Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland

A Lifesaving Organization Committed to the Preservation of Life
By Susan Spisak | May 01, 2018

When I rang up Jeana Roth to learn about Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (ARLGP), we realized we’d talked last year regarding their Puerto Rican rescue efforts--they’ve taken in hundreds of dogs through that territory’s All Sato Rescue (ASR) for several years now and over 170 since the devastating hurricanes of 2017.

Roth, their Director of Community Engagement, shared that she and a few others from ARLGP were planning a hands-on mission to Puerto Rico in a few days. They wanted to understand what ASR and the island’s animals were experiencing, especially after the hurricanes left them in crisis mode.

We connected again after their trip. The group helped in several areas, including loading dogs for cargo travel to ASR’s partner rescue in Florida and visiting known dog “dumping sites” to feed the friendly, but often feral-like animals. (People who no longer want their pets leave them on beaches or construction sites.)

The group also discovered and rescued three abandoned moms and their litters. They took them to an animal hospital for care and were placed in ASR foster homes where they’ll remain until they’re cleared for transport to ARLGP. They did bring a few dogs home with them who’d been in the ASR foster system and were vaccinated, quarantined, had health certificates, and were ok’d for travel.

It’s evident that animal care and quality of life is night and day between the island situation and Maine. “We feel fortunate to be in the greater Portland area where animals and adoptions are supported.” Their numbers prove that. ARLGP rehomed over 1200 dogs last year (and about 2200 cats, bunnies, and critters). While some were owner relinquishments and strays from contracted towns, many were dogs from partner rescues, shelters in the south, and California. “We really help where there is a need,” Roth said.

This non-profit was founded over 100 years ago. In 2016, they moved to their new 25,000 sq. ft. facility at 217 Landing Road in Westbrook. Their mission is to serve their community in a multitude of ways and nurture the connection between people and pets to advance animal welfare. To accomplish that mission, they offer wellness clinics with low-cost shots, microchipping, and free spay/neuter services for qualifying community members through 2018. They also have an on-site pet food pantry (hours are Tuesdays 1 to 3 pm and Sundays 1 to 4 pm).

ARLGP is big on teaching kids to be responsible pet advocates. They even have a dedicated in-shelter Humane Education classroom and a dedicated Humane Educator. Age-appropriate animal welfare topics are explained during their after-school clubs, summer and vacation camps, birthday party packages, and Scout programs. They also offer free in-school presentations covering a wide variety of animal-related topics.

They’re always looking for fosters to provide temporary homes for pups, kittens, the medically-challenged, and elderly dogs. If you’re interested in fostering and to see their adoptables, visit