mike and his dedication to ARL and animals in need on pages 20-21. We are planning to hold a remembrance ceremony for Mike in early fall and will communicate the details of this event as plans are finalized.


2016 Impact Report 2016 saw the kickoff of the ARL’s first strategic plan, which will set forth a new direction for the organization and its updated mission: Unwavering Champion for Animals in Need, Keeping them Safe and Healthy in Habitats and Homes. Thanks to your support, below you will see some key indicators where we are gaining

Total animals served in 2016:


ground and making impact towards achieving our mission.












Animals from Westport confiscated and cared for at ARL


Counts of animal cruelty resulting in guilty or probation findings from assisted cases



Animals rescued from the Northeast’s largest case of farm animal abuse in Westport, MA


2016 Top Wins in Animal Advocacy




“Too Hot for Spot” becomes law

Rabies quarantine reduced from 6 to 4 months

(protecting animals from extreme weather)

Farm ballot initiative passes

4 Passed City of Boston ordinance prohibiting puppy sales

Positive Outcomes From Our Work Include…

Tethering of dogs, reduced to

5 hours



of MA voters vote YES on Farm Ballot


signatures for Farm Ballot










emergency vaccines for owned cats in Mattapan after panleukopenia outbreak

95 cats in trees rescued


community cat feeders supplied with food from food drives

dogs spayed/neutered

$5K in funding for Pet Care

3,988 cats


workshops for pet owners in Codman Square




live release rate

169 puppies



transferred from southern states for adoption







mobile adoptions held in Dedham


volunteer hours are equivalent to full-time staff





Growing Support for Community Cats New ARL Programs & Staff Help Outdoor Cats in Massachusetts Outdoor cats can be found in almost every community across the country, although the population estimates vary widely. These cats include community cats (friendly strays, abandoned, or feral) and owned cats that are allowed outdoors to roam and reproduce. Community cat colonies usually form due to a conducive environment, such as outdoor cats already living in a particular area, an established food source (including dumpsters or trash cans), or a form of shelter or protection. At ARL, we define community cats as those that live outdoors and are unowned, but are a part of our local communities. It is important to remember that cats living in community colonies are not all considered “feral” but consist of a combination of feral, shy, and friendly stray cats all hanging out together. What does the term “feral cat" mean? Previously, the animal welfare term was often associated with “bad cats” or “other cats." While feral cats are different in the sense that they have not been properly socialized with humans, they are biologically the same as owned house cats. ARL is excited to announce two investments in community cats to help keep these animals safe and healthy in the habitats in which they live:

1 Community Cats Rescue Agent, Theresa Vinic Theresa will respond to the call of residents who report a colony of cats. She will then investigate the colony to determine the number of cats and kittens residing in that area, the cats' overall health status, and whether or not a local resident is feeding them regularly and can continue. After the initial assessment, a TNR (Trap-NeuterReturn) plan is formulated for that particular colony. The plan includes spay/neuter, vaccines, and whether each cat will be returned to the colony, or admitted to an ARL shelter to be put up for adoption. 2 The Community Surgical Clinic (CSC) Located at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center, CSC is staffed by Dr. Kyle Quigley, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian of Community Veterinary Services. The clinic will provide TNR services to community cats through our Community Cats Rescue Agent, as well as offer low-cost spay and neuter services for pet owners who have received a Massachusetts Animal Fund voucher from their local animal control officer. The CSC also provides local animal control officers with an additional surgical resource for dogs and cats held in their respective municipal shelters, or for low-income residents or feral trappers who are issued vouchers.

26.2 Miles for Animals in Need Thanks to the generosity of the John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program, 5 compassionate runners — Max Shapiro, Dr. Erin Doyle, Jonathan Harlow, Brianna Roche, and Venkat Vedam — trained all winter to prepare for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon and raised over $30,000 for animals! For Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services, finding the inspiration to run the historic course began in 2013 as she and her daughter stood on the famous Hereford Street corner to cheer her husband on to complete his first marathon. Though her family was thankfully unharmed in the tragic events that unfolded that day, it became her goal to complete the race.

