We’ve started construction on Phase Three of the Our Companions Sanctuary. Everyone’s favorite foreman, our own Hera, is closely monitoring progress for us. Here’s some photo highlights of the work so far.
To the sanctuary regulars who read this blog, you’ll be quite familiar with the story of Dusty. He was a long term cat resident at Sebastian House, arriving at a whopping 22 pounds and with a handful of additional medical problems to boot. He was a sanctuary favorite – a constant presence in the living room, always happy to snuggle up next to someone on the couch, or loudly meow at their feet. Occasionally he could be tempted to play with his favorite wire mouse toy. After living here for three years, he passed away peacefully after a sharp health decline. The volunteers who love him shared some of their many Dusty memories and photos. You can see the many lives he has touched during his stay. We will miss you, Dusty.
Dusty snoozing – from Michele G.
“Father Dust (my nick name for him) will be terribly missed. He took care of the kittens & new comers to the living room crew. Showed them ‘the ropes’ and all of the affection they would allow. God bless Dusty & OC.”
Dusty checking up on Cheetah after she comes back from the vet.
“Our dear, sweet Dusty. He was beyond sweet and loving. I’m was privileged to know him. He would greet me as well as others when we walked through the front door. He was a great uncle or grandpa to all the little kittens that spent time in his presence. He was also just a terrific cat to sit with while he slept. He was so loved…but we got so much more back. I have tears for him now, but there are so many memories that he will not be forgotten.”
Dusty looking dashing in pink – taken by Paula.
“I’m so sorry to hear about Dusty. I got to visit with him on Saturday and it was clear his quality of life was going downhill. We will miss Uncle Dusty but as I told him on Saturday, he still has a special job to do – now he’ll get to keep an eye on Maisie’s kittens. 🙂
Thank you for keeping us updated, and thanks to you and all the staff for being there for our beloved sanctuary pals.”
Showing off all the meanings of “husky.” Taken by Mandy.
“Thank you for sharing Dusty’s last moments with us. I wish I could have gone out to spend time with him before his passing. He will be missed. I know he was a part of Riley’s early days sharing his living room with those mischievous little ones. So sorry for your loss. Please find comfort in knowing how much you impacted his life in such a positive way. Even if he didn’t find his forever family he had a wonderful extended caring family of staff and volunteers.”
Dusty spooning with Riley’s brother Chickpea.
“I know you must be in a lot of pain right now. I’m so sorry! Although I didn’t have much time with him, he was a sweet, sweet boy that I will miss so much! The living won’t be the same without him! Having said that, thank God for all of you and what everyone at OC does. You are all a marvel to me and I admire all of you so much! Thanks to all, Dusty had a happy, content life filled with love and compassion! None of us can ask for more than that.
I WILL MISS HIM GREATLY!!!”
Dusty joins a Brownie troupe.
“How very sad I am right now to hear of Dusty’s passing. I know Dusty had a number of physical ailments over the past several years, but he always showed his grit against these challenges and I was not aware his health was currently in a downward spiral. Given the multiple issues he has had to fight off, and his senior age, it was probably inevitable his life was coming to a natural end.
Last month I brought two plush hearts in to the Sanctuary, and though I try not to have favorites among my feline charges :), the pink one was for Tabby and the red one for Dusty. I wanted to let our most senior residents know how still special they are to all of us.
I will definitely miss him.”
Some admit that they are most definitely NOT a fan of the winter weather. The snow and wind are enough to drive in the most durable of people. Some even look at the social media pictures of others skiing down steep hill’s of fluffy white snow and think, ‘not me, pass the cocoa’. Dogs aren’t too different so while some relish the glorious and sparkly foot of white that sits on their yards others prefer to cozy up and wait for the sun to shine and the flowers to bloom. The sanctuary enjoys a good mix of adventurous snow lovers and other “cocoa” dogs. Some of them even go out with our wonderful volunteers and enjoy the company of a snow angel or two…
When the storm is done howling and with a little encouragement, the dogs don their coats and walk the paths that have been lovingly shoveled and snow-blowed for them and most find that there is a bounce in their step and their inner puppy is quickly unleashed. Enjoy the peek into the winter wonderland that we are currently enjoying!
