Snow Angels

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!

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Lucy taking a break with her snow angel
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Hera on Watch Out Point

 

 

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Beautiful Sunrise!

 

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.

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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!!!

 

 

 

Thank You Fall 2016 Interns

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!!

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A Visit from Troop 10816

Hi there,
If you are a regular volunteer at Sebastian House, you already know who I am. But to everyone else – my name’s Dusty.

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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!

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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.

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Can cats join the Girl Scouts?

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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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The Rocket Has Landed

Tkaylee-2his 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.  kaylee-6kaylee-072216a

 

 

 

 

 

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 kaylee-040116bProgram 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.kaylee-052016d

kaylee-021316aEarly 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.  kaylee-home

10 reasons to fall in love with Dillon

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

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How about I stay here and you stay there.

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

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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 

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“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!