Last weekend I had the most incredible opportunity to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. I have a lot more to write about, but I wanted to introduce to one of the awesome dogs we met there who is looking for a new home. Caspian is a senior dog who is absolutely perfect in every way.
During my volunteer experience, I was fortunate to meet Caspian when it was time for me to wash the dishes. Caspian is the “kitchen dog” and he couldn’t be sweeter. Although he may be losing his hearing, every time we said “Hi Caspian,” he wiggled his little nub tail and butt furiously. A teenager and her mom took Caspian for a short walk, and he has great leash manners.
If you’re interested in adopting Caspian, please fill out an adoption application. If you can’t adopt him, I hope you’ll share him!
Fetching Links We Love
During my trip, I was privileged to meet other bloggers and freelancers. Enjoy this post from Maggie Marton of Oh My Dog! as she sums up our first day to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Part 1 of my visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Sending our gratitude to all the service men, women, and dogs!
I love this video that I randomly found about a dog, a man and the Utah desert.
June 4 NKLA Super Adoption Event, Los Angeles, CA
June 11 29th Annual Bark Ball, Washington, DC
June 12 Zumba Zoo, Methuen, MA
June 23-25 BlogPaws Conference, Phoenix, AZ
June 25 MHF 26th Annual Black Tie Gala, Marshall, VA
July 14-17 Best Friends National Conference, Salt Lake City, UT
September 17 Bark In The Park, San Jose, CA
If you are interested in having an event listed here, email rescue (@) dailydogtag dot com.
The Dalmatian is probably one of the most easily recognizable breeds, but they are never commonplace. Perhaps it is because my grandparents had a Dalmatian named Jack with one blue eye, and one brown eye, but Dalmatians remain one of my favorite breeds. Brooke Tyson Photography found a gorgeous Magnolia tree to serve as the background for these photos of Saoirse, the Dalmatian.
From Christy: “Saoirse’s name is pronounced SAIRE-shuh, and it is Gaelic for ‘freedom’ (or liberty).
She was born just before July 4th; I brought her home on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, and she has been a therapy dog with Fidos For Freedom since November 2014.
Saoirse has several nicknames: Shakira, brought about by a co-worker who did not understand what I had named her; Swishy; and Kraken (her AKC name is Karefree’s Release the Kraken…which is what we would say when we let her out of her kennel as a puppy!)
Saoirse loves giving hugs, and occasional kisses to everyone she meets. She is a true social butterfly. And she is very smart. Always eager to learn new tricks and find opportunities to get treats! She likes to be making physical contact with you as often as she can, but isn’t demanding that you pet her; she just likes being close. She sleeps in the bed and completely under the covers. And she doesn’t bother getting up until I am out of the shower; she rarely stirs when I hit the snooze button multiple times.
Her favorite food is, of course, Chickfila French fries. They know her at the drive-through. She starts whining and pacing in the back seat of the car as soon as we get in line. She now expects French fries anywhere we get in line, including the bank.
Distant second favorite treats are Greenies or Sam’s Yams.
Saoirse has only ever met one person she didn’t absolutely love in her whole life (ironically at a drive through), and in general she prefers male strangers to female strangers, which is unusual for a dog (since women are less threatening in general). If they have beards, she likes them even better!
Saoirse learned to fetch by playing a puzzle game with me. After training with her to retrieve toys and other objects, she realized she can cash in items she picks up for food. So she picks up all sorts of things! The remote, laundry, anything you drop…and items she finds in the house. Once she brought me a Chinese fortune. If I’m working at home and not paying attention to her, she’ll pile objects on my lap. Once I looked up to see her gently holding a book jacket from ‘The Genius of Dogs.’
Saoirse is a foster big sister to a Wrigley (a six-month-old yellow Lab), who is living with us for her first year as part of her training with Fidos For Freedom. Saoirse is extremely tolerant!
