I’m thankful for…

Here at the sanctuary, we have a lot to be thankful for. We’ve got volunteers who dedicate their time and effort into providing love for some very deserving animals. We have acres upon acres of gorgeous land for the dogs to walk on. We have committed staff who make our workdays cheery and bright.

The cats have at Sebastian House have a lot to be thankful for as well! Let’s see what they have to say about what they’re grateful for.

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We’re thankful that we have each other to snuggle and play with!
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I’m thankful all my kittens have been adopted so I can finally get some peace and quiet!
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I’m thankful for all the laps I get to sit on – and for how long you let me stay!
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Ditto!
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I’m thankful for my privacy – I’m a very shy kitty and I’m so glad I can have a place to be safe.
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Even though it may not look happy, I’m thankful for my diet that has allowed me to feel healthy and comfortable!
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I’m thankful for all the lavish attention I receive. Keep it comin’!
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I’m thankful for being taught how to give “high fives.” I love showing off how smart I am!
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I’m thankful I get to drool all over everyone and get to sit on a keyboard while people try to work!
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I’m so thankful for all the people who let me give them nice, big bear hugs!
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I’m thankful Halloween is over so Lindsey will stop putting stupid stuff on my head…

As we approach the season of giving, everyone here at Our Companions (human, feline, and canine) would like to say how appreciative of we all are of our many volunteers, donors, and helpers out in the community. We can’t do what we do for the animals without all your hard work. With gratitude – we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Post Halloween Wrap-Up

The Sebastian House kitties are recovering from their Halloween candy hangovers this morning. Some joined in the costumed fun, while others are already getting ready for the rest of the holiday seasons with a merry “bah humbug!” to all the spooky festivities. We’ve got black cats galore this autumn, making the purr-fect Halloween jamboree.

Albus went all out, living up to his namesake (Professor Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series) with a magical wizards hat. The contrasting stars and moons make his green eyes pop in this spell-bounding ensemble.

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Ten points to Gryffindor!

And for formal wear, he donned a green and red plaid bowtie for a look that just screams elegance. No dashing cat would be complete without it.

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Shaken, not stirred.

Ferocious Apache did his best lion impersonation, but the effect was probably a little bit more mild than he had hoped – he’s only got one tooth. Still, he did his best to roar but out came a snore. He fell asleep in his comfy cozy headpiece. What a good sport!

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Maybe it’s more Ewok than lion…

Quincy, on the other hand, has fangs to spare. His bold Dracula choice is a Halloween classic. And it’s always so sweet to see timid, gentle cats try on something scary for size. Quincy is all meow, no bite!

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Do I have garlic breath?

Apache had a second costume with his best pal Luther – they cuddled up to become a two-headed-kitty. Voluptuous Luther was so brave on Halloween – he’s normally quite the scaredy cat. But with his best friend by his side, his confidence always soars. He also wants to show off his new figure. Luther came to Sebastian House at a staggering 31 pounds – but now he’s down to nearly 20! Give a round of applause to this trim boy.

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Who’s the big spoon?

The Good Witch Glinda has been snuggling up to all her new friends. She’s made a lot of quick bonds – she’s definitely a lover. She provides us all with lots of black fur and drool. It’s what I always wanted, how did she know!?

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There’s no place like a warm lap…there’s no place like a warm lap…

And a little Halloween… fairy?…(there’s no Halloween equivalent to Christmas elves) brought by some tricks and treats to all the cats.

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Thanks Luanne!

Until next Halloween, boys and ghouls…

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Rebel with Extra Paws: The Ballad of Gonji

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It was a dark and stormy night. Gonji arrived at Sebastian House during a signature New England March snow storm. He had been found as a stray and was in need of help. Living out on the streets made him rather skinny, and he still needed to get neutered. After surgery, and with a blue felt cone around his head, he made his way to the upstairs bunk. Gonji was striking – with his long legs, extra toes, and wide set eyes, he was a unique looking cat. And his affection was off the charts! He quickly became a snuggler of epic proportions, wanted to be held by everyone who came across him.

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Snuggling with Susannah

Well, any human.
He was cursed with a most dreadful affliction. He was very aggressive toward other cats. We initially hoped he could maybe live with Cheetah and Dusty, two senior kitties hanging out in the living room. It was a disaster. Hackles raised, tail thrashing, ready to GET THEM! At that moment we knew he had to live a single life. He was a loner, a rebel. He didn’t need anybody! Except humans, lots and lots of humans. He moved into the empty kitchen and we started his promotion.

