Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - Monday part 2

The cats at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary have their own neighbourhood called Cat World where several cat houses house several hundred cats. The rooms in each cat house look pretty cozy and quite befitting a cat and there are several cats in each room. Every room also gives the cats access to the outside enclosed patio where even more eclectic cat furniture is plentiful. I asked our guide about the vast assortment of cat furniture and she said, "It's all about the choice."

You'd think with all this furniture, it would be difficult to keep everything clean but all the rooms are scrubbed clean daily and I have to admit, the cat house we visited smelled cleaner than my house.

Patio furniture

Align Center
Cat cubicles

Double doors to the outside

The cats might have it cushy but the horses definitely get the best views and the largest spaces. Various Hollywood movies have been filmed in these valleys and it's no wonder given how big and dramatic everything looks.

Just before lunch, I took a walk to Angel's Rest which is where many hundreds of BFAS animals have been laid to rest (people can also request to have their own pets buried there as well). I've been to a lot of cemetaries all over the world but this one is by far the best. The beauty of the surrounding valley, the chimes ringing out - it's more a place where spirits roam than a place where ghosts haunt.

I may have gotten some sand in my eyes here.

My volunteer time didn't start until after lunch. First thing is signing in at Dogtown at the volunteer center. If you've ever seen the National Geographic series about Dogtown, you'll know that it can be a pretty bustling place with dogs mixing with people.

I was shown a volunteering video specifically geared to Dogtown and then sent to work helping train puppies. Serious business that. No, really.

Before BFAS started the puppy classes, they were getting a 35% return rate on puppy adoptions. Since they started the classes where the puppies are exposed to all sorts of things by all manners of people, where they are poked and prodded and picked up and examined, where they are taught basic commands, the return rate has dropped to almost zero.

Puppy mastering leash techniques

After puppy classes, it was off to Amra, one of the areas in Dogtown where some of the slightly more rambuctious dogs are kept. Of course the dogs I ended up walking weren't rambuctious at all. In fact, so far, in my two days here, none of the dogs I've walked have been anywhere near the average level of rowdiness of TAS dogs.

The first guy is Tigger and the second is Avalon.

And that's the end of day one at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary


shoes1720 said...

Fred, I am loving BF. Imagine going to work at a place like this and doing such meaningful work too.
I wish TAS had training programs too to help all the dogs up for adoption. Perhaps something to hope for in the future?
Also, I'm sure the dogs must be calmer, more ready for training because they are allowed to roam and not in a pen most of the day. Maybe TAS can get a dog run one day too? I've got a lots of wishes today. :)

Evil Shannanigans said...

looks amazing. I admit, I too got sand in my eyes just from looking at your pictures.
What a beautiful place for them to have at the end of all things.
Can't wait to see more pictures

Erin said...

I love seeing your photos and hearing your experiences there as I've watched Dogtown for sometime now.

The photos of Angel's Rest are beautiful and I was touched to see the one of the stones. It's a tradition in Judaism to leave stones on a grave when you visit it, it shows to others that someone has been there. Weather and time may remove them, but no one ever touches them. It was beautiful to see that the tradition is done for more than just people, but for beloved pets as well.

Laura HP said...

That is a sweet cat house! Those guys are obviously nice and spoiled now after whatever has happened to them in the past. I love the photos of those happy kitties :)
The horse place looks beautiful as well! And the Angel's Rest is so touching...what a wonderful way to remember those who have passed on.

Anonymous said...

Ok just called my boyfriend, told him I was going tommorow hahaha ok maybe not that soon but I am so going


Noon Patrol said...

As an employee of BFAS, specifically Cat World, I want to thank you for your kind words about BFAS and more importantly the people who work here, caring for the animals. Hopefully on your next visit you can spend a little more time in cats! FYI: the orange guy in the basket is Michael, the handsome guy on the pink shelf is Ashokan and the adorable guy hiding on the blue shelf is Gumby.