“Having worked as an ARL veterinarian for over 9 years, I couldn’t imagine a better cause to raise money for as I pursued my marathon goal,” says Dr. Doyle.

For details, visit www.arlboston.org/marathon2017


Highway This male cat found living outdoors in Dorchester was rescued in March 2017 and reunited with owner.


Changing Lives of Animals & Residents in Dorchester Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities Initiative Underway It is with tremendous excitement that ARL launched its Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities initiative in fall 2016. Thanks to the award of a $100K grant from the Cummings Foundation, ARL began a multiyear effort to establish a connection between human and animal services that benefits the community and integrates animal needs into the work of local agencies within the Codman Square neighborhood in Dorchester, MA. Recognizing that family health and wellness and animal well-being are intricately linked, this initiative promotes the creation of pet-inclusive community programs through partnerships with local agencies and informational events for families. ARL believes that the definition of community includes people and pets — and that every family, regardless of whether or not they own a pet, benefits from a pet-inclusive community and environment. Among the well-researched physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership for individuals, a community-supported presence of pets in a neighborhood increases not only the feeling of safety, but also creates a connection amongst neighbors. Seeking to find collaborative community partners that share in this view, ARL engaged with the local Health Center, the Neighborhood Council and farmer’s market, the Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Boston Public Library branch, and the Codman Academy Charter Public School. ❚ Codman Academy Charter Public School This exciting partnership agreement led to the start of an enrichment course about the human-animal bond, More Than Just Pets. The curriculum, being taught by ARL’s Community Initiatives Coordinator, Genya Mazor-Thomas, allows students to explore the link between people and pets in the community

by studying animal behavior, welfare, and care through outdoor exploration and guidance, and hands-on interaction with a variety of pets. ❚ Let’s Talk Pets Workshops In addition to forging community partnerships with local businesses, ARL has also undertaken an assessment about pet needs in the area. Though a formal survey is planned for the near future, informal interviews revealed that many families are looking for basic pet care information. To meet this need, ARL implemented a series of workshops at the Health Center, Let’s Talk Pets, which gives pet owners an opportunity to discuss important topics such as, animal care and hygiene, life with pets and children, and enrichment exercises for rabbits, cats, birds and dogs. ❚ FitKitchen: Pet Edition A program of the All Dorchester Sports League (ADSL) held at the local Winter Farmer’s Market, FitKitchen is a hands-on cooking class that brings together nutritionists from Simmons College and Tufts University with local children. This class takes on a pet-inclusive theme of cooking for the whole family. While Dr. Quigley, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian of Community Veterinary Services, provides animal nutrition expertise, volunteers and nutrition students guide kids in preparing healthy recipes for themselves and their pets. After the food is prepared, participants and visitors are encouraged to taste everything, including the pet treats! ARL is excited for the opportunity to participate in creating a community-based model that promotes lasting change for Codman Square residents to keep their animals safe, healthy, and happy in their homes.

Stay in-the-know Check arlboston.org, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on this exciting initiative. by Nekludov

by Nekludov


FitKitchen: Pet Edition:

Genya Mazor-Thomas, ARL's Community Initiatives Coordinator, teaches a child from Dorchester how to prepare healthy meals for themselves and their pets.


