Barbara's cats Homer (left) and Jellybean.
Barbara Ruben has been an Our Companions donor and volunteer for over a decade. She currently serves on Our Companions Animal Rescue’s Advisory Board. Barbara is a generous donor to Our Companions and is a member of OC’s Forever Home Society. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Barbara.
Interview with Barbara
How did you learn about Our Companions?
“About 10 years ago, I was at the Celebrate West Hartford event and saw a booth for Our Companions. The volunteers at the booth were so friendly and engaging and when they told me about Our Companions Animal Rescue I thought, ‘This is really neat!’ I made a donation at the event, took a brochure and one thing led to another and I started volunteering as well as donating. I was trained to be an Our Companions Ambassador and found myself behind the booth at several OC events.”
Have you always been passionate about animal welfare?
“Just the other day my sister commented that she’s surprised that I’m so involved with animals since I was never an ‘animal person’. I thought about that and realized that was true. We had dogs from time to time when I was growing up, but I never really thought much about animal welfare.
“My professional background is in child protection. I did a lot of child abuse work throughout the years with various agencies. I directed my own therapeutic foster care program for about 12 years. This program was to provide for children who had very specialized needs and weren’t suitable for regular foster homes. I now see the parallel between that work and what Our Companions does at the Sanctuary.
“Trauma is trauma, regardless if it’s experienced by children or animals. I’ve always been a victim advocate at heart. Like children, animals cannot take care of themselves and they need protection, especially when they’ve been harmed. I see now that my animal welfare passion is part of a continuum from my child work. And it keeps evolving. I cannot even kill a bug anymore!"
Why did you decide that Our Companions was a charity you wanted to support?
“From the beginning it was clear to me that Our Companions is a solid, well-run organization. I also like the fact that they are local and small enough that I know my gifts are making a meaningful impact.”
What has surprised you most about Our Companions as you got to know the organization over the years?
“I was surprised to learn that their rescue work goes beyond cats and dogs. I love the fact that they also rescue all sorts of animals like gerbils, guinea pigs, birds and bunnies! Another thing that surprised me was the organizational growth. In just a few short years they successfully completed three phases of construction at the Sanctuary, and expanded so many rescue programs at their Manchester Program Center. It’s amazing what’s happened over the years.”
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
“I am far more adventuresome than many people give me credit for. I love adventure. I’ve enjoyed many hot air balloon trips and I’ve been to Africa twice.”
What would you tell someone who is thinking about (donating, volunteering, adopting, etc.)?
“I’d tell them that Our Companions is a solid, very well-respected and well-run quality organization that is made up of people who are extremely sincere in their love and concern for animals.”