Hot Fun in the Summer Sun

Hi Everyone,

We’re hitting peak summer here at the sanctuary. The long, hot days and warm nights make for an exciting time of year. As you know, we do our best here to give the cats and dogs in our care the most normal and enjoyable life we can as they wait for their forever home. During this season, that means getting them the kind of the adventures and experiences they would get in the most loving homes. Here’s a little snapshot of the dogs and cats enjoying the best of what summer has to offer.

The world is full of exciting adventures in summer for the dogs at the sanctuary. It’s a cornerstone of our mission to give the dogs as much enrichment as possible during their stays. We of course have our two and a half miles of hiking trails here at the sanctuary that, at this time of year, are filled with active wildlife, from bunnies and deer to snakes and turtles. And then there’s our two play yards for lots of fun with fetch and with training exercises. But beyond what’s at the sanctuary, our volunteers will often take the dogs out to local state parks or other trips for a day’s excitement. This summer even included a boat ride for Atlas. These adventures are more than just simple fun. They’re an opportunity for the dogs to burn off the stress of daily life, and to experience new stimulus and learn new skills. All of this helps us to get to know the dogs as well as we can, in order to match them to just the right home, as well as work with their training needs to make sure they are the best dogs they can be for their new families.

Roxi takes a cool drink out of one of the doggie pools around the dog cottages.
Aggie enjoys nothing better than to take a field trip to one of the local wildlife areas and enjoy the peace and serenity they offer.
Meeka isn’t one for summer laziness. She’s out to learn some new tricks and show off what she can do.
Tripp enjoys taking trips to local state parks for an adventure with our volunteers.
Estie knows all the best ways to cool off in the summer. Nothing beats digging in the sandbox for chilling out (and getting good and dirty!)
Amber pulls off her best “Wish You Were Here” postcard pose by our very own sanctuary pond.

Of course, the dogs don’t get all of the summer fun to themselves. Our cats all have access to outdoor “catios” that provide them endless entertainment. The cats get so much enjoyment watching the birds, bugs, and butterflies. And what cat can resist bathing in the sunlight on a warm day? But it’s not all just about napping. Some of the cats, like Barnaby, are afforded the opportunity to put on a leash and harness and go for a stroll themselves.

Josie loves spend her days in a cat tree on her catio. It’s a great, low stress way to watch the world.
Hermes and Leela are enjoying some rays of sunshine on the front porch of Jane’s Place.
Carl has found a warm snuggly spot and just wants us to put down the camera and come enjoy it with him.

So now on to the comings and goings for the month of June.

The dog team at the sanctuary had no arrivals or departures during the month of June. This was not unexpected, given the wave of dogs adopted in April and the steady pace of new arrivals in May. But many of the canine crew have made great progress and are up for adoption and ready to go home. We’ll just be looking forward to that late summer bump in adoption activity we get most years.

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Amaretto and Praline
Finch, Chickadee, Hawk, and Robin
In the world of Our Companions cats, Daisy went home for good this month, as did Amaretto and Praline. And our new arrivals, as everyone has been so excited about, are the litter of kittens: Finch, Chickadee, Hawk, and Robin. As so often happens, this foursome arrived and were right back out the door to their forever home this month.
So once again, thank you all for all that you do for these dogs and cats in need. We couldn’t do it without you!

For Better or Worse, In Sickness and In Health

I hope you are all enjoying summer with your friends and family, especially the furry ones! Because, as we so often say, they are our family and our best friends. They take us as we are and are utterly committed to us, no matter what. And we do the same with them for them, for better or worse, in sickness and health. So I want to talk a little about some of commitments we’ve made to some of the lovely pets here in our care.

Atlas

If you haven’t met Atlas, just imagine if your favorite, most comforting stuffed animal toy as a child came to life and grew to 80 pounds, and you get close to what it’s like to be around Atlas. He’s a big guy with a big heart, gentle and simple. Unfortunately with Atlas, as we often see in the human world, those least deserving of trials and tribulations seem to get an extra share sometimes. Atlas’s story, as far back as we can trace it, begins with him being found stray in Florida in late 2016. At that point, he had already been through some hard times, as evidenced by the scarred and hairless spots on his back and side. But his gentle manner came through and an effort was made to get him out of the high kill shelter he was in and into a rescue up north. He was taken in to a rescue in Connecticut, where they started to address some of his health concerns, which included an infection in his elbow. After several months, Our Companions was approached as another home that might be better suited to finding Atlas his forever family. We immediately got to work on his health issues and his persistent elbow infection. We started treatments that, after some time, seemed to clear things up, but before the course was complete, he came down with anaplasmosis, a tick borne illness that can be very serious. He was in rough shape for a while, but with daily attention, we were able to get him back on his feet. Which, of course, is when his elbow infection returned. We worked him through that again, only to then find a growth on his neck that turned out to be a thyroid cancer. He went through surgery for that a few weeks ago, after which, the oncologist said there was no need for any further treatment, just monitoring the site for any return. Which brings us up to right now, and yet another recurrence of his elbow infection. He’ll be having another surgery in a few days that will hopefully fix up his elbow for good. It’s been a long road for everyone’s favorite giant teddy bear.

 

Tabby

Similarly, with the cats, we have a challenge of a different stripe by the name of Tabby. You’ll be seeing a big promotional push behind in the next couple of months, since Tabby has now been a resident here for almost four years. So what could earn a cat such a long tenure in our care? She’s been on a long journey to where she is today. Her nervous disposition reared its head in full force after coming to the sanctuary. She was no longer able to live with the people she knew her whole life, and as you can imagine that will make anyone upset. Arriving at the sanctuary, it was clear that she was not a confident cat. When she arrived in 2014, she spent most of her time hissing, trying to scratch and bite us, and obsessively over grooming. Many very brave volunteers “took the plunge” and spent time with her when she was ready for visitors, knowing full well that she was just very scared and confused. Gradually, and with abundant patience, staff and volunteers were able to inch their way closer on to her good side. Once Tabby realized that these humans could be just as pleasant as her old ones, she started to relax. Her mood improved through behavioral intervention and modifications to her room to calm her worried mind. Today, her core group of volunteers know that she’s just as sweet, lovable, and deserving of a good home as the rest of ’em. Since she has improved, there have been only a few incidents of her fearful aggression – a marked reduction from when she first got here! She loves to sit (or rather, stand) on our laps, and sleep next to us while giving us kisses. Currently, Tabby lives a quiet life in Jane’s Place, but, on our scale of Green, Yellow, and Red cats, is our only Red Cat. This makes it more of a challenge to get her the social time she needs, though the staff and our most experienced volunteers are always up for some Tabby snuggle time. Tabby has made immense progress here, but now it’s her time to move on to a home that can love her not in spite of her ups and downs, but because of them. A home that understands that this type of cat needs a second chance in life, and that even the cats with a troubled past can have hearts of gold. Her sensitive nature is going to make someone very happy when the right person comes along. They’ll know this cowardly lion is ready for a new start and a lap to call her own.

This is what we do at Our Companions. We take in the dogs and cats, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and we make a commitment to be there for them, in every way.

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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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!

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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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?!":

Hey…do you have a minute?

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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

Best,

Sophie

Supreme Tortie of Sebastian House

 

 

If I WERE KING

 

IF I WERE KING OF THE FOREST……….

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I’D COMMAND EACH THING BE IT FISH OR FOWL!

 

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- 

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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….

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TABBY!!  Shheesh!

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.

 

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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.

dillon 060116c  …….. 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.

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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 .

 

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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.

 

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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.

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(click on music to play and check out more images of tabby and dillon below)

 

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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.

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