Best Friends’ headquarters is located in what some people might consider to be a remote part of the world. Anyone who’s made the trek to visit or volunteer knows that getting to Kanab is part of the overall Best Friends experience. Once you arrive in Kanab, after what for most is a full day of travel, you immediately know it was all worth it. As you look north to the towering Vermillion Cliffs, one of the “stairs” of the grand staircase that lends its name to the nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, you immediately get a feeling that this place is special. And for us it very much is. Kanab is the headquarters of Best Friends Animal Society and home to the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary.
No matter how much Best Friends grows and spreads across the country to meet our mission to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets, the Sanctuary will always remain the heart of who we are and what we do. It is a tangible representation of our beliefs and the continuing evolution of the world that the founders envisioned when they created the organization in 1984. They believed that all animals have intrinsic value and deserve compassion and care — no matter where they are on life’s journey. That belief created this place. Today, much bigger than those founders ever envisioned it would be, the Sanctuary serves as the model for how we should be sheltering animals. To us it’s much more than just a no-kill sanctuary. It’s home.
This time of year, the regular tourist traffic (which includes those experiencing the amazing national parks in this area as well as those coming to Best Friends) normally starts to pick up. But each year for one week in May, there’s a population explosion that’s particular to our small town.
This slice of animal heaven isn’t just a model. As I said, it’s the heart of who we are. So you can imagine as we grow and hire new staff from coast to coast, getting them connected to the heart of the organization is a major priority. Best Friends’ mission is a lofty one. It involves ending the killing of pets in American shelters. Our ability to achieve that mission and the integrity of our work is only as good as our staff. As many visit for the first time in their employment with us, it’s an important opportunity to connect with the spirit of the place and to learn how it permeates everything we do.
For those employees who have been with us for many years, as well as those who work in Kanab, this is still an important week. The connections made, including first-time face-to-face meetings after speaking solely on conference calls for months, helps to build camaraderie and stronger teams. People leave energized, connected, and more determined and more ready than ever to work to stop the killing.
This week is fun, inspiring, exhausting and a staff favorite. It is most certainly one of the perks of working here, but for the leadership of Best Friends, it’s an imperative. If you’re committed to our mission and want to join us, we’re hiring.
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Chief Development, Marketing and Communications Officer
Best Friends Animal Society