Category Archives: Emergency Response

Our South Korean Dogs: 1 Year Anniversary

Today marks our one year anniversary of helping five dogs from South Korea.

In honor of this special day, we’d like to take a look back at their year in our care and extend our heartfelt gratitude to YOU our volunteers, foster families, and adoptive families who all stepped up to help animals in need. We’d also like to thank our community who supported us and participated in this amazing journey – you helped five dogs find a new beginning.

On Thursday, May 26, 2016, five of the 250 dogs rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea by Humane Society International (HSI) arrived at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (ARLGP). Our team waited excitedly to welcome them to our shelter and to help them gain comfort and confidence in their new surroundings.

Upon arrival, they were unable to walk off the transport vehicle. Quite frankly, they didn’t know how. They had only lived in small wire crates, with no ability to walk around, move about freely or receive human touch or assistance. They were in rough shape. We adapted and faced these challenges head on, and used our training and skills to meet them where they were at and work from there.

As an emergency placement partner of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the ARLGP serves as a safety net for animals rescued from inhumane conditions. For those who questioned our commitment to local dogs, our top priority is always to homeless and displaced pets in Greater Portland, as well as our state. When an opportunity to help animals in need is presented to us and we have the space available, we are always happy to lend a helping hand.

Over the past year, we’ve celebrated their individual journeys to where they are today…

Ron (now Myles) was the first to be placed in a foster home, then his adoptive home. He quickly adapted to his new life and he immediately thrived with training and socialization.

Huey, one of our husky mixes, was the second to enter a foster home. He is now in his permanent home, with many canine siblings, living the life of a companion pooch, even if on his own terms.


Stuart, our most recently adopted, received more questions and inquiries while on our adoption floor than any other pooch available. Every visitor wanted to know his story, and once we told it, they were quick to share with friends and family to help us find Stuart the home he was looking for. He’s now living the life on his farm, with lots of two and four-legged family members to share it with.

And, today marks a new chapter for our fourth dog, Victor. One year from the day he arrived, he will be moved to our adoption floor. Victor is a beautiful jindo mix, looking for a home with a canine companion that will continue to show him all the wonderful perks of being a dog in a loving home with humans who care deeply for him.

And last, but certainly not least, is Forrest. Forrest is still receiving training, socialization and enrichment in our care, to get him to a point where he is ready for his new home and family, even if that looks a little different than the average adopter. Each and every one of these dogs took a different amount of time and a different approach of training, and we are committed to reaching the finish line with each.


Today, we are reminded that the way an animal arrives at our door doesn’t matter. Whether it’s abandoned on the side of the road, left in our parking lot, a stray wandering the neighborhood, or through our life-saving collaborations with shelters and rescues in Maine and beyond— it’s where they end up that really counts. These five boys taught us about unconditional love, patience and compassion. No words were required, only simple acts of kindness.

To all of those reading this, we thank you for believing in our mission and supporting our vision and values with your volunteerism, your in-kind gifts of food and linens, and with your generous financial support. Our success at saving the lives of Ron, Huey, Stuart, Victor, Forrest, and 4,000 animals every year is because of YOU.  

Down East Magazine: See Stuart Run
Portland Press Herald: Dogs rescued from South Korean meat farm treated in Maine


Puppy Adoption Event Today @ The Fish & Bone

We are excited to partner once again with our good friends at The Fish & Bone for a puppy adoption event! Join us today, Friday, May 19th, from 3-5pm at Fish & Bone on Commercial Street in downtown Portland.

This afternoon, we will have 4 adoptable and adorable puppies. The “princess puppies” named Cinderella, Elsa, Ariel and Belle are approximately 6-months-old and are All American Mixes. If you have been looking to introduce a new, young pup to your family, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet some great dogs.

It’s important to note that adopting a puppy requires patience, dedication and flexibility. Puppies need potty training, obedience training, socialization and lots of outlets for physical and mental enrichment. We will have adoption counselors on-hand to discuss on the joys of puppyhood and what their needs will be as they grow into adult canine companions.

