Whenever I thought about this trip and to the (very few) people I discussed the plans with, I couldn’t help but get emotional. Volunteering is a huge part of who I am. It’s how I contribute and how I find peace, so whenever I thought about or talked about volunteering at Best Friends, I welled up. It was a dream come true to be able to go and to lend a bit of time and dare I say, talent to an organization and a cause that I hold dear. Many of you guessed it, and some of you knew it, but unless you go, it’s difficult to fully explain the experience. I won’t say it was amazing, because I certainly expected the experience to be just so. I will say that it was inspiring, energizing, uplifting and fulfilling. You could see the emotions on the faces of the volunteers and on the whole, everyone on site was so friendly.
control freak detail oriented person that I am, it was a bit of a challenge to me to wrap my head around the process. Luckily for me, I happened upon a comment on one of the Vicktory dog pages by a Facebook user who had volunteered and was gracious enough to answer questions, then I also beseiged our own Emily from Adventures of a Dog Mom, who had spent time there, with even more questions. Everything from what footwear to where to eat to what to see and how is it set up was asked and answered. I still had fears that I was missing something and that we would show up only to be told I had done everything incorrectly, however that didn’t happen.
You sign up to be a volunteer, complete a profile and sign up for volunteer shifts in your preferred area after first signing up for a check-in. Check-in for first thing in the morning is 8:00-8:15 and the first volunteer shift begins at 8:15 and goes till 11:30 so how could we get to Dogtown that quickly? We opted for the first check-in time but the afternoon volunteer shift which would be 1:15-4:00 and should allow us to get our bearings. For the time in the morning we joined the 2 hour Sanctuary tour.
If you’re ever in the area, even to just drive through, I highly recommend a tour. The tours range from Sanctuary wide (2 hours), to Dogtown only (2 hours), to mini tours of specific areas. Knowing we’d be working in Dogtown, we opted for the full Sanctuary tour.
We saw all manner of animals whether they were at the Sanctuary for permanent stays or being prepped for adoption an, of course, the awe inspiring landscape.
As well as places for silence and reflection.
We saw kitties who had been the victims of unfortunate breeding but still getting around like champs in their posh digs.
After the tour we set out for Angel Village for a hearty and inexpensive all you can eat vegetarian lunch buffet where we encountered a special surprise.
Stay tuned all week as we recap more of our visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.