As you can see, we not only make snow angels here, we rescue them as well!
Well, the holiday decorations have come down and the new year is underway.
In the cat cottage we saw a lot of happy adoptions in 2016 and can look back and celebrate our many successes with a smile. . . .
from finding homes for some of our more reserved, “shy” cats :
Chrissy, Heidi and Cheddar….
Cheddar, now Gracie, hardly took any time to come out of her shell. Within two weeks, she was spending short spurts of time on Jane’s lap and now spends at least an hour at a time curled up on a lap multiple times per day. She even wandered into the dining room on New Year’s to greet company and did some head-butting of stranger’s hands! Jane and James had expected her to take longer to warm up, but are thrilled that she’s coming around to them so quickly. She doesn’t have access to the entire house yet, but is comfortable in their bedroom, living room, and dining room for the time being. They just love her!
-Boots and Ticker are now Scout (Chrissy) and Honey (Heidi). At first the girls were so scared it was hard to give them names based on personality, so we went with “family” names. But now, oh boy, their personalities have emerged. Scout has to explore everything with Honey right behind her. Actually, Scout is my first cat to tightrope walk across the drapery rods. And the top of the 55″ tv. Honey is very sweet, likes her treats, and was the first to give me head butts and whisker kisses. And has gorgeous honey colored eyes.
to saying a fond farewell to some of our friends that decided they wanted to hang around for just a while:
Elizabeth, Dillon, & Veronica……
Here’s a photo update on Elizabeth, now Bells, who also happens to be FIV+ , from her new owners with an awesome caption- Can we clone these guys a million times over!!
Dillon: He warmed up to Tom and Brittany so fast, they didn’t even know what to do with it. He greets them happily when they get home from work and is playful, snuggly, and extra lovable! He has not swatted or hissed at them once. He did go through a short period of attempting to eat the popcorn ceiling, so they had to take down a high shelf, but he has otherwise been the picture perfect kitty companion! He is even starting to come out of the bedroom to stare at company from a distance when they do have friends over! J I’d say that’s pretty impressive for our skeptical guy. They absolutely adore Mr. Dillon and can’t believe how easy he’s been, given his history of being somewhat difficult. I guess he just needed to find his people!
Hi Lady!!! 6 months wow!! Miss V is just fabulous! We are currently snuggled up watching The Grinch. Photo to follow. She most definitely is beyond spoiled. She totally rules the house and knows it. She hasn’t had any health issues at all and we’re now comfortable enough to trim nails (as long as there are treats nearby to bribe). She really is the perfect cat! I’m so lucky!
Fondly remembering our kitties that were extra special:
Mason-born with no hind legs-
….Wow, 6 months already. We kinda feel like he has been here forever. He loves the fireplace and when it is going…he uses his ramp a lot but is super clever on how he gets around. I am often surprised when I come home, which room he is in and on what he is lounging on. I think he loves just having places to go. He eats but believe it or not he does leave food in the bowl. Both cats share the eating zone and take their turns. They snuggle when they want too, just like normal cats. They also snuggle with humans when they feel the need too.
Monty – who was blind
Monty is doing very well!
It’s hard to believe he’s only been here 6 months; it feels like he’s been in the family forever.
He and Moira get on well, in fact their beds are together in the living room (they match their beds, naturally)!
He’s still as happy and affectionate as ever and grows more confident in his environment every day. He recently discovered he can jump onto the bathroom sink so that’s a new favorite hangout spot.
He goes for his first vet appointment in a few weeks for a check up as we haven’t had any health issues arise. He eats well and uses the box without problem.
Overall he’s one of the happiest cats I’ve met and he definitely brings us lots of joy.
And the several lucky kitties were able to leave here with siblings -or friends they made at the Sanctuary:
Siblings Clover & Dandelion- Friendship formed at the Sanctuary: Higgins, Tetris & Jupiter…..
Rosie and dad have really bonded. Omar is still doing things on his terms and that’s ok. Higgins loves everyone which includes our family and friends. At feeding time all 3 boys are right at our feet singing up a storm. Too funny.
