Wednesday, May 4, 2011
BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY
Back in the 1980s, when Best Friends was first getting started, about 17 million dogs and cats got killed in shelters every single year. The people who founded Best Friends thought they could do something about this situation, so that's what they set out to do. They started a grassroots movement to help people all over the country see that lots of "unadoptable" animals really could find good homes. Also they wanted everybody to see how important it was to spay and neuter their pets so that more unwanted animals didn't get born.
Best Friends Animal Society built a sanctuary in a place called Angel Canyon, which is near Kanab, Utah. Kanab is by the south edge of Utah, and the nearest big city is Las Vegas. In that part of Utah, there are lots of pretty rocks and cliffs and canyons and sandstone. And because there is so much nice scenery, there are several National Parks there. Mom has been to some of these parks, but I haven't been there. I have mostly only been to Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
So anyway, Best Friends has grown a lot during the years. They get all their money from donations, and they have built a whole bunch of nice buildings in Angel Canyon at their sanctuary. They also do a lot of education, like by offering workshops, training, internships, and conferences. All of this education is to help other groups set up shelters and do spay/neuter programs and stuff like that.
Another thing Best Friends does is help out when there is an emergency or a disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, they helped rescue hundreds of dogs and cats. Also they have helped out with animal hoarding or failed shelter situations. And they took in more than 20 of Michael Vick's pit bulls.
The dogs get to live in packs, and they can dig holes or do whatever without getting yelled at. Also there is training and socialization and agility equipment to play on. Volunteers can take the dogs for walks or even for sleepovers in a guest cabin.
One part of Dogtown is called "Old Friends," and that is where the older dogs live, and they will be taken care of for the rest of their lives.
There is also a TV show about Dogtown, and it is very interesting because it tells the story of some of the dogs that end up at Best Friends and what happens to them.
Cat World has a bunch of different parts to it. First there is "Happy Landings," where cats first get used to being at the Best Friends Sanctuary. Then the cats that are friendly and nice can go to one of the "Adoption Houses." Kittens live in "The Nursery." Then there is the "TLC Cat Club," which is where cats live that have something wrong with them, like maybe they are blind or only have 3 legs or are FIV positive. And the last part is "Wildcats Village," which is for feral cats who don't have anyplace to live anymore on the streets, but they can't live in a home because they don't trust people enough.
There are horses, burros, mules, goats, and sheep in this area. Some of the horses can be ridden, but others are just meant to be pets. There is a special pasture for the older horses, with flat land so they don't have to go up any hills.
There are all sizes and types of birds in the Parrot Garden, plus some other exotic pets. Some of these birds can live to be 80 years old, so if their human dies, they are left without a home, and that's how they might end up at Best Friends.
About 130 rabbits live here. They are house rabbits that couldn't stay in their homes anymore, and most are available for adoption.
There are more than a dozen pigs, and they are mostly pot-bellied pigs, which are very smart and clean and make good pets. The pigs have houses and condos to live in, shrub gardens, and special play areas.
This area is for wild birds and animals that are hurt, and when they are all well, they are put back into the wild so they can go on with their lives. The people who work in this part of the Sanctuary know how to take care of wildlife, and they try not to "tame" the birds or animals while they are there. Sometimes there is a bird or animal that can't go back to being wild, for some reason, and then it can stay at Best Friends forever.
Several vets work at the clinic and do all sorts of surgery and treatment to help animals get well again. Some animals come to Best Friends because other groups couldn't afford to treat them or didn't know how. In this picture, a dog named Richie is getting examined. Richie fell out of a truck and broke his hips. After he got all healed up again, he was adopted.
There are many interesting stories at Best Friends. You can go to their website and read the success stories. Or you can go to the Guardian Angel page and find out how some of the animals are doing that have special problems.
Mom would like to go visit the Best Friends Sanctuary sometime, but she doesn't know when she will go. Maybe when she does, I can go along, too. I think I would like that!