Best Friends-The Tour

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.

Preparation 

Being the 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.

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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.

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The Sanctuary

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.

Barn leftover from a movie.

Barn leftover from a movie.

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.

"Turtle Rock"

“Turtle Rock”

As well as places for silence and reflection.

Angels Rest

Angels Rest

We saw kitties who had been the victims of unfortunate breeding but still getting around like champs in their posh digs.

Kitty with paw deformity

Kitty with paw deformity

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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.

The view at lunch.

The view at lunch.

Stay tuned all week as we recap more of our visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

The Big Trip-Anticipation

It was a “bucket list” item that I thought I’d never get to experience.  Actually, in the back of my mind, I thought there was a better chance that most of my list would go un-accomplished.  I’m like that.  Plus, in the nearly 15 years that the hubby and I have been married, we haven’t traveled together to another state unless it bordered our home state.  We’re homebodies, so when I began broaching the subject that I really, really wanted to do this and that I was going to do it regardless, I think we were both surprised when he agreed to accompany me.

I began planning for real in October.  I began making plans, scouring sites for hotel and airfare rates and making lists.  And keeping secrets.  Deep in my heart I believed that this trip would be derailed in an epic manner.  Our prepaid flight would be cancelled because of a snowstorm the likes of which no one had ever seen before.  Our volunteer slots would be filled and we wouldn’t be able to visit.  Something would happen here at home to prevent us from leaving.  You name the scary scenario and I lived it in the depths of my psyche.  I loaded the weather for every city we’d be visiting and checked the forecast every day.  Surprisingly, the night before our flight I slept like a rock.  No bad dreams chased me and I calmly boarded a plane that I knew wouldn’t fly.  Not until we landed did I begin to think this trip, #TheBigTrip, would happen.  The nerves really and truly didn’t dissipate until we arrived on morning two of the trip at my ultimate happy place destination.  The night before that was riddled with nightmares of too many adoptable animals and missing shifts, but the morning dawned bright with all the promise of the fulfillment of so many of my dreams and the chance to make an impact and to give back.

This trip was so packed with bucket list items, that the recap will take several days and I’ve decided to break it down into digestible chunks, so I hope you’ll check back for all of the adventures.