Wow! We are wondering how we use to get up at 5:30 AM and go to work 5 days a week! Our main purpose for visiting Kanab was to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary; some of you may remember that we visited the sanctuary when we were in the area last May. For those of you who have “signed on” since last May, Best Friends is a society that works with humane groups throughout the United States to promote the concept of No More Homeless Pets. Also through rescue, legislation and public education, they are working to put an end to puppy mills. Their Sanctuary in Kanab houses around 1,700 dogs, cats, horses, pigs, rabbits, and various species of parrots. We arrived here on a Saturday and spent much of Sunday filling out forms, going through Volunteer Orientation, and getting our schedule. At this point we realized some of the information we had given the coordinator had been misinterpreted. We had requested a schedule of 6 days working all day but had said we were available for 9 days and to schedule us for when we were most needed. Once we received our schedule, we realized we had been scheduled for 9 days straight - all day everyday.
Our first day we went to different areas. Tony went to the Bunny House but ended up at Rescue Village where 300 bunnies are housed in large yurts. These bunnies were rescued from a hoarder in Reno. The bunnies all have life-long viruses so will never be adopted. The bunny area rarely gets volunteers and is short staffed, so Tony worked all by himself all day - cleaning the bunny runs - both indoors and outside. It was hard work but quiet. Meanwhile I was at the Parrot House where there are 96 Macaws, African Grays, Conures, Cockatoos, Cockatiels, etc. The birds are always being fed, given treats, cleaned, moved to outside habitats or back inside, and given “showers”. I did it all. Sasha quickly started playing games with me as I swept and fed them their nut treats. I was surprised by the unique personality and intelligence of each bird. Cody with his 150 phrase vocabulary was amazing and frustrating at the same time. At the end of this our first day, we were already dragging.
Our second day was in Dog Town - no pictures. We worked at training puppies, walking puppies [which was an interesting experience], cleaning old dog kennels and feeding them, and also taking 4 boxer brothers [10 weeks old] to the Puppy Park to socialize. They could have cared less that we were there except to nip at us and pull my hair. After all this “relaxing” fun, we managed to get on the bike, make it home, and collapse.
Our third day was in the Kitty Motel in Cat World. This is a “special needs” area and houses all the cats with FIV or major birth defect. The building has 5 “runs” that include a large indoor area and a very large outdoor play area. There are 8 to 10 cats in each run plus several in the lobby who need to be watched constantly. They are all so sweet. Two were born with cerebellar hypoplasia which means nerves don’t send the correct messages to the legs. They try to walk, but their legs don’t work together or go the direction they intend. Both cats are beautiful. Several suffer from extreme inbreeding in attempts to create tailless cats. So much of the end of the spine is missing that they have no bowel control, bladders have to be manually expressed, and some have partially paralyzed back legs. Montana was born with his rear legs twisted around each other. He can hobble since one sort of functions. With all these problems, you would expect the place to have an unpleasant odor and show signs of uncleanliness. Wrong! Beds, blankets, litter boxes, etc. are changed out or cleaned constantly. We had Run 2 to clean. We also took cats for walks which is much more relaxing than walking puppies since they often just lay down. However Tony had Banjo who walked for over an hour. We also did a lot of folding of clean bedding [the commercial washer and dryer are always running], prepped afternoon wet lunch for all the runs, took handicapped cats for buggy rides, and did some materials maintenance.
By the end of this our third day, we knew we had to have a day off so saw the volunteer coordinator and reduced our work days from 9 to 7. So after our first three, we got one off then did a two on, one off, two on. We put in two more days at Kitty Motel, Tony did two more in Rescue Village, and I did “bird duty” for the same two days. Tony made it through the 7 days with no battle scars. I have a puppy tooth puncture, a bee sting, and Mugsy decided on the third day to bite me rather than take his treat. Fortunately he didn’t use all 1,500 lbs of crushing power. We found the whole experience very rewarding and feel we made a little difference, if only for our 7 days.
On one of our three days off, we mustered enough energy to return to Cedar Breaks National Monument. We had tried to go there last May, but it was still buried under 10 feet of snow. In fact we learned that it opened 17 days late because of the extreme amount of snow and the resulting tree and power line damage. On this day as we traveled to the park, we discovered huge plateaus and valleys of volcanic rock that had been covered when we were here in May. The park is small but beautiful and peaceful. It is a natural amphitheater three miles in diameter and about 2,500 feet deep. It is at 10,500 ft elevation so is always cool. The Visitors’ Center is the same one that was built in the late 30s and is very cozy with its wood stove. Hopefully you will enjoy the pictures.
Tomorrow we move just 36 miles down the road to Jacob Lake. From there we will visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, spend some time with friends from Wilmington, North Carolina and then a couple more days with friends from Red Wing, Minnesota.