Humane Lobby Day 2017 Advocating for Stronger Animal Protection Laws in Massachusetts This past year was a historic time for advancing important animal advocacy laws to prevent animal suffering, cruelty, and neglect in our state. “There were many things to celebrate in 2016 with respect to animal welfare and protection,” says Nadine Pellegrini, ARL’s Director of Advocacy. "Building on our Too Hot for Spot campaign, the legislature passed An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death prohibiting pet owners from confining any animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold temperatures. Residents voted yes on ballot Question 3 to phase out highly-restrictive cages for farm animals, and the rabies quarantine period for shelter animals was reduced from 6 to 4 months, allowing cats and dogs to find homes sooner." Here are just a few of the new bills we will be following at Humane Lobby Day 2017 on May 9: z An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (“PAWS II”) An outgrowth of the work of the Anti-Cruelty Task Force, this omnibus bill includes a ban on drowning of animals – wild and domestic; prevents the automatic euthanasia of animal fighting victims; mandates reporting of animal abuse by

January 2017

the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs, and the Disabled Persons Protection Commission; adds animal abuse crimes to those offenses that can serve as the basis for a request for pre-trial detention of the accused; prohibits discrimination against dog breeds by insurance companies; and ensures that landlords check vacant properties for abandoned animals. z An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals This bill would extend the prohibitions of cruel conditions, including exposure to garbage, excessive animal waste, dirty water, and other harmful circumstances to farm animals. z An Act to Protect Puppies and Kittens This bill would prevent the sale of puppies and kittens under the age of 8 weeks; provide recourse for families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy or kitten; regulate certain breeders in Massachusetts; and ensure that Massachusetts pet shops only sell puppies and kittens from breeders who adhere to the federal animal health and welfare standards.

February 2017

Phil, the famous puppy who was abandoned in Hingham and rescued by ARL, was adopted February 2017.

Check Out Our 2017 Legislative Agenda Visit arlboston.org/legislative-agenda to learn more.


Stray Cat Sees a Brighter Future From Rescued Stray, to Patient, to Adoptee Zim, an 11-month-old Tabby cat, arrived at ARL’s Boston shelter after being trapped for more than 2 days in a tree in Brockton, MA. Responding to calls from neighbors, ARL’s Rescue PHOTO Services was able to scale the 50-foot tree and bring the friendly feline to safety.

Darleen and Wood Zim’s beautiful markings sweet demeanor garnered instant attention amongst ARL’s volunteers and staff, but so did a congenital eye defect that was discovered during his intake exam. Eyelid Agenesis is a condition where part of the eyelid doesn’t form properly, causing fur to rub up against the cornea and result in chronic irritation. For Zim, both eyes were affected, increasing the concern.

“If left untreated, eyelid agenesis can permanently damage the cornea and cause vision impairment,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary

January 2017

Services. “The chronic irritation also causes significant discomfort.” The only way to truly fix the condition is with a skin graft; however the surgery is complicated and requires extensive post-operative care. Since Zim’s condition wasn’t extremely severe, it was determined that cryosurgery would be the safer option. While cryosurgery does not fix the eyelid itself, it does freeze the hair follicles to help remove the chronic irritation. One week post-surgery, Zim was put up for adoption and met his new family!

"His eyes drew me in,” says Zim’s owner. “He’s a wonderful, friendly cat, and is settling in great with the family. He’s put on a little weight and loves attention and curling up on the couch.”

February 2017

Zim, an 11-month old Tabby cat, makes a complete recovery thanks to ARL's Rescue Services, veterinarians, and shelter staff.

Save the date for Paw Palooza 2017 Agway of Cape Cod’s Charitable Foundation will host its 2nd Annual Paw Palooza at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School on July 15 and 16. This family and dog-friendly pet festival will feature the must-see DockDogs competition, an entertainment show ring, massive vendor fair, food trucks, games, raffle prizes, and so much more! Net proceeds will benefit ARL and MSPCA.


For details, visit www.pawpaloozacapecod.com.

Zucchini This 1-year-old French Bulldog mix was adopted in October 2016 after being surrendered by his owner.


