Monthly Archives: July 2011

Vacation at Best Friends Sanctuary

It’s easy to become a volunteer and takes only a few minutes to sign up. You can volunteer at our beautiful sanctuary in Kanab, Utah; in your community, or right from your own home.

To get started see Creating an Account. Then, visit My Volunteer Menu found in the blue bar (this will only be available after you log in) and select Edit My Profile. Once you have updated and saved your volunteer profile, you can return to My Volunteer Menu and begin searching for volunteer opportunities.

If you are interested in volunteering locally in one of our outreach volunteer opportunities or with one of Best Friends’ Network Charities, you can find additional information by clicking on the options listed on the left side of this page.

If you’re planning to volunteer at the sanctuary, hop over to Scheduling Volunteer Time after you’ve completed your profile. Planning your visit as far in advance as possible makes it easier for us to schedule you according to your preferences. You can also contact our Volunteer department at the sanctuary at or at (435) 644-2001, ext. 4119.

Visit Working with Animals to learn the many different ways you can help animals as a Sanctuary Volunteer. When you arrive at Best Friends, you’ll be greeted by wagging tails, purrs and friendly faces!

Working with Animals

We invite you to participate in the regular routine of animal care — feeding, cleaning, grooming, walking, etc. Spending time socializing with the animals is also important, as it gets our animals used to people and makes them more adoptable. For the safety of both people and animals, children 5 years and under may not volunteer with our animals. In addition, some of our animal areas have age restrictions for those between 6-17 years old and each animal area has a maximum number of volunteers it can accommodate daily, so please contact us to make arrangements prior to your visit. For more information about volunteering in the many different animal areas, please read the General Guidelines

Volunteer work with the animals is available at the following times:

Cats: Mornings from 8:15am to 11:30am. Afternoons from 1:15pm to 4:00pm

Dogs: Mornings from 8:15am to 11:30am. Afternoons from 1:15pm to 4:00pm

Bunnies: Mornings from 8:15am to 11:30am. Afternoons from 1:15pm to 4:00pm

Horses: Mornings from 8:15am to 11:30am. Afternoons from 1:15pm to 4:00pm
PLEASE NOTE: For the safety of our horses/farm animals, if you have been outside the U.S. in the past 14 days, you will not be permitted to volunteer at Horse Haven.

**In inclement weather, particularly during the winter months, volunteer opportunities may be limited in our Horse Haven area

Pot-bellied Pigs: Mornings from 8:15am to 11:30am. Afternoons from 1:15pm to 4:00pm
PLEASE NOTE: For the safety of our pigs, if you have been outside the U.S. in the past 14 days, you will not be permitted to volunteer with the pigs.

Birds: Mornings from 8:15am to 11:30am. Afternoons from 1:15pm to 4:00pm
The Parrot Garden (inside birds)
Wild Friends (outside birds) — Adults only

Because our animal area volunteer coordinators and caregivers need time to get volunteers set up, it is important that you arrive on time at the beginning of each session (mornings 8:15am and afternoons 1:15pm). This allows us to begin caring for all of our animals in a timely manner. Please also be aware that if you arrive after the beginning of a session you may not be able to volunteer in that particular animal area.

As well as working directly with the animals, other volunteer skills are welcome. If you are adept in particular areas such as maintenance, or landscaping, for example, and if you can let us know a few weeks before your visit, we may be able to arrange for you to be involved in a specific project.

Just a spoonful of sugar…

While Paris Hilton and Beverly Hills Chihuahua may have helped popularize toy-breed dogs over the past few years, many new owners of these pint-sized pups are unaware of their severe susceptibility to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. toy breeds, such as the Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Pomeranian, toy Poodle and Chihuahua, can have difficulty maintaining their blood sugar, especially when very young.

Small dogs can suffer dangerously low blood sugar levels very quickly, so it’s important to know the signs. The first signs usually include listlessness and lack of coordination (often equated to “drunken staggering). If not treated quickly, this can progress to seizures and even coma. If you suspect your toy pup may be suffering from hypoglycemia, immediately offer food and contact your veterinarian for further instructions.

The ideal scenario, of course, is to prevent hypoglycemia from occuring. Theis best achieved by feeding moist food (either wet food or moistened kibble) four-to-five times a day during puppy-hood. Ensuring they are always warm and dry will help prevent a drop in body temperature that can spiral into hypoglycemia. With these handy tips in mind, you can concentrate on the important things, like which designer diamante collar will look best on your pocket pooch!

Fetch Volume 6 2010/2011

The Eyes Have It

Think your aging pet’s eyes are getting a little cloudy? Well, the most common cause for this is a process called lenticular sclerosis, which doesn’t normally affect your pet’s eyesight or overall health. With lenticular sclerosis, the fibers that make up the lens of the eye become more dense and compressed, giving the lens a hazy appearance.

Unfortunately, in some cases, a graying of the eye could indicate cataracts. Simply put, a cataract is an opacity in the lens of the eye. Your veterinarian can easily differentiate between lenticular sclerosis and a cataract with a pen light or ophthalmoscope. Fortunately, pets who are otherwise healthy are often good candidates for surgical removal of cataracts. More than 80% of pets who undergo the surgery have good long-term outcomes.