Saoirse likes going to ongoing training classes at The Coventry School in Columbia MD and at Fidos. When she’s motivated, she can learn a new trick in a few minutes! In addition to the basics, she knows: wave, circle (go right), spin (go left), figure 8 through my legs, roll over, play dead, sit pretty, stand up, high five, shake, paws up, fetch and several others. Her best trick is to retrieve a Chickfila French fry and hand it to me without eating it!
As for me, I work as a relief veterinarian, so I fill in for vacationing vets or do part time work at practices in the Annapolis and Baltimore area. I am the co-director for the therapy dog department for Fidos For Freedom.”
You can see more of Saoirse’s photos on Brooke’s blog.
About Brooke Tyson Photography: Based in Columbia, Maryland, Brooke is a wedding an engagement photographer.
I still have more to write about my trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, but while I’m figuring out the best way to organize it, please enjoy this picture perfect engagement session from Two Chics Photography starring Griffin, the Labradoodle.
From Shauna: “We were so ecstatic when Emily and Tommy asked if they could bring along their 1-year-old Labradoodle pup, Griffin, to the engagement shoot. He did not disappoint!
He really hammed it up for the camera! We love how human-like his qualities are!
They laughed, he laughed! They hugged, he hugged right back! He took such an interest in everything his ‘humans’ were doing!
Their engagement session was held on a private horse farm right outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Hands down, Griffin wins personal favorite ‘dog-award’ at a photography shoot!”
About Two Chics Photography: Shauna and Jessica are based in Middle Georgia, but are available for worldwide travel. Their unique and creative style is perfect for wedding photography as well as family and senior portraits.
I am not alone in wanting to make the world a better place for people as well as animals. But my attempts are feeble at best, small drops in a vast sea that barely cause a ripple. It was humbling and exhilarating to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah last weekend as part of a media tour. Their mission, “Save Them All,” may be lofty, but the people at Best Friends Animal Society are idealists who are making their vision a reality.
Let me apologize right now; I don’t have the vocabulary or the photography skills to do this trip justice. It is one of those things you have to experience for yourself, like falling in love. Until you have done it, you can’t appreciate how amazing it is. And after you have experienced it, you are changed, but can’t accurately explain it to other people.
After checking in at the Welcome Center and Gift Shop, we met our tour guide, Therese. Our first stop was at Horse Haven. As we approached the fields and rings, two women leading a miniature horse and a one-month-old foal told us to stop where we were. They led the horses into the ring and motioned for us to come over.
It was the first time the foal had been outside, and boy did he love it!
Prince was too weak to nurse after he was born. His mother is a stray or wild horse, and it was impossible for humans to get close enough to her to help him. So Prince was moved from Arizona where he was born to the Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. (A blood test is required to transport horses across state lines which is why Prince has a patch of short hair on his neck.) Prince is bottle fed every two hours. As you can imagine, he started to bond with humans, but it isn’t safe for a horse to think he is a human.
They introduced “Uncle” Feather (a miniature horse) to Prince so Feather could teach him how to be a horse. Feather is a Best Friends alum and was adopted by one of the trainers years ago.
After we oohed and ahhed over Prince and Uncle Feather, we saw some of the other horses. Most of the animals at Best Friends are available for adoption. Many of the horses cannot be ridden anymore due to age or medical conditions and are pasture pals. I think a pasture pal might be better than having a horse to ride.
We walked over to Piggy Paradise to see the pot-bellied pigs.
Many of the pigs were originally sold as “micro pigs.” Jen told us that people who bought these pigs were told they would be around 40 pounds as adults. A pot-bellied pig at maturity weighs about 150 pounds. There are some breeders who are trying to produce smaller pigs, but according to our guide, those pigs can have some serious medical issues.
Some of the pigs came to Best Friends because they were living in a house that wasn’t zoned for farm animals. Do your research before getting a pet. Don't depend on breeders to give you truthful advice; breeding animals… Click To Tweet
A bunch of us fell in love with Jared when he plopped down for a belly rub.
