Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Angels on Earth
Nestled in the canyons in Kanab, Utah, is a place that could only be described as a haven for animals. This place is different from any shelter or rescue that you could ever imagine. Now, this is not to knock in any way, shape or form the works that "ordinary" shelters and rescues perform. We animal lovers are indebted with gratitude for the work that they try to do. However, this place is different - dare I say better. A thousand times better than these shelters. This is the place where animals go when they have been given up on by everyone else. The name of this place is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Best Friends began in the 1970s in Arizona between a group of friends who refused to believe the accepted belief at the time that shelters had no choice but to euthanize their "unadoptable" animals. These people felt that they could rehabilitate many of these animals with love and kindness, combined with new treatment and training methods. They tested this out with animals from shelters whose time was quickly running out and found that they were able to rehabilitate and rehome hundreds of these so called "unadoptables". For those who couldn't be rehomed, they kept them and eventually purchased the land in Kanab, Utah, where Best Friends Sanctuary was formed.
As stated on their website, "In 1991 Best Friends became a non-profit, tax-exempt charity, and quickly grew to be the flagship of the rapidly growing no-kill movement throughout the 1990s. This No More Homeless Pets goal became central to the work of Best Friends, and by the end of the decade the number of animals being killed in shelters had dropped from about 15 million in 1990 to less than 5 million."
At any given time, there are about 2,000 animals living at the Best Friends Sanctuary. Most of these are dogs and cats, but there are also horses, burros, birds, rabbits, goats, farm animals, and an assortment of other creatures. They all have one thing in common; they have a safe haven in Angel Canyon where they will be loved and cared for until they are rehomed or pass on.
This is a place of joy, not of sadness. Staff work with these animals and whatever their burden may be, to make them adoptable to members of the public. Members of the public support Best Friends through donations and virtually "adopting" pets, giving money to support them and whatever they may need. Volunteers actually come to Best Friends for vacations, to help wherever they may be needed. I plan on visiting one day, that's for sure.
The work of Best Friends is so important. They educate the public through workshops and seminars, special programs in schools and libraries, and hundreds of other important undertakings. They are the face of the current No-Kill movement, something which I think is attainable if we all work towards it. No-kill means that animals are not destroyed except in cases of terminal and painful illness, when compassion demands euthanasia because there is no reasonable alternative. Some shelters claim to be No-Kill but as soon as space runs out, time runs out for those animals too. This will never happen at the Best Friends Sanctuary.
I encourage anyone to go to www.bestfriends.org to find out more about this sanctuary and the wonderful work they do. The compassion of all the trainers, employees, and volunteers can teach all of us so much about the importance of life. So many staff members and trainers could have picked a job where they would have been much better off monetarily, but they chose the love and happiness of Best Friends over money. They are receiving gratitude worth far more than the salaries they could have had.
Most importantly, if you like what you see, donate to Best Friends. They need all the help they can get to keep the 33,000 acre ranch up and running. It doesn't have to be a huge amount; my husband and adopt an animal for $25 a year. Every little bit will help the sanctuary and will help Best Friends to help the animals that everyone else has forgotten.
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