Wishing you, your family and everyone at the sanctuary a Merry Christmas.
Pikachu and Luna- arrived together and were able to leave again together.
The very lucky kitties who were out the door as fast as they came in:
Molly, Nefertiti, Poppy and Emery…
And so many others that left us this year.
Chickpea is settling in nicely! We did keep the name Chickpea, as Chris thought it suited him fine. He and Homeo are very active together and sleep together too. I do give Homeo a stern talking to once in a while as he teaches Chickpea some bad habits….like climbing on the railing above our living room. Crazy cats!
So far, Chickpea has only pulled two ornaments off the Christmas tree. One was a snowman that he ripped to shreds, thankfully, it wasn’t something I was worried about losing! I’m really looking forward to Christmas morning and opening presents with the boys. J
Snickers, Snookey, Sprinkle, Barry, Dandelion, Clover, Buttercup, Barry…..
Finally, one special tribute to our friend Harvey- He arrived at the Sanctuary rescued from the street in terrible condition-
once it was discovered he was in kidney failure we knew he had already arrived at his forever home – his “family” at the Sanctuary kept him loved, comforted and happy until he received his kitty angel wings on December 11th and left us with only his happy memories….
Looking forward so many new faces have already joined us this year:
Apache, Gum Drop, Juniper, Luther, Charlotte…..
Luther, Lumi, Newton, Freyja……
Already some new friendships are forming:
Lumi – a kitten rescued by our own staff was found orphaned and injured so badly his hind leg needed to be amputated.
He has now wound up with several step-siblings and one very special friend in Apache -a “mature” kitty that had such severe dental issues he had all of his remaining teeth removed -except for one.
Of course – a special tribute to the rest of our current guests still waiting:
Albus, Cheetah, Dusty, Tabby, Hazel & Pippi- And looking forward to finding their homes this year!
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
― Vincent Van Gogh
Some of you are happy to see 2016 come to an end and some of you are choosing to look back on the year with all of it’s wondrous and fond memories. The dogs can say the same thing, some of them had a remarkable year and some of them are looking forward to the opportunities that 2017 have to offer. Regardless of the group that we may focus on I think it’s safe to admit that 2017 is going to be a great year and we are ready to welcome it with open arms (and paws!). Here at the Sanctuary we always love to take a moment to reminisce over the past year by looking back on the dogs that we have been able to help. Some of them have left for their happily ever after and some are still gracing our doorways but one thing holds true, both staff and volunteers are delighted to call them “family”. These dogs have created so many smiles and stories through their interactions with those that spend time with them that they have unwittingly sewn an invisible string of love connecting us all. These dogs are the embodiment of love and we are lucky to have them in our lives.
Welcome, 2017 and all of the memories that you have in store for us.
Interns are an amazing integration to making the Sanctuary work to its full capacity and we enthusiastically welcome their help and expertise! We’ve recently had to say goodbye to our Fall UCONN interns and we want to thank them all for their great work this semester! Not only were they a huge help with the day to day chores but they also played a big role in the progress that many of our dogs have made over the past few months. This progress has ultimately lead to the adoption of a handful of our dogs! They did many field trips with our dogs (who doesn’t like going off and having fun!) and assisted in executing behavioral and training plans. For example, they worked very hard on Gordie’s and Aspen’s training and even took Gordie, Aspen, and Brody to class some weeks. This was a very dedicated group!
We wish them all the luck in the world for their futures in animal care.
Thank you Brittany, Carolyn, Natalia, and Tiffany!!
If you are a regular volunteer at Sebastian House, you already know who I am. But to everyone else – my name’s Dusty.
I’m a regular here at Our Companions, the Sanctuary has been my home for a couple years now. I tend to make friends with the younger kittens, so much so that my nickname has become Uncle Dusty. That’s why I was SO happy when I got a visit from Girl Scouts Brownie Troop 10816! These young ladies came to the Sanctuary to earn their Pets badge.
