How to start and run an animal sanctuary

Register for March 17-23, 2019

Register for June 16-22, 2019

Register for October 20-26, 2019

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, giving you a leg up, and eliminating the need 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 week-long animal retreat

If your dream is to provide a safe haven for animals in your community, or to take your rescue work to the next level, you'll want to check out this intensive, week-long workshop covering the basics of starting your own sanctuary. The workshop covers the key things you'll need to make your vision a reality. Starting with how to form a non-profit, it deals with innovative animal care, fundraising and marketing, developing a volunteer support and much more.

"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."

To request more information on our workshops, please send an email to Or you can call 435-644-2001, ext. 4317. We look forward to seeing you here!