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Best Friends Animal Society: Shelter+ Challenge Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant from The Animal Rescue Site and Petfinder Foundation Shelter+ Challenge was used to support the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Specifically, this grant was used to purchase food for the 600 cats at the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is at the heart of Best Friends Animal Society’s (BFAS) work. It is the nation’s largest no-kill safe haven for displaced, homeless or unwanted animals, and on any given day BFAS cares for over 1,700 homeless pets including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, pigs, and a variety of injured wild birds and mammals. Staff and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that each animal is rehabilitated back to good health so they may return to the wild or to the care of a loving family. Most Sanctuary residents are ready to go to new homes after just several weeks of care. A few, who are too old or too sick, or who have suffered extra trauma, find a home and haven at the Sanctuary, and are given loving care for the rest of their lives.

BFAS prides itself on providing exemplary animal care to all its Sanctuary residents. Every animal who enters the Sanctuary receives an individualized plan of care that includes comprehensive medical treatment, socialization, and behavior training. This whole health approach is a tenet of BFAS’ belief that all animals deserve a chance at a forever home, and because of this level of care more than 1,000 Sanctuary animals find their forever home each year.

At Cat World, the cat animal care area at the Sanctuary, 600 cats receive loving care every day. It costs .60 cents each day to feed one cat, but this adds up quickly! BFAS used this grant to offset some of these costs; this grant funded cat food for all Cat World residents for three days. BFAS is deeply grateful for the support of The Animal Rescue Site and the Petfinder Foundation to provide these critical services.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Harry, a stray kitten from a neighboring community, came to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in 2013 after being hit by a car. When he was brought in, he was alert and responsive, but pale. Best Friends vet, Dr. Patti diagnosed a traumatic tear in his abdomen (or a “diaphragmatic hernia”), and fractures in the upper part of his rear legs.

Harry was lucky to be alive and had a tough road ahead, but Best Friends vets formulated a successful treatment plan. After several days of stabilizing at the Sanctuary clinic, Harry went into surgery. The surgery team discovered that the tear in his diaphragm muscle was large, but that there was enough muscle tissue to close the defect nicely. Harry did amazingly well during and after the surgery; he woke up purring and after a few days began to eat and wanted to play and interact. He still struggled with his slowly healing, fractured hind legs, however. Cat World’s expert caregivers helped him stand and walk so he could maintain muscle tone and flexibility, but took it very slow to let him fully heal from his hernia repair. They also wanted to see how well he did on his own and if surgery would be necessary.

Harry’s legs healed significantly after several weeks of recovery and he was immediately winning hearts as an active, spirited, and loving kitten who did not let his challenges stop him. Staff and volunteers alike fell in love with Harry’s playful antics. They weren’t alone. Shortly after Harry was cleared for adoption he was transported across the country to his wonderful new forever home, where he joined several rescue cats and a dog.

Harry has bonded both with his new person—he knows his name, follows her all over the house, and “helps” her make the bed—and the other animals in the house. When his person shakes a bag of treats, Harry flies into the room, skids across the coffee table, and lands onto the couch! He loves his new dog friend, Daisy, and is best friends with Brian, a younger kitten. They do everything together: play, eat, wrestle, and keep an eye on the neighborhood from their picture window. Harry has fully recovered, and although he doesn’t sit with his hind end underneath him, but splayed out to the side, it only adds to his unique personality. Thanks to the help of Best Friend’s dedicated vets, expert caregivers, and generous volunteers, this little kitty got the happy ever after he deserved. Harry’s new person loves him dearly and we couldn’t be more excited that Harry found his perfect forever home!

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