Best Friends Blog

Come celebrate our birthday!

Thinking back on the journey that Best Friends Animal Society embarked on, oh, some 27 years ago, I’m reminded of the lyrics of a once-popular song (talk about dating ourselves!): “What a Difference a Day Makes.” In our case, it’s more like 9,855 days, give or take a few. Being one of the original co-founders of Best Friends, I can tell you it feels like it was just yesterday  that we began our mission of realizing a day of No More Homeless Pets.

Our entry into animal rescue started with a few dozen dogs and cats, some rudimentary enclosures, and a lot of commitment and passion from a group of people who saw a problem and wanted to be part of the solution. The fact that there were stray dogs and cats who had been abandoned in our area was just the tip of the iceberg for where our sanctuary work would take us.

All the animals at Best Friends are certainly a part of our birthday celebration. Our residents include dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, pigs, goats and sheep, to name a smattering of the species that call our Sanctuary home. Many may be blissfully unaware that this place they love was their last chance at having a wonderful life. I would venture to guess, however, that some of our pets-in-waiting are acutely aware of what our safe haven means to them. The Vicktory dogs are surely partying with a purpose, as well as the cats from Pahrump who were saved from a hoarding situation in the desert, an undertaking we dubbed the Great Kitty Rescue. These large-scale, high-profile rescues certainly shine a light on some of the greatest challenges companion animals in this country face today. But what about the other millions of dogs and cats who are finding themselves in a shelter system that often has one way out, one that is not particularly healthy?

Thanks to the support of caring people like you — people who care about the issues, care about quelling the killing, care about making a real, sustainable difference — we are able to make an impact by saving lives from coast to coast. Because of you, we are taking our lifesaving lessons and sharing them through our initiatives and our city programs, where partnering with the public and private sector, local government agencies, and shelters saves thousands of more lives. We’re helping homeless pets find alternatives to entering packed shelters, with endeavors like the Feral Freedom program, the No More Homeless Pets Network and Pup My Ride, and events like this year’s No More Homeless Pets National Conference, which will bring together cutting-edge leaders in the movement from every walk of animal rescue. We are diligent in educating communities about humane alternatives and providing resources before man’s best friend and his feline counterpart become another dismal statistic.

Animals who don’t even know our name will be celebrating our birthday on July 25. When I look back on all the days that have led us here, to the brink of saving the rest of the pets who are in danger of losing their lives because of a system that is overburdened, I know each triumph, misstep and seemingly radical maneuver have all been worth it for the animals. I ask you to join in our celebration and help make our Birthday Wish come true! Your contribution helps us to continue to go forward together and ultimately bring about a day when there will be No More Homeless Pets. And that’s the most meaningful difference we are all striving for every day!


Gregory Castle
CEO, Best Friends Animal Society


  • Ruthk44

    I have visited Best Friends twice and volunteered both times. I am hopeful that I will have a chance to return soon. I commend and applaud the hard work you have done over the years.  I only wish I lived closer so I could work at the sanctuary all the time. There is nothing better than being with animals and giving them a chance at a new life and forever home. Presently I am the owner of a rescued dog deserted in a WalMart parking lot, and previously I had as part of my home other rescues–2 cats, three guinea pigs, and a dwarf bunny. They all enriched my life.

  • Judith Yarbrough

    I have told you a million times and I probably will do it again, YOU ARE THE BEST, SIMPLY THE BEST.

    Judy Y.

  • Paula

    Happy Birthday Best Friends!  I hope someday to be able to visit.  What a wonderful place for all of the animals to be!

  • Debbie Smith

    My husband and I, with son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter, recently spent the night in one of your cottages.  We toured the canyon, learned about your program, and were immersed in the love that abounds through your sanctuary canyon.  We will continue donating to your program, always in honor of our family who so love to rescue and care for animals!  Praise God for the opportunity to have visited Best Friends!
    Debbie and Dick Smith
    Asheville, NC

  • Janiezorro

    Happy Birthday and God bless you all for savings God’s beautiful creatures.  I can’t wait to visit and perhaps bring home a new furry friend!!!

  • Capick

    My dream is to come visit and actually SEE the sanctuary.  I volunteer at a very small no-kill shelter and it is so rewarding.  What you do is amazing!

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome anytime Carol! We’d love to have you.

      Jon Dunn
      Best Friends Animal Society

  • Linsolomon

    Happy Birthday Week to one of the most “sacred” places on earth!  You are all doing amazing work and I am proud to have been part of it, as a volunteer, this past year.  I tell everyone I know about Best Friends and ask them to support this wonderful organization and safe place for the animals. 
    Linda Solomon

  • Darleen4u

    May God truly bless all those that contribute, volunteer, work and make possible this haven here on earth for those without a clear voice.  Wonderful!  Happy Birthday & a great many more to come. Thank you for all you do!

