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.
This is the story of a wayward rocket who found her way home. Kaylee arrived at the Our Companions Sanctuary in February of 2014. She came to us from a local animal control office where she was being treated for a heartworm infection. She exploded into our lives with lots of energy and lots of love and joy. But for as much as she was all smiles, all the time, she was also lots work. She had no obedience training and had not been properly socialized as a puppy. She loved people, but had no idea about what was appropriate behavior. We knew we had a project on our hands.
The first step was to get Kaylee some serious exercise. Our dedicated volunteers would take her out two to three times a day for walks and playtime, sometimes even taking her for a jog around Ashford Lake or on field trips to a local state park. Then, there was the obedience training. Not only did Kaylee get training from the staff and volunteers as part of her daily life, but she was even taken to the Canine College classes that we offer at our Program Center in Manchester. She excelled at her class work, mastering all of her commands, and even progressing up to a Tricks Class, where she learned to dunk a ball in a toy hoop and even ride a skateboard. Her high skill level, along with her joyfulness and love, also made her a great candidate for our Buddy Project, where Our Companions dogs are paired with at risk teens to help teach them dog training skills. Kaylee’s perpetual smile and penchant for flashy tricks made her a favorite of the students. Then, with her exercise and obedience skills in place, we were able to work on her house manners. Again, our volunteers worked with dedication and patience to make sure that Kaylee knew how to properly greet people, how to ask to play, and the difference between what was and was not a toy. This little girl with rocket fuel in her veins was finally getting on course, and we knew our project was reaching it’s end.
Early this summer, we participated in a statewide “clear the shelters” event that brought lots of potential adopters to our door. Many were interested in Kaylee, but then she met “the one.” A couple who had experience with “project dogs” and who accepted Kaylee for the exuberant girl she was. Someone to guide Kaylee on the last leg of her journey. There were many misty eyes at the sanctuary the day Kaylee went to her forever home, but we all knew that this is what Our Companions is all about. A team of caring people coming together to help a dog like Kaylee find her way.
One month into his campaign, Dillon (aka Dilly, aka Silly Dilly, aka Handsome Dill, aka Dill Pickle) is loving the fame and fortune! If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our Instagram page for weekly #dillondays updates! https://www.instagram.com/ourcompanions/
Though we are thrilled with the campaign and the attention it has brought this deserving kitty, we want to help you all understand just what makes this special cat so very lovable. Though he may be different from other cats, Silly Dilly is one cat that we can all relate to. Read on to find out why our volunteers and staff love him so very much!
1.) We can all relate to Dillon’s love for food
“Dillon cracks me up when he gets so excited at dinner time and starts purring his heart out!” -Christy
“When it comes time for food, it’s always adorable to hear him get talkative and see him excitedly pace around the door anxiously awaiting his meal.”- Stephanie
2.) Sometimes, he just needs a little space
“Dillon needs his space sometimes (like we all do), but he makes up for that with his loyalty and intelligence.” – Mary
“Sometimes Dillon loves to stay close and other times he prefers his space. You know…like a lot of cat lovers.” – Susannah
3.) Dillon has the sweetest lil purr
“You are such a big, handsome boy, you should be roaring like a tiger, but instead you have the sweetest purr!” – Christy
“Dillon’s purr can be heard as far away as the dog cottages at the Sanctuary!” – Mary
4.) He absolutely loves playtime
“The minute I walk into Dillon’s room he thinks, “that’s the lady who plays Ripple Rug!”. We have a nice wack-a-mole session on his rug and then move the party outdoors.” – Susan
“My happy time is when you play Pounce on the Feather Stick as I move it under your blanket or underneath the tunnel tube. You make me smile with your persistence!” – Sheila
5.) His nickname “Silly Dilly” is so very fitting
“Dillon quickly gained the nickname ‘Silly Dilly’ as he became hilariously funny to watch! He would clumsily bound across the room in hot pursuit of a mouse or a small rubber ball, dramatically, yet elegantly throw himself to the ground to roll back and forth when he found a nice sunny spot, or just jump up and race around the room like crazy out of the blue!” – Christine
“Dillon will entertain you with his ridiculous antics!” – Susannah
6.) Dillon is secretly a cuddle bug!
“Dillon comes bolting through his cat door from outside and will hop up on my lap and lay his head on my chest. He lets me pet him for several minutes. He has fallen asleep on me and that just melts my heart.” – Marielle
“Sometimes this big handsome boy will hop up into my lap, with his head resting against my chest, and will take a nice, long nap. Some days, he’d prefer to cuddle up on the couch beside me and just likes to have some quiet company while he does his thing.” – Stephanie
7.) He is the most handsome cat in all the land
I mean, seriously. The most handsome. Ever.
8.) He is the definition of “drama king”
“His quirky side will emerge when he gets over stimulated or nervous at times. He may give a loud meow, a small swat of the paw (though his claws rarely emerge) or simply run out of the room or to a hiding place when he has had enough. Just as quickly as this happens, he is back! Lingering nearby, giving head butts and huge purrs and looking for love!” – Christine
“A big sanctuary can be overwhelming every now and again and we all get a little attitudey – especially Dillon. Once he has his own digs, I know he’s going to act like the king that he is!” -Christy
9.) He takes some time to warm up to new people, but being on Dillon’s good side is the best feeling in the world!
