Three adorable puppies looking at the camera

Learn How to Run a Lifesaving Sanctuary

Ready to do more to help animals? Best Friends Animal Society is here to help with a new three-month hybrid course called, “Running a Lifesaving Sanctuary: Taking Your Vision to Fulfillment.

The course, offered through a partnership between Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University, will give you the best of both worlds through online self-study, weekly live Zoom calls and an in-person experience at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. The course is a three-month journey with Best Friends co-founders Faith Maloney and Jana de Peyer, along with other Sanctuary experts. If you have dreamed of opening your own safe haven for homeless pets or you would you like to take your animal rescue work to the next level, this is the course for you.


General animal care
Setting up a nonprofit
Risk management
Relating to your community
Buildings, utilities and maintenance
Adoption, foster and transport programs
Veterinary care
Long-term care for dogs and cats
Community or stray cats
Dog behavior training

Interest has been high, so please sign up here for more information and we will keep you in the loop. Class size is limited. Feel free to contact us at with any questions.

Course information

Online course – The 10-week online course, offered through Southern Utah University, includes 10 self-study modules, plus 11 Zoom calls (90 minutes each) with Best Friends co-founders Faith Maloney, Jana de Peyer and other experts.

In-person course – You’ll spend five inspiring days at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in the beautiful red rock country surrounding Kanab, Utah. Your visit includes a tour of the Sanctuary facilities and live classes with animal care experts, plus group and individual mentoring.

Lunches will be provided. Travel, lodging and additional meals are not included. Check out the cool local accommodations created for visitors by Best Friends.

Planning your trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

To help streamline your visit, take a look at this important travel and Sanctuary visitor information page.

To get an idea of how you’ll spend your time at the Sanctuary, check out this sample schedule of the five-day course. Your actual itinerary will be created for you prior to arrival.

Testimonials about Past Best Friends Sanctuary workshops

“This workshop has been life-changing. The amount of knowledge I was able to absorb was beyond words. The connections and relationships that I formed here are a lifetime treasure. The classes were formed perfectly. Each class was as exciting as the first. I also loved how we got an in-depth tour and got to see a lot of behind the scenes.”
– Jackie S., co-founder, Pawsibilities (Nevada)

“The course covers such a broad range of vital information, yet manages to be so thorough at the same time. I am extremely impressed with the level of organization displayed throughout this course. Very impressed by everything. Thank you!”
– Colleen E.

“This experience was truly incredible. Never in my life have I been surrounded by a group of people that shared my ideals, hopes and positivity. What you have created is remarkable. Your presenters were incredible. They were passionate and focused.”
– Alyssa L.

Accredited certificate from Southern Utah University

Southern Utah University offers an institutional certificate for those completing the course. Though the certificate is not for actual credits, it can be submitted to your school for possible college credit (at the school’s discretion, depending on school policy).

Spending time with the animals

The course includes options for mentoring in the Sanctuary animal-care areas and/or for taking elective classes. Participants choosing these options will have limited time to interact with Sanctuary animals. If you’d like to spend quality time with the animals, you are encouraged to extend your Sanctuary visit beyond the on-site days. You can always sign up for volunteer shifts to spend time with the animals (at no extra cost).

Please note: Because of the full schedule during the five-day course, sleepovers with animals are not available to participants.

Course refund policy

If you cancel 30 days or more before the course begins, you'll receive a full refund minus a $25 cancellation fee (no refunds if cancellation is within the 30-day window). If you have questions, please contact us at

If the Running a Lifesaving Sanctuary course is not for you, please visit our lifesaving events page to find other fun ways to get more involved in animal welfare.