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.

A special thanks to our giving volunteers

veronica042815cJust recently, a life experience had me thinking about our generous volunteers.  Every day they visit our resident cats, giving their time and energy,  bringing smiles and comfort.

I’m pretty sure from time to time they might even wonder if what they are doing matters and if it really makes any difference to our cats.

That question I  will address shortly,  but first, here’s my story:

As stories often go – my day started out pretty much like any other:  too many things to do and never enough time to do it in.

On this particular day, my son had been sick and out of school for several days.  So, after work, it was a visit to the pediatrician for what we thought would be a quick diagnosis of the stomach flu.  After nearly an hour and a half in the office we were eager to get out of there and on our way home.  Our doctor however, had other thoughts and plans for us.  So, instead of heading home we were on our way to the local Emergency Room for something that turned out to be a little more serious.

Several hours, numerous questions, prodding and tests later, we discovered that  our next stop would be up to the OR.

We never did make it back home that night – and my son didn’t make it home for the next five nights.  Fortunately, he was lucky to have us by his side during this time.  Without us he would have felt alone,  and even more frightened- a tough situation for anyone, even an adult to be in.

Over those six long days, he had a lot of “visitors” from different departments.  Some brought treats (most of the time he wasn’t feeling up for), some brought activities, while others just came to sit and talk or play games to occupy the time.

Initially the visits felt too often, overwhelming and almost irritating.  Over time, however, he came to look forward to these visits and the smiles and comforting words and feelings they brought.

This is the the point where my mind drifts back, as it usually does, to our cats at the Sanctuary. They  come to us in a similar situation: scared, lonely, not feeling well, often with very few possessions of their own to comfort them.  At times they are subjected to stressful vet visits beforehand where they are poked and prodded, often given vaccinations and blood tests and sometimes even surgery.

Just as with my son I am sure they initially just want to be left alone, wishing everyone would just go away.  But I do know in time, that all changes.  Slowly, they get used to their daily rounds of visitors – some who just want to sit and comfort, some who offer treats and still others who are happy to offer play.  Eventually we begin to see changes in our cats behavior.   We notice how they come to  look forward to their special daily visits-and how they “perk up” when visitors arrive.

So, for me, answering the question of whether volunteers make a difference: There’s no question in my mind – and that answer is clearly YES.

And if you don’t just want to take my word for it – take a look at this recent study below:

In The Name Of Science, Here’s Why You Should Spend More Time Cuddling Cats

So here’s a big thank you to all of our volunteers – who give their time and love.

And make our lives so much happier.

Lots of Love,

The kitties

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Adoption Updates

Hi Everyone!

cookie082915hI don’t know if you remember me but my name is Cookie.  Several months ago I gave birth to three beautiful kittens affectionately referred to as my “crumbs”. They were all adopted to wonderful homes on July 3rd, and, by now I’d bet that you are wondering how they are doing.

Well, let’s just say that I couldn’t be a  prouder mom.  The reviews are coming in and I can thankfully say they are happy well-adjusted kittens that are so loved by their new families. (of course I never doubted that they would turn out that way).

Just take a look at their photos and I think you’ll agree with me.