There is a place tucked in a red rock canyon in SW Utah where at any given time approximately 1,500 homeless dogs, horses, goats, pigs, bunnies, birds, and injured wildlife can live the rest of their days in peace and safety. Some might even find a forever home beyond its boundaries. Others may be released back to the wild. That place would be Best Friends Animal Sanctuary– probably the largest no-kill shelter of its kind in the world.
I would have never discovered this place had it not been for the suggestion of fellow blogger Pam of “I Choose This.” On a rainy day during a visit to Zion National Park in April, travel buddy Jean and I headed out of the park to explore the surrounding environs. After checking out the quaint town of Kanab and grabbing a cuppa, we drove the 7 miles to check out Best Friends. Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the day to arrange a tour but we did enjoy their gift shop and learning about the place which occupies 3700. It’s a stunning setting.
Best Friends relies on an army of volunteers and donations to keep it running. There are clinics, comfortable housing for every type of animal on the premises. Their are also outreach facilities in Los Angleles and New York City. This organization was also instrumental in saving many lost animals during Hurricane Katrina.
The one area we could visit was Angels Rest, the final resting place for animals that had crossed the rainbow bridge either at the sanctuary or beyond Best Friends boundaries. I had seen a lot of magnificent scenery on this trip but this beautiful pet cemetery tugged on my heartstrings and made me tear up. Imagine a red mesa with acres of little memorials to animals that had been loved. Owners, for a donation had personalized their headstones with all kinds of messages and memorabilia like collars and toys. Then there the hundreds of memorial wind chimes lilting their soothing melodies on the desert breeze. The last area we saw was the bird cemetery with a multitude of tiny markers honoring their memory.
If you are in the area Best Friends is worth a visit and if you can’t make it in person, donate! It’s a good cause I hope to get back there someday for a tour.
On a side note, two days after I returned from Utah my sweet little twin nine-month-old kitten Zoey (ZoZo we affectionately called her) was hit by a car. Zoey was one of those once-in-a-lifetime kinds of kitties- a little four-legged sprite the used to follow me around the yard and entertain me with her antics with acrobatic finesse in trees and on the clothesline. Then there was the thundering around the house at night with her twin, Zander, and her obsidian black mom-cat, Zinnia. (See my post Zinnia’s Kittens) We were devestated. I thought I might honor her memory by purchasing and hanging a personalized wind chime at Angel’s Rest. Then I thought better of it. Zoey would prefer to have one hung right over her grave in the backyard. Now I have my own Angels Rest.