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.



12 Saves of Christmas: Puck (save #4)

Puck came to the ARLGP two days before Christmas in 2015. He was approximately 5-years-old and had been blind the majority of his life. His family was at a point where they were unable to care for him, and we happily welcomed him here and made it a priority to find him a new beginning.

puck2Because of his obvious vision impairment, we did many tests and evaluations on Puck.  Overall, he was a pretty healthy pooch. Due to a condition called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), Puck had in fact been blind most of his adult life. We observed him to be quite quick to learn new places and spaces, and was incredibly friendly to our staff and volunteers. He did however seem a bit overwhelmed in the shelter environment and would get anxious when our team members would leave him for extended periods of time. Because of this, we placed him into our foster program. He went home with one of our veterinary technicians to get lots of TLC while we worked hard to find him a permanent, happy home.

Just a couple short weeks later, Puck was adopted. After spending a week in his new home, the family found the resident dog wasn’t all that amused with the company of a new dog. We completely understood and Puck returned to his previous ARLGP foster home, and we continued to work on finding him his spot.

In January a local retired veterinarian, Eve, took a look on our website. She wasn’t necessarily looking for a new canine companion, but once she saw Puck, she was highly intrigued…

“Just about a year ago my once numerous “pack” had been reduced to a 13-year-old dog going deaf, a 13-year-old cat trying to survive mouth cancer and 2 horses.  I had not planned to adopt any more since I thought that would be stressful on the old pets, but I was looking at the reality of losing both my indoor pets at the same time and I knew I couldn’t live in an empty house.  So I started looking online for a dog who would fit in.


I had jokingly said to friends that I liked Jack Russell’s but would need an old Jack or a half-Jack as they are so feisty.  When I saw Puck featured on ARLGP’s website I was intrigued.  I read that he had developed SARDS and was totally blind but healthy otherwise.  As a retired veterinarian, I wasn’t put off by this and thought it might be an asset as he couldn’t chase the cat or the horses.  So I promised myself if he was still there in a week, I’d go see him.  But, to my dismay, he was adopted.

In a few weeks, I returned to the website to check out the dogs and found Puck back up for adoption.  This time, I made an appointment to see him and took my other dog for the meet & greet.  The rest is history.

He has never really acted blind and when he bumps into something, he just changes direction.  Most people who meet him don’t know he’s blind.  His former owners socialized him perfectly and he’s never met a dog or a person he doesn’t like.  Since he’s young and my old dog can’t really roughhouse with him, we have playdates with other dogs where they run in the field or walk the Eastern Trail.  His nose and hearing are great.  He’s met the horses, but has no fear of them so has to be on leash so he doesn’t get under their feet.  I’m sure if he could see them, he’d be a little more careful.


I’ve since lost my cat, so both dogs are important companions for me and each other.  Puck does suffer from separation anxiety and if I’m going to be away from the house, he has to be crated which doesn’t bother him.  I’m hopeful that in time, he’ll see that I come back.  He’s also good in the car and loves rides. He’s noisier than any of the other dogs I’ve had and barks pretty loudly when he’s excited.  I’m sure he’d have some minor complaints about me as codependent if he could voice them.  🙂

In my day, I’ve adopted cats, dogs, guinea pigs and 1 of my horses is a rescue, so when I think about getting another pet, adoption is high on the list.  If you do your research and know what will fit best in your life, it’s great for all.  We all come with baggage, after all.”


12 Saves of Christmas: Duke (save #5)

Duke the hound arrived at the ARLGP in June. We quickly learned that Duke was incredibly smart and active. At just 2-years-old, Duke was still very puppy-like with his play and energy. He was your typical hound, nose to the ground on every walk and adventure. And boy, did he love to adventure! This guy would stay outside as long as he could; playing, romping, fetching- he thrived on getting his paws dirty.

He was also very treat-motivated, and our canine team members knew Duke was a terrific candidate for some advanced obedience training. Using a clicker and lots of positive rewards, Duke learned many commands during his stay at the ARLGP (and was very proud of it!). He picked up on new things almost immediately; the yummier the treat the more quickly he would learn. He mastered sit, stay, down and “look at me” with a breeze. We knew finding a home that could continue to work with Duke on his training and provide him with lots of space to run and play would be key to ensuring this guy had a happy and healthy life.

When Peggy, an ARLGP volunteer, told her daughter Karen about Duke she immediately went on our website to see him. Karen owns a large farm, and as soon as she read Duke’s story she knew she could provide him with everything he needed! Karen recently told us all about Duke’s fun life on the farm and how she knew it was meant to be:

“We had heard about Duke and his story from my mom who volunteers there so we looked him up on the ARLGP page. When we saw his picture, we knew.  We fell in love as soon as we saw him.  He gently took food out of our hand while he was in his kennel with his tail wagging the whole time. We got to play with him in the yard and knew he needed to come home with us.  He was such a big goofball.  He was just what we were looking for.


He has such a great personality, very loving and happy.  It is so nice to be greeted when you come in the door with a big wet sloppy kiss.  He greets everyone with the same tail wagging.  He loves to play tug of war.  For the past few years, we have only had 2 little dogs. We forgot how much fun a big dog can be.  He likes to be a lap dog like the other two, although he is about 60 lbs. heavier.  Although, the 6 lb. Chihuahua keeps him in line.  He has added so much joy and love to our home.  Vacuuming has become quite entertaining.  The machine doesn’t even have to be on for him to try to chase it and play with it.

Duke is doing well with the farm life.  His first experience with the goats was a head butting session.  He makes the rounds daily to check on the goats, pigs, turkey and chickens.  He has adapted to a home with lots of other pets as well.  He watches the hamsters play and is fascinated by the fish in their tanks. He sleeps on the floor by our bed every night.

Last Christmas, we had our two small grandchildren with us and it was such a joy.  We knew this year would be tough without them.  Then came Duke.  He is like having a small child at Christmas.  His eyes lit right up when he saw the lights on the tree.  He seemed a bit confused with the first snowfall.  He stepped gingerly outside, looking at the ground before barking at it. Now, he really loves to play out in the snow, sniffing and rolling all about.   It is hard to walk by pet items in the store without thinking, I’ll bet Dukie would like that for Christmas.

We’re so happy Duke has the life (and yard!) he’s always wanted.

12 Saves of Christmas: Benjamin the bun (save #6)

Back in June a young bunny named Benjamin arrived to the ARLGP after being attacked by a dog.  He required immediate medical attention, multiple stitches and lots of TLC from our team.  He even had to wear a miniature cone (something he wasn’t all that fond of).

However, throughout the entire ordeal,  Benjamin was easily one of the sweetest, most social rabbits we’ve had at the ARLGP. He sought affection from our staff and volunteers, loved hopping around to say hi, and very much enjoyed receiving oodles of love and affection. He received so much attention, he didn’t know what to do with himself!

Finally in August, Benjamin was healed and feeling healthy again. He was ready to hop on out of here with a new family.

During the same time period, we were running our first full summer of camp for kids. We welcomed more than 100 local students through our doors over the summer to teach them all about responsible pet care! One of those students, Jacob, happened to hop on into the small animal room himself, and found a new best friend. We asked Jacob all about Benjamin and how he’s doing in his new, happy home:

ARLGP: Jacob, what was it about Benjamin that connected you?

Jacob: I was attending the Animal Refuge League summer camp and I went to the critters room (because it was my turn to go.) When I first saw Benjamin I felt a connection between he and I and I wanted him really bad. I loved how active he was. We did bunny enrichment during camp. We took a paper bag and added hay and fruit, then tied it up. I gave mine to Benjamin and he tore it apart and loved it. It was fun to watch him and it made me want to adopt him even more.

img_3251ARLGP: How has your pet changed your home and family?

Jacob: I save my money to buy things for Benjamin such as hay and pellets. I enjoy creating toys for him from cardboard tubes, sticks, bark, pine cones, even broken wooden spoons. My father was hesitant about getting Benjamin, but now he LOVES Benjamin.

ARLGP: How has Benjamin been doing in your home with your family?

Jacob: I think Benjamin has been doing great. He loves throwing his hay all around his cage (especially after it has just been cleaned 🙂 I look forward to coming home from school each day to play with Benjamin.  Having a bunny was more work than I originally thought, but I wouldn’t change anything. He is worth it.

Jacob and Benjamin’s story makes us happy for SO many reasons! We love that Jacob had such an awesome time at summer camp, and we love even more that he met his new best friend here. We think these two will be very happy together for a long time!


Christmas Delivery Adoption Program

xmas_delivery_flier-web2All this week the ARLGP will be offering Christmas Eve or Christmas morning delivery for eligible pets. We know many families choose to adopt during the holiday season, and this year we’re making it a bit more fun with delivery of your adopted family member by our ARLGP elves.

Per our standard adoption policy, all of our furry friends are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Adoptions will follow our standard process of application and counseling. We think it’s also important to note that we know the holidays can be a busy time of year in many households. Our adoption counselors will chat all about the joys of welcoming a new four-legged friend into your family, and the transition period that can be expected.

We encourage interested adopters to visit us this week and chat with a team member about our delivery program! Or, give us a call at (207) 854-9771 to learn more about this holiday fun.

12 Saves of Christmas: Lady Bug (save #7)

Today we look back on a very special kitty, Lady Bug.

Through no fault of her own, Lady Bug had been to the ARLGP a handful of times since 2013. She arrived as part of a confiscation in 2013. Later adopted, she was returned several months later very thin and dehydrated. We provided her with immediate medical attention and soon discovered that Lady Bug was hyperthyroid. After a month of observation and treatment in our isolation unit, followed by some TLC in a foster home, Lady Bug was ready to move back to our adoptable cat area. Other than daily medication, Lady Bug was a healthy kitty ready to paw off with her new family.

