Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - Monday

The best thing about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is - get ready for this one - the people. Everyone smiles at you. I mean everyone, from the guy scrubbing down the cat rooms to the founders having lunch in the cafeteria. They see you, they catch your eye, they smile and they say hello. Workers driving by in trucks wave out the window at you. Someone you've seen a bunch of times on TV looks over and says hi.

Best Friend Animal Sanctuary Welcome Center

How can this be possible? Maybe it's because they live and work in Angel Canyon which really should be its own national park like the neighbouring Zion National Park or Bryce. BFAS actually owns 3700 acres of land and leases out 30,000 more acres around their property to act as a buffer against developers and highway builders and whatever else may tear the environment away.

Next time 3700 acres of land like this comes up for sale, remind me to buy it

I drive through the place, stare at stuff, get lost often, and realize that this animal sanctuary is not just an animal sanctuary, it's a whopping big piece of desert paradise, and it's very much a people sanctuary as well.

There are the large vistas but around every corner, smaller examples of quiet beauty abound.

The first day wasn't just a lot of landscape gawking, though. There was a tour, a vegan buffet lunch, puppy training, dog volunteer orientation, dog walking, clicker training demo and lots and lots of yakking with people. It was a busy day and loads of photos were taken but I'll have to post the rest of them up tomorrow.

As a parting shot, so you don't think this blog has turned into just photos of sand, rocks and trees, here's a couple more of what BFAS is all about.

Just before it was time to leave the BFAS facility, Lucas, one of the Vick's champion dogs, was brought out and I snapped a couple of shots of his war torn face. He's under a lifetime court order which prohibits BFAS from allowing him to interact with anyone other than staff so I couldn't approach him which was a shame. The staff tell me he's really great with people and from what I could see, they weren't wrong about that.

Lucas' surface wounds look somewhat healed but he'd picked up some chronic immunity disorder from all his bite punctures so he's unfortunately susceptible to various illnesses and needs to remain under careful medical observation. His life has been hard and sad, but now Lucas will stay well looked after for the rest of life in this sanctuary, now his home.


Social Mange said...

Oh, Fred, I'm so jealous. The beautiful vistas, and spending time at such a wonderful facility....*sigh*.

Enjoy! And more pics and articles, please!

Anonymous said...

So glad you got to see Lucas...he's my hero. It's too bad you couldn't interact with him, though. I can't believe he's finally at a place where he's safe & loved but now his health is still compromised because of those terrible bite wounds. The hits just keep coming for the poor guy. Can you imagine if the Vick dogs had been destroyed like PETA & HSUS wanted? We would have been deprived of these beautiful, sweet dogs. They (at the very least) deserve to live out the rest of their days in comfort.

Looking forward to your next report from BFAS.

Evil Shannanigans said...

It looks like a wonderful time and a fantastic way to spend a vacation. How do you go about doing that? I would love to go there and volunteer for a week or two.

Lynda said...

Wow. What an amazing place. I can feel a sense of peace just looking at your pictures, Fred.
Thanks for sharing - I can't wait to see the other photos!


Marcie said...

WOW!! That place looks incredible. Lucas' is beautiful, you can see he's had a hard life just by looking at his face.

Lynn said...

Wow. I love it. All of it!

Fred said...

Hi Evil Shannanigans, it's very easy to vacation and volunteer here. You just need to go to the BFAS website and find the volunteer contact links where there's loads of information on where you can stay, eat, etc.

You can either stay on the BFAS property or stay in the nearby town, Kanab.

They ask that you let them know you'll be coming and they'll have you fill out some online forms and then they'll get you booked in for all the intro tours, etc.

They've got something like 2000 volunteers coming through every year so they've got the system pretty well worked out.

You can get here via Las Vegas, rent a car in Las Vegas (you really do need a car around here) and the drive is about 4 - 5 hours.

If you find you have some extra energy or time and want to do some activities away from BFAS, there's Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon in the area with Zion being the closest. I drove through Zion on the way up and was surprised by the $25 entrance fee just for driving through (that's what I get for not researching) but it was worth it. The roads are, um, "exciting" and by exciting I mean you might drive off a cliff and die if you're not focused on the driving which is somewhat of a challenge because there's so much eye-popping scenery to stare at.

Expenses all in, for these 10 days in November/December, which is low season, is well under $2000.

Rita said...

Fred, I think we are all pea green with envy! Looking forward to more doggies, scenery and information you've learned at BF.

(What a time to be gone though, just when things at THS are heating up. However, I know that you will keep us well informed. Everyone's talking about it, not just those in companion animal circles)

Ian said...

I was just about to ask if that was one of the Vick dogs but I see that`s been answered.I thought I had seen pictures of that dog elsewhere.
What a gorgeous place.
Your pictures are wonderful.

Dee said...

Going to BFAS is on my bucket list (I know I'm only 19 but still), nice to here it's so easy (and cheap) to visit!!

Evil Shannanigans said...

thanks Fred, I am going to look into it for the fall of next year. I watch dog town all the time and wanted to volunteer there. It looks like you are having a wonderful time. Enjoy!

Rachelle said...

Wow, I totally want to do this next year!!! Looks incredible and so good for the soul....

EmilyS said...

what a bummer about Lucas's restrictions (and health). He's almost certainly related to "Leo" now a therapy dog and "Hector" now owned by Roo Yori (owner of worldclass disc pit bull Wallace) and probably could have adjusted almost as well as they did to normal life.