Westport Animals: Where Are They Now? Eloise, Bear, and Other Survivors Thrive after Major Rescue In July 2016, ARL was at the forefront of the largest case of farm animal cruelty that New England had ever seen. Our Law Enforcement Department, staff, and volunteers, in collaboration with other humane organizations and local and state officials, removed more than 1,400 animals living in horrific conditions from a 78-acre tenant farm located in Westport, MA. ARL took in over 120 of these animals, giving them the care and attention they deserved. Many of the domesticated animals and livestock required extensive veterinary treatment and behavioral training. They were transported to ARL's newly renovated Dedham Shelter for rehabilitation and care.

Bear This 2-year-old brindle mix is appreciating his new found freedom.

Among the rescued were a number of goats, several pregnant. In total, 3 goat moms gave birth to 6 healthy kids inside ARL’s famous Dedham barn. Florence, a Nigerian Dwarf mix, was one of these expectant mothers who gave birth to 2 kids, Eloise and Marty. Eloise immediately stood out from the bunch with her friendly and confident personality. According to staff, Eloise and her brother Marty were quite the mischievous duo, preferring to run and jump over napping and eating their supper.

When representatives from a local counseling center came to ARL in search of animals to participate in their farm-based outpatient program for adolescents and adults, they couldn’t believe their eyes; so many goats to choose from! “I told them about each of the goats from the Westport case,” says Anna Chaletzky, ARL’s Dedham Shelter Agent. “They each had such compelling stories that the pair had difficulty deciding which goat they wanted to adopt.” Anna jokingly suggested that they adopt all the goats. “To my surprise the pair looked at one another, shrugged, and said, ‘why not’!” Eloise, and 8 of her goat friends all rode off together in a van while Dedham staff and volunteers waved goodbye. The kids and their moms will live out their days in the agricultural community of Bolton, MA, participating in therapy activities like “goat yoga.” Bear, a 2-year-old Mastiff mix, is another fortunate Westport survivor. He was found chained, malnourished, and lacking in confidence. Through ARL’s kindness and care, however, Bear regained his health and ability to trust in humans again. He was adopted quickly. Nearly a year later, this brindle boy is doing better than ever. “Bear has brought love and a new sense of purpose for me,” says Bear’s owner. Like people, the scars of abuse for animals can linger, and Bear is no exception. “He loves other dogs but is still frightened by unfamiliar people.” Despite the challenges, Bear has been an inspiration, and over time has taken joy in things that many of us with furry friends can take for granted. “It’s a pure joy to see him now enjoying life, activities and things more and more every day." After months of dedicated efforts by our organization, many other survivors have also gone on to find loving new homes.

Update 14

(March 2017) Attorney General indicts 27 Individuals involved in Westport case. Visit arlboston.org/update-westport-farm-case to learn more.

Eloise This baby goat was adopted in March 2017 with her mother, Florence, and brother, Marty, to live on a beautiful farm.


Lars This 2-year-old loving tabby cat benefitted from low-stress handling at ARL.


Low Stress Handling Techniques for Cats & Dogs Keeping Shelter Animals Happy & Healthy ARL continually strives to reduce the stress that animals inevitably experience within the busy shelter environment, by combining high-quality veterinary care with behavioral techniques. These efforts can be seen in the double-sided cages that cats reside in; the hiding boxes that each cat is offered; the visual barriers created for nervous dogs; the special handling of animals during examinations and location transfers – and more! To expand our ability to provide improved care, Jessica Wright, ARL’s Lead Veterinary Technician, and Dot Baisly, ARL’s Shelter Enrichment and Behavior Manager, recently began training staff and volunteers how to incorporate “low stress handling” techniques into their daily rounds. "Since the introduction of these innovative methods into our everyday routine you can see how many more animals tolerate or even enjoy their veterinary exam,” says Jessica, who recently became certified in low stress handling. “It’s very rewarding." The certification process involves a minimum commitment of at least 20 hours participating in online lectures, labs, discussion, and exams. A few of the low stress handling techniques that ARL utilizes for cats and dogs are: z Incorporating towels and bedding for comfort. Rather than sitting on a cold metal examination table, towels and bedding give each patient a sense of comfort. Towels can also be draped over a cat’s head to minimize visual stimulation during a procedure. z Wrapping cats in towels for transport. This method helps avoid exposing the patient to a number of stressors that may be encountered between the cage and the exam room, while also giving them the feeling of being adequately supported. z Providing food during an examination. Feeding the patient can act as a distraction and encourage a positive emotional response associated with veterinary care.