While some cataracts can go untreated, and many pets do well with reduced or no vision, there are some situations in which surgery may be a heavily recommended option (e.g. rapidly-maturing cataracts) and some cases where untreated cataracts can go on to cause additional problems like uveitis and glaucoma. Your veterinarian and/or veterinary ophthalmologist can help to guide you through the health and financial implications of these decisions.

FETCH Spring/Summer 2010

To Crate Train or Not to Crate Train

To crate train or not to crate train, that is one of the many questions pet parents face when they bring home a new puppy. While you may be feeling guilty about putting that sweet little puppy (and those big brown eyes!) in a crate for the night or while you are at work, what you really need to think about is what could happen if you didn’t.

A puppy left to her own devices operates much like a two-year-old child. Everything that could possibly be chewed on or swallowed, will be. Every nook and cranny will be investigated. And house training becomes a free-for-all. Puppies left free to roam in the house can get into all sorts of trouble; including chewing power cords, falling off balconies and eating things they shouldn’t.

It’s important that the crate is not seen as punishment, but rather a secure, comfortable den-like environment that keeps your puppy safe from harm (and encourages better bathroom habits). As your puppy matures into adulthood, you will be able to allow longer periods of time out of the crate when you’re not home. Eventually, you may even find that your dog doesn’t need to be in her crate once she is a mature responsible adult.

Fetch Volume 6 2010/2011

When you gotta go…

When I see older dogs for wellness visits, I find it’s a great opportunity to talk about what problems we might expect in the coming years and how to be best prepared. One of the problems I bring up, and one that owners often don’t consider, is incontinence.

Different from a breakdown in housetraining, incontinence is defined as involuntary urinary leakage, and the most common place to see “accidents” is on the floor or bed where they have lying. It most commonly starts with small spots but can progress to puddles.

So, why do older dogs become incontinent? Sometimes it is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection or a neurological condition. These possibilities can be eliminated with simple urine or blood tests.

However, a fairly high proportion of spayed female dogs (some sources estimate up to 20%) develop what is described as urethral sphincter mechanism incontinence (or USMI). This means that the muscles that help to keep the bladder closed aren’t working properly, causing urine to leak out.

The good news? USMI is usually responsive to relatively safe and inexpensive medical therapy. While some cases can require treatment with hormones or even surgery, the vast majority of cases respond well to a medication called phenylpropanolamine.

So, don’t let your aging dog be embarrased by bedwetting. Consult with your veterinarian at the first sign that the floodgate may not be holding!

Fetch Spring/Summer 2010

Spay and Neuter Benefits

Nowadays, most pets adopted from rescues are spayed or neutered before adoption. But 30 years ago this wasn’t the case. So, what’s changed? Well, the main driving factor behind encouraging sterilization is the accumulation of data regarding how it affects pet’s health and behavior, as well as increased efforts to control population numbers (remember Bob Barker’s daily plug to “spay or neuter your pets” on The Price is Right?).

So what are the health and behavior benefits of spaying or neutering your pet?

*Spaying a female dog before her first heat lowers the chances she will develop
mammary tumors later in life to almost zero. Compare that to a 25% chance of
developing tumors for an unspayed dog (50% of which will be malignant).

*Spaying eliminates the chances of a female dog developing pyometra – a potentially
life-threatening infection of the uterus that often occurs in middle-aged, unspayed

*Neutering a male dog virtually eliminates the incidence of prostate disease, and
prevents certain types of tumors.

*Spaying and neutering before a pet is sexually mature can help to reduce or avoid
many hormone driven behaviors, such as aggression, roaming, fighting and urine

Fetch Volume 6 2010/2011


So it is normal for us to be a little forgetful as we get older, right? While Fido isn’t going to forget where he put his car keys, he may start to have problems remembering to tell you he needs to go out to the bathroom! Just a normal part of getting old, right? Yes and no. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is an increasingly recognized ( and potentially treatable) condition in our aging canines.

Studies suggest that almost one third of dogs over the age of 11, and all dogs over 16, suffer from a degree os CDS. This can affect your pet’s memory, learning, housetraining, the ability to judge spaces/distances and may change how they act to human family members. Current thinking suggests the changes in the brains of dogs with CDS are similiar to those in humans with Alzheimer’s Syndrome.

The most common signs that pet parents see in CDS patients include disorientation, confusion, getting stuck in corners, restlessness, barking, separation anxiety and even obsessive licking.

Treatment focuses on preventing dopamine depletion (by using a drug called L-deprenyl), slowing damage to brain cells by free-radicals (by feeding specialty diets high in anti-oxidants) and environmental enrichment (by having them do crossowrd puzzles…just kidding!).
Joking aside, keeping your pet mentally stimulated can really help slow mental degeneration. So, if you feel that your pooch is mentally past his prime, talk to your vet about activities and treatment options.

Fetch Spring/Summer 2010

Fun Pet Facts

There are over 77 million cats in the United States. There are 65 million dogs.

There are more than 9,000 species of birds, but Parakeets, canaries and finches are the most popular species for pets.

Max is the most popular name for dogs in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

Dogs can in fact see in color, but not as well as humans. However, they probably can’t see red or green.

Studies have shown that cats have better memories than dogs, monkeys or orangutans.

The world’s first space astronaut was a Russian dog named Laikia.

Nearly 94 percent of pet owners say their animal pal makes them smile more than once a day.