How to start an animal rescue, sanctuary or shelter workshop

For workshop dates and registration information, click here.

Best Friends has been holding How to Start and Run an Animal Sanctuary classes since 1999! Some of the presenters have 25 years or more experience in animal rescue and care. Our goal is to share the results of this experience with you, to give you a leg up so that you don't end up having to reinvent the wheel. Our hope is that you will go home with an understanding of the knowledge, work, and dedication necessary to create a sanctuary, open a dog rescue, start a cat shelter, or found another nonprofit to help pets in need.

"I loved the workshop, especially hearing the positive stories of how you made things work, no matter what challenges you faced. It was great to learn from both your successes and mistakes!"

Topics covered in starting and running an animal rescue training class

Though each session's schedule is different, these are some of the topics that are usually covered:

  • Setting up a nonprofit
  • Risk management
  • Fundraising human resources
  • Member services
  • Relating to the media
  • Adoptions
  • Education programs
  • Veterinary care
  • Long-term care for dogs and cats
  • Feral cats
  • Dog training and assessment
  • Relating to cats
  • Relating to horses
  • Working with puppies and kittens
  • Wildlife rescue
  • Alternatives to starting a sanctuary

Network with pet care professionals and fellow animal lovers

During the workshop, you will have the opportunity to network not only with other attendees, but with class presenters and with some of the founders of Best Friends.

"I found it extremely valuable to have so many people in the group with personal experiences to share about the topics we covered. That's one of the best things about the workshop - you can learn from everyone!"

"The best part about the program for me was being able to meet and learn from the many dedicated members of the Best Friends staff. They were knowledgeable, accessible and entirely willing to share their passion for what they do. I was also grateful for the opportunity to interact with and learn from my classmates - such a wonderful group of like-minded people. Their commitment to animals was truly inspirational."

Get started helping pets in need with weeklong animal retreat

If your dream is to provide a safe haven for animals in your community, you'll want to check out this intensive, week-long workshop covering the basics of starting your own sanctuary. Our hope is that this class will reinforce your determination to carry out your own vision to help the animals.

"This was a life changing week. I came to Best Friends with a vague idea about the animal sanctuary that I one day wanted to start. I'm leaving with a foundation of knowledge for starting that sanctuary - with a chance of having my sanctuary succeed. I was blessed by the honest and realistic guidance that I received this week. I leave with my dream intact and can't say enough about what this class has taught me."

Register for opening and running an animal shelter course

For more information including class dates, availability status, plus registration forms, contact us at or call 435-644-2001 ext. 4317. We look forward to seeing you here!