The red earth splendor of the canyon walls swoop toward the crisp blue sky. Tough scrubby plants of sage and chaparral push out of the parched clay earth. Nature’s own xeri-scaping imbues the entire sanctuary with beauty.
Tasteful and inconspicuous, amidst this desert rapture, buildings and the gentle influence of human landscaping contribute to my sense of uplift. All 30,000 acres of this canyon forms the Mecca for every animal lover. Home to over 1800 previously unwanted animals, over 400 human employees tend to them, accompanied by countless volunteers.
This is the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. The largest sanctuary dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of companion animals, including cats, dogs, horses, bunnies, parrots, pigs, goats and a few others.
I had planned this trip long before I had any inkling that my husband of ten years was planning to leave me. I arrived here fresh from the battleground of marriage dissolution, not having any idea how profoundly lucky I am.
I spent the day touring the enormous facility. Climbing into a shuttle with 11 other people for the general tour, we visited the cat community and doggie ‘subdivision’ briefly. Then I took a separate ‘pot-bellied’ pig tour, followed by a delicious, gourmet vegetarian lunch (just $4!) at Angel’s Village. After lunch, I enjoyed some mutual head-bobbing and squawking with the cockatoos and African grays of the bird house, and then, as I strolled down the graveled road the leads from the birds to the bunnies, looking out at the breathtaking vista, happiness welled up within me, ballooning and fanning out from my body so that it filled the entire cradle of this canyon. And I existed seamlessly in love.
The world is so much larger than my divorce, my ego (or even my husband’s ego.) My soul rejoices that at this moment, in this place, I inhabit a world where the love between humans and their animals companions has manifested in this cheerful, practical place.
After a brief visit with the bunnies, I returned to the cabin that I am renting from Best Friends for the next 12 days. Awaiting me in my room is K.C. The housekeeping staff has provided my ‘sleep over buddy’ with a litterbox, scratching post, food and water, a big bag full of cat toys and a cozy cat bed..
When I open the door, , KC stands amidst my pillows, stretches and jumps off the bed to greet me.
(K.C. at the bat--during one of our play sessions in my room at Best Friends.)
Preview of Coming Attractions
Over the next several months, I will be traveling across the country in search of cat stories, visiting innovative cat rescues and shelters, interviewing eccentric cat lovers, leading vets and behaviorists and so much more. To view my travel schedule and learn more about my Cat Behaviorist business, please visit http://www.thecatbehaviorist.com/ . If I will be in your area and you feel you have some interesting cat stories to share, please don't hesistate to contact me via my website.