There are piglets there as well, but they were in another pen because they were finishing their breakfast. They have to be kept separate from the adults during mealtime to make sure they get their fair share because pigs can be, well, piggy.
We were greeted by Bubba, a very handsome dog who is not a Best Friends rescue but epitomizes what Best Friends is all about. Bubba was found in a dumpster with a significant scalp laceration. He does not have external ears anymore, but he can hear. He lives with Jackie, who is the parrot expert at the sanctuary.
Best Friends houses the birds in “the least restrictive” environment possible for each bird. Some birds live in aviaries, but many prefer the familiarity of a cage. We saw several African Greys, Macaws, and Cockatoos.
If you don’t know much about birds, this is what we learned in a nutshell. Parrots are intelligent creatures, similar to children between the age of 3-7, are highly sensitive, should eat a diet of pelleted diet and fresh vegetables, and many retain a sense of humor throughout their long lives. They understand words and can use them appropriately. African Grey parrots are the best talkers. Cody is particularly social and entertained us.
The Macaws have a pretty loud screech, but they are beautiful. Sadly there were lots of birds who had become feather pluckers in their previous homes due to stress.
The cockatoos are funny, intelligent and obnoxiously loud. In my earlier days, I thought a cockatoo would be a fantastic pet to have, but now I realize it takes a very special kind of person to live with a cockatoo, and I’m not one of them.
To adopt a bird, you must come to the sanctuary and meet the bird in person. Given their sensitive nature, it is important to make sure that the bird feels a connection to the human. If it isn’t there, the bird remains at Best Friends. Interestingly, several birds were brought to Best Friends by their aging owners. Knowing the parrots were likely to outlive them, they brought them to a place where the birds will always have a wonderful home.
Best Friends also has a lot of cockatiels which were my favorite of the birds.
We were able to help clicker train the cockatiels to that they will step on the scale to be weighed, significantly less stressful than being picked up or chased. A couple of cockatiels sat on my shoulder and head, and neither of them pooped on me, so I felt pretty special!
After the birds, we went to the peaceful world of the Bunny House. It was so incredibly quiet. Ann showed us how one of the rabbits, Flora, is clicker trained. She knows more tricks than my dogs! Flora can even spin on cue.
I forget this darling’s name, but she is very sweet! We learned that bunnies do better with a partner, so they work on bonding rabbits in pairs or trios. The only requirement is the rabbits are the same age so the life expectancy will be similar. All of the rabbits at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary are spayed or neutered.
The common theme throughout the tour was the devotion that the caregivers displayed for the animals. Each person referred to the animals in their area as “the kids.” Every pen, cage, and stall, is set up to be functional and comfortable for the animals. Nothing is more important than the kids.
As an animal lover, that sounds ideal and perhaps even normal, but Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is extraordinary. The commitment of the staff is palpable. Everywhere we went we met individuals who are dedicating their lives to making the world a better place for animals, who know without a doubt that we can save them all!
Believe it or not, meeting all of these animals and caregivers was just the first morning of our adventure. I have so much more to share, I hope you’ll check back to read about the rest of the trip.
As an introvert, I tend to stay home a lot, but this weekend it will be a different story. Best Friends Animal Society invited all the Best Friends Ambassadors to come out and visit the Sanctuary. While I am feeling a little anxious about leaving my comfort zone, I am so excited to see this fantastic place in person and meet some great pet bloggers.
Best Friends is so much more than a shelter for cats and dogs. In addition to helping farm animals, horses, birds, and rabbits, Best Friends is the leader of the No Kill Movement, and networks with other organizations to help homeless pets. I know that I’ll be learning a lot this weekend!
Of course, I am really looking forward to meeting some of the awesome dogs available for adoption including these cutie pies.
Arizona is a Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler puppy who is only three months old. Adorable Boxer pup, Star, was found as a stray.
