Make Sure You Are Sitting For This One!

Our Companions is well known for creating a better environment for shelter animals by trying innovative ways to house them so that they are less stressed and improving/learning as they await their forever home. Our adoption process has followed in these footsteps as well by slowly integrating our shy/scared dogs into their new homes. Our amazing adopters start this unique process with the dog by bringing them home for that afternoon to get them comfortable. This process graduates to overnight trips and weekend excursions. This helps these dogs settle into their new life at an appropriate pace and helps the adopters to see how their new family member will react to a new lifestyle (videogames, hair dryers, neighbors, etc). We’ve been working with some amazing adopters over the past few months who have put in a ton of effort and patience to win over Lucy – and it worked! Lucy, who has been at the Sanctuary for 4.5 years, will be going home next week!! Sit back and enjoy one of their recent sleepover recaps and know that Lucy is one lucky pup!

Lucy was a pro in her crate last night and today. After her walk Wednesday afternoon, I put Lucy in her crate and walked to the mail box and back (very slowly) that was a 20 min trial run. She acted like nothing and I did what Marie said, just let her out didn’t make a hullabaloo about letting her out. She was absolutely fine.

The moment we have all been waiting for arrived last night when Dan got home. Apparently, Lucy had never seen Dan in his suit and tie before. When he got home it was about 6:30/6:45. Lucy and I were in the room upstairs reading so everything was quiet. When she heard the front door open and she heard footsteps coming into the house (she couldn’t see who it was from that angle in her spot on the couch), Lucy barked and growled at the closed bedroom door..

When Dan came into the room she wasn’t sure about his suit. So he sat on the couch and ignored her barking. But he threw some of her special bakery treats (pumpkin, peanut butter, & egg from a Dog bakery in Wallingford) and she settled down and ate the ones farthest from him and then made her way towards him and eventually ate them out of his hand. She would not, however, sit next to him on the couch until he changed.

At around 8PM, we went to dinner at the wooden spoon and Lucy stayed in her crate for about an hour alone. Again, no incidents, acted totally normal when we got back. Hopped right into her spot when we let her out.

Then we watched some SVU as a family

Lucy watching SVU

and went to bed. Lucy slept between us but cuddled with Dan mostly. I was supper jealous, but I’ll take it. 🙂

Lucy Sleeping

Since October is Pitbull Awareness month, Lucy took a photo with her Abigail the Pitbull flower

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Her walk with Dan this morning went off without a hitch. She cons him into taking her deep in the woods so she can do her business. He enjoys every second of her affection and their adventures alone. I try to give them space to bond and she is so good about leaving the house without me now! Her meals went off seamlessly.

I let her out again before I went to class at around 11:30AM. And she was in her crate until about 2:45PM. Then she got another walk (30 mins) and I dropped her off at the sanctuary around 3:30.

I just had to console Dan that she wasn’t going to be here when he got home. The house feels so empty without her now. We can’t wait to put her on our Christmas card this year as she already feels like a part of the family!

Lucy, in her very own Christmas card! No need to share the spotlight this year! We are so happy for her!

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.

Say “AH-CHOO!!”

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Brody Riding HOME!

 

Brody is home and settling in with his new family, a family that includes most dogs’ coveted dream, a boy to call his own! Before going any further and gushing about how much he is loved and spoiled let’s take a stroll down Memory Brody lane. Brody, a purebred southern mutt, seems to be an adorable mix of Chow, hound, etc. You name it, he’s got it! Brody came to live at the Sanctuary in June of 2016 from a home that found they were unable to keep him. Being a dog that Our Companions originally helped place in 2010 we honored our commitment to take him back but thankfully this time we had a Sanctuary to support him! It’s always a hard transition for any dog that walks through our doors, especially one that knew the comfort of a real home, but we did what we do best and dedicated lots of time, love and delicious food to this sweet boy and allowed him to shine! During his year at the Sanctuary his gentle demeanor and lovable personality won him lots of friends but it was his signature “AH-CHOO” trick that made both visitors and volunteers alike, giggle uncontrollably! Brody was a pro at showing of his trick and happily accepted its reward of a cookie or chin scratch! While being such an easy going boy he did have some quirks that scared him, loud sudden noises such as one would hear from an oversized/rattling truck caused him distress but we were able to comfort him and work with him to gain further confidence in himself and his handlers. While Brody thrived at the Sanctuary it was obvious that he needed more. As with most dogs, the Sanctuary is meant as a respite, a temporary spot to stay until something better comes along and we are so happy to share with you that it was Brody’s time to move on to bigger and better! He currently lives with a boy that is beyond excited to have a new family member, in a house that welcomes him with open arms and a back yard to chase all the squirrels that his heart desires! It seems hard to think of a better place for Brody to live! We wish him heaps and mounds of well wishes, snuggles and all the treats that one could ever eat!

