Remember that horrible chapter in life and the NFL when Vick went to prison for dog fighting. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary came to the forefront for many that had been unaware of them or what they do when they “adopted” 22 of these dogs. They were re-named the Vicktory Dogs and most of them went on to be rehabilitated and found their forever homes.
Best Friends is a rescue for dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, sheep, goats, horses and anything else that needs rescue. What it really is – is a place that is a best friend to the 2-legged species.
I can’t remember when I first heard about Best Friends.
For several years I thought about making a pilgrimage to Kanab, Utah. Then I would go online, Google how not only far it is, but how challenging it is to get there. Fly, drive, drive, drive. Southern Utah is really big. It just didn’t seem possible to make the trip, get volunteer time in, and return while keeping a business afloat.
Then came a major birthday. It seemed like now or never. The online onboarding alone was a massive effort, even without the 4-hour drive from Vegas.
Best Friends sits on 77,000 acres that are just magical. So we volunteered for 2-3 ½ hour sessions a day. Volunteers can stay on the premises or in town and volunteer as much or as little as they prefer. We volunteered with bunnies, dogs, goats, sheep and horses. I REALLY wanted the pigs, but slots with the pigs go fast. (Who knew?)
In addition to volunteering, you can take a dog into town or have a dog sleepover with you and return the dog the next morning. You can have a sleepover with a bunny or a cat, too.
3 Lessons Learned at Best Friends
- Lesson #1: is your end goal to be popular or effective? Best Friends is divided by animal and within each “town” are more divisions. Dogtown for example is divided into puppies, training, older dogs in Old Friends, small dogs, big dogs, and dogs of different colored collars. There were 260 dogs when I was there. Only one has his own Facebook page. His name is Ogy and I was lucky enough to walk him. He is an older Pit Bull. Everyone loves Ogy and yet no one has adopted him. He is not good with other dogs. I guess most people want a dog they can take to the dog park or just out in public. I found it interesting that you can be popular, the most popular, but it doesn’t mean you will find your forever home. Or in our 2-legged life being popular does not mean you will get the sale or as we have heard, the most beautiful girl often sits home alone on Saturday night.
- Lesson #2: Handicaps are in the “eye” of the beholder. Helen was a blind horse. First she lost sight in one eye. So her head is always cocked to one side as though she can see from what used to be her good eye. She is in pasture with another horse. This other horse looks out for her 24/7. Helen is a happy, well fed, well-adjusted girl. When you go up to Helen her four legged Buddy will be right there making sure she is OK. Her blindness does not seem to be a handicap to her. Life is always better with a buddy.
- Lesson #3: In your system, do you make or ask?Jewel lived right outside my cottage. I saw her every morning and every evening. She was a Paint, a white and brown spotted Indian pony. She looked like Wind in his Hair from Dances with Wolves could jump on her and ride the range. She was beautiful and elegant and graceful. Just one little problem: she was alittle evil. She had an owner and one day she just turned on the owner. Don’t we all feel as though a client or employee just “turns” one day? Now here she is at Best Friends where they specialize in the most challenging cases. They are working with her using a system where you use your horse’s strengths; start with what they will give you rather than forcing them to do things. You ask rather than make the horse “do.”
Angel’s Rest is Best Friends mythical and magical cemetery. People have buried their dogs and cats, birds and bunnies. (Horses are buried in their own cemetery). Placed into the foothill of a mountain the air is charged with both an energy and a calmness that is serenaded by wind chimes. Or maybe it is the humming of someone’s beloved pet.
Read more posts by Leslie Ungar here. Leslie blogs for JenningsWire.
The post is presented by the National Publicist, Annie Jennings of the NYC based PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR. Annie Jennings PR specializes in marketing books for getting authors booked on radio talk show interviews, TV shows in major online and in high circulation magazines and newspapers. Annie also works with speaker and experts to build up powerful platforms of credibility and influence.