z Being conscious of the way the examiner uses their body and voice. The self-awareness of a staff member or volunteer helps ensure that the patient remains calm and comfortable. z Incorporating techniques specific to large and medium-sized dogs. These methods include leash handling to move dogs from place to place, and minimal restraint techniques for blood draws and vaccinations. z Implementing special handling for small dogs. Petite dogs require the proper amount of coddling during restraint to keep them from becoming fearful. The introduction of these low stress handling techniques at ARL ensure that our shelter cats and dogs are much more happy and healthy!

Keep ARL’s shelter animals stress-free Donate regular-sized bath towels or bedding to our Animal Care & Adoption Centers in Boston, Brewster, or Dedham.


Q&A with Darleen Wood ARL’s Associate Director of Law Enforcement Earlier this year, ARL welcomed Darleen Wood as its Associate Director of Law Enforcement. In her new role, Darleen will manage the department along with investigating animal cruelty and neglect. With Darleen assuming these administrative duties, ARL's long-time law envorcement officer, Lt. Alan Borgal, will focus full-time on major case investigations. ARL's new investments in law enforcement reflect the difficult realties we see every day and, a renewed determination to confront animal cruelty. Darleen joins ARL after nearly 20 years of experience as an Animal Control Officer (ACO) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, most recently for the City of Lowell. Darleen brings a wealth of knowledge to the organization with two Graduate certificates in Victim Studies and Forensic Criminology, a master’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Criminology and Justice. She will also earn her Juris Doctor degree from the Massachusetts School of Law this spring. A lifelong advocate and lover of animals, Darleen recently sat down with OFFF to share why law enforcement is such an important piece of ARL’s mission to keep animals safe and healthy in their habitats and homes. Here’s what she had to say… OFFF: You had a close relationship with ARL during your tenure as an ACO. How does it feel to be part of the ARL organization? Darleen Wood (DW): Lt. Alan Borgal has been a mentor and the gold standard in this field. His knowledge and experience is unmatched; not just in Massachusetts, but throughout the country. It’s an honor to work alongside him and the rest of ARL’s dedicated staff and volunteers. Additionally, when I met ARL’s President, Mary Nee, I felt that we were on the same journey. We both believe that education, training, and knowledge is critical in animal welfare — for not only the public, but also for local and state officials. OFFF: What positive changes in animal welfare have you noticed in recent years? DW: Massachusetts is becoming a leader in animal

welfare pushing for better laws and legislation, like Too Hot for Spot, which includes the anti-tethering statute. Key members of our judicial system can now more clearly see the effects of animal cruelty, suffering, and neglect and how it impacts the people in our community. These advancements put ARL’s Law Enforcement Department in a position to grow and become even stronger because our important work is now backed by legislation. It’s a huge step! OFFF: How important is it for citizens to report suspicions of animal cruelty? DW: It’s extremely important. Animal cruelty comes in many forms, not all of which are obvious. For example, if you notice an animal outdoors for an extended period of time, excessive barking, or a pet living in a house in deplorable conditions, these may be signs of animal abuse or neglect. ARL’s Law Enforcement Department exists to help keep animals out of harmful situations. We encourage anyone who suspects suspicious behavior to call our hotline at (617) 226-5610 so that we can look into the situation. OFFF: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in animal law enforcement? DW: I always wanted to be able to help out animals that were in bad situations. I started off in college working towards being a veterinarian and then converted to the psychology side of the animal world which has developed into my profession today. Animals are my true life’s passion, both at work and at home. I currently have four rescue cats, two dogs, and three horses.