As always, adoptions are first-come, first-served, and require our normal adoption application process. You may download and print an adoption application to bring with you, or you may fill one out at The Fish & Bone this afternoon. The Fish & Bone will be offering extra-special puppy packs to adopters. If you spend $100 on your new furry friend this afternoon, you’ll go home with a new crate!

A special thanks to the ASPCA and Subaru Rescue Ride Program who generously provided the ARLGP with a grant to support our collaborations with other shelters and rescues across our state, region and country. The princess puppies arrived to the ARLGP last week, through our partnership with a California-based rescue. Because of this generous support of shelter collaboration, we are able to save more lives together.

We’ll see you today at The Fish & Bone!

12 Saves of Christmas: Nala & Lee (save #11)

The first week of January 2016 we received two very different dogs, with two very different medical situations.

Lee, a 4-month-old yellow lab mix, was brought in due to chronic vomiting and was underweight. He couldn’t seem to keep any food down.

Nala, an 11-year-old black lab mix, came in extremely overweight with numerous masses, an eye infection, and in pretty rough shape overall.

Through medical treatment, biopsies and multiple tests for both, we learned that both Nala and Lee each had advanced medical conditions. Lee was diagnosed with megaesophagus, a birth defect with his aorta that caused his esophagus to be partially pinched and in turn stretches the upper end of the esophagus. This prevents Lee from eating solid food. Nala has immune mediated arthritis and presumed lupus. The diseases cause her to have sore joints and skin lesions. After diagnosis, we knew that both dogs would require a home and family with the ability to provide a higher level of care for both of them to live happy and healthy lives.

Because of their medical needs and our timeline of treatment, both Nala and Lee were candidates for foster. We reached out to a local couple, Darrin (a long-time dog volunteer) and Nicole (a former staff member), to see if they were interested in welcoming one foster dog into their home. However, as soon as Darrin and Nicole visited and met Lee and Nala they said “why not take both?”

We did the routine dog-to-dog introductions, to ensure the dogs enjoyed each other’s company. To our surprise, this puppy and senior gal thoroughly enjoyed each other! We happily sent them home with Darrin and Nicole, where they both began to thrive. After their foster period concluded, Darrin and Nicole officially adopted them into their family. With Nicole’s veterinary background and Darrin’s dog experience, both Nala and Lee’s medical needs are completely under control. Nala has even lost 20 pounds! And Lee happily drinks every meal “milk shake” standing up straight, something he was trained to do to ensure his food digests properly.

We asked Darrin and Nicole to tell us about their experience adopting not one- but two- special needs dogs, and how it has changed their life for the better.


“Nala really picked us. She had a way of looking at us that made you feel that she was reading your soul. She was so cuddly and sweetly craved attention. When we met Lee we could tell that he was full of life and was spunky. We felt that he would love to play outside and enjoy our backyard. We love the outdoors and it seemed that Lee would enjoy spending time outside with us.

Nala and Lee have changed our lives completely. They both have made us very happy. There is more love in the house, less room on the couch and we are busier in caring for them. We love every minute of it.


We look forward to celebrating this winter season with both dogs. Nala will enjoy spending time with her extended family and giving them the gift of cuddling and her love. Lee is excited about playing with his extended family (dogs included) and can’t wait to play in the snow and join us in snowshoeing several times this winter. The holiday season is about spending time with the ones you love and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to spend time with Nala and Lee.”

We love Nala and Lee’s story, two very different dogs in need of immediate treatment and care to survive. With Darrin and Nicole, they will have all the love, affection and care they will ever need (even if the couch has less room these days). We thank them for welcoming these two special pooches into their lives; we know it’s exactly where they are meant to be.

You can help support animals like Nala and Lee who arrive at the ARLGP in need of immediate medical treatment and care by making a donation to our Carson Medical Fund

ARLGP Clinic Team Volunteers at South Dakota Reservation

Last month we were proud to send our ARLGP clinic team to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. ARLGP veterinarian Dr. Beth Sperry, veterinary technicians Kim Jackson and Liz Lord, and volunteer veterinary technician Susan Gayle traveled to the South Dakota reservation for a three day spay/ neuter mission.


