Just A Click Away – June Sanctuary Update

Hi Everyone!

It’s looking to be a busy summer here at the sanctuary. We’ve got construction starting, and we’re working through some staff adjustments in preparation for expanded operations. But all the big projects are no reason slack off on helping our dogs and cats make progress with their health and behavior. Our latest big effort, with both the dogs and the cats, is clicker training. Clicker training is a process of using unique sounds to mark when a learner (the dog or cat), has done the requested action and is going to get a reward. It helps the communication between the species be clear and precise, and thereby give everyone involved greater understanding and more confidence. And while many people think about clicker training in connection with performing tricks, which it can be very effective for, it actually can be used for a wide range of positive behaviors, even something as basic as learning how to play properly. Let me show you what we’re working on.

With the appearance of warm summer weather, the dog team was able to start up one of our great group dog classes on the lawn. Some of the staff and volunteers gather together a bunch of the dogs every week, even a few that can be difficult around other dogs, and work on their focus, confidence, comfort, and connection with their humans. Our dog behavior expert, Allisia, has been working with the team over the past few weeks to fine tune their clicker skills, which has supercharged their communication with the dogs. It’s been lots of fun, and the dogs have made some great progress. Just another way to give the dogs our very best during their time at the sanctuary.

Staffer Jen teaches Scout the reward of coming to his name!
Staff members Courtney P and Marissa along with volunteer Alayna bring Khloe to a quieter spot for training!
Staff member Courtney S leads Cole from dot to dot with a special chicken reward!
Intern Caleb and Staffers Krystal and Toni reward Willow for amazing eye contact!

Clicker training for cats??? Absolutely!! Our cat team has been putting in tons of time and effort working with various sanctuary cats to help teach them a range of skills. And it’s not just about circus tricks. Being able to clearly communicate to a cat the behavior we’re looking for and reward them for it can help with all kinds of issues. We’ve been using the clicker to help teach Captain Crunch that playing with toys is preferable to playing with our ankles and get Linus more comfortable accepting petting. It’s a magical thing to watch!

Ren is learning to go through a hoop!
Linus is learning sit!
Captain Crunch is learning target training!

Simon Says

Hi Everyone!

This is quite a place you’ve got here! I’m very impressed! Let me just start by saying thank you for the incredibly warm welcome you’ve given me. You know, it’s not that long ago that a cat like me would have earned a very different reaction upon finding himself homeless. Middle-aged, black, FIV+, and worst of all, Felv+. My prospects would have been pretty grim several years ago. But thanks to places like this and people like you all over the country and the world, significant progress has been made in the science and protocols for caring for cats like me. I’m so grateful for this chance to grow and thrive and, someday, find that perfect forever home. All of the snuggles and play time has been great! And I’m looking forward to this clicker training stuff I’ve been hearing about.  



And of Course…Adoptions!!

We definitely had some big adoption fun in June. Dynamic duo Orville and Wilbur went to their forever home, but it was an even swap when two new black cats, Simon and Quentin were welcomed in. We also had a new little angel, Elsie, find her way to us. With the dogs, one big ball of fun, Khloe, went home, and an even bigger ball of fun, Champion, joined the crew.  

Thank you all so much for whatever way you support us and our mission. We couldn’t do it without you.

Jon Phillips

Sanctuary Director