Suspect animal cruelty? 18

Call ARL's Law Enforcement Department at (617) 426-9170.

Hammer This 4-year-young Plott Hound with impaired vision was adopted in January 2017.


Remembering Mike Thomas… Caretaker, Colleague, and Friend In December 2016, ARL mourned the loss of and pride in helping all families as they came to need Mike Thomas, a beloved coworker who went his services. He even had repeat clients with whom he above and beyond his duties to help all members had relationships with for over 25 years. of the ARL family. “I feel very appreciative when families that I’ve For over 46 years, Mike was a tireless advocate, helped in the past call and are surprised to find out unwavering champion for animals in need, and that I’m still with ARL,” Mike once said. “Nobody compassionate caretaker of the ARL’s Pine Ridge wants to have to see me, but when they do they’re Pet Cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts. glad I’m here.” Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery, established in 1907, is Mike always kept a positive attitude around his the oldest pet cemetery in the country owned and grieving clients, ensuring that their pet’s final care was as seamless as possible. His mentality was to operated by an animal welfare agency. Situated on the beautiful grounds of the former sanctuary treat a family’s pet the way he would want them for Boston’s working horses, the cemetery is home to to treat his own. thousands of beloved animals that have been Each client had their own way handling the loss laid to rest. ARL’s founder, of their pet and somehow Anna Harris Smith, was Mike always knew just what among the first to have her to say. "He was just such a pets buried here. source of comfort for people Mike, a Dedham resident during their darkest times," himself, fell in love with said Lisa Lagos, Manager the Pine Ridge property at of ARL’s Safford Memorial the age of 19. Little did this Shelter in Dedham. “Mike young cemetery caretaker exuded patience, kindness, know at the time that his and a genuine love for ARL career would span over people and animals." four decades and touch the In addition to Left to right: Al LoConte, Debby Vogel, lives of hundreds of families his busy day job, Mike Mike Thomas. and their pets. volunteered his time with “In the beginning, our job required exceptional ARL beyond his daily duties. Each year, he could physical endurance,” recalls Al LoConte, Mike’s be counted on to dress up as Santa Claus or an elf former ARL colleague of 30 years. “Before machinery, at the staff holiday party, or drive the ARL truck in we hand-dug all the graves ourselves and worked Dedham’s annual Flag Day parade. every other weekend.” We know that the love Mike had for people, In those days, Al oversaw the cemetery grounds animals, and his work can never be put into words, and machinery, while Mike focused on the clients but today we remember him fondly for the great sense and logistical details associated with each burial. of kindness and compassion that he showed to all Al remembers Mike as a fast learner with who met him. tremendous work ethic. We thank all of our friends for the tremendous “From his first day of work until his last, Mike outpouring of support in remembrance of Mike. was an Animal Rescue League man – 100%,” says "He went out of his way to take time for everybody," Al. “He was one of the finest, no question about it.” said Debby Vogel, ARL’s Associate Director of Not only was the job physically challenging, but Volunteer Services. "That was my favorite thing about him.” emotionally demanding as well. Mike took great care

Join Us 20

ARL is planning to hold a remembrance ceremony for Mike in early fall and will communicate details of this event as plans are finalized.


Caretaker, ARL’s Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery August 28, 1950 — December 16, 2016

“I feel very appreciative when families that I’ve helped in the past call and are surprised to find out that I’m still with ARL. Nobody wants to have to see me, but when they do they’re glad I’m here.”


Animal Rescue League of Boston 10 Chandler Street Boston, MA 02116-5221

“I’m proud to support the ARL’s work for animals in need now and in the future.”

— Kelly McKernan,

ARL Board of Directors

Hug them today,


Like Kelly, many compassionate members of our community want to create a better, more humane community for the animals and people we care about most… now and in the future. Including the Animal Rescue League of Boston in your estate plan is the ultimate expression of your long-term commitment to this goal.