Tag Archives: Best Friends Animal Society

Mine: The Movie

Mine the movie

Followers will have to forgive me for taking so long to see this film.

In my defense, I have tried to view it since the film came out in 2010.  I made contact with the filmmakers at the time and there we no screenings in New Zealand that had been planned. Our local independent cinema chain never responded to my enquiries (by phone and email) to show the film and then we had our big earthquakes of 2011 which not only destroyed our arthouse cinemas, but also took my attention away for a considerable time.

I have finally managed to watch the DVD while visiting relatives who rented it on Netflix. I’m so glad we did.  It was everything I hoped it would be.

This award-winning documentary follows the story of pet owners who were separated from their animals during the haphazard and uncoordinated evacuation of New Orleans in 2005 before Hurricane Katrina hit with full force.  The animal rescue efforts were undertaken by many volunteers, but without infrastructure for central coordination.

This film tells the stories of Bandit, JJ, Precious, Max and other dogs and their owners and their fight to be re-united.

Be prepared with tissues – some of the footage and stories are heart-breaking; others joyous.

Hurricane Katrina taught us a lot about animal disaster planning and I hope we never face a catastrophe on this scale again.  My friends at Best Friends Animal Society continue to care for some Katrina survivors today.  Their numbers are, of course, dwindling with time.

If you have a Hurricane Katrina story to share, please reply to this blog post.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Celebrating all of the mothers

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  The Best Friends Animal Society have put out this lovely video to celebrate all mothers – four-legged ones too!

Daisy is a mother; I’m Daisy’s Mum.  We have yet to decide how we will mark the occasion but we will pause (paws) to celebrate.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Behavioural problems in pet store dogs

Dogs purchased from pet stores are more likely to have a range of behavior problems than those purchased from small, non-commercial breeders, says a study by researchers at the Best Friends Animal Society and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The study involved 413 dogs purchased from pet stores.  Psychological and behavioral characteristics of these dogs were compared to the same characteristics in 5,657 dogs obtained from small-scale, private breeders.  (Most puppies sold in pet stores in the USA are sourced from large-scale, puppy mill type commercial breeders).

Results show that dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores showed significantly more aggression toward human family members, unfamiliar people and other dogs. Dogs purchased from pet stores were almost twice as likely to exhibit aggression directed toward unfamiliar dogs than dogs purchased from small non-commercial breeders.

The pet store dogs also a displayed greater fear of other dogs and typical events in pet dogs’ lives, had more behavior problems when left alone at home, and experienced more problems with house-soiling.  These behaviors in young adult dogs are reasons typically cited by people who surrender their pets to animal shelters.

“The results were so one-sided that in the wide range of behavior problems we included in our analysis, pet store dogs failed in every single case to even obtain one more favorable score than the comparison group of dogs” says Dr Frank McMillan of Best Friends Animal Society.

The research team acknowledges that the exact causes of the behavioral problems observed are not known; until these causes are understood, they recommend avoiding purchasing puppies from pet stores.

Source:  BusinessWire media release

See my related post about the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies initiative





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!

May Peace Prevail on Earth

Dedication on Peace Pole

Sleeping with Timothy

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.

Timothy face shot

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.

Peeing Timothy

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.

Timothy in car

Sleeping Timothy

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.

Sitting Timothy with overbiteTimothy with overbite

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.

Doggy quote of the month for April

“Look at our relationships with other people.  Most of us are not as dependable as animals.”

– Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society

Remembering Katrina – 7 years later

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:

Michael Vick wants a dog (for his kids)

His 3-year ban on dog ownership is coming to an end and Michael Vick wants a dog, for his kids, he says.

Let’s not forget the dogs Mr Vick owned in the past – 13 dead, 51 seized from Bad Newz Kennels in 2007, with 47 ultimately surviving after being rehabilitated at places like Best Friends Animal Society (Best Friends took in 22).

Lucas and Mel are just two of the “Vicktory Dogs” seized from Michael Vick and placed with the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Photos by Gary Kalpakoff for Best Friends.

Read more about this breaking story here.

No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA)

Last month, a very special initiative was launched in Los Angeles – NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles)

This initiative is another to help achieve the goal of the Best Friends Animal Society: No More Homeless Pets. 

NKLA’s website says “We are a coalition of animal welfare organizations, city shelters and passionate individuals. Led by Best Friends Animal Society, we’re dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in L.A. shelters. Our plan is straightforward. Provide spay/neuter services where they are needed most so fewer animals go into shelters, and increase adoptions through the combined efforts of the NKLA coalition so more animals come out of the shelters and go into new homes.”

In 2011, over 17,000  adoptable animals were euthanised in the Los Angeles area – so the need is great.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are an animal lover, perhaps you should consider assisting the NKLA movement by donating money, fostering, or adopting.

What is a no kill shelter?

As the name suggests, a no kill animal shelter is one where all adoptable animals are allowed to live until they are found a forever, loving home.  Only severely ill animals, or those that are truly determined to be dangerous and unadoptable, are euthanised. 

The concept of ‘no kill’ has challenged the animal welfare sector as far back as the 1970s.  An article by Ed Duvin in 1989 in a publication called animalines is reputed to have been a major turning point.  The article characterised the animal welfare sector as a ‘slumbering giant’ and pointed to the need for a coordinated national effort with a greater focus on education and the valuing of each animal’s life.  It challenged the sector to stop killing animals in the name of mercy.

You can read a reprint of that article here.

I have just had the pleasure of working at the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.  This is an inspiring leader in the no kill movement and I look forward to bringing you more news about Best Friends and animal welfare in future blog postings.