I love road trips. You pack up your car and keep the agenda to a minimum and just go. I’ve wanted to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society for a long time. I’ve known of them for years and have been a supporter. But, it finally just worked out that a road trip was doable and time at Best Friends finally in the calendar.
Best Friends Animal Society Dogtown provides amazing homes for a wide variety of animals who are available for adoption and if not, will always have a home. They became better known when they took in the “Vic Dogs” and the TV show called Dogtown put them in the spotlight. They are a no-kill shelter providing homes for cats and dogs to pigs, goats and horses and feathered creatures too.
Most of my friends would say I am a “cat person”. But this is solely because, well, I have two cats. I just don’t have the means to provide the right home to a dog living in a small apartment in San Francisco AND I like big, sloppy, hairy dogs. I registered for four different areas and Dogtown was stop one. I KNEW I’d have “sleepovers” so made sure my hotel room in Kanab was animal friendly.
Best Friends is HUGE. You need a vehicle to get from one area to another. It is also incredibly beautiful. They have done an amazing job to fit in perfectly with the rustic and ancient landscape of Kanab. Every animals needs are provided well within the scope of the surroundings. When I got to Dogtown, they asked what I preferred and I said wherever you need me to go. So off to the “Youths” I went. I met the crew who are simply and purely passionate about what they do. I love animals and some would say have gone above and beyond at times. THESE people, devote their lives to them. It is incredible.
As a volunteer, you are there to help in whatever capacity is needed. For them, it started with walking the dogs. The first was on meds so her walk was very short and the second was having issues so his was as well. Then came some spiritedly types like Pete who would randomly stop walking and just jump into the air. It had us laughing and hoping and for more. I asked the caretakers if volunteers really helped. They have to explain things over and over, every single day and I can imagine the repetition gets exhausting. Of course, that is my issue and transferring it to them. But they said, indeed we do help. So I walked dogs and let them run in the pen and swept up the red Utah dirt from the kennels. This is where I met Raffle.
I knew I’d be doing a “Sleepover” and was told to tell the crew that I was shopping for a mate. While sweeping, Raffle was checking me out and frankly, the only dog who came when I called him. So Raffle it was. But, I had my next stop at Horse Haven. So it was back to get him in the afternoon. They had some items for him including toys, a blanket and water dish. I’ve not had a dog in about 25 years, so I thought the safest place for him was in the back of my SUV. Raffle thought to hell with that and jumped into the back seat and settled himself like a perfect gentleman and off we went.
We got back and I threw the blanket on the bed and made sure he knew he could go up there. I was desperate for a shower as I’d just finished hiking and scooping horse manure, OK very little thanks to Ron just wanting us to have a good time but still, horse manure. I showered as quickly as possible and there was Raffle, on the bed, fast asleep. It was a joy to see him so relaxed and at ease to know that he could sleep so quickly and easily. They have a nice setup at the kennels but I imagine it is loud at times and hectic and lots of stimulation with dogs, people, strangers, feedings, cleanings etc.
It was pure joy to have Raffle. I laid next to him on the bed doing some work and he just slept and flopped his head on me. We went on walks and played with toys and had belly scratches and head rubs and massages and for one night, I knew I made a little difference in Raffle’s life. I didn’t have him for even 24 hours but it was hard to give him back. Especially when I saw him curled in the back seat as I took him back home. The great news is however, as I was writing this, I found out his adoption is pending and he is no longer available! I could not be happier for him and his new family. All that in just one week! This is the power of Best Friends.
Please check Best Friends Animal Society out, donate, volunteer, sponsor or whatever you can to help them help the animals in their care.
Also, check out these websites that have some great information as well, DogBlog and Fluent Woof-Benefits of Having a Dog.
Another great source for people and service dogs, My Slumber Yard. “With roughly 60% of households reporting decreased or lost sleep during the pandemic, we created the above guide to support readers struggling with anxiety by educating them on the benefits of service dogs.”