Saturday, October 17, 2015

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary




I’ve long wanted to stop in and visit this wonderful haven for animals in need.  Finally, I get a chance to spend several days in Kanab, UT and do just that.

Visitor Center

Best Friends, the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary, is an organization that John and I have long supported,


Best Friends reports that, since its founding, the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide has been reduced from 17 million per year to about 4 million.  A phenomenal percentage but .... sadly, a long way to go.

Home to some 1,700 animals (not to mention the surrounding wildlife), Best Friends has been saving lives for over 30 years.  The sanctuary's setting in appropriately-named Angels Canyon spans over 20,000 acres.


The special residents at Best Friends are critters that, for whatever reason, cannot live in traditional shelters, those that have been abused and abandoned, those from hoarding and breeding situations, or victims of natural disasters.

The recently adopted ....  There is hope.


Here, they get a second chance.


The Sanctuary welcomes visitors, volunteers and, of course, donations.

The residents are well-provided for in every way.  The sanctuary has excellent clinic facilities with a full-time staff of 5 vets. 

In addition to the many complexes and buildings staffed by caregivers to all the dogs, cats, horses, pigs, birds, and bunnies, the sanctuary also has cottages, cabins, and a small RV park for visitors.

You never forget where you are.  Even in the bathroom!


Also included: a visitor center, hiking trails, gift shop, dining facility, and beautiful pet cemetery - Angels Rest.  The buffet at Angel Village is the best meal I’ve had on the entire trip!  And you can’t beat dining outdoors with this view.



The popular free tours are available several times a day.  Another popular activity is volunteering.  One staff member stated there are usually 20-30 volunteers every day.  I volunteer for  two afternoons - one at Dogtown and the other at Catworld.

Arriving at Dogtown, I’m directed to one of eight buildings - Old Friends – housing seniors and others with medical issues. 



Don’t feel too sad when you see these furry faces.  A lot of the sweeties in these photos have been adopted and are waiting to go to their new homes!  And, trust me, their living areas (all have inside and outside spaces) are well-designed and scrupulously kept.  


I spend time with sweet Dorothy (below) who is receiving heartworm treatment.  She is in isolation and needs to remain calm to avoid any adverse effect from the medication.


I spend the next day in Catworld's Benton’s House - one of six buildings in the Catworld complex.


Benton’s House contains 5 areas, each housing about 18 cats with special medical needs.


Each living space is clean, serene, and provides both indoor and outdoor living.






We do a lot of cleaning and a lot of socializing.






You know, I’ve seen some astounding and beautiful sights on this trip, but this area filled with these gorgeous creatures beats them all!


Bonus: not only do I get a chance to spend time with these deserving animals, I have a fabulous boondock site on the BLM land near the Sanctuary.


This post is getting overlong, so I'll stop now.  Although I could go on much more about my experience with this impressive organization staffed with caring and committed people who consider this work a calling.

Here’s the link to Best Friends.


21 comments:

  1. We too volunteered at Best Friends and LOVED our time there! Such a wonderful organization and the property itself is amazing. Did you happen to meet Bob the cat? We walked him and he likes to go from cathouse to cathouse begging for treats! He was such a lover!

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    1. Don't think I met Bob. Too funny!

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    2. Lisa,
      My mom, sister and I met Bob the cat in 2010 on our Mom's 80th birthday trip around the southwest. Unique cat!

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  2. Knew you would fall in love with Best Friends. Did you find any chihuahua prospects?

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    1. Thought about you guys when communing with the cats. We decided it's best to adopt from our local shelter - sadly, not a no-kill facility.

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  3. Best Friends was the very first volunteer job we ever did on the road, and it's still one of my very best memories. So glad you got to go!
    Nina

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    1. I agree Nina - one of the highlights of this trip for sure!

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  4. What a glorious place - for animals and for the people who get to enjoy them. It is good that they can utilize short-term assistance from travelers. Probably not ideal from their point of view, but likely gets them a lot more help than they would have otherwise. I've never been there, but definitely putting it on my GO/SEE/DO list! Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures! I was very impressed with the imaginative ways they have for cats to be in their element(s). A cat can be appealing just sitting in a cubbyhole on a blanket! There are so many pictures on the net of cats sitting in boxes - so funny! I have no pets now, but had cats usually in batches of half a dozen at a time, with multiple dogs (et al!) as well. Animals are just irreplaceable in our lives.

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    1. Do go, Judi, when you can. It's a must-see for animal lovers.

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  5. I would think that it would be hard to volunteer there without acquiring a new companion. :)

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    1. It wasn't, thankfully. See my comment to Barbara below.

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  6. I was thinking the same thing Judi wrote, it would be hard to leave without another dog. I've heard of Best Friends, and it looks like a wonderful place. If I'm ever in that area, I'll definitely volunteer some time. I'd love that! And good for you to spend your time helping the dogs and cats. :)

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    1. I had that fear, but it's such a great haven, staffed by loving and committed people that it didn't make me sad to leave any of the 4-leggers behind.

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  7. I'm afraid that if we went there we would find ourselves with a dog or cat baby aboard when we left. I always had pets when I was growing up and when we lived in a house. We made the decision to be pet less as full time RVers. I try to get my dog fix from others. Looks like a wonderful place!

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    1. I know, it's so terrible tempting to get a travel companion. I miss Doris so very much when I'm on the road, but she's a senior now, and loves her home and her dad. It would be an act of selfishness to take her away from her great life, albeit temporarily.

      If I got a travel doggie, it would change the way I live on the road and I'm not willing to do that at this point. For one thing, I'd have to give up hiking in National Parks. In addition, I couldn't enjoy a day at a museum for concern that my little loved one might be in danger from the heat or the cold or even just anxious or fearful.

      It's a conflict. LIke you, at present I get my doggie fix from friends.

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  8. Nice post, Kim. Sounds like a nice experience.

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  9. I've of Best Freinds before and the great work they do. Glad you made the visit and helped out

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  10. If I wasn't married, I'd spend a couple of months volunteering at Best Friends. It is such a special place. My mom, sister and I literally stumbled upon it as we were driving by on the highway. We saw their sign and decided to drive in and check it out. We had time to see the movie and then our tour was ready to go. LOVE their place and we have donated to them.

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  11. I am an animal lover and I hate zoos and seeing animals exploited, but sanctuaries and animal refuges like this are fantastic! Such a lovely place and so nice to see animals getting adopted too. They have lots of space and it looks like the animals are happy and healthy, which really touches my heart. Thank you so much for sharing. Oh, and I love their sign! :)

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  12. I'm really glad you got to volunteer with us when you were here - wish you could have come over to Bunnies but I know our shifts were pretty full that week with the conference and everything else going on. And you know, it's funny - when people see our area, they usually remark how well the animals are taken care of, and why would they want to leave?? LOL. It's a great compliment to our work. Thanks so much for writing about my workplace!

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  13. Thanks for this, I am going to hit this up and volunteer also. :)

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