“You’ve softened so much over the years so that now, after dinner, instead of regally jumping away from me and curling up high for a nap, you stay down low, near me and curl up for a nap!” – Jamile
“Though it took some time, patience, and even a bit of frustrating at times to get to know Dillon, it was worth every second. Even though he will most likely always carry his occasional nervousness with him through life, he is a true joy to have around and will bond with anyone who gives him the patience and love that he needs.” – Christine
10.) Dillon is an all around special guy
“He’s one of the smartest cats I’ve ever met. He’s beautiful, smart, sensitive, and has what I consider to be excellent taste in people!” – Susan
“No matter what he’s doing, Dillon is always a lovable goofball and he deserves an amazing home with someone who will love him as much as us volunteers do!” – Stephanie
“Anyone who is lucky enough to share their life with Dillon will gain a wonderful family member and feline friend.” – Christine
We are so very lucky to have you, Dillon and we cannot wait until you find your forever home!
HI ‘YALL, MORELLO HERE. If you don’t already know me, I am a former resident of the Sanctuary – now, I am happy to say I have a wonderful home of my own.
Since I’ve found myself with a little more free time on my hands in my new home, I thought I would start up a little sideline business ….. interior decorating.
Now, I’m not one to flaunt my work, but I do think I’m pretty talented in helping others dress up their homes a little- and, if you would take a look at my new line of home furnishings, I think you’ll agree that it is some pretty impressive work!
First – there’s my luxurious line of plush floor coverings- so warm and fuzzy on the feet (Just think of how nice this will feel on your feet this winter)-
My colorful assortment of classic soft throws will fit superbly into any room..
And darling, do check out my throw pillows and covers. They are sure to jazz up any chair in your home!
I even have weather resistant line for outdoor chairs (the styles are stunning if I do say so myself)!
Most are self-cleaning… but of course they are hand washable if needed.
Ummmmm – Oooh dear!
Sorry! Oh goodness- All this talk of cleaning and I get this overwhelming urge to break out the tongue for my hourly spit bath.
Now where was I….
Oh yes -let’s talk window treatments.
I’m sure you would agree my window coverings are to die for! Shred those old tired out curtains and enhance your outdoor view with these amazing and beautiful pieces.
I’m so proud of my creations and I hope you are as excited as I am about this new line I have developed.
I’ve even started a new fall collection that I’d like to sneak preview right here for you- it’s heavy in black and oranges hues (some of my favorite fall colors)
If you still need convincing – and personally I don’t even know why you would, but, here are some of my products in actual customer homes:
On the left is a beauty from my Veronica line of throws- the coloring is so exquisite and something I am incredibly proud of. On the right is from my Mason line (its actually the throw on the left – I am not sure where the other piece is from but I have to admit it is pretty delectable too! The owners loved my piece so much they couldn’t stand the thought of even sitting on the couch – (the ultimate compliment in my opinion).
And some reviews from the community:
Love, Love Love those gorgeous throw pillows- That fluffy gray one in particular !
Ezz very nice but how bout vee see a vittle more, how you say? orange flair in jour regular collection, no?
(SIGH) There’s always a critic somewhere in the crowd!
So -this fall look around your home at your tired, empty couches, lifeless chairs and cold windowsills.
Just imagine one of my delicious pieces there to enhance, dress up, or just add some finishing touches to your home. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s important and just a moment of your time will do – one of our Sanctuary guests would like a word with you about a very serious subject.
Hi Everyone –
If you don’t already know me, let me introduce myself:
My name is Sophie.
I’m a cute little Tortie currently living at the Sanctuary.
I love to chill outside, stare out the window, and help our volunteer manager with all of her paperwork. (Though, to be honest, I like the paper much better when it is crinkled up and on the ground for me to smack.)
Anyway, that’s what I wanted to talk about – fun! And playing. And how to do it the kitty approved way.
Now, you might be thinking “Sophie, come on, don’t be silly ….I already know how to play with cats.”
Seriously just hear me out!
There’s some cool facts about kitty brains that I want to share with you to make our play sessions more fun.
The big thing to know is that we like to play because it reminds us of hunting. When we dive bomb a feather toy, we pretend it’s a real live bird! So it’s important to move the toys like they are real prey.
Ever wonder why cats seem so bored when you just dangle the toy in our face? We’re thinking that’s gotta be a pretty dumb bird to fly right into our face-and it can be kinda scary too. If anything, I’ll just swat or bite it just to get it out of the way! That’s not very fun or challenging for me.
I want to stalk, chase pounce and attack! If you move the toy like prey that will definitely catch my interest.
Try moving it side to side, have it sneak around corners, have it move slow like a bird walking on the ground and then zoom – into flight!
Have it stop from time to time so we can strategize how we are going to catch it and move it AWAY from us so we can chase it. Of course let us win every one in a while too! If the toy is flinging so fast without us even being able to touch it our heads will definitely spin.