The full project included a deployed team of two veterinarians, four veterinary technicians and many veterinary assistants. In partnership with the Lakota Animal Care Project, the goal was to address the problem of animal overpopulation on the reservation of 2.2 million. Currently, there are no veterinary services on the reservation. This project was a large undertaking, with tremendous benefit to both the people and pets of the reservation.


Our ARLGP clinic team, under the direction of Dr. Sperry, spayed/neutered and vaccinated 111 animals in just three days. They also provided medical care and treatment for a variety of conditions including mange, wounds, and embedded porcupine quills.


The ARLGP is always proud to deploy our team members to assist in animal welfare situations on the local, regional and national level. Not only was our clinic team able to make a significant impact on the lives of animals, it was also a tremendous learning experience for all involved. They look forward to a return trip next September to continue our relationship with Lakota Animal Care and the reservation.

Please join us in giving a big PAWS UP to our clinic team for volunteering their time, expertise and compassion to help animals in need.

We’re throwing a GOAT-E-O!

This Saturday, November 5th, the ARLGP will have four pygmy goats available for adoption when we open at 10am.

The goats, Annabelle, Primrose, George and Boomer, are approximately 6-months-old. They arrived at the ARLGP back in June as part of a case with the State of Maine Animal Welfare Agency. Since their arrival, they have resided at an ARLGP foster home (well, technically a foster farm) and are now ready to hoof their way to a new, permanent farm. They will be available to be seen and adopted this Saturday from 10am-noon.

Interested in adopting a goat?

Our goal is to send all four goats to homes where they can enjoy the good goat life, with lots of room to stretch their legs and enjoy the outdoors. Goats thrive with at least one other goat companion. On Saturday, they can be adopted as a group or in pairs. All four of our adoptable goats have done well at their foster farm with other animals (dogs, cats, chickens) and children of all ages. They are incredibly social. Generally speaking, pygmy goats can grow to be 50-80 pounds. Our staff will be on-hand Saturday to chat with interested adopters about their needs. The adoption fee is $60 per female, $80 per male.

If you or someone you know would be a great home for our goat friends, please attend our GOAT-E-O on Saturday to meet them and speak with our staff. They are currently at their foster farm and are not available to be seen prior to Saturday’s adoption event.

Cat Found in Locked Trunk Now Safe at ARLGP

UPDATE ON SKY THE CAT (9/2/16): Yesterday, a Buxton family contacted us after hearing media reports on Sky the kitty who was found Monday morning locked in a truck. Their cat, Ollie, had gone missing the weekend before and they immediately recognized her after seeing her on the news and in the local paper.  

After research, examination and investigation we have concluded that Sky is indeed their Ollie and she will be reunited with her family.  It’s important to note that  Animal Control Officers local to the incident will continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding Sky/Ollie’s situation. We are thankful for the citizens who found her and brought her to safety.

We take this opportunity to remind our community that your shelter is a resource. If your cat is missing – call your local shelter immediately. If you find a stray cat in your neighborhood, please call your local ACO and shelter. Pet owners are encouraged to use proper identification for their pets (collar with ID tag in addition to a microchip) so that when stray animals are brought to shelters, they can be reunited with their owners as quickly as possible. The ARLGP provides low-cost microchipping during our daily open hours at just $35 per pet, no appointment necessary.


On Monday, August 29th, 2016, the ARLGP received a feline from a concerned citizen who found it in a locked, sealed trunk at a local baseball field.


Trunk the cat, Sky, was found in

The cat, named Sky by our staff, is approximately 1-year-old. Upon arrival at our facility, Sky received a full medical evaluation from ARLGP staff and veterinary team. She was observed to have a significant amount of fleas and flea dirt, but otherwise in fair condition. She is affectionate and well-socialized; she very much appears to be a family pet.

Two Buxton residents were taking a walk at the Hollis Sports Complex fields at 6am Monday morning. At the end of their walk, they noticed a large trunk in the parking lot. When they attempted to open the trunk, they heard the crying of a cat inside. Unable to open it on their own, they brought it to a friend’s house who opened it with a screwdriver. Sky was in the trunk, without food or water.



