Best Friends Blog

The greatest gift

The holidays are an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Whether celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanza, or just enjoying a few days off work, bowl games on TV, and some good parties, we strive to give expression to the generosity and good cheer that sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle and the routine of our lives.

Here at Best Friends’ Sanctuary, Santa and his helpers distribute the many treats and toys that you, our members and friends, send in each year to help celebrate the holidays. It is just as exciting for staff and volunteers to put on an elf hat and make the rounds as it is for the animals to be surprised with special treats and extra attention on Christmas morning.

Of course, the best gift we can give to a shelter or Sanctuary animal is a new, loving home. For many shelter pets, that would also mean the gift of saving their life. In fact, I can’t imagine a better way for a family to spread the joy of the holidays than to visit a shelter and bring home a pet. What better way to share that deep-down feeling of doing good at this special time of year than by saving the life of a homeless pet?

As I write this, our geriatric, chubby Chihuahua mix, Esther, is resting peacefully nearby. She came from the South Los Angeles shelter, and it pains me to imagine the stress and fear that this little creature experienced while at the shelter or the stress and fear that any pet who has known the safety and protection of a home feels when thrust into any shelter setting.

Not everyone is in the position to adopt a shelter pet this holiday season, but for those of us who can, it is the most straightforward and unequivocally sure way of saving a life. If you already have a pet or two, please think about making room in your family for just one more.

This holiday season, my wife, Julie, and I will be taking in another sweet dog who was on his last day before dying in the Los Angeles shelter system. This Friday, one of our many incredible volunteers from the Los Angeles area, Brandi Stone, will be delivering our newest family member to us while on her way to enjoy Christmas at the Sanctuary. Esther will soon be joined in our home by another senior Chihuahua — an as-yet-to-be-named male who seems to be mostly blind and would stand little chance of adoption in the normal course of events.

As happy as we are to be able to save this precious life in a very personal and rewarding way, we are happier still to know that many more people are choosing adoption when looking for a new family pet. It’s a trend that will continue to grow as more and more people rave about and show off their amazing shelter pet, who was just waiting in a cage, looking for someone to love unconditionally.

So, as the days begin to lengthen and the promise of a new year is at our doorstep, join with us in remembering the animals — lavish affection on those who share your life and remember those who are waiting in a shelter nearby for a second chance at life. If you can, adopt or foster a shelter pet. If you can’t do that, donate to your favorite shelter, rescue group or organization that is working to bring about a time when there will be no more homeless pets. Together, we have the power to make that vision a reality.

On behalf of all the animals and staff at Best Friends, I wish you very, very happy holidays.

Gregory Castle
CEO, Best Friends Animal Society



PS If you’d like to offer up any names for our sweet old boy who will be joining our family, we’d sure welcome your suggestions!

  • Pingback: stop parking()

  • Pingback: lan hurtige penge nu()

  • Pingback: free movie downloads()

  • Pingback: free movie downloads()

  • Pingback: watch movies online()

  • Pingback: stream movies()

  • Pingback: watch movies online free()

  • Pingback: streaming movies()

  • Pingback: streaming movies()

  • Pingback: stream movies()

  • Pingback: watch movies online()

  • Pingback: watch free movies online()

  • Pingback: Blue Coaster33()

  • Jorgelbatista


  • Carla Hamill

    May all of you wonderful people who adopt senior animals be blessed
    with the love and kindness you deserve.
    I cant thank you enough.

  • Loutzl

    i don’t know why it popped into my head, but i love the name of Hemingway for the tenacious old fella

  • Anonymous

    Anytime you can volunteer at an animal shelter it helps.  These animals are so thankful that you give them any attention.  Anytime you can donate, volunteer, foster or adopt to help animals that is a good thing.  Never forget the amazing gifts that animals give us each day.

  • Deannacantwell

    I’d name that cute little guy Chance!! you’re awesome!

  • Lovefelines2003

    This made me cry – thank you Gregory for such a beautiful blog.  We also have adopted a wonderfully sweet and older 5 lb chihuahua, Ren, from the Baldwin Park Shelter two and a half years ago – he was also on death row, and he is the love of our lives.  His best friends are our 3 cats – all rescues of course!  Our previous chihuahua, Petie was rescued also on his last day from the North Central Shelter – he had been severely abused, had a heart murmur, hated most people, but loved to go for walks, be held in my arms, and sleep alot.  He was 11 when we adopted him, and we only had him for 2 1/2 years.  I miss him still and am so glad he lived his remaining years with is family and was loved deeply.  Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, my partner and I will spend the morning at the Baldwin Park Shelter with Robin Harmon and crew distributing blankets, toys, and treats to the animals there.  We will walk dogs, cuddle cats and bunnies, put on a luncheon for the staff who do a wonderful job, and help facilitate some adoptions.  I wish we could adopt each and every one.  Blessings to all in rescue and who advocate for the animals.  You are all my inspiration.

