Category Archives: Staff Pick of the Week

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!

PETCO Adoption Event, Saturday 3/4


The ARLGP is proud to partner with the PETCO Foundation and the Maine Mall PETCO for the Love Changes Everything national adoption event.

We’ll be bringing a puppy palooza to the Maine Mall PETCO on Saturday, March 4th, at 10am. If you’ve been looking to add a new four-legged companion to your family, this may be your purr-fect opportunity.

We’ll have 6 puppies available for adoption at PETCO beginning at 10am. Sheba, Stevie, Saga, Sax, Shelly and Petey all range from 2-3 months old. They are All American mixes, and incredibly adorable.

As always, ARLGP 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 PETCO the day of the event. Adoption events are often busy, so please be prepared to wait a small amount of time to meet an animal and talk to one of our adoption counselors.

While were talking all about puppies, we think it’s important to note that adopting a young pet (and all pets in general) 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 the joys of adoption and what their needs will be as they grow into adult companions.

A huge thanks to our PETCO partner, the Maine Mall PETCO, for inviting us to participate in such a wonderful event. An equally big PAWS UP to the PETCO Foundation for supporting shelter pets and adoption.

Third Annual Puppy Love Adoption Event!

Get ready for a collective “AWWW” as we premiere the adorable line-up of our third annual PUPPY LOVE Adoption Event, taking place this Saturday, February 11th when we open at 10am.

Meet 14 of the cutest pups we ever-did see: Henry, Nigel, Heather, Tilly, Poppy, Heath, Harry, Libby, Hamilton, Imogen, Elliott, Millie, Rupert and Blake.


They are a wide variety of breed and size; including lab mixes and maltese mixes. Each dog has been spayed/neutered and has received age-appropriate core vaccinations. They are healthy and happy, and ready to go off with their new human best friend this Saturday!

As always, adoptions are on a first-come, first-served basis. We are unable to put animals on hold. The ARLGP opens at 10am, however, adopters generally line up early for events like Puppy Love.

Potential adopters can come prepared by completing and bringing with them a Dog Adoption Survey. All adoptions will follow our standard adoption routine which includes an adoption survey, adoption counseling with an ARLGP canine staff member, and a meet-and-greet.

We hope to see you Saturday at the ARLGP for some Puppy Love!

View adoption fees and requirements here.


12 Saves of Christmas: Two Very Special Long-Termers (save #1)

Today we wrap up our annual 12 Saves of Christmas series with two animals that were very near and dear to our hearts.

In 2016, the weekend of June 4th will most certainly be remembered as one of our most special this year at the ARLGP. Two long-term guests, Minou and Oscar, both found their new beginning.

On Saturday the 4th we all sent a very warm and heartfelt goodbye to Oscar, an American Pit Bull Terrier mix who had been with us 10 months.


Our entire team celebrated Oscar’s adoption!

On Sunday the 5th, with happy tears in our eyes, we said bon voyage to Minou. An insulin-dependent diabetic kitty, Minou had been with us 10 months as well.


We shed some happy tears saying goodbye to Minou

Each and every adoption at the ARLGP is meaningful and special, and we take a moment to celebrate and cherish every single one. But on that one weekend in June, we all took an extra special pause to reflect on the 10 months of companionship we had with each of these special pets. Both unique in their own ways, we had worked tirelessly to find them a new beginning. And in just two short days, we saw both of them walk out of our doors excited to finally be making the big trip home.

Now, after 6 months of living their new lives in their new homes, their families reflect on how special they are.


“Oscar is the goofiest, clumsiest dog and all he wants to do is make me happy. His goofy personality connected us instantly. I fell in love with him the day I met him. He is now my best friend. I don’t know how I came home to an empty apartment before him. He has changed my whole life. I now depend on him for support and love, just like he depends on me for the same.

I already bought Oscar gifts and Christmas dog pajamas, haha! I can’t wait to have him with me on Christmas morning. I am the only single one in my family. So, Oscar is my date.  He makes every day better.

Oscar has changed my life and taught me to be much more patient, to speak quieter, to just relax on the couch with him at the end of the day and enjoy every moment I spend with him. He’s such a great dog. He is the perfect companion for me, I can’t get enough of his goofball personality.”—Ashleigh, Oscar’s mom


“When we first arrived at the shelter, we immediately gravitated towards the cats with special needs, because we knew that these pets tend to wait the longest before finding their forever homes. We have always been most attracted to those pets that are the most down on their luck, the ones that no one else wants. When we met Minou, we knew she was the one. Minou has diabetes and to keep it under control needs two injections of insulin a day, morning and night.

Minou has made our home a much more cheerful place since losing our Buni; we would be very sad without her. As French artist, writer, and film maker, Jean Cocteau once said, “I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul.” Minou with her sweet, gentle presence has truly become or home’s “visible soul”.

From the very first moment Minou has seemed so grateful for her new home and our love. She loves to play and cuddle. Matt feeds the birds and the squirrels that visit our yard; and Minou loves to sit in our many large windows watching and chirping at the herd. Recently Minou seems to have realized that her new forever home is for real and not just a dream; and lest we forget to mention, Minou has the loudest purr of any cat we have ever known.