Sky’s story is a strong reminder to our community to use your local shelter as a resource. If you are unable to provide care to your pet, for whatever reason, please work with your local shelter and animal control officials. Had these concerned citizens not intervened, Sky’s story could have had a very different outcome.

We are asking anyone who may recognize Sky or have information about her abandonment to contact us directly at (207) 854-9771. Hollis officials are working with the Sheriff’s office on an investigation into the situation as well, and can be contacted with information.

Pending her continued good health, Sky will be available for adoption on Saturday, September 3rd.

South Korean Dog Update

As you may have heard, the ARLGP accepted five dogs in June from a South Korean dog meat farm. Over the past 11 weeks, we have worked incredibly hard on training, enrichment, exposure—to help them learn and understand what it is like to be a dog in a loving environment.


Just two weeks ago, the first of our five dogs was adopted into his new home. Ron, now Myles, is enjoying his new human and canine companions, while continuing to learn what his new life is like. His family reports that things are going very well, and he is a wonderful addition to their home.

The four remaining South Korean dogs are now looking for placement in foster and/or adoptive homes. Victor (jindo mix), Stuart (all american mix), Forrest and Huey (husky mixes) are all at different stages in their training, but are all ready to step their paws out of the ARLGP and into a home to continue to learn and grow.

We are looking for foster and/or adoptive homes that currently have a social, dog-friendly canine. The South Korean dogs are very friendly with other canines, and we have observed them to use their canine friends as role models for behavior. Homes would also ideally have some sort of fenced-in area for the dogs to be able to exercise and roam in, as they continue to work on their leash-walking skills.

If you are interested in learning more about these very special boys, please give us a call, send us an email or stop by. We also have a survey we ask all potential fosters/adopters to complete, and can be emailed to

Here are some of our observations and fun facts on these boys:


Victor is incredibly smart and curious. He is active, and loves romping around our play yard, sniffing out all the scents. He has shown a wonderful curiosity, and is always looking to take a step further or learn something new. While he has much more to learn once in a home environment, he has grown tremendously with us. His confidence has increased, as well as his sense of adventure. He’s always ready to chase a ball or stuffie, and is getting used to the game of fetch and return.


At just a year old, we have definitely observed Stuart to be the most playful of the group (however, they are all very playful in their own way). He displays a lot of puppy-like energy and enthusiasm. Toys of all shapes and sizes are a favorite for Stuart. He absolutely adores chasing a stuffie across the yard, then proudly running around with it for all to see. He is curious and shows moments of his adventurous side. Once in a home, Stuart will learn all of the wonderful things a house has to offer. He will surely enjoy a family to continue to teach him all about the exciting new world around him.


At first meeting, Huey may seem a bit reserved at first. But once he gets his paws moving, and his nose sniffing, he turns into all smiles! This boy never stops smiling—and his happiness is infectious. Just watch him run around the yard, exploring all the corners, scents and toys. We can tell Huey is a naturally active dog (he’s a husky, after all) and once he is settled into a home, he’ll truly blossom. He is very curious, and always goes out of his way to sniff out what’s happening in a new space. His transformation has been incredible; we’ve seen him develop so much confidence and courage. We can’t wait to see how he progresses with training once in a foster home.


When our five boys arrived, Forrest was the most timid of the group. Every milestone his fellow canines achieved took Forrest just a bit longer to reach. He simply wanted to take his time and get used to the sights, sounds, smells of his new surroundings. Our team was incredibly dedicated, day after day, to saying hello to Forrest and allowing him to meet them at his own pace. Now, he is a different dog. He happily sprints around the yard, with puppy-like energy. Forrest has had many play sessions in our yards, with other ARLGP dogs. He absolutely adores having a canine companion; he mimics, learns and observes the companion he is with. He is incredibly playful, as he is still very young. He also has a natural curiosity, and takes his time sniffing and exploring new spaces to get a feel for things.