Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SANCTUARY

During April, I’m blogging daily as a participant of the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge (with time off on Sundays). Stay a minute. Read. Tell me what you think. Thanks for stopping by.
     My son and I regularly stop in at our local animal shelter, the Humane Society of Central Illinois, to walk dogs. At most, there are usually between 15-20 dogs in residence. In a separate wing, a couple dozen cats romp in two glass-enclosed rooms. Also, a few birds, guinea pigs, and rabbits share the Small Animal room. It’s a clean, welcoming atmosphere for the animals as well as for the volunteers and public who come to vist.
     So imagine the size and scope of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, in Kanab, Utah, as I give you these numbers: it’s home to 1700 dogs, cats, birds, pigs, horses, rabbits, and wild animals in rehabilitation; the sanctuary employs 300 people (and is the largest employer in town); it welcomes 2500 volunteers; and over 20,000 people visit per year. 
     Sprawled throughout the red and white-marbled walls of Angel Canyon, the sanctuary is a beautiful respite for abused, neglected, and unwanted animals, and a fantastic destination vacation for animal lovers looking to lend a hand for a day, week, or however long one’s schedule allows. For some volunteers, walking and socializing the animals is enough. What animals you wish to interact with and to what extent is up to you. Best Friends is just happy to have you there.
     My stay at Best Friends included shifts in Dog Town, Piggy Paradise and Rescue Village, which was home to hundreds of rabbits. In those areas, I cleaned pens, fed, and exercized the animals. On my last day, I signed up for a Puppy Socialization class, where eight of us helped introduce four Chihuahua-terrier puppies to new skills. 
     If this sounds ideal, you probably don’t need to hear the added incentive that the sanctuary is in the heart of Arizona’s and Utah’s spectacular National Parks, like Bryce and Zion Canyons, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and Grand Canyon. They are all within a half-day drive. 
     Volunteering at Best Friends was a transforming experience. I’ll be blogging about it throughout the Challenge this month since there’s just too much to tell you right now. If you’d like more information about volunteering, visit www.bestfriends.org.

20 comments:

  1. I am going to be moving into a new (pet-friendly) place in the next couple weeks. I can't wait to go to my local pet shelter until I find a dog that I fall in love with!

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    1. Good for you! There are SO MANY wonderful pets at shelters! I was amazed at the amount of affectionate, smart and funny dogs that were at the sanctuary. It's like that all over. Good luck on the search! I'd like to hear about who you end up with.

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  2. cool B and A
    do check out mine too at GAC a-z

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    1. Thanks, Paul! I'm on my way to check out yours!

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  3. I am thoroughly looking forward to hearing more about the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. I have supported animal refuges for years, and can't get enough of these wonderful stories!

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    1. And there are SO many stories! I'm glad you enjoy them. The more times they're told, the more likely pets will find forever homes!

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  4. Yes, it does sound like a wonderful place.

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  5. My motherinlaw gives sizable donations to Best Friends every year. We are all animal lovers in our family. My best friend is a huge animal advocate and stayed in Utah and helped for a few days. She said it was amazing! She also used to write articles for their newsletter. She is finishing up a book about a rescue dog.
    Thanks for highlighting such a wonderful sanctuary for animals!

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    1. After getting involved with them, I'm amazed at how big the organization is! People come from all over the country to spend time there. The lady I stayed with in Kanab met her husband through the sanctuary. It's a magical place. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. What a wonderful organization to honor.
    Karen

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  7. That is awesome! If I lived out that way, I would def have to go by there! I love animals and have rescued a few, so that would be the perfect place for me!

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    1. Maybe a working vacation someday, Kayla? That's what it was for me, and I felt just as relaxed as I would have if I had been at a beach somewhere.

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  8. OMG!! 1700 dogs? Wow. Great post.

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  9. I can't begin to imagine the scope of labor and love required to care for all those animals!

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    1. It was pretty uplifting to see so many people working on the animals' behalves. Yes, a lot of the animals came from rotten situations, but the sanctuary is the perfect place to heal and be loved.

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  10. It's heartwarming to hear how you are able to take time out of your busy schedule to help these animals while showing your child about the value of helping others.

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  11. 300 employees? Wow, that place is huge!

    It warms the heart to know that there are many committed and caring people willing to love those animals. I am an animal lover and hate to see even a bird lying deceased by the roadside.

    Sometimes I believe animals are here with us as a test from the Creator to see how we will treat them.

    Makes you wonder, right?

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  12. What a wonderful place to work that must be.

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  13. Such a nice story! Thank you!!

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