Making New Friends in Kanab, Utah

Story by Ruffwear Employees Kristen Quadrone and Elena Pressprich

Photography by Elena Pressprich

Southern Utah is a popular and incredible place to visit, explore, & even adopt a best friend. The area is known for its National Parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion), as well as many other monuments (Bears Ears, Glen Canyon, Lake Powell, and Monument Valley, to name a few). In the little town of Kanab, located near Zion National Park, there is a sanctuary unlike any other: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

For more than 30 years, Best Friends Animal Society has been running the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and building effective programs that reduce the number of animals entering shelters. Best Friends gives a home to all sorts of animals – from dogs, cats, and fish, to horses, pigs, goats, turtles, and rabbits – even bobcats and eagles.

When you sign up to volunteer (we recommend doing this in advance), you can expect to take on a wide variety of duties. This can include anything from playing with puppies, walking dogs, cleaning kennels, cuddling with cats and pushing them in strollers, or mucking horse, goat, and pig stalls. You can even take a pig on a hike!

We took a trip on behalf of Ruffwear to the Best Friends sanctuary last May. Here’s glimpse into our experience:

Sometimes, the locals stop in to help clean up the mess the pigs make.

“Are you my new family?”

The cats love getting outside for nature walks on the sanctuary’s nature path, Meowzers Meander.

Volunteers are especially important at Horse Haven, as each horse is hand-fed a unique meal and blend of medicine and supplements. Without volunteers, this process can take many hours.

The goats stand on top of things, per usual.

Iggy (who has now found his forever family) is deaf and his favorite thing to do is nosework. Best Friends has a training facility complete with a ball pit, ramps, and obstacles – a great place for a dog to work on new skills.

When you’re planning your next trip to Southern Utah, absolutely make time to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and volunteer – you might even come home with a new best friend!

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