Goodbyes are tough. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances, or how happy the event might be, losing a piece of your world is hard. We’re social creatures. It’s how we’re built. We are designed to stick together.
But when you work or volunteer at the sanctuary long enough, you learn how to process goodbyes. It’s never easier, but you learn how to handle it. And we have lots of different types of goodbye here. We, of course, have the happy goodbye of when one of the dogs and cats in our care goes to their forever home. That’s everyone’s favorite. But then, unfortunately, there’s the sad goodbye of when one of the pets here passes away, which is always hard to stomach. And then, there’s the bittersweet goodbyes of when one of our staff moves on to something bigger and better, leaving smiles, but also an empty space that never quite gets filled the same way. For this month’s update, I want to talk a little about saying goodbye at the sanctuary.
We may not adopt out tons of dogs and cats here at the Our Companions Sanctuary, but when do, they mean alot. Dogs like Johnny or Dobby, or cats like Lorraina or Fritz, go to caring homes in spite of major medical concerns. Or pets with behavioral challenges, like Tabby or Roxi, find people to love them just as they are. It’s the highlight of the work we do. But when these dogs and cats, especially the challenging ones, stay here for months or even years, they become a part of your life. You’re happy they’ve gone home, but they do leave a little hole to fill. We’ve learned here that, when a dog or cat goes home, it’s important to take a look back at the time they’ve spent in our lives, but then it’s time to look ahead at the next dog or cat that needs or help. The work always goes on, and each pet that comes and goes builds the heart of the sanctuary a little stronger.
While adoptions are a happy goodbye, it’s hard to find the silver lining when a sanctuary pet passes away. While we all know it’s a part of the work, and it’s a big part of our mission to take in pets with serious medical concerns, we all put our best effort into beating the odds, and giving the dogs and cats the happiest and healthiest lives we can for as long as we can. That effort is built on love, and when it suddenly has no where to go anymore, it can leave a big void. But that’s when we know to rely on each other, the staff and volunteers, to support each other and know that we earned that pet the best end we could get, in that circumstance. We lost our dear Charlie in September. It was a difficult time for everyone who knew him, but we know that he passed in peace and surrounded by love.
Then, of course, there’s the humans that we have to say goodbye to. Whether it’s Ariana heading north to start her family, Maddie heading to Boston to start her career, Rosemary leaving for vet school, or any number of other departures, we always miss those who have made their mark as the sanctuary grew and who helped make it what it is today. When these transitions happen, we take heart knowing that the mission and the magic of the Our Companions Sanctuary will travel with them and spread wherever they go. We also look forward to the new faces we’ll be able to bring on board and include in this vision of animal care. This month, Mary retired. Mary has been a part of Our Companions as a volunteer and then staff for the past 4 years. She has been a beacon of positivity through several stages of growth, adjustment, and re-adjustment. Everyone at the sanctuary, two legged or four legged, will miss her.
Ripley’s Corner Office
Well this month’s message is a bit of downer, huh? Looks like I’ll be needing to be extra cute and uplifting for Jon while he’s working in my office. I, however, am not going to talk about goodbyes. I’m going to talk about “so long for now.” With the dedication of the volunteers at the sanctuary, even when one person heads out after some snuggle or play time, I know I’ll see them again soon. Having you humans sharing so much of your life and your time with us, patiently building a trusting relationship visit after visit, means so much to all the cats and dogs here. I know it’s alot to fit into your busy lives, but those frequent visits are such a foundational part of our recovery. So, instead of goodbye, I’ll say so long, and see you soon!
And of Course…Adoptions!!
September had the odd occurrence of not seeing any cats come in or go home. However, there are adoptions in the works, so stay tuned for some happy announcements. On the dog side, our big marshmallow, Sea, went to his forever home, making room to bring in super senior Daisy for some medical work on her journey to a new home.
Thank you all so much for whatever way you support us and our mission. We couldn’t do it without you.