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.
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!!
If you are a regular volunteer at Sebastian House, you already know who I am. But to everyone else – my name’s Dusty.
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!
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.
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….
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.
Yes Santa, I have been so sweet and nice! please fill my stocking with lots of special goodies.
Did you hear what I said – I was being nice ….so stop looking at me like that!
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 –
That counts as being good ………right?
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.
What, 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.
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 working 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.”
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, there 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.
This 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.
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 Program 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.
Early 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.
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
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
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
“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!
HI ‘YALL, MORELLO HERE. If you don’t already know me, I am a former resident of the Sanctuary – now, I am happy to say I have a wonderful home of my own.
Since I’ve found myself with a little more free time on my hands in my new home, I thought I would start up a little sideline business ….. interior decorating.
Now, I’m not one to flaunt my work, but I do think I’m pretty talented in helping others dress up their homes a little- and, if you would take a look at my new line of home furnishings, I think you’ll agree that it is some pretty impressive work!
First – there’s my luxurious line of plush floor coverings- so warm and fuzzy on the feet (Just think of how nice this will feel on your feet this winter)-
My colorful assortment of classic soft throws will fit superbly into any room..
And darling, do check out my throw pillows and covers. They are sure to jazz up any chair in your home!
I even have weather resistant line for outdoor chairs (the styles are stunning if I do say so myself)!
Most are self-cleaning… but of course they are hand washable if needed.
Ummmmm – Oooh dear!
Sorry! Oh goodness- All this talk of cleaning and I get this overwhelming urge to break out the tongue for my hourly spit bath.
Now where was I….
Oh yes -let’s talk window treatments.
I’m sure you would agree my window coverings are to die for! Shred those old tired out curtains and enhance your outdoor view with these amazing and beautiful pieces.
I’m so proud of my creations and I hope you are as excited as I am about this new line I have developed.
I’ve even started a new fall collection that I’d like to sneak preview right here for you- it’s heavy in black and oranges hues (some of my favorite fall colors)
If you still need convincing – and personally I don’t even know why you would, but, here are some of my products in actual customer homes:
On the left is a beauty from my Veronica line of throws- the coloring is so exquisite and something I am incredibly proud of. On the right is from my Mason line (its actually the throw on the left – I am not sure where the other piece is from but I have to admit it is pretty delectable too! The owners loved my piece so much they couldn’t stand the thought of even sitting on the couch – (the ultimate compliment in my opinion).
And some reviews from the community:
Love, Love Love those gorgeous throw pillows- That fluffy gray one in particular !
Ezz very nice but how bout vee see a vittle more, how you say? orange flair in jour regular collection, no?
(SIGH) There’s always a critic somewhere in the crowd!
So -this fall look around your home at your tired, empty couches, lifeless chairs and cold windowsills.
Just imagine one of my delicious pieces there to enhance, dress up, or just add some finishing touches to your home. You won’t be disappointed.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.