Henry & Katharine K. McLane Leadership Society Reception

On May 20th we held the Henry & Katharine K. McLane Leadership Society Reception and Sanctuary Celebration at our Ashford Sanctuary for the first time! It was an extra special event to debut our three new animal cottages for the first time to our generous donors who helped to make it all happen! Of course, every day before and after the event was sunny skies while the 20th brought us lots of rain and wind! Despite the downpour, over 100 people attended and we couldn’t have been more grateful!

Our dedicated team did a wonderful job in preparing the Sanctuary for our guests even with our last minute pivot to accommodate the rain. The Pavilion was adorned with pictures of our current Sanctuary guests, we set up extra tents for people to mingle and eat, and even some of our Sanctuary guests came by to say hi to everyone! Our adorable diabetic pug, Arya, stopped by to strut her stuff and our extra friendly friend Champion stopped by the Pavilion for pets! Our Sanctuary Director, Jon, talked about some of our cat cases – they certainly would not appreciate a walk in the rain! Jon talked about the cats we welcomed to our Sanctuary from a 200+ cat hoarding case and all the success Wallace and Totti have made with socialization and gaining the confidence they need to thrive!

We had an enrichment table set up to show some of the fun ways we integrate mental stimulation and foraging for both our cats and dogs- which was a huge hit! We also heard speeches from some of our incredible donors who helped make our cottages come to life, including one family traveling all the way from Idaho to see the big reveal of our small animal cottage, Suzanne’s place! We were honored to also have Connecticut artist, Danielle Mailer, at the event. Valerie Friedman commissioned the beautiful art sculptures Danielle created that greet every guest as they pull in to the Sanctuary.

Our team also orchestrated tours of our three new cottages. The new cottages not only address the trends we are seeing in the animal industry, like the increase in under-socialized cats and dogs with special medical needs, but they also allow us to expand our reach with the animals and people we help and support. 

Some new highlights for each cottage: Suzanne’s Place is our first ever small animal cottage! We will be able to help a variety of small mammal pets like rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and ferrets! This cottage has a completely new design with an educational room in the center so we can now engage our youngest volunteers and community members in animal welfare! We even designed a “bunny-o”, similar to our “cat-ios”, it is a fully enclosed outdoor area for our staff and volunteers to bring the rabbits outside in a safe, controlled environment! Our ferret area was also a brand new design created to keep the ferrets separated from the other small animal areas.

Minnie’s Mews is our new cat cottage that will focus on under-socialized cats. It is a similar design to Jane’s Place except now we have a few larger rooms to help transition shy, nervous, or semi feral cats. This will allow staff to feed and clean their rooms while giving them extra space to hide while they get used to new sights, sounds, and smells! And of course, Minnie’s Mews is also equip with outdoor “catios” and dorm-style living!

Twilight House is our fifth and largest canine cottage with a twist! It has all the essentials like fenced-in yards and private dog rooms, but now we have an extended physical therapy and wellness wing! Twilight House will specialize in older dogs who are faced with physical challenges such as poor mobility, joint pain/arthritis, and advanced stages of other illnesses. There will be plenty of space to provide several healing modalities like cold laser, PEMF and a water treadmill to provide warm aqua therapy to dogs working on regaining mobility – without severely impacting their joints.

Being able to debut the new cottages is a huge moment for Our Companions as they will allow us to expand our reach and help more animals, and engage more people, than ever before! A huge thank you again to everyone’s hard work, dedication, and support of our mission to do what’s right for animals in need. Plus, they say rain on your wedding day is good luck so the weather on the day of our big event may have been just right!