Photo: Kathy Talkin walking her pig.
If you love animals as well as beautiful scenery in a peaceful setting, I highly recommend taking a trip to Best Friends Animals Sanctuary located in Kanab, Utah.
Best Friends is located on 33,000 acres and cares for over 2,000 animals. It's an incredible and inspiring place—as well as being very unique. Best Friends Animal Society is guided by a simple philosophy: kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us.
I have wanted to visit Best Friends for many years and finally did so last June. You can simply take a tour of the area and/or volunteer. You have your choice of volunteering with dogs, cats, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, horses and/or birds.
I wanted to volunteer in all areas, but I had a limited amount of time. I did as much as I could and will return in 2009.
I volunteered with the pigs for half a day which was an interesting experience! They had 20 pot-bellied pigs—two of them were several months old. I took one of them ( Harley ) for a walk on a leash. Not exactly like walking a dog. Pigs are very smart creatures—supposedly more intelligent than dogs. That does not mean that they are more obedient! Now I know where the phrase 'Pig Headed' come from.
There are approximately 600 dogs at Best Friends living in octagonal buildings. Best Friends encourages visitors to take a dog home for the night on a 'doggy sleepover.' I took a Lab called Trap to my hotel.
When we first arrived, he laid down on the floor. A short time later, I took him out for a walk. When we came back to the room, I saw him eyeing the bed. He had obviously decided that it was time to make the next move. He jumped up on the bed and settled in nicely—even left me about a foot of space to sleep in.
I took him back to Best Friends the next morning. Only one night together and I was choked up and teary-eyed giving him back to them. When I mentioned my sadness to one of the staff members, she just smiled and said, 'That's the idea.' They want these animals to find good homes.
Last year, Best Friends did a three show documentary on DogTown which was shown on the National Geographic station. Season two started Sept. 5 with a two-hour premiere of the fantastic work their trainers did with 22 dogs rescued from Michael Vicks 'kennels.'
Go to www.BestFriends.org and plan your trip!
Please see Pet for Adoption: Amy