The Pathway Home – June Sanctuary Update
The most eye catching and momentous development at the sanctuary this month is, of course, the paving of our driveways and parking lots at long last. This has been a dream of many here for a long time, not just for the convenience of it, but for many reasons of safety, efficiency, and professionalism. Any of you who visit regularly know how hazardous our dirt driveways were in the winter as they held on to ice patches for days and even hid icy spots from being easily visible. Even in warmer weather, I myself have turned my ankle on a loose rock a couple of times over the years. And while she likely wishes to forget it, I always remember the time Sara’s car got stuck in the water-logged gravel by the lower level of Sebastian House. All these pitfalls can now be put in the past.
On top of that, the maintenance of the dirt driveway was always a challenge. Every spring, piles of dirt and gravel from the winter plowing had to be cleared from the grass and replaced into the driveway. Rain would often cut ruts that needed to be filled in. And grass and weeds would slowly take over less traveled areas and need to removed. And the place just looks more professional and ordered now, and it is very gratifying every time we can help the sanctuary look as polished and high quality as our everyday care of the sanctuary guests really is.
So, being the big fan of poetic metaphors that I am, I couldn’t help thinking of the paving of the driveway as a representation of the work we put into paving the way to a forever home for our dogs and cats. The planning, the funding, the preparation, the execution, and the finishing touches all speak to the way we approach getting these special creatures ready for a safe and loving home life, no matter how long it takes.
The road home can be very different from one pet to the next. Sometimes it can be bumpy, or with lots of twists and turns. Sometimes, it might be a steady, long, uphill climb. No matter what the path ahead, we’re ready to walk it with the cats and dogs in our care.
One of our recent adoptees, Cole, had quite the journey. Cole arrived in 2018 from a pound where he was taken in as a stray. He was a big sweet boy, and the road ahead for him seemed smooth and straight at first. But then the twists and turns came. Once out of the kennel at the pound and settled in to our home-like environment, it was clear that Cole was quite unfamiliar with what acceptable home behavior looked like. There was the shredding of couch cushions, the throwing around of food and water bowls, and the humping. Oh so much humping! And it often passed from simple humping to the tearing of shirt sleeves and tails. Luckily, with my extensive supply of blue plaid flannels, my sacrifice of a few of them to Cole’s progress was no big deal.
For a while, Cole’s path was pretty bumpy. He was difficult to handle and required extensive house management. But, slowly, and with lots of dedication, the way ahead became clearer. He could calmly nap on a chair like a regular house dog. His play drive was redirected on to appropriate toys. And the humping became progressively more rare. Then, as happens with so many dogs at the sanctuary, came the long stretch of coasting. We had done everything we could to make Mr. Cole ready to be a house dog, but he was never going to be completely without some baggage. So, we kept him happy and loved while waiting for that special home ready to take him on. Little did we know that special home was going to come in the form of one of our own staff, the Canine Team Manager for the Volunteer Cottages, Jill. Her and her husband fell in love with Cole right away, and he with them. And they were ready to guide Cole up this last hill, the transition to a forever home. Cole went home a couple of weeks ago, and everything is going well. We’re so proud of our big boy and of all the work our staff has done paving his way home.
Cole is just one of many such stories at the sanctuary. Whether it’s dogs that jump and pull, cats that swat and nip, or either one in need of surgery or other major medical care, our staff and volunteers works so hard every day to engineer, fund, prepare, construct, and complete a clear road to a forever home for them. And it’s always a great ride!
Okay. Now that Jon is done with all of his road puns and metaphors, I’d like to send out a more serious message. This work is hard. Us dogs and cats here may be adorable, but we’re not easy. The lists of rules and restrictions, what food a cat can eat, what trail a dog can take, who can play with what toys, can be a lot to keep straight and work with sometimes. But everyday I see staff and volunteers giving their all to follow every little detail and make sure we get what we need to feel well, be safe, and make progress in being our best. So I would like to say thank you. Thank you for feeding me the food I like, sitting with me while I eat, noticing when I’ve had too much petting and giving me a break. And for following everyone else’s rules and tips and tricks. It’s really where the rubber meets the road (okay, last one, I promise!).
See you soon!
And of Course…Adoptions!!
June had one big departure and a whole lot of arrivals. Of course, our big teddy bear, Cole, went home from the dog cottages this month. And with Minnie’s Mews open for business, we welcomed in Nikki, Freddie, Pearl and Louis, Mimi, Paige, and Winston. What a way to start the summer!
Thank you all so much for whatever way you support us and our mission. We couldn’t do it without you.