Changing Seasons – September Sanctuary Update

Hi Everyone!
And just like that, summer is gone and autumn is here. It’s amazing how this year has seemed to simultaneously move super fast and super slow at the same time. Looking back at where things were for us at the sanctuary at the beginning of the summer, it’s inspiring to see how much has been accomplished. And looking ahead at the possible challenges of the fall and winter, it’s great to know how much support we have behind us. I’d like to take a look back at an action packed summer for the cats, the dogs, and grounds keeping at the sanctuary.

This spring and summer was filled with action for the dog team. As you know, we hired on a few new staff members. Katie, Kaitlyn, Alyssa, Danielle, and Courtney have all made a huge contribution already, as they’ve worked hard all summer to learn our operations and hone their dog skills. Especially during the initial shutdown, it was so helpful to have a crew eager to go above and beyond for the care of the dogs. And while lots of staff was moving in, lots of dogs were moving out. We had some wonderful adoptions this summer, including three leggers, Dobby and Vinny, Waffles and Roxi, whose medical issues will likely mean special care for the rest of their lives, and our matriarch Kahlua. On top of all of that, we were able to find creative ways to keep the training and class work going for the dogs and the staff to be the best they can be. And most importantly, we are nearly back up to pre-pandemic levels of volunteer turnout!
We’ve had some great accomplishments this summer, and we have lots ahead of us this fall and winter. Gifford has brought some new medical challenges our way. We’ll be looking at a good bit of training and class work with new arrivals, Whiskey, Ari, and Missy. And we’ll be keeping up the innovation to keep our volunteers front and center, even as the weather gets less hospitable. The unique challenges and opportunities of this year are certainly not over yet, but we look forward to seeing them through with you all.

We have many of the same celebrations happening on the cat team. Kelsie, Courtney (yes, she works both dogs and cats!), and Victoria have joined the team and kept everything moving forward for us. The list of recent cat adoptions is too many to count, but I’d like to highlight a few special cases. Cats with behavioral challenges, like Bonkers and Calvin, cats with major medical concerns, like Ralph and Sophie, seniors, like Mr. Babs and Itty Bitty, and cats who were just here for a longer stay, like April, all found their forever homes this spring and summer. The cat team also had a big accomplishment with the successful implementation of using Serenity Play Yard for cat enrichment. And of course, everyone’s favorite summer event…KITTENS!
We’ve been able to achieve quite a bit this season, even through the adversity all around, and we’re looking forward to maintaining that trend through the adversity ahead. We have new cat challenges, like feisty escape artist Captain Crunch, as well as our continued work with Gator and Lorraina. As well, we’ll be needing to address the challenges of the confined work environment in the cat cottages, especially with the coming of flu season. But we look forward to working through these challenges with your steadfast and always optimistic support.

While most of the messages you see coming out focus on the dog and cat operations, I always like to take time at the end of the summer to recognize the contributions of the yard care team. Without them, everything we try to do with the dogs and cats would be so much more difficult, if not impossible. And after all, I know one of my favorite parts of coming in each day is seeing all the beautiful flowers and plants, and enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass.
This was a tough year for yard care. The usual parade of student and community groups that usually come to help had totally disappeared, and even a few of our dependable regulars were out of the mix with health concerns. Luckily, we had the addition of Tom, our new Facilities Caretaker, to keep things moving forward. Our goals were modest this year, compared to previous years, but we managed to fill in some more shrubs and a tree behind the catio at Jane’s Place, and do some much needed cleaning up of the shrubs on the side and behind Sebastian House. The yard care team also gave some special attention to cleaning up the various trees along the front of the property, and are currently cleaning up the trees along the berm on our side border. And I don’t think the fields and yards have ever looked better than they did this year. I’d like to give a shout out to volunteers like Jim and Chris, Cecily, Katie, Michele, Ray, Tim and Will, Jeff, and Maryanne for all of their help this year!

And of Course…Adoptions!!
September was another fast moving month for the cats. Everyone’s favorite mischief maker, Ralph, finally found a family to lovingly bother and harass forever, and Tux, Patrick, and Sophie went home as well. Arriving to the cats this month were Lydia, Magic, Captain Crunch, and Wavy Gravy. We also had to say a sad farewell to Mikey this month. He was a such a trooper, and will be very missed.
And for the dogs, after a two year stay filled with all kinds of medical and training challenges, Roxi found a home to call her own.