Sunday, September 12, 2010

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

This past weekend, I went on a little trip up to southern Utah. My first night, I stayed in this little vintage motel in Kanab. I was going to tour Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and they give a great discount to you if you are going to do that. Isn't the bathroom tile fun?

I have driven by Best Friends for years. A couple of years ago, the National Geographic Channel started a little series called Dogtown. It took place in the dog part of Best Friends. I LOVED this program. Through it, I learned about the great work this place does and it was so interesting. This shelter takes in domesticated animals, that no one else will take. They also respond to large scale animal emergencies, like Hurricane Katrina. They took in the Vic dogs that were used for fighting and either rehabilitated them or gave them a home for life. The go on regular runs to puppy mills and rescue animals that would otherwise be put down because they are ill or have outlived their usefulness as breeding animals. The stories are inspiring and amazing. So I wanted to take a tour.

This is the Welcome Center, gift shop and beautiful garden.

And this is the Angel Canyon where they are located. It's a beautiful area, an old cattle ranch. They have horses, mules, pot bellied pigs, goats, rabbits, exotic birds, pigeons, geese, etc. And of course, lots of dogs and cats.

This is Angel's rest, the cemetery. Besides burying their own animals there, they also will take other people's pets to bury. You can see the stands of wind chimes they have to in remembrance of folks pets who have died.

The cats have a fabulous place to be. There are several of these buildings and cat rooms. They have both indoor and outdoor areas and can go all the way up to the rafters. They have the cats separated by different criteria, age, Feline Leukemia status, etc. They all looked very happy!

The majority of the dogs they have are large breeds as they are harder to place, and a lot of pit bulls. This guy is a chihuahua from a puppy mill. Dogs who have lived in this environment have so many issues. One of the big ones is socialization. They have had virtually no contact with people. I have a dog that came from one of these rescue situations and know first hand how hard they are to rehabilitate. I thought this little guys back was rather symbolic.

After Hurricane Katrina, Best Friends had shelters set up in the area for about 9 months. They reunited as many people and pets as they could. Some people had to surrender their pets as they had no place to live and no way to care for them. And some, they never knew who their families were. The dog that they brought out to socialize with us was Bo Bo and he was a pit bull from hurricane Katrina.

They are very organized with their kennel arrangements.

Bo Bo was very sweet and liked to lean on you.

The pot bellied pigs weren't on the tour, but you could walk over to where they were and look at them if you wanted. I was curious. They really were cute, although I couldn't imagine having one as a pet. They seemed to need quite a bit of space and you could tell there was a fair amount of digging and rooting around that went on. This pig was named Daphne. She started whining at me for attention as soon as I got close. I put my hand through and rubbed her back some. Then I saw a bucket on the fence with scrub brushes in them. I took a brush and started scratching her with it. She immediately rolled over on her side so I could scratch her side and belly. She really was sweet. But some of them had signs that said they would bite, so I imagine not all of them were as sweet as she was.

Waiting to be scratched.

I think you should all go! It was really fun.


Cathy said...

midoffNice! You didn't say anything about your Bryce hike, do tell!

Cathy said...

Wow! I don't know how my comment got all weird!

Cynthia said...

I'm glad you got to go. I see things all the time and I say to myself that I'd like to stop there sometime, but I never do. I should do things like that more often.

Juanita said...

I knew you would like Best Friends.
Such a tranquil place for all the animals. Some of those poor animals have such sad stories.