Best Friends is the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the United States and possibly the world. They house approximately 1700 - 1800 animals at any given time, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, horses, pigs, sheep and wild animals. Animals are housed with the hope that they can find a new forever home but are welcome to stay for the rest of their lives if need be. In fact, the National Geographic show, DogTown, is about one section of Best Friends Animal Society. Volunteers are always needed to help with animal care and socialization.
So...on Wednesday we checked into our campground, then made our 3pm appointment for the Best Friends tour. The tour takes about an hour and a half and introduces you to the complex which covers about 3700 acres of Angel Canyon. The canyon itself is gorgeous and the facilities are impressive. We got to visit one of the cat houses and one of the dog houses.
|There are about 20 cats per cat room and each cat room has indoor and outdoor enclosures. |
This is one of the outdoor rooms. Next house we have may have a room like this! There are even cats in the rafters!
On Thursday we took a morning drive into Zion National Park East and even saw some big horn sheep!
|Big Horn Sheep in East Zion|
|Way cool colors and shwooshy sandstone at Checkerboard Mesa!|
Thursday afternoon we had our volunteer orientation at Best Friends. This takes about an hour and gets you ready for the big day.
Friday morning we reported to Dog Headquarters at 8:15am...the first time we've had to be anywhere at a specific time since we quit our jobs! DogTown has at least 20 buildings and they are generally in pairs. You are assigned to a pair of buildings and report there at 8:30am.
The day starts with chores such as washing dog food bowls, changing water pails, sweeping and mopping. Then dog walking starts. There are a couple of trails (one short, one long) for each pair of buildings and over the course of the morning we walked 6 dogs.
|Miss Missouri was a puppy mill mama|
|Nugget was a handsome boy.|
|Awesome view of Angel Canyon from the cafeteria patio|
After lunch we chose to do an "Outing". We were assigned Wiley and we got to take him in our truck to a trail nearby (we could have taken him off the property as well) and take him for a hike. In fact, some dogs and cats can also be taken on "Sleepovers"! Best Friends provides everything you need for an Outing or a Sleepover. So cool!
|Visiting the Navajo kitchen ruins with Wiley.|
|Exploring Hidden Lake with Wiley. There is a lake down that hole!|
|Overlooking Angel Canyon with Wiley.|
We spent Saturday morning in Cat World. We walked 3 cats who love going outside on a leash. Walking most cats is completely unlike walking a dog. You basically let them do what they want to do, there is no guiding them and saying "Let's go this way"! It was a good lesson to learn before we have Rosie again and expect her to "walk" on a leash!
|Maury was a snuggle bunny.|
|Marcus had arthritis in his back legs but still took us on a long walk.|
|Bob loves to visit each cat house for treats when he walks. He was such a lover!|
|Angels Rest is the beautiful and peaceful pet cemetery.|
Everything you do with the animals is geared towards getting them socialized for adoption. There are some really sweet animals just waiting for the right family to come along. But the great thing is that they have a really good caring home at Best Friends no matter how long they live.
It was a deeply satisfying experience to spend time with these animals so we are sorry to move on. This is a place we will likely visit every time we are in the Kanab area. Tomorrow we head for Page, AZ as we slowly make our way to San Diego for the holidays. We will be in San Diego starting November 20th for a two month holiday visit.