Brody, congrats on finding your family!

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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Summertime is feline fine…

…especially for cat sanctuary resident Archer.

Archer 041817d.JPG    Incredibly handsome he’s a confident, curious and social guy with an easygoing personality-  making him an ideal candidate for a leisurely harness stroll on a beautiful sunny day.

Calling it a stroll may have been just a little bit of a reach- but a cat sure knows how to relax and enjoy each moment of his day.

Archer 041817g.JPG and honestly we can’t let the dogs have all the fun around here!

Closing in on summer also means that the flowers    .  . . . . .

and feral colonies are in full bloom.

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And we’ve picked some irresistibly cute kittens to brighten up the inside of our cat cottage:

First there’s our adorable little boy band: JC, Joey, Chris, Lance and Justin – that can barely take time out from playing for some photos.

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And to round out our rough and tumble boys -we have our little angels:  Jaclyn, Farrah and Kate.  Did someone say photo shoot?

Of course when they’re not posing -they can be a rough as those little boys!

And not always as graceful as our little angels should be:

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Unless of course they are sleeping – then they are always little angels.

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wait -did someone say photo shoot again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of looks back at some of our previous guests.

-an update on a kitten rescued by our own OC staff that was found with a badly injured leg that  later had to be amputated.Lumi 121216a

Little Lumi was so nervous when he first arrived.

But soon he grew comfortable, confident and made quite a few friends

still he just  wished for a home of his own:

His prayers were quickly answered when a family that adopted Emery from the Sanctuary came looking for a feline friend to keep him company.emery 110216

Visual problems for Emery made it a little difficult for him to “fit in” and make friends with other cats at the Sanctuary.

But Lumi was happy to have Emery as his new Besty and the two became fast, inseparable friends.  WARNING – this video may be too graphic for some!

 

**A quick footnote on Lumi & Emery – mom & dad shared their story on the blog with them and they wanted to send along a thank you to us-   for us, a happy kitty is the best thank you ever!**

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Another update on Maise -a pregnant kitty that sadly lost her litter of kittens in utero but still kept her great personality-

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A sweet confident kitty that was happy to teach her new canine sibling a little respect in her new  home.

– Maise wants the bigger more comfortable bed

– then that’s what Maise gets! Maisie

Cats and Dogs

Always good to get it straight who’s boss right from the beginning.

 

Until next time–justin 060317d

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Justin 060317e

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Happy dreams….

 

 

 

Looking back and moving forward

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!!

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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! 

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Fondly remembering our kitties that were extra special:

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Mason:

….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

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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:

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….

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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.

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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.

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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

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Hello 2017!

 

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GOODBYE 2016!!!

 

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.

 

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Is that you, 2017?? WELCOME!!!

 

 

 

Naughty or Nice?

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….

 

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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.

 

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Yes Santa, I have been so sweet and nice!  please fill my stocking with lots of special goodies.

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Did you hear what I said – I was being nice ….so stop looking at me like that!

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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 –

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That counts as being good ………right?

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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.

 

'Cats Hug' by Toru Sanogawa: "What greater gift than the love of a cat? Yes indeed! Who can argue with that?!":

Unemployed No More

jessie-090216bWhat, 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.

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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 jessie-041916aworking 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.”

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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, thjessie-071216aere 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.

 

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