Best Friends Animal Society is famous for their dedication to rescuing dogs.
If you watch the National Geographic Channel, you might have even seen a little show called Dogtown which followed the day to day challenges and triumphs at Best Friends.
Wanting to volunteer at Dogtown was the main reason for my visit to Best Friends.
My family always had at least one dog on the farm, and I couldn’t wait to find a pooch of my own once I moved away from Kansas. I’ve always had an affinity for dogs and couldn’t wait to work with all the rescues at Best Friends.
Like every other area at Best Friends there is much work to be done, but Dogtown has no shortage of helpers. It’s the most popular place to sign up to volunteer. Cat Chalet comes in at a close second place.
There are a handful of different areas to work. The 2 most desired places are with the puppies and the elderly dogs. Many people come to volunteer with their children, and both the puppies and elderly allow volunteers under 18, so needless to say they fill up quick.
I ended up working at Conrad and Leopold with some of the dogs that need a little extra attention. More of the dogs there are purple and red collars which I will explain now…..
Best Friends has a color-coded collar system so volunteers and visitors will know what kind of temperament each dog has. Green collars are for friendly dogs that can be handled by all volunteers. Purple collars signal there have been a few issues with that particular pooch, so only older volunteers can handle those particular dogs. And then there are the red collars. The red collars signal a possibility of aggression from the dogs, so only the staff is allowed to handle them. It doesn’t mean that the dogs are dangerous. It just means those particular dogs have had instances in the past, and Best Friends wants to make sure they are comfortable with people before allowing volunteers to handle them.
I met up with a couple of staff workers and another volunteer while they were performing a parallel walk with 2 dogs to start my shift.
Parallel walks are to try and find new run mates for the dogs. During the walk they can see how the dogs relate to each other and if they are going to get along. This particular walk didn’t seem to go as well as they hoped. An older male named Barney had recently lost his run mate. The workers were hoping he would get along with a younger female dog, but he didn’t seem to want anything to do with her. I’m sure they will find that perfect friend for Barney soon.
After that, I spent some time walking other dogs that needed exercise and attention. Best Friends houses hundreds of rescues, and they try to give each one some one on one attention every day. That’s why the volunteers are so important. Volunteers can help give the purple and green collar dogs attention while the staff tend to the red collar dogs.
My last task was to help with the nightly feeding. Like all the other animals, the dogs have specific diets too. We got all the dogs feed and the bowls cleaned out.
It was time to call it a day.
I left that evening on cloud nine. We accomplished so much in just a few hours.
The next day I returned to Dogtown for the second time. I had thought about where I was going to sign up to work all night.
In the end, I went back to work at Conrad and Leopold.
I saw how busy they were the day before and wanted to help out more. I also wanted to see the dogs I had met before one last time.
Another volunteer and I walked a couple of dogs to start our shift, but something very exciting was going on that day, and we wanted to be a part of it.
A couple had driven across the US along with their 2 furry companions to meet one of the rescues and hopefully take him home. Best Friends wants to make sure every adoptee goes to the right home, so they have meet and greets before the final papers are signed.
We watched Sawyer, an older German Shepard, get to know the couple as well as their 2 dogs who were also rescues. He loved the couple and they loved him. They had been looking at Sawyer for a long time online and were ready for a new addition to their family.
After some time getting to know them, Sawyer was released to go on a sleepover for one last test before the final decision was made.
I stopped by Dogtown headquarters the next day to find out if everything worked out.
They had already signed the papers and were on their way home with their new family member, Sawyer
My heart melted!!!
Sawyer had been at Best Friends for 7 years. Other places would have given up on him a long time ago, but Best Friends kept working with the lovable guy. Now he finally has a place to call his home. I know he will be so happy with his new family.
My last shift was almost done and not all the dogs had been given attention, so the last task was to jump in to one of the runs and play fetch with a couple of handsome guys.
This is where I fell in love. His name is Tesla and he is a Coon Hound mix. I have a soft spot for hounds. I love everything about them. The howl. Those ears. Their stubborn attitude. All of it!
I wish I could have taken him right then and there, but I don’t thing my parents would be too happy with me showing up with 2 dogs. Maybe we will find each other again in the future.
Over those 2 days, I worked with so many wonderful dogs. I hope someday in the future to be able to rescue more, but for now I have to stick to 1 hound.
There is nothing better than coming home to a loving and faithful companion. Animals truly help us in so many ways. If you are looking for a new friend, take some time and checkout Best Friends website. They have so many wonderful rescues that are ready for a loving home.