One of the great things about visiting and working at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is the range of dogs available for sleepovers. Since I am on my final night of sleepovers, it is time to pay tribute to all four of my sleepover dogs…
Timothy, a one-year old American Stafordshire Terrier. Beautiful boy with good manners. I’m sorry we fed you so many treats in training class that we caused your diarrhea! Timothy’s underbite makes this wee boy adorable.
Chester, a Boxer cross (I think Boxer/Mastiff cross because of his wrinkles and large head size), age 7. Chester is very bright and we practiced ‘sit’ during his stay. A snuggly boy who snores, I took Chester because he hadn’t been on a sleepover or outing for almost 2 months.
Madison, a young pit mix. A fairly new arrival at Best Friends, she’s not even on the website yet. Really intelligent, and happily slept the night through. Only drawback – she’s a covers hog who enjoys the middle of the bed.
Clover, another fairly new arrival from Texas and her photo isn’t on the website yet. A cattle dog mix, this young girl has good manners on leash and loves to disembowel toys. A rubber chicken and a small squeaky sheep were victims during our evening together. She also adores tummy rubs.
These dogs and many others can be viewed through the Best Friends website and so if you are thinking about adoption, this website is well worth a look.
A sanctuary is a place of refuge or asylum. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah is a place of refuge for homeless animals; it is also a relaxing and peaceful place for the humans (like me) who visit and volunteer here. Think of it as a refuge from the rat race of everyday work and life.
If you would like a holiday where you can give back and help homeless dogs and other animals, I hope you will think about Best Friends!
Today was a sad day at the Old Friends kennels of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. When I went to sign in for the afternoon, I was told ‘Old Friends will be closing at 3 today; we’re crossing Eve.’
Crossing, as in the Rainbow Bridge. Eve was a paraplegic when I met her last year, but she had a spirit about her which said ‘don’t pick me up, I’ll get there by myself thank you.’ And her best friend was Dumpling, the little toothless mixed breed girl that I fell in love with.
Eve, in May 2012
Eve’s progress and care was documented as part of the Guardian Angels program, which profiles special animals from around the sanctuary and encourages monthly donations. Caregivers update the Guardian Angel journals on a regular basis.
From a distance, I monitored Eve’s progress through the journal; also hoping to catch a glimpse of Dumpling, which I did through this wonderful video:
Through Eve’s journal, I read about the donation of her mobility cart and options to keep it from chafing. When Dumpling got adopted in December 2012, I read about Eve’s grief at the loss of her friend and the efforts of caregivers to find her suitable companionship. And in March of this year, Eve exited the Guardian Angel program to give way to another special needs dog.
So when I arrived here last week, seeing Eve and other remaining Old Friends was a top priority. It is a comfort to know that I was here at Old Friends today to say goodbye to her.
Eve today, before crossing
A painting of Eve hangs in the foyer of her kennels at Old Friends
A final Guardian Angel entry is now live on the Best Friends website to mark Eve’s crossing. Read it here and perhaps go back in time to read more about this very special, special needs dog.
Eve will be laid to rest at Angels Overlook, the cemetery for sanctuary animals.
Eve’s mobility cart and stroller, which were used in happier days
Today, I ate my lunch at Angels Rest, one of the two pet cemeteries at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. This large cemetery is the resting place of many animals including some sanctuary animals (in recent years, a new cemetery for sanctuary animals and the companion animals of Best Friends staff has been used).
This is truly a peaceful place and a fitting tribute to the role of animals in our lives. It’s a wonderful location for some peace and quiet and reflection.
Here’s a number of photos and a brief video tour of Angels Rest:
Niches within the walls hold urns and other memorabilia
Many of the markers have been decorated by the owners of the animal
Firstly, I’d like to say that this will not be an x-rated post!
Timothy is my Sleepover Dog tonight from the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Timothy was abandoned at the sanctuary, left to fend on his own on the property until someone found him. This is a risky strategy because the area is home to mountain lions, rattlesnakes and other deadly creatures.
Because of the nature of his surrender, there are no records on why he was abandoned. He’s a young boy of just over a year and he’s very sociable.
You may notice in these photos that Timothy is wearing a green collar. Green collars signify dogs that can be handled by adults and children who visit the sanctuary.
Timothy enjoyed riding in the car on the way home tonight. He also let me know that he prefers to sleep on the bed, not the blanket that accompanied him in his overnight pack.
