The Annual Blessing at Best Friends will take place on September 29, 2016, at Angels Rest in the Sanctuary. I can’t think of a better place to honor animals.
I visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary last spring as part of a media tour.
We drove past the gates to Angels Rest on our way to a hike. One of our hosts said we could visit Angels Rest if we wanted on our way back. My brain screamed “NO!” I thought that was the last place I wanted to go, but I kept that thought to myself.
After an amazing hike, we ended up in Angels Rest. I told myself that I wouldn’t cry. I even believed it. Our guide, Cyrus Mejia, explained that many of the animals who came to the Sanctuary had never known love or respect in their lifetimes. Early on, the Best Friends founders created Angels Rest, a place where these animals would be respected, loved and honored for the beautiful souls that they are with a marker and a special placement. Companion pets that were not adopted from Best Friends may also be placed here.
Angels Rest is peaceful, sacred, full of love, and oddly, hope.
In addition to the markers, there are wind chimes everywhere representing lost and loved companions. As we walked around, I noticed small niches that held stones, figurines, and various reminders of well-loved friends. Although I didn’t have a camera, I was taking mental notes and maintaining my composure. When I noticed a small sun bleached leather collar and tags, just like the one my dog Polly used to wear. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Polly came into our lives when I was 8 or 9; she left this world when I was 25. Even though it has been many years since she died, the tears were streaming down my face before I knew it.
All of the dogs I’ve ever loved pushed to the surface of my mind, as well as the overwhelming statistic that 9,000 companion animals die needlessly in shelters each day. And I started down the path to that deep, dark place of suffocating grief that terrifies me.
Just as suddenly, the air filled with beautiful music from the wind chimes. Although I didn’t notice a change in the breeze. The chimes were mysterious, magical and comforting. I understand that this sounds crazy, but it felt like angels moved those chimes instead of the wind.
I looked at my companions and realized they were having a similar experience. They had been crying but were now being comforted by the wind chimes. It was as if all those souls were saying “It’s okay, we are fine, and you will be too.” And my sorrow was replaced with peacefulness and hope.
I believe in Best Friends. Their motto “Save Them All” is working. So this September, I’m asking for Polly to be included. The love she brought into this world isn’t lost or forgotten. Dogs have made my world better, and I want to make the world better for them. I hope you’ll consider donating to Best Friends or another rescue to honor your pets as well!
You can memorialize a pet with wind chimes at Angels Rest or for yourself.
The next time you are looking to add a new family member, please adopt!
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