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A close look at Best Friends Animal Society

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Best Friends Animal Society is one of America’s foremost animal rescue organizations. It was started by a group of enthusiastic young people who refused to sit back while 17 million cats and dogs were euthanized annually. Their goal and collective mission to change those numbers formed the basis of the Best Friends Society. It has grown over the years to include a variety of other animals needing rescue and care.

Best Friends works with shelter and rescue groups around the country to advance animal welfare. The sanctuary is the nation’s largest facility for abused, abandoned and special needs companion animals. The sanctuary is located in southwestern Utah and is home to approximately 1,700 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds and other animals. The society also publishes Best Friends Magazine, the nation’s largest general interest, pet-related magazine with approximately 300,000 subscribers. They developed a Rapid Response team. This team has conducted rescues during disasters in Lebanon, Mexico, Peru and Iowa.

Best Friends also helps communities develop no-kill facilities by offering assistance in the planning and execution of those plans. They believe that a new facility and its operation has to be well planned and developed to be most beneficial for the animals they intend to rescue, protect and care for. Their emphasis is on community education and involvement in supporting a no-kill facility. Volunteers are crucial to its success.

I had read the book “Best Friends Sanctuary” and was pleased to be able to go to Kanab and visit their facility in 2006. It exceeded any expectation I could have imagined. The buildings and layouts are all about the animals. One of the places I toured was a building that housed cats with FEV or feline AIDS. They were well cared for and in varying stages of their illnesses. Of course if the animals are unable to be treated or helped or don’t have a quality of life, they are put down. One kitty climbed onto my shoulders and curled around my neck and just stayed there from beginning of the tour to the end.

It would be wonderful to visit there again, this time as a volunteer. Its location is in one of the most beautiful places in the world, sitting in red rock country, surrounded by three national parks — Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon.

Learn more at www.bestfriends.org.

It was so nice to have community support for our recent pancake breakfast fundraiser. We welcome more community involvement. We will keep you posted on our next event.