I particularly find Timothy’s underbite appealing and so far, the only negative behaviours he’s shown is a liking for digging in the rubbish (a common characteristic of many dogs, which is very manageable) and a dislike for two people wearing large cowboy hats.
I’ll be submitting a full assessment form when I return Timothy to his kennel in the morning.
Timothy is a very trainable dog (he already knows sit) and would make someone a lovely pet.
A common challenge in the adoption business is finding homes for black dogs. For many years, shelter workers worldwide have reported that black dogs (and cats) are less likely to be adopted than others and more likely to be euthanized.
It’s a case of judging a book by its cover – or is it?
In films, if there is an evil or menacing guard dog, it’s usually black or dark coloured (e.g. Rottweiler, Doberman). Black cats are notoriously associated with the devil or witches, as well.
However, research published in early 2012 suggested that the issue isn’t colour – it’s breed. And no one appears to be gathering statistics on the adoption of black dogs vs other dogs. Plus there’s the fact that the Labrador (including black Labs) is routinely the top of the list when it comes to popular breeds. This means that someone isn’t afraid of black dogs!
Practically speaking, however, it is usually more difficult to photograph a black dog. Many shelters find that they can’t do a black dog justice in the photos that are mounted on the internet on shelter web pages and Facebook sites. Rescue organisations are encouraged to place additional overhead lighting in the kennels of black dogs to make them more appealing to visitors. Another suggestion is to take a black dog for a run or brisk walk before photographing him/her – thus photographing them when they are panting which is more likely to look like a smile in their photograph.
Meanwhile, rescue organisations often hold special events for the adoption of black-coated animals. These are photos I took last year at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary during their May appeal – Back in Black… The adoption fee was waived for all black animals during the month. Very creative!
Do you think Black Dog Syndrome is real? What does your rescue organisation do to support the adoption of black dogs?
The month of October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month in the United States. October 27th, in particular, has been deemed National Pit Bull Awareness Day.
Pit Bulls are not killer dogs; they do need understanding and proper handling. Sadly, when a problem arises, it is usually the dog who is blamed. Not the handler or guardian or the living conditions of the dog. This month is about raising awareness that Pit Bulls can make loving and loveable pets. These dogs need homes – not a spot on death row.
Honey Bun came out to meet the people on my sanctuary tour. Her handler described her as a ‘typical little pitty’ who needed attention and lots of stimulation. For this reason, Honey Bun goes to the Sanctuary offices one day each week to work from the HR Department. Apparently, one of her favourite activities is to carry around a coffee mug in her mouth.
Contact your local shelter this month and see if there are lovely Pit Bulls like Honey Bun waiting for you there….it may be a life-changing event.
Last week, on the 28th of August, we marked the 7th anniversary since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other Gulf communities.
In marking this sad anniversary, I share with you the Hurricane Katrina memorial at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. The Best Friends staff and volunteers saved over 6,000 animals in the aftermath of Katrina and the relief efforts will be remembered by all of those involved for many years.
The Hurricane Katrina memorial at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.
In addition, here is the video compiled by Best Friends to mark the 5th anniversary of the Katrina relief efforts:
Here are Thelma and Louise. These boxers were found roaming the streets of Los Angeles and were lucky enough to find their way to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where I met them in the Old Friends kennel section of the sanctuary.
Both Thelma and Louise were older dogs and that unfortunately means for many dogs that they are not chosen for adoption from traditional shelter environments. However, Best Friends recognised that there are ‘boxer people’ all over and that – with a little time – they could find a home together with people who would be willing to take on the special medical needs of two senior dogs.
And that’s just what they did. Thelma and Louise went to their forever homes on June 16th this year!
Many sites operated by the major hotel and motel chains in the US are pet friendly – but many are not. When planning a trip with your dog this (northern hemisphere) summer, there’s a site that can help you. It’s called Pets Welcome. This site has a search engine for finding dog friendly accommodation that fits with your trip’s itinerary.
Best of all, the site is not limited to the major chains. Independent operators are also listed. For example, during my recent trip to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, I stayed at the Treasure Trail Motel and they are included in the Pets Welcome directory.
There are lots of properties that are seeing the value in offering dog friendly accommodation. Here’s a brief synopsis of the number of properties amongst the major chains: