BOSTON (CBS) – Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization, and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month’s organization, The Animal Rescue League of Boston, has been working tirelessly for more than a century to rescue and care for animals in need, and now boasts three shelter locations.
At their Boston location on Chandler St, tiny paws emerge from rows and rows of cages, longing for any kind of human interaction.
They are looking for just a pat on the head or a scratch under the chin. Some of the more fearful animals stand in the corner shaking, not yet acclimated to their strange new surroundings.
Every pet that comes through the door is treated individually to assess their needs and help them cope with their new environment.
“Lots of treats and lots of encouragement,” said Caitlin Tomlinson, Associate Director of Shelter Operations for the Rescue League. “We have dedicated staff working with these animals and spending one-on-one time, sitting at the front of their cage and feeding them treats or taking them out and running that energy out.”
The ARL also has certified behaviorist on staff and an extensive foster care network in place.
“If we have any animal that is not doing super well…we have some shy cats…they need to go into a [foster] home for a few weeks to settle in so we can see what they are really like, because they are not showing us their true behavior in the shelter,” Tomlinson said.
All of the animals that come in receive full vetting including routine spay/neuter and dental checkups. Tomlinson said that should they receive an animal with serious injuries they are sent to an emergency facility.
“We don’t want any animals suffering,” she said.
Cats and dogs are not the only residents at the shelter — it is also a temporary home to bunnies, birds and farm animals such as roosters, goats and as well.
Some of the animals that enter the shelter are in rough shape. They have been mistreated or lived out on the streets most of their lives.
The League does its best to help these animals recover and find their forever homes, but not every story has a happy ending.
Some do not survive or have to be humanely euthanized. This can take a toll on the staff and some of them suffer from bouts of compassion fatigue.
“Only people who work in your kind line of work understand what you do,” said Tomlinson.
She says she tries to focus on the fact that these sad, scared animals passed away in the arms of shelter staff, finally feeling love for the first time in their lives.