  • Joyce Gorski

    Love your place, hope someday to visit. Happy Birthday!!!Joyce Gorski

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday Best Friends! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to help the lives of our fuzzy faced friends. Peace, light and love!

  • Zybrick

    As the proud owner of Joy, who was part of Best Friends most recent Pup My Ride I THANK YOU! Without your help she would never have made it from Missouri to New Jersey. We love her, we love you and are so very thankful you exist. God bless you all in the wonderful work you do.

  • JENN


  • JENN


  • Amycclark

    Your birthday celebration is great timing! My son turns 8 this Saturday and he is having a birthday party that day.  I asked him if he wanted presents or should I note on the invite to perhpas leave a donation to a cause that he likes.  He said, without a second in between, “oh, definitely we should ask for a donation to Best Friends”!  And then he said he would be the first to donate.  

    We look forward to sending you our donation next week in honor of Kaiden’s 8th birthday! 

    • Anonymous

      Awww, Amy, that is amazing!!

      Please thank Kaiden for us – what a great little boy you’ve raised!

      Jon Dunn
      Best Friends Animal Society

    • Anonymous

      What an angel your son is! 🙂 Thanks for bringing a smile to my face. I wish Kaiden a very happy 8th birthday!

    • Court

      This made me cry!  What an awesome litte boy!  I hope he has the best birthday. 

  • This place is truly amazing and the work they do is fantastic! 27 years have gone by and over 500 animals have benefited because of it Godspeed to you all and i hope you continue your amazing work for another 27 years to come HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEST FRIENDS!   

  • Anonymous

    Also, I really wish I could meet the amazing Vicktory dogs and all the wonderful animals there in person.  Someday, but unfortunately probably not soon enough to see Georgia and Lucas and Meryl and all the rest.  I am just glad they have a good life and are not in the hell of dog fighting any more.  

  • animalnut

    Best Friends continues to amaze me every day, even though I have been involved with it for 10 years or so.  Thousands of people start sanctuaries, but only one turned into such a miracle for animals.  I have given up trying to figure out how it happened and am just thankful.  So are my two little furry alums!  Thank you to all the co-founders and everyone who has helped them along their way.

    • Paula

      If you read the book BEST FRIENDS, you will learn exactly how this most wonderful sanctuary began. I have flown across country from North Carolina twice to volunteer and wish I had the means to be able to do it every year. You can tell people about Angel Canyon, but they have to actually EXPERIENCE it to undersand what you are saying. It is a place where love and serenity permeates every single square inch and you have something n common with every person you met …. the love of animals. To me, it is a little bit of Heaven.

      • Mary

        I’m a fellow North Carolinian(Asheville) who has likewise been supportive & visited the Sanctuary. I haven’t been able to volunteer yet, but hope to do so, & also hope to attend the conference one year!
        Mary Berg

  • Lovefelines2003

    Best Friends was born 7 days after my one and only child, my amazing son.  So I think it’s pretty awesome that the birth of my son and the birth of an organization that has changed so many lives and saved so many lives both arrived within a week of each other.  Best Friends did change my life and started me on my path in animal rescue and welfare activism.  No need to say how my son changed my life.  He and Best Friends are two of the loves of my life!  Many congrats, thank yous, and please keep up the amazing work you do for the animals, the animal lovers, and for making the world a better place.

  • Anonymous

    May you have many more years of helping animals.  The birthday video of Alfie was just precious.  A special beautiful dog and one of many special animals that find a good home at Best Friends.

  • Mxipp

    Happy Birthday BF! Gracie Mae Tazo, one of the many kitties rescued from Pahrump, is asleep on top of the piano. I won’t wake her, but know that she is wishing you many many many more years of saving lives. She thanks everyone of you from the bottom of her heart.

  • Anniehall617

    I’ll be sending my $27.00 for your 27th!  What a great misssion.I am a Pit Crew volunteer in Maryland and it makes my life worth living.  Two of my life goals is to make a volunteering visit to the sanctuary and hopefully someday be fortunate enough to work there!  Thank you for ALL you do! Happy 27th!!!!!

  • So cute looking pets and i wish happy birthday to all of them…

  • It’s still one of my life goals to spend a summer volunteering for Best Friends…one of these days! much love and happy birthday!

  • Leigh Hawkins

    God Bless you all. I was at Best Friends in May and I will tell you that it was life changing for me. Happy Birthday Best friends !! You are amazing.            Leigh Hawkins
                                                                                            Memphis, Tennessee

  • Ronda Sessions

    I think this is by far the most amazing place, full of amazing loving people….All animals are precious and so deserving of knowing love in their lives, Thank you Thank you Thank you for all you do…..You are making the world a better place everyday!!! I love your show, full of love and hope and true happy endings… God Bless You All!!!!