You’ve probably never heard of Kanab, Utah unless you’ve done some hiking in the area. It’s a small….very small town with about two of everything. Two gas stations, two grocery stores and two traffic lights. We spent a week in Kanab poking around at the nearby National Parks. One night we found ourselves at one of the town’s two decent restaurants, Charlies’ Oasis. It is the only place in town to catch a game on TV and enjoy a frosty beverage. We saddled up to their makeshift bar for some 3.2 beer (Utah’s limit) and the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Not to bore you with the details of what we ate, because frankly who cares. But, in this particular instance, we ordered a pizza called the Best Friends pizza. Hold the olives, add chicken, please! We got a look from our teenage waitress, but we just passed it off as having strange accents or something.
A couple of days later we returned and met a couple who were obviously not from around Kanab. They could tell we weren’t either and chatted with us about our journey. We asked them why they moved from Michigan to a place like Kanab and they answered, “We work at Best Friends!”. Ok. WTF does that mean?
Best Friends Animal Society is just down the street from Kanab and is home to about 1,800 rescued animals. HOLY CRAP! Say what!? Now we could see that adding chicken to the Best Friends pizza was soooo faux pas. The place sounded like a crazy mad house so we had to check it out. Double bonus: tours are free.
It’s difficult to even fathom where they would put 1,800 animals until you learn that the sanctuary sits on 33,000 acres, most of which is in Angel Canyon. Doesn’t that sound even more ludicrous?
The animals you can visit on your way in are the horses, donkeys, burros and pigs. The horses are there mainly because they can’t be ridden any longer. Apparently no one wants the responsibility of caring for a horse unless they can ride it.
Once the tour begins, you’re whisked off in a van that climbs the canyon to visit some of the indoor animal sanctuaries. One of the most popular, Dogtown, is comprised of many buildings and was the site of the National Geographic TV show of the same name. Dogtown is host to 400-500 dogs at any one time. One building in particular is home to the teeny tiny dogs. They have to have their own building with special gates that lock up. It’s important they are secured so any large birds that call the canyon home don’t turn the purse sized dogs into a midnight snack!
Next door is Cat World, which is home to 600-700 cats. Multiple buildings also comprise Cat Town, one of which holds many cat condos for those that prefer to live alone.
We were told that sick, mistreated and unwanted animals are brought to Best Friends from all over the country. They received 20 or so of the “Michael Vick pits” and have rehabilitated and adopted out most of them already! They’ve also rescued many of the Hurricane Katrina pet victims. People even call up the sanctuary asking if there are animals in need of transport because they are making their way in that direction. It’s quite the community and I’m shocked I had never heard of it!
Their adoption set up is pretty cool, too. A person could “rent” an animal for a night to see if it might be a good fit for you both. We were so impressed by this place that we actually considered adopting a chihuahua. The fact that I basically hate dogs and Dusty is allergic to most animals should prove to you the awesomeness that is Best Friends. Don’t let our hesitation stop you, though! There are about 900 animals just waiting to visit your home!
- Plan your visit
- Volunteers are welcome!
- There’s also opportunity to stay in lodging at the sanctuary while you volunteer.
- Tours are FREE!
Wendy’s Review: Blew my mind!
Dusty’s Review: I liked the pigs!