Well, as you all know, I celebrated my birthday last weekend, and without realizing it, my husband gave me ALL animal-related gifts! The Diagram of Dogs I have been wanting, a gorgeous pit bull print by Dean Russo, Tiny Confessions (a cute little coffee-table-type book), Dancing Dogs (a book of stories which I reviewed back when the blog first started), and a DVD set of Dogtown! Sneaky Jared must have spotted it on my wishlist and decided to surprise me with it!
(Photo from here)
The show films at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which is deep in the heart of the Utah canyons. Generally, three dogs and their stories are featured per episode - including some of the Michael Vick dogs, a Bloodhound with a history of aggression, and a Shih Tzu with multiple health problems due to her life in a puppy mill. The trainers and staff at Best Friends make it their goal to make the dog adoptable; this includes daily training and socialization, various tests, vet work, and fostering...and if, in the end, the dog is unable to find a forever home, it will still live a long, happy life at Dogtown.
That's the best thing about Best Friends: the many dogs, cats, birds, farm animals, and "pocket pets" all have a home for life once they've arrived. Even if they are deemed unadoptable, as some of the Michael Vick dogs were, they are still cared for and doted upon by staff members. In my eyes, if animal shelters could be a bit more like Best Friends, the world would be a better place.
Jared and I cannot wait to make a trip to the sanctuary one day - the scenery is gorgeous, they always welcome volunteers, and there are multiple cabins in the area for guests to stay in. Get this: you can also take a dog or cat on a "sleepover," bringing them to your cabin to spend the night. Not only is this a treat for you and the animal, it's also super helpful to the staff members, as you can update them on the animal's behavior and reactions to things. There are several other things that make Best Friends seem like an incredible place: their Guardian Angels program for special needs animals, the amazing adoption promotions, and Angels Rest, the final resting place for hundreds of animals who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
The gates leading into this very special place (photo from here)
So far, I have tried to keep myself from binge-watching the entire series. We have watched three episodes, and each was as heart-wrenching and inspiring as the last. (Yeah, you need tissues to watch this show, but it's definitely worth it!) The story that really broke my heart was the story of Aristotle, a terrier mix with the worst skin condition I have ever seen. Happily, though, Aristotle has since found his forever home! :)
This is Aristotle after treatment (photo from here)
For more information about Dogtown, visit the Best Friends website. Have any of my readers visited the Best Friends Sanctuary? Leave me a comment; I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for reading :)