Having Minou share our home has made this Yuletide season a happy one, despite our missing little Buni Bastet. Our holiday season has been filled with music, playing, kitty cuddles, and kitty conversations. Minou is very vocal; she has a large and varied repertoire of meows. We are looking forward to hanging Minou’s stocking by the tree.

After Buni died Matt and I were devastated; I really did not want any more heartache. We were leaning towards never having another pet; but it was the words of two cat rescue friends of ours that made us decide adopting another feline was something we needed, wanted, and should do. Our friends reminded us that though it is perfectly normal after the loss of a beloved pet to feel that one does not wish to love again, there are multitudes of pets without homes who live every day simply needing their own safe, warm place to lie down, wanting to be loved and to love in return. Having a safe, warm place and plenty of love to give, Matt and I said yes to Ms. Minou; and she has repaid our love with hers.”- Dani, Minou’s mom

Happy holidays to our ARLGP friends and family, we hope you are enjoying quality time with those you love (both two and four-legged!).



12 Saves of Christmas: Moonie (save #2)

Imoonie_nonumbern October we received Moonie, a stray senior dog missing almost all of his fur. He had severe dental disease, cataracts in both eyes, with a significant amount of fleas. Our veterinary and kennel teams worked hard for three weeks to get Moonie back to a happy and healthy state. He required the removal of all his teeth, medicated baths, a special diet, and lots (and lots) of TLC. He spent most of his time with us in a foster home, receiving constant care and attention.

Finally, Moonie was ready for adoption. He was feeling great and even had quite the spunky personality! At approximately 14-years-old (!) we anticipated Moonie to be with us for a bit before he found his new family. He went up on our website and went out in a small dog email to adopters, the usual routine.

To our surprise, we had a line at the door for Moonie the first day he was available. And the very first family waiting couldn’t refuse the adorable little guy from the moment they laid eyes on him. They have renamed him Teddy, and they were thrilled to share with us how he is doing:

“We have always wanted to give an older dog a home. We saw Teddy’s face and knew immediately that we wanted to adopt him.

Teddy makes us all laugh every day. He may be small and old but he is absolutely full of spunk! We have 3 kids and a young nephew that adore him. The kids actually argue about who gets to take care of him because they all WANT to.

Teddy is thriving in our home. He made himself right at home from day one. He is a couch hog! He follows us around and is so happy. He gets along perfectly with all of our animals (many) and loves playing with the cats!


Teddy is so curious about what we are doing so we know he will want to be front and center during our holiday festivities. We had a great time showing him off at Thanksgiving!

Teddy is an amazing little guy. He goes with the flow and genuinely enjoys being around his people and animal buddies. We don’t know how long we will have with him so it makes everyone much more appreciative of the time we do have. He is very much loved!! Oh, yes, and ridiculously spoiled!”

We think Teddy will have a pretty amazing life with his new family. We wish them all a very happy holiday!

12 Saves of Christmas: Onyx (save #3)

Onyx arrived at the ARLGP in March. He had significant hair loss. He spent the first three weeks here under observation in our feline isolation unit. We began feeding him a prescription wet food to observe if his hair loss was due to food allergies. We saw an almost instant improvement for Onyx, and his fur began to grow back beautifully. Our team also found Onyx to suffer from environmental dermatitis which also contributed to his hair loss.

Throughout it all, Onyx was such a trooper! He was the sweetest boy, always seeking affection. Our team doted on him, always making sure he was well-snuggled. Heather, one of our feline animal technicians, took an extra special liking to Onyx ensuring every new adopter got a chance to meet him. She made it a personal mission to find Onyx a home.


Onyx with ARLGP team member Robert

Because of his medical condition, Onyx was considered a special needs kitty. His new family would need to be prepared to continue to feed him prescription food, monitor his health closely, and ensure he was an indoor-only cat. He also preferred to be the only kitty in his household.  Because of these needs, we knew it would take a bit longer to find a home for our sweet boy, Onyx.

After a handful of months looking for his new happy home, we had a very nice adopter walk through our doors. Emily was actually visiting to meet cats for her father, but once Heather introduced her to Onyx, everyone knew it was meant to be:

“I am so happy I could give Onyx a home.  He has been renamed Binx (like the cat from Hocus Pocus).

I went to the shelter to look at cats for my Dad.  I was looking around and was introduced to Binx.  I asked if I could hold him and he just melted in my arms and started purring instantly.  When I found out how long he had been in the shelter for I was surprised and saddened to think such a friendly cat had not been adopted yet and I had to take him home.

Binx has been wonderful.  He is a low key cat.  He is very good at getting his needs met by being very vocal.  He loves to snuggle and if I am relaxing on the couch he is never far away.  His new favorite is to be under the down comforter, so you always have to check to make sure you are not going to sit on him.  We have lots of different people at the house, and he has taken to all of them.  He is not a shy cat and it does not take him long to plant himself in the lap of a stranger.

It has been nice having Binx around for the holidays.  He is so good about the Christmas tree and all the decorations; he hasn’t tried to break one!  I often find him napping under the Christmas tree or trying to get into the shopping bags filled with gifts.


Binx has made a wonderful addition to my home and I am so happy that I was able to provide a happy environment for him to thrive in!”

We’re so happy for Emily and Binx! He looks amazing, incredibly happy and healthy. We wish them a very happy first Christmas together.