In the morning we go back to the viewing platform and take a last look at the dunes.
The crew and I leave Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park around ten-thirty and backtrack toward Kanab. Entering the Sanctuary is an experience in itself. Massive, striated rock formations dazzle the eyes. A short drive down the paved road we approach white-fenced pastures and large parking areas of white gravel in front of a building nestled on a hillside.
I turn into the “RV Parking” lot and the crew and I disembark.
The three of us walk around the grounds for a brief time, enough to give Bridget and Spike a chance to relieve themselves. Then I take them back to the PTV while I walk up to the building to see what’s what. I pass a lovely flower garden surrounding a grassy lawn with a pond of goldfish. The sound of wind chimes floats through the air. I open the door to a lobby leading to a gift shop. The lady behind the counter asks brightly, “May I help you?”
I admit I know very little about the Sanctuary.
“We provide sanctuary for about 1,700 animals, including horses, donkeys, goats, potbellied pigs, dogs, cats, bunnies, ducks, and parrots. At one-thirty and three o’clock we take people on tours to see the animals, their homes, and how they are cared for. It’s a ninety-minute tour. Are you interested in the tour?”
I tell her that I would love the tour, and also that I have two small dogs with me. She looks at her scheduling book. “Oh, you won’t be able to take the tour at one-thirty. There’s already someone with a dog riding in the van. How about the tour at three?”
“No, that wouldn’t work for me,” I reply. I need to get to a new campsite on the other side of Zion before dark . . . and there’s that tire posing a problem.
The lady intently scans her book.
She obviously wants to accommodate us. “You know, if you don’t mind waiting, there may be enough people for two vans to go out at one-thirty. I can put you on a waiting list.” I look at the clock on the wall behind her and see that it’s now 11:30.
“Sure. Put us down. Do you have any suggestions for what we can do in the meantime?” I ask.
“You could walk your dogs over to the horses, goats, and potbellied pigs.” She explains where to walk and adds, “It’s about a five-minute walk. Oh, and we show a video at one o’clock in the Media Room.”
I thank her, get the crew out of the PTV, and we walk the path lined with a white fence.
Not many animals are outside. The sun is high and it’s hot. I snap a few photos at Horse Haven, a few more of the goats (which later I find aren’t presentable), and we continue on to Piggy Paradise. Mercifully there is a chair in the shade. I sit down and wait for some pigs to appear. They don’t come out of their houses. I don’t blame them. The heat is wearing me down. It’s not only taking a toll on me. Spike is slowing down, too.
We go back to the PTV for a drink.
Then we sit in the shade at a picnic table by the pretty landscaping. People keep arriving to the point where I’m confident a second van will be needed for the tour. Several stop to say hello to the crew and ask questions about them. Spike, Bridget, and I walk back to the PTV where we eat a snack while the camera charges. I’m going to take lots of photos. This is going to be great! And the crew gets to ride on an air-conditioned van! It’s almost one o’clock. “Time to go, guys!”
The lady appears at my side window.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this sooner. I didn’t think of it. It’s a new rule. There must be an adult for each dog.” I pull the camera out of the dash outlet. My heart sinks.
“Oh.” I’m surprised at how disappointed I am and try to shake it off. “That’s okay. I understand.”
“And you can’t drive your trailer along behind us because there’s no place to park while we go in the buildings. You’re still welcome to come up and watch the video.”
Spike, Bridget and I watch the video.
Actually, Spike falls into a deep sleep on the cool tile in the air-conditioned Media Room. Bridget sits at my feet.
The video gives me a glimpse of what we are going to miss, and pulls at my heartstrings showing rescues from puppy mills, trapping of feral cats, and the housing, rehabilitation,, and adoptions of abused or neglected animals. The announcer tells us an estimated 3- 4 million domestic animals are euthanized each year in the United States. Did I hear that number right? Best Friends Animal Society has been, and continues to be, a driving force in the No More Homeless Pets animal welfare movement.
The video concludes with close-ups of grateful, loving animals with innocent eyes, some injured, all adorable.
Looking at the photos while hearing the happy, booming soundtrack is nearly unbearable. “Then I saw your face! Now I’m a believer… “Never a trace of doubt in my mind! . . . .” I lower my head, cover my eyes, and try not to hear.
Everyone gets up to go outside and board the vans.
I’m a wreck. Now I’m not only feeling sorry for myself, but also for millions of helpless animals. I check the crew. Spike is still fast asleep. Bridget’s confused.
The door opens and in comes another lady from the Sanctuary. I ask her if it’s all right for us to sit here for a while. I gesture toward Spike, “He needs to recuperate from the heat.” She responds with “Of course!” and apologizes for the new rule. I can tell from her manner that she sees I’m quite crestfallen in spite of my effort to look otherwise.
We leave Best Friends Animal Sanctuary around 1:45 p.m.
Oh well, we tried. Some things aren’t meant to be.[slideshow]
Next . . . Zion National Park and a new camp!
P.S. Best Friends Animal Society is a remarkable organization doing important work. Did you know that if you volunteer at the Sanctuary, you can arrange to stay in one of their cabins or at their RV park? Click on this link for more information: http://www.bestfriends.org/index.htm