Truly, one of the main reasons Ruth & I had for visiting Kanab, UT was to experience the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. A few years ago I met a young woman, a dental hygienist, whose main vacation each year was to volunteer here and bond with animals. I promised her that I would visit this special place, but it took a few years for that to happen. She wrote down for me exactly where it was so that I would not forget my promise to visit. Our visit that day was full of surprises.
One of the more pleasant surprises was that this is just one of this organization’s facilities. The other main ones are in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and Bentonville, Arkansas. Best Friends is the leading animal welfare group that has dedicated itself to ending the killing of cats, dogs, and other animals in American shelters. Thanks to its efforts, the animals killed in so-called shelters nationwide has been reduced from 17 million to about 1.5 million per year. That’s real progress! The animals that Ruth and I have bonded with over the years include Shammy the dog, any number of cats, and the special rabbit named Gloria. Visiting Best Friends headquarters 5 miles north of Kanab, UT gave me the opportunity to bond with Magenta the dog. Magenta, a 2 year old Rottweiler mix that was available for adoption that day and very affectionate, was in an enclosure near the main desk. I hope someone has found room in their life for Magenta.
Animal control is Best Friend’s main mission according to avid employee Jon who has joined the staff here and loves his job. He told me proudly that the number of no-kill communities has grown to 5,800. He told me that this facility was once a ranch that did not work. I learned from Jon that the weather forecast was dire. The organization bought the land near Kanab and Best Friends has grown into a national organization of note and purpose since locating here. He told me that many corporations support their efforts, but that 80% of what is collected is from private donations. Celebrities like Clint Eastwood and now-deceased Doris Day are essential to their mission. Be warned. I have heard stories about how aggressive Best Friends can be when it comes to support. Ruth was wary and resisted all of Jon’s attempts to gain an e-mail address or phone number while she shopped for gifts for my animal-loving sisters.
We planned to visit Best Friends again the next day for their 2 hour tour of this facility. However, the next morning it was snowing hard. Our only thoughts were to head back to Las Vegas, so we cancelled this tour and hit the road early. We both look forward to returning to Kanab for a second chance.