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I’m ready for my close-up…

But then – he discovered he had an enemy. Poor dopey Archer, a grey long haired cat, came to the sanctuary as a stray. He was as sweet as could be, wanted to be friends with every cat and human, liked to play, cuddle, everything. Archer was about as easy going and relaxed as a cat could be. But one whiff of his existence made its way to Gonji’s kitchen lair and pandemonium was unleashed upon Sebastian House. Something about Archer really ticked him off – whether it was because another young male was on the scene, or if they were enemies in a past life, Gonji made it his mission to search and destroy. Of course, Archer was as aloof as ever. He had no idea that a one sided beef was developing.

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Who me?

Gonji started to get agitated more easily. He would try to climb the screen doors just to get a look at Archer. He would ignore cuddles to stare out the window. Putting up blankets and other safeguards didn’t work. He started to lash out at the one thing he loved – humans. Cats do this weird thing called redirected aggression. It’s when something gets them mad, and instead of attacking the thing that gets them mad, they attack something else in the vicinity. It’s usually because whatever is making them mad (scary mailman, feral cat outside, etc) is beyond their reach. So they go for the next best thing.

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Mmmm…tasty humans!

After a couple incidents, a room change, and lots and lots of gates, we finally found a balance. Gonji moved to a room with a solid door. We instituted a triple gate system so no cat could sneak near his door and set him off. We covered the gates with sheets. His room became staff only. Staff entered wearing extra layers of clothes and big rain boots, to serve as extra protection. We sprayed ourselves with feline calming sprays and moved cautiously. Even though now there was no way for him to see other kitties, the adrenaline from an attack stays in their system for a while. He was still on edge, nervous, jumpy. When cats “ambushed” him at the door, he started to associate the door with impending evil.

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Maybe if I pretend to be a frog, they’ll leave me alone.

The amount of staff, and volunteer, patience it took to help him feel relaxed again is nothing short than astounding. The bravery too. So many volunteers stepped forward to the front lines to help tame this wild beast. We started slow, just having staff behind the gate. Then staff would go past the gate. Then some volunteers would be allowed behind the gate, with supervision. Then without supervision. Then into the room with supervision. By taking it step by step, and over a period of weeks to months, it allowed him to ease back into his old self.

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John, a brave volunteer, loves a Gonji hug.
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Gonji “helps” in the office.

Whether playing with feather toys over the gate, or being courageous enough to let him give a signature Gonji hug, each volunteer contributed to giving Gonji the greatest gift of all: love. Once he realized he was safe from all the evil kitties, it was like the curse had been lifted. He felt confident, content, and most of all safe. And now, he has moved on from Sebastian House to his forever home, with a new dad who understands all of Gonji’s trials and tribulations. And his need for the bachelor life style, feline free. We so look forward to hearing about all his new adventures!

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Bon voyage!

They lived happily ever after.

Mini-dog Mayhem!

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We don’t often get many little dogs staying with us here the sanctuary.  So, it has been quite the experience having three pint sized pooches here at once!  But don’t let their miniature size fool you.  They pack just as much trouble as the biggest lab or pit bull!  So let’s meet our tiny terrors.

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Cody is a 5 year old chihuahua mix who has been with us for a few months.  He likes to play ball and spend time around other dogs.  However, there may be a chance that he thinks he is a cat, since he most certainly does not like people paying him too much attention and cannot deal with changes to his routine.

 

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Lulu is Cody’s 10 year old partner in crime.  If Cody might think he’s a cat, then Lulu surely thinks she’s a lion.  While she’s always ready for some quiet snuggling from humans, if you get her around other dogs, be ready to hear her roar!

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And rounding out our pack of pint sized pooches is Mitch.  Whether it’s jumping up on you, tugging on the leash or your sleeve, trying to untie your shoes, or stealing any towel in sight, it’s all part of a day’s fun for him.  Just watch your fingers when it’s time to put his harness on.

Now, lest you think we’re ones to let these cuties get away with whatever they want, all three have been attending Canine College classes with our dedicated (and brave) volunteers, and are showing great improvement.  In no time, we’ll have these diminutive delinquents on the straight and narrow and behaving as the happy doggy citizens we know they can be.

It’s all part of the work we do here at the Our Companions Animal Rescue Sanctuary.

Lab Work

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As Our Companions decides which dogs to bring in to our sanctuary, the question always arises of how much and what kind of work will be necessary to get the dog to the point of being adoptable.  Sometimes it’s medical work, sometimes it’s behavioral work, and sometimes it’s both.  Sometimes we know going in that a dog will need lots of work, and sometimes the dog won’t need much work at all.  Bentley was a dog we knew would be challenging, but he was still full of surprises.