As a special needs kitty, we knew finding a family that was equipped and ready to provide her with her daily medications and a regular routine and schedule would be a bit harder than the average cat. Many of our team members bonded closely with Lady Bug. We took any opportunity we could to talk about her with potential adopters, knowing sooner or later we’d find the one. We also featured her on this very blog over the summer, with a post called “Meet Our Resident Supermodel.” You see, Lady Bug was always posing. Whether she was lounging in her cat condo, or relaxing in an outdoor enclosure- she knew how to strut her stuff and was always showing off. She’d beam her gorgeous green eyes at all of her visitors, while lending a paw to say hello. This girl was the total package, and she knew it.

In August, a lovely woman named Karen came in looking for a feline companion for her family. One look at Lady Bug’s big green eyes, and they were hooked. The rest is one happy story for this sweet gal:

“She had been a joy since the day we took her home; we connected with her big green eyes and sweet face.  She has been a wonderful addition to our home.

She has a thyroid condition that requires daily medication however as a family we have a developed a routine! She is so happy here; she enjoys going outside in warm weather and will sit in any sunbeam in the house even if it is the middle of our path. She loves everyone’s lap, she even likes to be held like a baby!


She loves the Christmas tree lights and sitting on the tree skirt.  She has assisted in wrapping a few presents; the crinkle of the paper and curling of ribbons! Santa paws will come soon for her and our other cat Bandit.”

We’re thrilled for Lady Bug and her new family! She’s exactly where she needs to be, with lots of sunshine to bathe in.

Related links:
Help support animals like Lady Bug who arrive at the ARLGP in need of medical treatment and care. Making a gift to our Carson Medical Fund supports our life-saving programs and helps us provide urgent care to animals like Lady Bug.

12 Saves of Christmas: Delilah (save #8)

We first learned about Delilah, today’s featured pet, on July 1st, 2016. We received a phone call from a local community member about a stray dog he had been feeding in his backyard. The dog was a large mastiff, who seemed to be out on her own roaming the woods and neighborhoods. She would happily accept the food the man would leave for her, but he was unable to trap her successfully.

With the help of local animal control officers and many community members, we were on a mission. Kennels had been strategically placed with food lures to safely catch Delilah. Delilah covered a lot of ground, and we tried to keep up the entire way. Our goal was to bring her in for examinations and determine if she had a family.

After three months of hard work, Delilah was finally caught by a local Animal Control Officer. To our surprise, this young lady was in no way a feral or fearful dog—she was a loving and affectionate pup! Other than being a little on the thin side with quite a few ticks from her three month country adventure, Delilah was in pretty good health overall. We kept her in our care for two weeks, to determine if she had a home and to ensure she was ready medically to be adopted if a family did not claim her.

After the two weeks, Delilah was available for adoption. The first family who came in to meet her had two other mastiffs, who both looked exactly like Delilah. They were a mastiff-loving family, and all two and four-legged family members came to say hello to Delilah. After a run in our play yard, they excitedly said yes. Delilah, now Gia, is very happy in her new home:

“We have two other mastiffs at home and as soon as we saw her fell in love. She had such confidence and gentleness, it was instant love.

Gia has been an awesome addition to our family.  Our eldest mastiff Lula is 13yrs old and she’s suffering from arthritis and it’s been difficult for her to keep up with our younger mastiff, Vincent, who is still a pup. Gia has been the perfect playmate for Vincent.  The two of them are inseparable!  They are constantly playing and lovingly nibbling on one another’s big flappy jowls. Prior to Gia’s arrival, Vinny was a very shy dog.  He would get psyched out being in a certain room or going up a set of stairs just out of the blue and kind of freeze up.  From the moment Gia moved in she built his confidence up to whole new levels!  Gone are his fears and anxieties.  It’s been nice for our Old Lula as well because she finally has some peace and alone time away from the playful puppy!


When we first brought Gia home we were really concerned about her being a “runner” since she had been out in the wild for so many months.  We live on a farm with chickens, pigeons, ducks, pigs and cats.  This was also a concern because we knew she must have taught herself to be a hunter to survive in the wild.  The first day home we borrowed a crate from the ARLGP; we were able to take it down the next day.  I know that we are so lucky and this is not the typical story but Gia adjusted so easily and readily that it was if she had always been here.  She goes out every morning, feeds the free range birds.  Each day, a few times a day, she does a perimeter run.  She barks at planes that are flying over our field.  She barks each time our neighbor gets home.  She has also become very good friends with our neighbors bulldog Lola!  She instantly became part of our family.

Having Gia as part of our family this Christmas is a definite reminder of humility.  This dog living in the woods, roaming the streets, all skinny and full of ticks….scary to look at it.  All she needed was unconditional love.  Watching her transform physically and feeling the love and gratefulness she bestows upon us is a reminder of what “giving” really should be.  It’s not the video games, the clothes… it’s this REAL giving.

I want to thank the Animal Refuge League for trusting us with this gem.  It is she that is the real gift.  We love her very, very much! <3”

Delilah had a remarkable journey; from surviving on her own for months, to a loving and warm home with two canine siblings and some awesome humans.