kids play at beach
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit ~1700 animal no kill shelter!

Unlike most shelters Best Friends is huge, located in a south Utah canyon 90-miles north of the Grand Canyon. The location is gorgeous and sprawling with many buildings and enclosures through the canyon and on a mesa above. One location within the sanctuary was used for western films back in the day before Best Friends rode into town.

The majority of the sanctuary's animals are cats and dogs, but there are also horses, pigs, burros, goats, rabbits, even birds.

Each animal gets personal attention from full time veterinarians, animal caretakers, and enthusiastic volunteer staff.

Over 25,000 visitors and vacationers come to the Sanctuary each year. I took the tour one sunny April day and highly recommend it. A volunteer drives you from the visitor center through the sanctuary stopping at places such as Dog Town or Cat Town to meet animals and caretakers. You can even stay overnight at the sanctuary, meet many animals, and spend time with them. Animal lovers from all over the US travel to the sanctuary to volunteer and work as 'interns'.

Best Friends' day-to-day operations are funded by donations from members, supporters, corporations and foundations.

Best Friends has a network of partners across the US here's a list: BestFriends

Adopt Shelter Pets!
via Steve

The majority of cats and dogs that end up in crowded shelters don't make it out alive.

Puppy mills suck. Only about 6% of companion pets are purchased from pet stores, but some of those stores source puppy mills whose motivation is profit, not the health of animals. Know the source of animals before you buy from a pet store.

A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility. Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. In order to maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little-to-no recovery time between litters. Because puppy mills focus on profit, dogs are often bred with little regard for genetic quality. Puppies are removed from their littermates and mothers at a young age, so they often suffer from fear, anxiety, and other behavioral problems. Puppy mills will continue to operate until we stop supporting them.

Licensed breeders are a better choice, but buying a pet from a breeder reduces the chances of shelter animals finding a home. About 25% of dogs in shelters are pure bred, abandoned by owners. Be aware that as a whole mixed breed dogs are healthier, and often a better choice, because genetic recombination reduces the risk of health issues from breed dominant trait expression.

About 5-million companion animals enter shelters each year, and of those approximately 3.5-million are euthanized.

Approximately 63% of US households have at least one companion animal. Growing up with my Mom and Sister we always had 2 cats; at least a dozen cats over the years and all of them came from a Humane Society shelter. Of course each one was spayed or neutered before we took them home. They were all great friends, each with its own unique personality. The photo above is of Eddie as a kitten, the most skillful climber ever. Watching him move was amazing and entertaining.

Pam adopted Betsey the cat (now 20) from a shelter at 15 and says: "Don't be afraid to adopt an older pet." "Betsey has rescued me more than I rescued her and taught me more about courage, patience, and trust, than any human; I'm so glad she picked me."

The network of volunteers supporting dog and cat adoption is strong. You probably have a friend associated with a shelter that has helpful information about where to find your dream pet.

Dorrie is an energetic animal advocate volunteer, who along with other Tails volunteers cares for animals and holds Puppy Palooza (20-30 puppies) adoption events once a month at her local Petco in Norwalk, Connecticut. Another local Petco also has shelter cats for adoption on hand every day. Dorrie said: "Our primary focus is to spay/neuter, but the animal adoptions allow us to actually insure that animals are spayed/neutered before adoption." Again, if you plan to take home a pet store animal know where it came from!

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem. Always have your pets spayed and neutered and shelters will get this done for a nominal fee. Some areas with a feral cat problem have trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs to help control the breeding population.

Pets give you unconditional love and benefit your health. Caring for a pet can give a sense of purpose and fulfillment. When you choose to adopt there's pride helping an animal in need.

Adopt and save a life.

content ©opyright FAVORITEPLANET