  • Becky Dodge

    Happy holidays to all you and yours. I might as well share my story as well. Several years ago I was visiting a local kill shelter to get some info on some goats they had for a friend. I just “happened” to walk through the dog area and saw a tiny (8 pound) poodle all alone, curled up on a mat in the cage. The cage card listed her age as 15. She had been left by the family of her only owner. The woman and died and the family decided that this tiny girl was to much trouble to care for. I took her home that day to join my other 4 dogs. She lived with me for 3 years before dieing at age 18, She was basically a grouchy old woman who would never have survived the shelter environment and was not a dog who was attractive to an active family with kids. Basically she wanted about 10 minutes of affection a day (snuggle on the couch, etc) and at the end of that time she wanted down to return to her bed. If she did not get that she nipped. That little dog has a permanent place in my memory and my heart – her name, BTW was Honey.

    Older dogs are great, besides Honey, I have through the years adopted a 10 yr old sheltie and a border collie and heeler who were both 11 plus a 13 year old cocker spaniel. The border collie was abandoned on the street. She had severe arthritis and was in enough pain that she had through not moving lost most of the muscle mass in her hips. The heeler had been an outside dog most of his life. He and his female companion were kept in the rear of an oil change business. When she died he was finally allowed to come inside the house to live. The 13 yr old boy decided that Rip would make an ideal wrestling dummy and persisted in putting the dog in hard head locks, choking him to the point that Rip finally got fed up and nipped the boy. He was immediately taken to a local vet to be killed because he was “vicious”. Actually he is so vicious that he wants to be on the couch with me all the time – he has to either have his head in my lap or at the very least touching me.

    Shiloh, the cocker, was also an outside dog for most of his life. He and one companion were dumped when the people got a new puppy. Shiloh came to the rescue group so badly matted he was shaved completely. When I got him the hair was just starting to grow back. Naturally he was heartworm positive, as was Rip. Shiloh also had a cherry eye so severe that he could not fully close his eye. He had this for at least 8 years. Despite my immediately starting him on repeated drops in the eye several times a day to keep it moist the eye had deteriorated to the point that it had to be removed a month or so after I got him. He’s 14 now and starting to show his age – he can’t jump up on the couch but he sure has a way of letting me know that is where he wants to be.

    As you can see I love them all and wouldn’t trade having known each of them.

    I have a real soft spot for the older ones, whatever the breed and when I eventually adopt again (right now I’m at 4, the legal limit for where I live) it will be an older dog. They need to be loved at least as much as the younger, more active ones and many times people don’t want to adopt them because age. I’ve found that each of them are precious and whether my time with them is long or short (and I’ve adopted one in the past who only lived for a month after she came home with me) I wouldn’t trade that time for anything on earth.

  • Jcjcja

    I would like to share my story. My father had a stray dog that followed him home and he adopted her. He took her just about everywhere he went.  When Roxy passed at the ripe old age of 16 my Dad was just heartbroken.  Then tragically 6 months later we found out Dad had stage four cancer and he passed away within weeks. During my fathers illness he dreamed of Roxy and his deceased parents. He would also tell me how sad Roxy would be to see him sick.  Long story short, I went a bachlorette party a few months later and there was a medium for entertainment. I decided what the heck and tried her for fun, anyhow I was shocked and elated when she told me she saw my father and wait… there is a dog with him!  So whether you believe or not, your pet will love you for eternity, loyal as always.  Merry Christmas. I will be donating to your cause in memory of my father and Roxy! Knowing Roxy was with Dad give our family so much comfort during such a sad time.

  • Ferretcure

    Name him Bart, after Bartimaeus, the blind man Jesus cured in the gospels.

  • Smilingcatlover

    Happy Holidays.  God Bless all that u do for the animals. Thank you so much.

  • KimG7

    Happy Holidays. Thank you for all that you do. The dog in the first picture looks just like Dozer. We adopted Dozer from Best Friends in 2004. He has been a wonderful addition!

  • Sallybug09

    Name him Christmas