It’s all about finding that balance and letting us pretend play. The best part of a play session is getting to capture my feathered foe for a little while.
I mean sure, it’s fun to have food given to us on silver platters – or in my case, blue treat balls. But when it’s time to play, give us a challenge!
Incorporate this new knowledge of kitty hunter instincts in your next play session and watch the fun begin.
It’s never too late for a happy ending. At 11 years young, Bonnie is turning back the clock with every day she spends with us. She came to the sanctuary a few months ago at a whopping 47 pounds. She had a tough time getting around and, to make matters worse, had a very large fatty tumor obstructing her movement. But under the gentle care of our staff and volunteers, she’s dropped several pounds and had a successful surgery to remove her tumor. She now jogs down our hiking paths and leaps into chairs and couches with ease. Every day, she gets a little smaller and her joy for life just grows.
Jessie is the picture of canine grace. And she has an inner beauty to match. Attentive and affectionate, she never saw a face that she didn’t want to kiss, and her belly is always available for some rubs.
Jessie came to us from a local animal control office. She was sighted running loose in the town in winter and, though it took some time and several attempts, they were able to catch her and bring her in. Once they had her safe and indoors, they saw what a joyful teddy bear she was.
Unfortunately, she had a few health care concerns that needed addressing. She needed to be spayed, her skin and coat were in poor condition, and, worst of all, she had a heartworm infection. We took her in to the Our Companions Sanctuary and, with a little TLC, she quickly blossomed.
Now, Jessie is a volunteer and visitor favorite. With her health concerns behind her, she tears around the play yard fetching tennis balls, and has a great time with her doggie friends, Hera and Brody. She’s well on the way to her fairy tale ending.
Lucy is currently our only sanctuary guest interested in taking full advantage of the pool accommodations that we provide all of the pups at the sanctuary. She just can’t get enough of it! We hope that her playful antics help to keep you cool on this sun-soaked day!
Take time to splash around and then be sure to wrap up in a big towel and relax in the air conditioning!
HA….HA….HA…HA… HA…Dillon stop! you are cracking me up!
Reallllly Dillon – you and I weren’t you screaming like a girl the last time ……..both know you couldn’t hurt a fly- In fact, wait a minute-
All right all right Tabby that’s enough (sigh) – lets not bring up the distant past, OKAY?
But Dillon, you and I both know that just happened last….
Here, if I show you my sharp teeth and hard stare you’ll see how brave I really am.
No no no not like that Dillon – it’s all in the eyes -see how I do it.
Tab! you actually look kind of creepy. Let’s face it Tab, you and I are just not cut out for this “courage” thing.
Sometimes I just get so discouraged. You know I look at cats who were adopted like Mason (who had no hind legs) and Monty (who was blind)
And they were fearless. People love that sort of thing in a cat and I just don’t get why.
…….. what have they got that we ain’t got.
Courage Dill courage- when you don’t have courage like us you do silly things to try to cover that up. you know how you sometimes hiss when you are nervous to try to scare other cats or people and when you get irritable you might swat at people to tell them to leave you alone.
I know you never really mean anything with things like that and
well, I do the same thing- except when I get scared I just kind of flip out .
We really do like and enjoy companionship. Why can’t people just see the good things about us- like how loyal and affectionate we can be- we just need to trust people first and then we feel comfortable showing our true selves.
Sometimes I feel like I can make it so hard for people to love me. Tab I know someday, someone is going to love the real me and take me home.
Yeah yeah dill, I know, someone who understands us will come along , but for now let’s just relax enjoy our day- And listen to some music.
(click on music to play and check out more images of tabby and dillon below)
Sometimes we can be insensitive -sometimes we pay more attention to the things we need.
sometimes we test your trust. sometimes we don’t make it easy.
But we DO deserve it………. and we love that you love us good.
We have to ask: Do these faces look hard to love?
A few of our other residents wanted to take this opportunity to confess to some embarrassing behaviors of their own.
are growing big this spring! Yes, maybe all over your lawn but, of course we are talking about kittens.
Early in May we took in mom, Blossom, and her three kittens (2 weeks old at the time)
Just a kitten herself (about 9 months old), she was found running the streets as a stray in Hartford- Apparently this girl is a little on the wild side, as she soon wound up pregnant. Her rescuer found herself in over her head and reached out for some help.
It was during Blossoms vet visit that they discovered she had a painful abscess on her mammary gland that was ruptured and draining. However, despite the pain she continued to nurse and care for her kittens.
Now, at almost five weeks old – the kittens are thriving:
And mom is so ready
to return to being a kitten again! Though she’ll have to stick it out a few more weeks.
A couple of weeks before Blossom arrived, we took in another litter of four boy kittens that were trapped as part of a feral TNR project in Hartford.
They came to us at just about 7-8 weeks and our volunteers have been working hard to turn these “airplane ears”
into friendly kitten ears. Jupiter, Colt, Tetris and Chickpea have come a long way.
And it’s been quite the ride with these boys but our volunteers have done a great job with them. Still a little nervous and skittish, but ready for homes of their own.