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.