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  • September 2020
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Dogtown – A Best Friends Final Thought

Sitting in front of the TV watching the National Geographic Channel’s Dogtown is enlightening experience in itself. But when you have been there, twice, you view it with a much different perspective. The partnership between National Geographic and Best Friends Animal Society seems to be a good one and it gets Best Friends tons of exposure. It is also neat to run into some of the people you see on Dogtown at the sanctuary. We watched Dr. Mike work on Riley the horse changing and cleaning his prosthetic. We also had Dogtown Manager, Michelle Besmehn join our table for lunch one day. It’s very interesting watching Dogtown and seeing things you recognize and places you have walked by. But also, there’s nothing quite like a visit to Dogtown and the sanctuary itself to really feel the magic that exists there.

We discovered Best Friends during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. During the disaster, we decided that we had to make some sort of monetary donation to help in the disaster relief. We decided to split our donation between the Red Cross and some sort of animal rescue group helping the lost and abandoned animals left behind. Being the natural skeptic that I am, it was difficult to find the right group to donate to. I wanted as much of our donation as possible to go to the animals. One evening while watching some news footage of the carnage, we saw people helping some dogs with Best Friends t-shirts on. They were interviewed and we were impressed with their determination and sympathy for the dogs they were trying to help. I went to work on doing some due diligence and decided they were worthy of our funds. Once our donation was received, we started getting the magazine and newsletters, and the more I read, the more impressed with Best Friends I became. I discovered their massive networking capabilities and then the volunteering opportunities and began telling Debbie that we had to go there and do some volunteering. Back in October we went for our first time and then again just now. Like I said before, the place is magical. The setting is magical, the people are magical, and visiting Angel’s Rest and seeing the hundreds of little graves of those who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, you can’t help but shed a tear.

I must admit that I am always cynical and cannot always agree with myself that what I see is true. I am always looking for that rip in reality, that black mark on the pure white, that chink in the armor and I have tried to find it here at a place where it is totally run and funded by donations, but I can’t. The people are totally dedicated to the animals in their care. The vision of the founding members is still clear and focused with those who have come in behind them. Most of the caregivers that were there in October are still there now and are even more determined than ever to find every animal a forever home. What is most awe inspiring is that these people will stop at nothing to give these poor little souls the absolute best life they can possibly have for as long as they remain there. They are truly there for the animals and the animals always come first. They were cast offs , abandoned, abused, lost, forgotten, but no longer. They are totally loved maybe for the first time in their lives and you can see the appreciation and thank fullness in their eyes. We are so glad that Best Friends exists for these babies and if you ever get a chance, pay them a visit and see for yourself what goes on in the country’s largest no kill animal sanctuary. Send in a donation and get the magazine and tell a friend. You’ll be amazed and never forget your experience there. By the way, I am in no way involved with Best Friends except as a member and volunteer and am paid not one penny to share my feelings. See ya in southern Utah someday!!! Oh and one more thing….. DO NOT BUY PUPPIES FROM PUPPY MILLS!!!!!!

Walking The Pigs


Here’s Deb walking Dagwood the pig at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’s Piggy Paradise!


Here’s another video of Deb walking another pig, Naniue. Isn’t she cute!

Back At Best Friends Animal Society

Yes we are back at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah! After our first ever visit back in October, we had always planned to come back some day soon and recently found a real good excuse to come back just six months later. Debbie’s nephew Nick got married and he and his new bride live in San Antonio so we went down to attend the nuptials. Neither of us had ever been to San Antonio and found it to be a very cool city! We didn’t get to see a whole lot, but we did spent some time in the River Walk area, and did visit the Alamo while we were there. The revisited history of the Alamo was absolutely fascinating! Learning it as a kid quite possibly left something amiss. As an adult, I found it much more, lets say digestible. We had a great time and wish the newlyweds all the best in their new lives together!

So since we were all the way down in Texas, and Utah just happen to sit right in between there and home, well why not take a vacation and stop by Best Friends and spend another visit and do some more volunteering! So that is exactly what we did. We had to fly from San Antonio to Phoenix for a quick plane change and then head to Las Vegas where we would pick up our car and drive the 200 plus miles to Kanab. It should have been a no brainer, but due to a nasty front that had moved through the southwest, Las Vegas had high winds and planes were stopped from landing or taking off for about an hour, so we sat on our plane in Phoenix waiting for the go ahead. Luckily we got it, but the landing in Vegas was quite a bumpy and scary one! It didn’t end there, because we still had a harrowing drive to Kanab due to the gusty winds. Kanab and Freedonia actually lost power for a couple of hours but was restored by the time we showed up early this morning. After a few hours sleep we were up and ready to take care of some animals!

This trip we started with working with the horses. Last time we didn’t get to work with them. We really enjoyed it even though we did plenty of mucking the pastures. There’s something not too unpleasant about shoveling horse poop. It really doesn’t smell that bad!! We did allot of grooming too which it is the beginning of shedding season and the horses really seemed to enjoy it! The afternoon had us returning to Dogtown where we had spent allot of time on our last visit. There’s nothing like the fresh smell of Fabuloso when you walk into any of the dog houses! The first thing we wondered about was what happened to many of our dog friends we made on our last visit! It was very enlightening to find out that many of them had been adopted to good happy homes! Kirsten, our favorite dog, had been adopted, so had Ali, Tahiti, Garth, Densani (sp?), and a few others that names are fleeting but faces are not. While it would have been nice to see some of these smiling faces once again, the reality smacks us in the face that this is how it should be and we should be happy, not sad! Emotions conflicting, expectations met in respect, the fact reared it’s head that there were now new doggy faces that had replaced those that had left that needed love and attention. I might add that there were still some familiar mugs we still recognized that had still not met the exuberant fate of finding a happy home. So the battle still continues, albeit happy tales are being told.

One of the new faces we met at Dogtown today was Freddy, a very well behaved hound that had noting but love to show us unfamiliar humans he was dealing with despite the horrible past he lived with! He was left for dead in a taped up box on the side of a road as a small puppy. Someone finally got suspicious of the box sitting on the side of the road and went to check it out. Inside was found a very hungry, thirsty, and weak little dog! He was very lucky to be in wonderful hands and was nurtured back to health where he lived in a nursing home for awhile before finding himself at Best Friends. We met him here only eight days after his arrival, so he was a real newcomer. He is a wonderful dog with a very touching personality and a beautiful disposition that will hopefully land him in a forever home really soon. It is just unbelievable to find people out there that can do such terrible things to loyal and loving animals. They are really feeling, sentient beings that deserve far much better than this. Thank God for Best Friends, the people that work and care for the animals, and also the volunteers that come from around the world to love and spend time with these beautiful souls. We will have pictures coming soon and hopefully some interviews for some podcast shows coming on http://www.justjoepodcast.com. Also more stories of our visit will be written as I find the time! As you read these words, think about coming down for a visit to see what all this is about! You’ll never be the same again!!!!

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