Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

If you’re an animal lover, you will love this post. Really. I just returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Grail of animal rescue organizations, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and I’m ready to share some photos with you and maybe restore some of your faith in humanity (I don’t know about you, but every so often I need a dose of that). Located on 3,700 acres in the stunning red rock canyon country of southern Utah and housing more than 1,700 animals, Best Friends is the kind of animal refuge you would create if you let your imagination run wild. A village of dogs where canines live together in small groups and puppies have their own nursery? Check. A cat community where felines can safely roam with access to the indoors and outdoors? Check. Onsite state-of-the-art veterinary clinic? Yes! Birds, horses, pigs, goats, bunnies, and wild animals also call Best Friends home.

I began planning the pilgrimage about eight weeks ago. Instead of booking a flight to a conference in Las Vegas at the beginning of May, I started thinking about a roadtrip. As many of you know, Utah is one of my favorite destinations. When I looked at a map and saw that my route could take me right through Kanab, the deal was sealed. I’ve been a fan of and donor to Best Friends for years. I’ve cried through more than one episode of DogTown on NatGeo TV, and after reading the story of the sanctuary’s founders and how they struggled for years to make their vision a reality, I promised myself that one day I would visit. My friend Sue devotes much of her spare time to rescuing cats and raising money for feline rescue, and I knew she would love the place too. We managed to score a reservation to stay at the sanctuary for two nights in the guest cottages. And so we hit the road. Cross one off the life list!

welcome sign at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

We made it!

road to the cottages at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, with Horse Haven in the foreground

The cottages are located behind Horse Haven. Best Friends also offers cabins for rent and spaces for RVs.

road to the cottages at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

After about nine hours on the road, this sign was a welcome sight!

the cottages at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Cottage #6 was our home for two nights. If you volunteer at the sanctuary, you can bring an animal home with you at the end of the day for a sleepover. This helps socialize them (and ensures you stay warm at night).

Horse Haven at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

The view from our back porch

road leading into Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

The road into the sanctuary

visitor center at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

The welcome center

welcome at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Indeed…

a listing of daily tours at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

A listing of available tours on the day we visited

tour van at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

You can travel through the sanctuary on your own, but we took the guided tour first to get our bearings.

horse corral at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Several horse corrals are located throughout the sanctuary. This barn was built for a Disney movie before the Best Friends founders bought the land.

picnic area at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Staff members gather in this grassy area and natural amphitheater for meetings, picnics, and events. Trainers and volunteers bring animals here to work with them.

cat community at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

First stop on the tour: Cat World

Morgaine's Place at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Cat HQ. When entering you must be careful to not let any of the cats out.

cat resident at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Some didn’t look thrilled about the latest group of visitors…

cat resident at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

…but others loved the attention.

making new friends at Best Friends cat community in Kanab, Utah

Sue wasted no time in making new friends.

cat cubbies at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

The cats have plenty of private cubbies to choose from.

dog runs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Finally! Dogtown…

dog philosophy at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

…where people think like me.

photos of dog resident at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Vortex hams it up for the crowd.

making friends in Dogtown at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

It’s my turn to make a new friend!

photos of adopted dogs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Seeing all the badges of the adopted dogs made me smile.

photos of adopted dogs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

It’s obvious the caretakers love their charges…

photos of adopted dogs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

…very much!

Feathered Friends building at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Feathered Friends live here.

gate to Angels Rest at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Right before lunch we stopped at Angels Rest, the last resting place for animals who pass at the sanctuary. Employees can also bury their beloved animals here.

wind chimes at Angels Rest, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Sue and I were the only visitors. It’s so peaceful and quiet in Angel Canyon, and when the breeze stirred the windchimes, we became a little emotional. Sue was sad; she connected with the pain and loss of the people who buried animals here.

grave marker at Angels Rest, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

I was touched by the tributes to all the animals who made such a difference in the lives of many people.

Rainbow Bridge stone at Angels Rest, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Grieving people around the world have been comforted by the Rainbow Bridge stories.

Angels Rest at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

We left Angels Rest and continued on.

View from the outdoor dining area at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

The onsite cafeteria serves a delicious vegan and vegetarian buffet, and if the weather cooperates you can enjoy lunch outside with a view. The mesas in the distance are part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

a pig who reside at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

A couple of stops…

a goat who resides at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

…to say good-bye on the way out.

I hope to return one day and further explore this magical place. International friends, I would love to hear about any sanctuaries like this in your countries. I’ve visited Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary near Salzburg, Austria, and want to see more places like it and Best Friends. Any and all tips appreciated.

Advertisements

15 comments

  1. That’s some place Ruth – 3700 acres! It’s great that enough folk care enough to set up and run places like ‘Best Friends’. You must have had a great stay there. And I love the porker.

    Like

  2. Sonel

    I agree with you Ruth. Just like you I also need that ‘dose of humanity’ now and again. Sometimes more. 😀
    What a beautiful haven for all those furries. That must have been quite the treat for sure. I would have stayed there. LOL!
    Great shots and thanks for the lovely tour. I enjoyed. 😀

    Like

      • Sonel

        We have quite a few here Ruth but they are too expensive for us locals. They’re mostly for the tourists that come from overseas with their dollars that’s worth here more than our rand. We have the Monkey Sanctuary (Bush Babies), Elephant Sanctuary, Cheetah, Vulture etc. places here, but like I said, they’re way too expensive for us to visit. 🙂

        Like

  3. Hi Ruth,
    My friend Sharon’s daughter takes her nieces to this place every summer. I have only heard about it, but everything I hear is really positive. The kids love it, and it is providing such a service. I see it is also in a lovely red rock setting. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Like

  4. We were in Kanab for a couple of days and with so many beautiful places to see we weren’t able to make it to the sanctuary. Now I know what was beyond the sign on the road. Thanks for sharing!!

    Like

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: