The whole reason my practice, this site, my extensive education, volunteer efforts, fostering...
is because saving animals IS my thing.
Best Friends Sanctuary in Kanab Utah is home to ~1600 animals of all different species. Over thousands of acres, each devoted animal area is like a organized and well-run "town" (i.e. DogTown).
There is a constant "buzz" of new animal intakes, adoptions and exceptional care for the "resident" animals that, for whatever reason, cannot be adopted out.
As long time contributors and supporters of Best Friends, it had been a goal for years to make the trek out to southern Utah to visit the sanctuary.
No easy feat on both sides! (They're blessed to be busy with visitors and temporary volunteers.)
After not having taken a TRUE vacation in years because of challenges on the home front, I rationalized this trip as "work-related" because of my rehabilitation experience.
In the area named "Cat World", I was assigned a particular building that housed neurologically-involved kitties. In the picture above, these two beauties are getting exercise and socialization outside of their (huge) indoor/outdoor, full equipped pens where they live with other similarly challenged cats as mini families.
NOTE the use of harness (vs collars) on all the animals! (Yay)
In the picture above, I'm working with "Kit" who, along with her brother "Caboodle", are Husky-mixes that were found as pups. They both have a condition that I relate most closely to Cerebral Palsy in humans.
Kit uses a wheelchair-like device to help her stand while eating. The specially crafted and "July 4th" board hides the kibble so she must root to find it.
(Neurologically-involved animals is also kinda my thing, as you can see)
One area that I do not have particular experience in is with wildlife or exotics. Therefore I made sure I spent a few different shifts in their expansive "Wild Friends" department.
A golf cart is a necessity to get around to all the animals at Wild Friends!
I'm posting different pictures than I did over on my other social media site (TheFitChick's Instagram) but what I will repeat saying are the statistics and information that fuel the mission behind Best Friends NK2025 or "No Kill 2025" as it applies to shelters across the country.
As ambitious as that may sound, the numbers make sense.
It doesn't mean that there will be an end to humane euthanasia for legitimate (health) reasons; it means an end to the senseless euthanasia to pets that COULD be adopted out.
No kill simply means that the shelters will have a 90% success rate in not killing animals. Not only will adoptions be a focus but Best Friends works tirelessly against senseless breeding by controlling feral animal populations (i.e., trap and release cat programs) and irresponsible breeders (i.e. puppy mills).
Their success has resulted in a significant decline in animals being euthanized: from ~7mil to 700k!
There are ~14mil homes looking to add a pet or an additional pet to the family and ~4mil available pets through shelters and rescues.
(Read that again.)
I appreciate everyone who has reached out since my return to ask how they can be more involved in animal welfare and particularly for Best Friends.