My story: Best Friends volunteers Herb and Sandy Doscher

For the people who’ve experienced it, walked in its red dirt, taken in its majestic beauty and touched the lives of its animals, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is much more than a place where animal lovers go to work and play. There’s a certain magic in the air — especially in those unforgettable moments when someone makes a heartfelt connection with a rescued dog, cat, bird, bunny or barnyard animal.

The Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, is nestled between the sprawling red rocks of Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks. But above all, it is an animal lovers’ paradise. People come from all over the country and around the world to volunteer with the animals, and we’ve caught up with few of them, who share their stories and experiences from the heart.

Herb Doscher and his wife, Sandy, from Southbury, Connecticut, tell us what they loved most about their time at Best Friends.

Volunteer at the Sanctuary

In what cities, programs or animal areas have you volunteered with Best Friends?  

Sandy: We spent three days at the Sanctuary. Herb volunteered at Parrot Garden and I volunteered in Dogtown all three days.

When you volunteered with Best Friends, what was your job?

Sandy: Walking, feeding, cleaning and playing with dogs. Herb did a carpentry project to modify an enclosure in Parrot Garden.

Herb volunteered to do a carpentry project

What was your favorite volunteer experience with Best Friends?

Herb: I must say that any project that involves carpentry gives me great pleasure in doing. This includes Best Friends, Habitat For Humanity, Home Front and several other organizations where I am privileged to apply my skills with wood. I am equally happy to do whatever the project calls for, as long as it involves carpentry. Carpentry has always been my passion, whether it is a job (I have been a Union carpenter for 50 Years) or volunteer work. I love it all.

Sandy: Herb felt a deep sense of accomplishment to do something for the Sanctuary that was concrete. The staff was able to see something he created. It was very gratifying for him.

What does volunteering mean to you and why do you do it?

Herb: Volunteering has always given me a sense of satisfaction that just makes me feel good. I have volunteered my services as a carpenter, volunteer fireman, zoning board official, parish outreach volunteer, scouting and many other organizations where I could make a positive impact. It really makes me feel good.

Did you have a favorite animal you met while volunteering?

Sandy: I loved having Doc, the dog, by our side (Literally he was by our side because he is a leaner.) During a sleepover, when we sat on the couch he sat on the couch, leaning against us. He actually gave us equal time. He is a bed hog, but it’s part of his undeniable charm. He followed us everywhere we went in the cabin. It was as though he was our dog. He ate and slept with us. It totally changed our opinion regarding pit bull terriers. Doc is a sweet and gentle giant.

Herb and Sandy Doscher with Doc the dog

What’s the most rewarding part of volunteering?

Herb: I would say that the most rewarding part is the knowledge that I am making it possible for someone to have a better life that might not have been possible if I had not volunteered. This goes for animals as well as people. Animals are just people with fur and four legs. Our lives have been better because of the animals that we have had the pleasure to live with, and I truly believe that the world would be a sad place without our pets. They love us unconditionally and we should return the effort.

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Photos courtesy of Sandy Doscher