Saying goodbye to Cheetah and Vivian

We are so lucky at the sanctuary to be able to see so many cats and dogs find their forever home. Those are the best kinds of goodbyes. Though sometimes, we have to say goodbye to animals who never find their forever home. Some animals come to us toward the end of their life. Some develop health problems like cancer while in our care. The cat team at Our Companions recently lost two of their feline guests and would like to share their stories with you all.
Vivian came to us pretty much as a hospice case. She was found as a stray – with severely matted fur, extremely thin, and in the advanced stages of kidney failure. She also happened to be declawed, which is a brutal and unnecessary procedure that removes part of the cat’s knuckle. With such limited defenses, it was a miracle she survived as long as she did outside.  After a quick hair cut and vet assessment, she came to the sanctuary for some peace and comfort in her golden years. This sweet girl loved every human that came her way, despite having been neglected for so long. She would trot around the room, meowing politely for attention. She was too weak to jump up on the furniture, so our dedicated volunteers spent a lot of their time sitting, or even laying, on the floor so she could snuggle up in their laps! Eventually, with more food in her belly and visits from the physical therapist, she gained enough strength to jump up on chairs, counters, and even window perches. We knew that her quality of life was improving, even if we weren’t sure just exactly how long she’d be with us. She made up for a lifetime of loneliness in all the snuggles she received while here.


Cheetah had a different path. She was living with three other cats before her owner could no longer keep them due to illness. All three got adopted, but Cheetah was the last woman standing and came to the sanctuary. At the time, her only issue was a thyroid condition that was treated with medication. She had that classic “tortietude” – she was a sassy diva who loved attention, but only on her terms. One of her favorite hobbies was to sit behind your head on the couch and give you headbutts from behind. When people came to the sanctuary, she was the first to trot to the door to welcome people in. Unfortunately people seemed to overlook her for adoption – she was older, had a slightly ornery streak, and with minor health problems. Others came and went while she waited for her forever family. In the past several months, she was having issues with eating and digestion. In collaboration with the vet, we tried many different solutions, but no official diagnosis seemed to stick. It wasn’t until she developed a nasal tumor that we realized she had lymphoma. After being at the sanctuary for a year and a half, she had so many friends who all came to say goodbye. She had found her forever family with all of us.


Our Companions promises to do the right thing for animals, no matter the challenge or cost. This promise extends to the most vulnerable animals, whether they come to us as hospice cases or their health takes a turn for the worse while they are here. The sanctuary truly becomes their refuge in a world that might turn them away.
We had a small gathering for them at Harakley’s Pond on our property. Many volunteers and staff members came together to share their favorite memories of Vivian and Cheetah, to shed some tears together, and to spread their ashes in a tranquil resting place. Thank you to all of those who attended and who dedicated their time to these deserving girls.

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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.

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!

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!

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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Happy dreams….

 

 

 

The Start of Something Big!

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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.

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A new shed for our yard care equipment.
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Let’s move some dirt!
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Building the foundation for a new dog cottage.
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Putting an addition on the garage for food storage.  We’re going to have alot more mouths to feed!
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The foundation for a new cat cottage.  Check out all those catio spaces!