Personally, I can’t think of a better place to do so. They started off at my place, Sebastian House. I gave them a quick tour of the living room, where they got to learn all about how to take care of pets. An Our Companions volunteer, Marielle, led the lesson. The girls took turns pulling objects out of a bag and explaining why each object was needed to take care of pets. Things like hamster balls, leashes, litter scoops…though I’d have to say, my favorite was the treats! It was cool getting to learn about all the different things you need to take care of your pets. Those girls were really smart! Marielle also taught them how to interact with dogs. You know, people like to say cats and dogs are super different. But I learned that we both like our space, and it’s only okay to approach us after getting an okay from their family.
Afterward, they headed over to Chelsea House to meet Aspen. The girls got to take turns to practice what they learned in the lesson. Aspen has actually been adopted since then – maybe these young ladies have the magic touch!
As the day wound down, they came back to Sebastian House for a tour of the whole building. They got to meet some more of my friends, and see how we take care of the animals every day.
Let me tell you – these girls were great. They even collected a bunch of donations to help take care of us. So I wanted to say, thank you Troop 10816! You all certainly earned your Pets badge. I just have one question.
Can cats join the Girl Scouts?
It’s time for the holidays and that means it’s time to check on our kitties to see if they are being naughty or nice this time of year. So let’s take a peek and see what they’ve been up to….
Why I’ve been sooo Naughty – of course darlin’
Nice of course..that’s all I do …….now if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to more important things like my nap.
Yes Santa, I have been so sweet and nice! please fill my stocking with lots of special goodies.
Did you hear what I said – I was being nice ….so stop looking at me like that!
Jeez – guess I was being naughty cause this fit last year.
I’ve been using the scratching post faithfully, playing with the volunteers and even entertaining the other cats with my dancing skills –
That counts as being good ………right?
This face ….. naughty??? – no one would ever believe it if she was!
…And the rest of the crew is looking pretty innocent as well.
Well – there’s not too many naughty kitties this year,and lots of stockings to fill…. so maybe Santa will be delivering some wishes our way.
On a more serious holiday note, sometimes the helping hand we reach out doesn’t always extend as far as we hope. A recent case we had involved a cat with extremely serious health issues that had to be euthanized. The co-worker involved was devastated with that decision and commented “he was the sweetest cat, but no one took the time to love him”.
That brief, simple statement resonated in my mind and brought tears to my eyes -even though I had never even met this cat. knowing someone loved and cared for him wouldn’t have changed the outcome but would have made a world of difference to him.
So a big thank you to all our volunteers that religiously come out to visit our cats and show them that they are all lovable and somebody cares.
What are the Our Companions Sanctuary dogs thankful for this year?
A comfy place to sleep…
The best toys…
The great outdoors…
A place to run fast…
And the best staff and volunteers ever!!
What, more than anything in the world, makes for a happy German Shepherd? A job, of course! And our Jessie was no exception. Jessie came to us from a local animal control office, where she had been found stray. She was not spayed, had a touch of frostbite, and worst of all, had a heart worm infection. We took her in at the sanctuary, knowing that our staff and our volunteers made us well equipped to guide her through the arduous recovery process.
Once Jessie arrived, she quickly won everyone’s hearts with her endless affection and lighthearted demeanor. And boy, did she love to work. Like any good herder, she always kept a close eye on her flock, namely the staff and volunteers. She loved meeting and working with the other dogs and made some great friends. Her most valuable job for us was as Henree House hostess, since she could always be counted on to graciously greet any visitor, even small children, and put on a little show. She also excelled as a Buddy Project dog, helping at risk teens learn dog training skills. But I think her favorite job could best be described as “tennis ball herder.”
While Jessie loved all of these jobs, she was definitely missing the one job every dog aspires to: life long companion to a person of her own. That person finally came along this summer. Tim had a traumatic brain injury that had damaged his short term memory. He was moving into a new home and, while he had great human caretakers, there was one vacancy he needed to fill: a dog to help him through the rough spots and make his life complete. And we had just the girl for the job. Jessie and Tim bonded immediately and after a few visits with her, we knew it was the perfect match. Jessie is now permanently employed, giving her guy unlimited love and support, and of course, chasing down every tennis ball she can.