Nestled into a beautiful canyon just north of Kanab, Utah, lies a safe haven for formerly unwanted animals. It’s called Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Once an animal arrives at Best Friends, he will be safe and loved for the rest of his life. He might get adopted and go on to live with a forever family. Or he might spend the rest of his days at the sanctuary. Either way, he will never again have to worry about having enough food, medical care, shelter, or love.
In our last blog post we introduced our friend Wendy, who was visiting the north rim of the Grand Canyon the same day that we were. Wendy works remotely for Best Friends Animal Society from her home in Florida, but she was in the area that week for meetings. After hearing and reading so much about the sanctuary over the past few years, we were glad to finally have a chance to see Wendy’s happy place in person—especially after having just seen her at the Grand Canyon the day before.
The best part is, we not only visited Best Friends—we stayed there, too! They have two RV spots on site that are typically booked a year ahead of time, but we lucked out. Someone else cancelled at the last minute and their reservation was for the day we were arriving. We’re so glad we checked the online reservation system one last time!
In addition to the RV Park, there are cottages and cabins available for rent if you want to stay at the sanctuary but don’t have an RV. Plus, if you stay there and you aren’t traveling with your own pets, you can invite one of the sanctuary animals to go on an overnight visit with you. We had Noah with us, so we couldn’t welcome any overnight guests, but we think it’s a fantastic idea and a great way for the animals to get some extra love and attention.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is home to nearly 1,600 animals and there are special areas within the sanctuary for each type of animal: Dogtown, Cat World, Horse Haven, Marshall’s Piggy Paradise, Bunny House, Parrot Garden, Rescue Village, and Wild Friends. Our favorite area was, of course, Dogtown. And our favorite place within Dogtown was, of course, Old Friends—an area that primarily houses old dogs. (Before Kevin would agree to go on the tour, Suzanne had to agree not to smuggle any old dogs out with her.)
We also really enjoyed our time at Casa de Calmar, an area within Cat World that is home to more than 50 Feline Leukemia positive cats. And in the evening we took a walk to say hello to a few horses and a donkey.
We ended our visit at Angel’s Rest, an area of the canyon that serves as a final resting place for sanctuary animals and the beloved pets of staff, donors, and the general public. Walking through and reading the tributes written by people to animals they have loved brought tears to our eyes. It was beautiful and inspiring and a great reminder that there are a lot of kind people in this world who love their pets just as much as we do.
We’ve included a few pictures from Angel’s Rest below—but we put more in an album on our Retired Retrievers Facebook page, which you can see by clicking here.
If you are an animal lover, we highly recommend putting a visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on your bucket list. They offer free tours every day, but you can also stay awhile and volunteer. We met several people who were spending their vacations volunteering at the sanctuary. One couple from Wisconsin was there for their 7th volunteer trip!
In addition to their work in Utah, Best Friends is making the world a better place for animals all around the country. You can read more about their work and how to get involved by clicking here.
When we left Best Friends we headed towards Zion National Park, where we will pick up with our next blog post. We’ll see you on down the road.