 

Bentley was a young lab mix with an cruciate ligament tear who, needed some training and some TLC.   We handle these kinds of things all the time.  But as he spent some time hear, we realized that things were worse than we knew.  In addition to the cruciate ligament tear, he had luxating patellas in both knees, and some wear on his hips and back as a result of those bad knees.  He also had a high level of frustration, as a puppy in too much pain to play, and, once he became comfortable with people, was prone to lots of nipping and mouthiness, and other inappropriate interactions.  He was going to be much more work than we originally thought.

But the sanctuary staff and volunteers were up to the task!  We put in place strict handling instructions that gave him the consistency and control to learn a better way interact with people.  We enrolled him in Canine College classes that worked his mind and gave him the skills and confidence to be the good dog he wanted to be.  We set up for a canine massage therapist to work with him on a weekly basis and brought him to canine physical rehabilitation.  And when all that didn’t quite do the trick, we made arrangements for a much needed knee surgery to get him moving better.  The whole team came together, and Bentley blossomed into a sweet, happy boy.

 

 

And, as always, fate smiled on our hard work.  His rehab therapist fell in love with the good boy under all the bad behavior, and decided his home should be with her.  He is now recovering with the best of care, under the watchful eye of his new mom and two canine “sisters.”  Bentley was more work than anyone imagined, but well worth the effort.

More From The Expansion Construction

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A big view of the new buildings.

The new dog cottages are looking good!

We’ve got walls!

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A first look at the updated dog room doorway design.

Front and back views of the new cat cottage.

Drywall going up in in the cat cottage!

Thank you all so much for your help and support of this project!  We couldn’t be more excited!

Rosie’s Recovery

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You would think that anyone who saw this face would fall instantly in love with Rosie, but there was a time when she was treated with very little love.

Rosie came to us from the Manchester Animal Control.  She had been brought to Bolton Vet neglected and malnourished.  She weighed only 17 pounds and was unresponsive.  They worked hard to keep her alive, though it was not always assured that they would succeed.  But she made it through and, once she was stable, needed a place to complete her recovery.  So, she came to the Our Companions Sanctuary, where we could slowly help her build back her weight and her strength, and assess any behavioral problems her ordeal may have caused.

 

 

It’s a testament to a dog’s resilience and capacity for love, however, that Rosie’s emotional scars were few.  She was a resource guarder, and couldn’t live with another dog or cat, but with people, she was nothing but affectionate.  She loved attention, love to hug and kiss, and made quick friends with everyone.  And she surprised us all by being one of the few dogs we’ve had here who was happy and well mannered with all ages of children.

As Rosie’s body recovered and grew up to an appropriate 45 pounds, we nurtured her mind and spirit as well.  She went to training classes and out on field trips to local state parks.  And she worked with at-risk youth as part of our Buddy Project.  She became a volunteer favorite, at least when she wasn’t untying your shoelaces or trying to sneak a treat from you.

And, as often happens here, it was just a matter of time before the perfect family for Rosie walked through our doors.  They had no other pets, which worked great for Rosie.  However, they did have two toddlers, which would have usually meant that we would not have a dog for them.  But Rosie’s love of little kids made her a perfect match for them.

Rosie now lives in a loving home with a family who will make sure she never knows the kind of hardship she previously experienced again.  And in return, she’ll give them no end of fun, laughter, and adorable, soft-eyed head tilts.

Congratulations, Rosie!

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It’s all coming together now!

Here’s our latest update on the construction here at the Sanctuary.  The new buildings are really coming together now!

 

We’ll start with an updated wide view of the Sanctuary:070417a

Check out this gorgeous cat building.  The catios are really taking shape!  The doors have all been installed and include kitty doors for access to the outside playscapes.  Inside, you can really start to see how the place will be set up.  Most of the infrastructure is in place and we’ll have walls up in no time.

And, of course, there’s also the two new dog cottages.  They are also moving right along.  We can already see some pups snuggling on couches and barking for their dinners.

We’re looking forward to sending more updates of this exciting project soon!

Thank you for your support!

The Big Build!

It’s time to check in once again on the progress of our next phase of construction, this time with your adorable canine guide, Lucy!

 

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Lucy is keeping a close eye on the progress.
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The new cat cottage is taking shape!
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Just imagine a room full of happy kitties.
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Look at all those catios!
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Dog Cottage #6 is nearing completion.
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Rear view of Dog Cottage #6.
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Hard at work on Dog Cottage #5!
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Taking a “big picture” view!