Champ is a Mastiff/Akita mix who thinks he’s a tiny lapdog. He loves people and will always roll over for belly rubs. A legitimate hero, he’s earned his name. While he and another dog were abandoned in a state park, the other dog became injured, and Champ sought help from the park ranger, who saved them both.
Champ was born in 2011. He walks great on a head halter and loves training, especially when there are yummy treats involved. He enjoys going for hikes and has gotten used to car rides. Champ does fine with other dogs his size, especially females, but will need a home without cats. He’ll also need someone who understands that he’s very strong, but he’s also a gentle giant.
Ollie is an Anatolian Shepherd, who is shy with strangers, but once you’re his friend he’ll show you only the deepest dedication. He overcomes his worries quickly, so all he needs is a little time to become someone’s best bud. Ollie was born in 2013 and loves the great outdoors. He walks perfectly on a leash, enjoys having some space to roam around in and would make a fantastic running partner.
Grace is a sweet girl who is dreaming of having someone to hike with. She was born in 2011 but hasn’t lost the energy she had in her younger years. Car rides are one of her favorite things, and because she is so smart, she also really enjoys her training sessions.
Rainey wants love and affection. She likes to go on walks and to dog parks, though she gets along much better with male dogs than other females. She is a hound who likes to bay, and may try to escape if left alone too long.
Labrador mix Griffin is still somewhat shy, but he’s made some great progress since coming to Dogtown. He’ll now allow pets from people he knows, and sometimes kisses, too. Born in 2011, Griffin loves walks, and is starting to like car rides. He gets along well with other dogs and likes to swim and play with them. This sweet, mellow boy is just looking for a place to chill. If you think he could do that with you, Griffin would love to meet you.
Frankfurt the Chihuahua mix is a fast learner. People jokingly say that’s why his head is so big. But while that may not make him any smarter than he already is, it sure does make him more adorable.
This fun little guy was born in 2014. He’s still full of energy, but when it’s quiet time, he’s always down for a good cuddle. Frankfurt is very eager to please and makes friends quickly, whether they be people or other dogs. He has some mild anxiety issues, but settles down nicely and is ready to learn and grow in his own home.
Lordes is a Pit bull who is house trained and walks nicely on a leash. She needs to be the only pet and qualifies for free adoption and a free flight home.
Zeek is a snuggly boy who loves being with his people. He appears to have good house manners, but he loves to go outside for walks. When he’s not walking, this happy-go-lucky boy is snuggled up on his bed, snoring away. Although Zeek is a huge fan of people, he is picky with other dogs. Born in 2011, he’d do best in a home where he can be someone’s one and only. Zeek’s adoption fee is waived, and he is also eligible for a free flight to his new home.
Lydia is a shy lady, but with time and patience, she’ll come around and learn to trust you. Because she tends to run when she is afraid, she will need a watchful person and a secure enclosure to keep her safe. Lydia gets along well with other dogs and often relies on the more confident ones to help her feel more confident herself. She’d love a home with a patient person and a buddy dog, or two to show her the ropes.
Oh if Wilson could only speak human! He wants so much to get to know you and play. He’d also like to tell you how he passed with flying colors his AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Then he’d be sure to tell you about how much he loves friends, car rides, and long runs, and how much he how he likes to wear his backpack. Then he might mention how much he loves to play with other dogs his size.
But there are a couple of things he might not mention, like chasing cats is fun, digging holes is a guilty pleasure, treats work magic, and he’s been told he needs to stop guarding his food and toys so much. (Because of that guarding, he needs a dog-savvy home!)
Born in 2009, we don’t think that Wilson has ever really had a home before. So, if you’d like to take this boy under your wing, please consider giving him a happy, loving home.
If you are interested in adopting any of these dogs, you can find more information here. If you are looking to adopt a dog that is closer to your home, check out these organizations that are Best Friends Network Partners.