The National Geographic Channel’s series DogTown kicks off its third season tonight, Friday, March 20th, at 10 p.m. The series examines the important and emotional work of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, among the largest no-kill animal shelters in the U.S., as it houses, treats, and seeks permanent homes for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, pigs, parrots, and other domestic animals. Best Friends is often these animals’ last hope as many are tough to adopt due to advanced age, shyness, or medical conditions.
Best Friends is set on 33,000 acres in southern Utah’s Red Rock canyon country, not too far from what’s appropriately called the Golden Circle of parks: the Grand Canyon (about 75 miles away), Zion (25 miles), Bryce (60 miles), Lake Powell (65 miles), and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (10 miles). Best Friends, about a four-hour drive from Las Vegas, welcomes visitors and offers eight spacious guest cottages for those dropping by. You can even spend the night with a dog or cat from Best Friends if you’re thinking of adopting; they provide the supplies and kibble, too. Camping is also available on their extensive grounds and there are some pet-friendly hotels in town in Kanab. Beyond a day visit and tagging along on one of the four, 1-1/2 hour tours offered daily, it’s possible to stay a little longer to volunteer to help feed the animals, clean enclosures, assist with grooming, and even take Fido for a stroll and play fetch.
If you’re planning a trip in out West this summer, consider stopping by Best Friends to check out DogTown (or Cat World, Horse Haven, even Piggie Paradise) yourself. My dear friend Jill Williams, a Pennsylvania native like yours truly, did just that for two weeks five years ago and was so moved by the important work of Best Friends and the sheer beauty of the place that she now lives in Kanab with her husband and son; they both work for Best Friends (she as part of their Guardian Angel program), and her family of three humans, three dogs, and three cats love it. She tells me she can’t imagine a more beautiful place.
Photos: Left, National Geographic Channel; Right, Jill Williams
- Nat Geo Expeditions