Animal shelters are a safe haven for dogs without homes. But the sad reality in these places is that they have to euthanize animals when there is no more space in the pound.
To counter this issue, Best Friends decided to build the largest Sanctuary for animals that aims to reduce the cases of euthanasia in shelters.
Be inspired by the story of Best Friends, what they do, and how you can help.
Who are They?
Best Friends is a non-profit organization formed by motley crews who care deeply for animals. Their mission was to build the largest animal sanctuary in the nation that would stop the killings in shelters.
One of the members was Franci Batista, who worked in real estate. He found the perfect piece of land in the Sanctuary located in Southern Utah.
His teammate, architect Paul Eckhoff, repaired the old nails to build the bunkhouse and facilities for the shelter.
Other members of Best Friends included Gregory Castle, Faith Maloney, also known as Chief Dog, and Judah Battista.
These founders only had hope and some land. They relied on construction manuals to build the Sanctuary and their expertise in architecture to turn their dream into reality.
The first furry friends in the Sanctuary were the homeless pets in their area. Despite the small local town, there was a steady stream of stray and abused dogs and cats that needed a home.
How They Started
Best Friends was formed 35 years ago by an inspiring group of people who wanted to create a “sanctuary” for homeless animals, most especially dogs.
What started as a passionate volunteering activity led them to kickstart a vast movement to end the deaths of 17 million dogs and cats who are mercilessly killed in shelters every year.
There was no official board, funds, sponsors, or strategies. All they did in Kanab, Utah was save money from their personal income to build the Sanctuary.
Best Friends created the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the world. It isn’t your regular doggie shelter and they have made a significant impact on the animal welfare movement.
Their story doesn’t end there. Best Friends has made it possible to reduce the number of animal killings in shelters to around 347,000 every year. By 2025, they hope to reduce this further to zero kills across the nation.
What is the No-Kill 2025 Goal?
The No-Kill 2025 Goal is a mission led by Best Friends to provide more support and training for animal shelters while inviting various communities to stop animal-killing in shelters.
Recent data shows that around 347,000 dogs and cats are killed around the USA because they do not have homes. Surprisingly, this number is already an improvement from the 17 million deaths many years ago.
Best Friends wants to be at the forefront of achieving zero kills by 2025. Their current strategies for achieving this include community programs, animal training and support, and mobilizing communities with similar advocacies.
They also invite individuals to share whatever they can offer for this cause. After all, a little bit of compassion goes a long way.
The founders base their mission on the philosophies of kindness, compassion, integrity, and connection.
According to Gregory Castle, Best Friends is “following a path or a vision” and “people identify with it.”
How Can You Help Them?
There are many ways to provide your support, starting with donations.
You can directly adopt a furry or feathered friend from Sanctuary if you want to save a pet’s life. The huge shelter currently houses 1600 animals, including cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, and pigs.
You can also donate to help more animals find their way home to new owners.
If you want to honor a pet you can participate in their Angels Rest blessing ceremonies. Or give a gift membership to a friend.
You can also browse through the list of animals they have and look for one you can sponsor. Your contribution will supply the necessary love and care they need.
To support the employees in Sanctuary, you can donate a tax-deductible vehicle.
All your options to help are on their website.
You can also buy their merch or adopt or foster a pet.
Be Part of the Cause
Whether you adopt a pet, make a monetary donation, or buy from their shop, your contribution will help save the lives of homeless, abused, and neglected animals around the USA.
Pet sponsorship is the best option if you want to help the 1600 animals in the Sanctuary. Do your part to achieve the 2025 No-Kill mission now.
For more ideas to help make a difference, take a look at some of our other charity recommendations for ideas.