A Tribute to Ortega

Our Companions heard about Ortega after his owner had to move to an assisted living facility and unfortunately couldn’t bring Ortega with him. At 12 years old, Ortega was diabetic and it seemed that his insulin wasn’t being administered consistently. He also had a number of other ailments, like kidney and heart disease, which would require ongoing medical care and monitoring. Given his age, health condition, and no where else to go, Ortega was welcomed to our Sanctuary to receive the care and love he needed.

Despite having a complex medical condition, you would never assume he was ill at all by the way he acted around people! He instantly settled into the Sanctuary and would adore any of his visitors with plenty of meows and purrs! He would politely ask for pets and just simply loved being by your side, soaking up every last bit of attention! He would return the love by giving his friends lots of licks and kisses! You would often catch him sticking his tongue out, feeling so content and happy to have his friends with him! Ortega had long fluffy fur and huge paws that looked like clouds! He loved being brushed and told how handsome he was, of course purring the entire time you were with him.

The only thing that Ortega loved more than pets was snacks! Usually gentle and passive, Ortega would hop off the couch and run to the door so fast just to see if anyone passing by would be bringing him a tasty treat! He would even be purring just in anticipation of the yummy snack! Ortega was one happy little guy with us and with his diabetes starting to get somewhat regulated, Ortega was up for adoption for someone that would love a cuddly senior!

Yet, after a short time of being available for adoption, Ortega’s health took a turn for the worse. He became extremely lethargic, incontinent, and had almost no appetite. His glucose levels were high and irregular and with all of his other health issues, it was difficult to determine what actually was happening. Every day it seemed like a roller coaster with Ortega’s condition. He would improve some days and other days he would get worse. He underwent a number of tests, vet visits, and treatment plans to help stabilize him. A glucose monitor was even implanted on him so that his glucose levels could be monitored via an app on staff’s phones to better understand what was going on. However, after two weeks of monitoring, there was little information it could provide given how sporadic the levels were. After all options were exhausted, the Cat Team feared the worse that this was finally Ortega’s time to go. However, Ortega started to gradually improve each day. He seemed to be finally stable and back to the old, lovable Ortega!

Given the severity of this episode, we were aware that something like this could happen again. His glucose levels continued to be all over the place, and another implanted monitor once again provided little information. Each day we were grateful to have Ortega to love and spend time with. He would soak up the sun from his window, nap on the couch and on the lap of friends, receive lots of yummy snacks and treats, and was showered with plenty of pets from his huge circle of friends. The team observed him closely every day to make sure he received the care he needed to have a happy, fulfilling life.

Ortega truly lived each day to the fullest, especially with the love and compassion of our staff and volunteers. He recently started to decline in health once again, this time much more rapidly than before. He had trouble moving and couldn’t even keep himself upright. He had no interest in all the things he once loved and we knew it was his way of telling us it was time to go. Ortega was a special soul that touched the hearts of everyone he met. You couldn’t help but smile at his boisterous meow wanting your love and attention. His little licks were an act of reciprocation; a thank you for the kindness he received at our Sanctuary. We’re so grateful to have given Ortega a last chapter full of friendship, adoration, and simple pleasures. He will always be with us in our hearts.

Just to show how many friends that loved Ortega dearly, below are just a few responses that we received when we announced his passing:

Wanted to share a collection of notes we got from the volunteers sharing their condolences about the passing  of our sweet Ortega. ❤️

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Thank you Jon.. I know Ortega got wonderful care and I absolutely loved him. I will miss him terribly. But I know he got excellent care at Our Companions and was a real treasure.

Sally D.

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Good afternoon,

We wanted to let you know how sorry we are to hear about Ortega’s passing. We feel very honored that we were able to get to know such a sweet, loving boy. Even when he wasn’t feeling his best, Ortega had licks and cuddles for his friends. He always made us feel special and loved. He will be greatly missed.❤️

We are grateful for the special care everyone at the sanctuary provided as well. Thank you for letting us take part in what you do!

Take care,

Dina and Loren

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 I can’t believe our handsome, gentle boy is gone. Ortega would climb his steps next to the couch to lay on my lap and lick my fingers as I petted him. He will be missed. I am glad that he had all the love and attention from all the staff and volunteers here at “Our Companions”. What a great organization, (O.C.), that treats all cats and dogs like family members.

Clyde

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There on Wednesday for socializing & Tuck in I tried spending as much time with Ortega brushed him, cheek and head pets, head butts N kisses.. as I was leaving, felt like it was not enough. Very sad to hear about Ortega, he will be missed.

Thank you Jon – Karen G.

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My heartfelt sympathies on the loss of Ortega. – Merrybeth L. (Opal’s kittens adopter)

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Hello Jon

Yes how very sad to hear about Ortega’s passing. He was always such a joy and comfort during my visits. I loved his rapt meow.

His days were full of love and big group of people that showed him the good side of us.

Thank you for your email, and keeping informed on all the kitties, doggies, and the sanctuary.

Silvia 🐾🐈🐾🐈⬛🐾🐕🦺🐾🦮🐾🐩🐾🐕💙💚

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Hello Jon and Lindsey-

Thank you for sharing.  This is sad news indeed.  I have to confess, he was my favorite.  He was such a luv ❤️.  Having had a cat with diabetes, I knew his struggles.

What a wonderful home he had with you, and the best care.

I hope to be back soon.

Take care.

Best Regards,

Lynn G.

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Thanks so much, Jon, for letting us know. What a sweetheart he was, always ready for a snuggle. We’ll miss him. 🙁 – Anabel and Mia

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He was such a sweet guy. That big purr! – Donna C.

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Hi Jon,

So sorry to hear of Ortega’s passing. He was a very sweet boy and an absolute pleasure to be around.

I shall miss him…

Dan

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May he RIP!  My condolences to all who loved and cared for him. -Paula F.

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Thank you for this email, despite it’s sad, sad message. God, I can’t believe the poor guy has left us. But, I should have known something was up when Lindsey and Sarah delivered an IV full of saline last Thursday. I figured he probably wasn’t long for this world. Yet, I had not anticipated this, now.

I am thankful to Clyde for the picture he took of me with Mr. Ortega just a short time ago. I am happy for all the time I had with him.

Kind regards,

Sherry S.

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Very sorry to hear this Jon. Ortega was very very loved ❤️  – Val

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I will really miss that sweet strong boy😭💞

He was such a fighter. – Mary F.

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Feeling heartbroken over Ortega😿.  He was such a fighter.  Glad I had a chance to spend time with him Tuesday night, brushing and cuddling with him.  I will miss this handsome boy.

Luanne

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Thank you for letting us know.

He was my buddy, my Remus Lupin (Harry Potter reference) and just the sweetest dude.

I’m in the UK for work and I hope I get back on time to go to whatever little memorial happens. You guys always usually do something.

Thanks for giving him the best care.

Xo

Allison

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So sorry to see this news.  He was such a sweetheart.

Carolann 

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So sorry to hear about our loving Ortega.  He was so sweet.  He loved our visits never failing to find our laps and give us his wet little kisses.  He was the one who persevered given all his challenges.  Ortega you will remain in our hearts. – Sheila

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Thanks for the email.  I didn’t know Ortega very well but sat with him a few times. He was a fighter, now in a better place.

Phil M.

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What sad news! I know everyone gave him the best life while he was with you. It’s so hard to let them go but it’s in their best interest to not let them suffer anymore. RIP

Lynne L.

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