By Rosalie Tirella
The Worcester Animal Rescue League, hands down, is one of the fabbest institutions in Worcester. Fifteen years ago, when I got my first dog, Grace, from them the place was a cesspool. Dark, stinky, with about 10 kennels for stray/surrendered dogs (I remember the uncovered lightbulbs hanging in the kennels as the dogs’ only source of light) and little space for cats, companion animals were euthanized all the time. I rember one staffer saying during spring: It’s kitten season: we kill a ton of kittens. It was not so much an admission of cruelty as statement of cold hard facts. The place was small, underfunded, behind the times. I remember wanting to go home to think about adopting Grace. The WARL staffer said: Well, she’ll be put down tomorrow. She’s been here a week. I adopted Grace on the spot.
Then, some years later, a miracle happens at WARL. In walks Dorren Currier, and the world changes for Worcester’s homeless companion animals! Dorren, who has been executive director of WARL for more than a decade, did a complete overhaul of what was then a dump. Not only that – this fomer college hospitality major – turned WARL into a fun, educational, inspirational place.
First: the lights went on so no dogs were kept in the dark. Then all the kennels torn down and new ones installed PLUS about another 100! That’s right! WARL expanded in a major way with offices, a surgery suite, beautiful kitchen area, dog washing area, and my God, you knew it. They even built a play area outside WARL so the pups (of all ages!) could frolic. Relationships were formed with area vets and Tufts Veterinary School. Surrendered puppies, pooches, old dogs, cats, guinea pigs, parrots, even teddy bear hamsters saw their furry lives turned around by the mighty WARL! No homeless animal was turned away – ever. And no one was put down.
Visit WARL today! You will never ever smell poop or urine in the kennels. The dogs are beautifully cared for, vet checked each Thursday, walked daily by WARL volunteers. The cats have a giant play room! To visit WARL is to be inspired by all the love. Money is always tight: So they have festivals and fairs to raise dough for all the lovely animals. They also take contributions of all types (not just monetary).
And now, something I have been dreaming of for years: WARL, in conjunction with the great folks at Tufts, is going into the inner-city and holding FREE RABIES/WELLNESS clinics in the City of Worcester’s six public housing complexes. Everyone knows that if you’re poor, you can’t afford veterinarians, who charge you $50 – $80 to walk in their office door. Typical bill: $150 – $200. Poor people need pets just like everyone else! But I digress! Back to the WHA FREE public housing clinics! They had one this Saturday at the high rise on Pleasant Street. Dogs and cats came in and were given free rabies and distemper vaccinations. They were also given general wellness check ups, and the cats were groomed, if necessary. Their nails also trimmed.
This is the Worcester I love! This is my city at its grandest! Go, WARL/Tufts, go!!!
For more info, please call WARL at 508.853.0030 Also, please visit … and make a donation