As you know I love all animals but dogs have an extra special place in my heart. My favorite shows are The Dog Whisperer and Dogtown. When I still lived in Florida I wanted to volunteer at Dogtown which is a no-kill shelter in Utah, but timing didn’t work out at the time. So when we moved to California, I finally made plans to travel to Utah and volunteer for a day at Best Friends (aka Dogtown). The sanctuary is in Kanab and located in the beautiful red rock canyons in southern Utah. Its home to dogs, cats, bunnies, pigs, birds and horses – about 1,600 animals! I signed up to volunteer with dogs for an entire day. First was a quick orientation and then I was assigned to one of the dog kennels. They’re set up very intimate – you can’t imagine that so many animals live here – as they are small round houses with only a few kennels in each. They also have outdoor access whenever they want to a nice backyard. Dogs are grouped together by age or if they have any medical conditions. I was very impressed of the set up – as it doesn’t look like your regular shelter at all. Usually when you enter there’s a big hall with dogs barking and it feels very depressing – this was not the case. There were many volunteers so the dogs get out on a trail at least twice a day and are well taken care of with cuddles and love. Some of the volunteers stayed at cottages on the sanctuary and were able to take a dog with them for an overnight trip. I have to plan this next time (but I’m afraid I will not give the dog back after the weekend :-)). First I took out an older dog, who had his own customized doormat from a sponsor who visits regularly and sends gifts (see the picture on top). He was so sweet! They have nice trails where you can take out the dogs and play with them. I took walks with different dogs all morning – I wouldn’t be able to decide which one to adopt they were all so loving. The animals at Best Friends are cared for really well (in some cases better than other people at home would do). Of course, they still need to be adopted so other animals can be taken in at the sanctuary. However, I’ve never seen such a happy shelter! For lunch I went to the cafeteria which offers only vegan food. AWESOME! I had a delicious salad and the view on the terrace was spectacular! In the afternoon I helped cleaning up the kennels and trails (dog poop) and then it was time to say good bye! I do want to plan another overnight trip there – as it was such an amazing experience. They also have Best Friends Los Angeles – if you’re in the area there’s a STRUT YOUR MUT coming up October 22, 2016! If you don’t live close by check out the website and donate if you can.
We continued our drive in Utah to Bryce Canyon where we did a quick 1-night backpacking trip. We hiked down in the forest area and set up our tent in a remote area in the evening. The next day we hiked out another trail and enjoyed the one-of-a-kind views of the red rock formations. We ate some lunch on top and went off on a trail run/hike in another area of the park. Sorry I can’t remember the trail name – but you can’t pick a wrong one in Bryce Canyon! It was a run/ hike to remember as you feel you’re walking on Mars with these red rocks! In the evening we further drove from Bryce Canyon to Brian Head on Route 143. This is such an idyllic road – forest, little creeks, cows…. I was on Little House on the Prairie! We stayed in Brian Head at The Grand Lodge for 1 night (time to shower!) and did an ATV tour in the morning to explore the area. From there we headed to Las Vegas and then back home.
Utah has so many outdoor activities to offer with all the different national parks. I can’t wait to come back for another trip!