Visiting ”Best Friends”
Before seeing the Grand Canyon again we stop in Kanab to visit an animal shelter. “Best friends” started in 1984 when a group of friends purchased 300000 acres ___ of land in a canyon that no one wanted. They started building a road and shelter themselves, now it’s a massive complex with shelters for dogs, cats, horses, birds, pigs and more, but also their own state of the art clinic, a puppy school, cemeteries, a cafeteria, a shop, a RV park and cabins… They give free tours of the grounds and its fascinating how well organized they are and how good of a marketing they use. They organize fund raisings nationwide for other small shelters, creating a strong network of charities to facilitate the placement of animals. They have merchandising and organize free bunny yoga and cat cafe. Their communication is 100% positive especially in their monthly magazine. Animals are “sorted” in the different buildings depending on their needs (age, diseases, comportement, size…). There’s about 1600 animals including about 350 dogs and 650 cats. Dogs collars are either green (everyone can pet them), purple (adults only) or red (no petting). They are trained for the crate, because in the US it seems to be a common thing to put your dog in a crate while you go to work, but also because it makes their transportation a breeze. The shelter is so popular people from the other side of the country adopt pets from the website and have them flown over. The organization is popular for their case of the “viktory dogs”: they battled in court to save 60 dogs from euthanasia and they won. They have a no kill policy and work nationwide to make this US a no kill country by 2025 (there are still 6000 animals euthanized each day). And if you don’t know it already, I have three dreams: go to the US (done!), have a dog, and build an animal shelter. So visiting this shelter prove me that it is possible to run a successful shelter, and that marketing is one of the keys to make it work.