Best Friends Animal Society

Spend a Couple Days at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

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First-time visitors to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary are never really ready for the scale of this place. Or the beauty of Angel Canyon where this one-of-a-kind animal refuge is located. Like all of Kanab and its surrounding areas, Angel Canyon is a marvel of geology and nature.

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Volunteering at Best Friends has become very popular, with many people spending their vacations for a week. Photo by Best Friends Staff.

Even long-time members who have been getting the Best Friends Magazine for years, and kept up with the website bestfriends.org, will tell the tour guides, “I had no idea it was this big” after taking their first tour.

It’s not just the fact that the nation’s largest no-kill companion animal sanctuary sprawls out over some 3,700 acres. Or that to see all of it you have to travel a six-plus mile road that loops from the lower canyon to the upper canyon through the grounds. It’s not just that on any given day there are about 1,600 rescued dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, potbellied pigs, parrots, barnyard fowl, and other animals that come here from all over the country – each and every one seeking a safe haven where they can find refuge, love and acceptance.

It is that, as more than one visitor to Best Friends has said, “There’s so much going on here!”

You could easily fill up a few days just taking the free tours. For starters, not only is there the Grand Tour of the sanctuary, which takes visitors through the length and breadth of the sanctuary, but there are several specialty tours including in-depth looks at Dogtown, Cat World, Parrot Garden, Bunny House, Horse Haven, Piggy Paradise and Wild Friends. The Sanctuary Ambassadors also offer a special guided hike through the natural beauty of Angel Canyon.

Every year Best Friends welcomes about 30,000 visitors and some 9,000 also volunteer; most of them volunteer for more than one day. There is something truly compelling about the hands-on opportunity to be part of the lifesaving work here. Helping these animals who had a sad past not only overcome their history but also get ready to be adopted into a forever loving home. Although we are a working sanctuary, your volunteer experience can be as laid-back or active as you like.

Volunteer activities include things such as spending quiet time socializing with our animals, walking, feeding, grooming and assisting with the cleaning of the animal areas. Dogs need cuddles and walks. Some of our cats love going for walks too on harness and leash, while other kitties love cruising in a stroller. Almost every pig is a sucker for a good scratch and if you manage to find their sweet spot, they will roll over on their side for a tummy rub. Horses love being groomed and some like being taken for a stroll on a lead. Parrots enjoy their “showers” and volunteers get a kick of spritzing them with water bottles. Bunnies need cuddles and toys.

You can also take dogs, cats or even a bunny on sleepovers which help prepare them for their forever home. Many of the hotels in Kanab are active supporters of Best Friends sleepover program, be sure to ask when you check in on the hotel’s guidelines.

But be warned: once you have experienced this special place, at some point you will be back. For more information on visiting and volunteering, please visit www.bestfriends.org

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