For part 2 of our visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, here is our personal experience from our time volunteering there. if you ever get the chance to visit and volunteer, it is a very rewarding experience. the quest of “No More Homeless Pets” can be a reality if we all spread the word.
Jeff and I were assigned to the dogs. The first day, after a volunteer orientation, we went to the puppy house and cleaned out the runs. LOTS OF POOP! There, we met Sue and Amy from West Palm Beach FL. Another couple that is pasionate about animal rescue.
After cleaning up, Jeff and I got to take pups into a room, and help social them to humans. One of the larger pups was very man-shy and we worked on getting him to let Jeff feed him treats and touch him.
The next day, we worked with ‘Special Needs’ dogs in the Clubhouse. Dogs go there who have either physical or emotional problems. There, we walked the dogs on well-marked trails. Again, Jeff was paired with a large male dog that was man-shy. By the end of the one mile walk, Jeff was able to kneel down and let the dog sniff him, a significant breakthrough!
I took a small, terrified schnauzer that had been rescued from a puppy mill – she was a breeder — to a ‘shy dog’ class. There were about 15 dogs in the room, along with about 12 people, and we were instructed to drop their leashes and just let the dogs come to us for treats to sniff or whatever, reinforcing that people are not all bad. Allowing the dogs to approach us, not visa-versa, it was important, bacause often a hand coming at the dogs was not a friendly gesture. And many of these dogs have not had the chance to socialize with other animals, at least not on their own terms. It is amazing how much better dogs socialize with one another when they are off leash. They don’t feel the threats of restriction.
Jeff and I took Honey Bun, a pitty that needed socialization, to the agility course, and worked with her for about an hour. it is her favorite place and we felt very rewarded wheb she completed some of the obstacles.
There were so many wonderful dogs at Best Friends, I wanted to take so many home, but since we are 3 pups in a pop-up, we have to adhere to that title. Dang!
Jeff and I had the pleasure of dining with one of the original founders of best friends. Her name is Charity and she is total joy. she is from the UK and now lives on the property. Sharp as a tack and funny, too!
While the ultimate goal is to find a “forever home’ for the animals at Best Friends, some animals live out the rest of their lives in the comfort and kindness of the sanctuary. When an animal dies at best Friends, it is “tucked-in” to it’s final resting place at the beautiful cemetary called ‘Angels Rest”. It is decorated with sculptures, chimes, pictures, and many words of love. I love that- “Tucked-In”.