Donating to the animals

By David Dickson

Most birthday parties would seem to have taken a real turn for the worse if the kid started smashing his presents to pieces the moment he unwrapped them. As far as rabbits are concerned, however, what better way to show your enthusiasm?

Rabbits love destroying toys, especially by chewing. And those busy chompers of theirs have been on overdrive lately, thanks to a savvy donor who found a bargain on wicker A-frame tents. The tents in question ended up a couple inches shorter than they were supposed to be, so the company offered a steep discount.

The generous donor took advantage of the sale and sent around 50 tents to the rabbits at Best Friends. For their part, the rabbits have been working hard to show their gratitude by reducing the tents to wicker shrapnel.

Donations of untreated wicker of all sorts are always welcome at rabbits. "Anything wicker, we like," says rabbit caregiver Burke Beesley.

Donations to animals around the Sanctuary

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Donated water fountains keep
the cats happy and hydrated

The truth is,animals throughout the Sanctuary love receiving donations in all their variety. Here are a few more recent gifted items that have proved popular.

Over in Dogtown, a batch of donated food puzzles has been a big hit. The puzzles, which come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, are any device that requires a little effort to reach the food inside. To a human, the concept of a food puzzle may sound confusing. Having to solve three algebra problems every time you want to take a bite of your peanut butter sandwich, for example, wouldn’t appeal to many. But for most dogs, the act of working to get their food is exciting.

"Many dogs will eat in 20 to 30 seconds," explains Best Friends dog trainer Tim Molina. "We’ve elongated the feeding time to last roughly 30 minutes to an hour." Conquering food puzzles is by far one of the dogs’ favorite activities.

At Cat World, several donated water fountains are keeping the cats happy and hydrated, since some cats prefer drinking from running water. A large shipment of donated scratcher pad refills also came in, as did cans of pumpkin. Surprisingly, many cats enjoy the taste of pumpkin. Of both the pumpkin and the scratchers, cat manager Michelle Warfle says, "Those are always popular."

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At Horse Haven, the horses enjoy donated slow-feeders.

At the Parrot Garden, the concept of fun-through-toy-destruction has always been in vogue. Thanks to generous donations last holiday season, the birds still have a large number of toy parts with which to make new play things. Of course, more toy parts are always welcome. Parrot toy parts of every kind, along with unsalted and unshelled nuts, never go out of style. The parrots pledge to do their part to happily rain down destruction on all of them.

At Horse Haven, the horses and goats have been enjoying some recently donated slow-feeders. Similar to food puzzles, slow feeders stretch out mealtimes, which is more interesting for the animals and better for their health. One popular slow-feeder is made from recycled fishing nets. The netting is either stretched out over a full bale on the ground or stuffed and hung from a beam. "We really like them," horse manager Jen Reid says about the nets.

As for the pigs, some donated treat balls, also similar to food puzzles, have been popular. A couple other great year-round donation ideas for pigs are cans of pumpkin and Fig Newtons that are used as pill pockets.

Whether it’s a toy meant to be destroyed on sight, a tasty treat, a comfy bed, or any of a hundred other niceties, the animals at the Sanctuary are continually grateful to their many friends near and far who keep them smiling.

How to donate

Did you know that fly masks are popular gifts for horses at this time of year? Or that dogs with food allergies are always in need of fish dog treats? Find out what donations will really help by perusing the Best Friends wish list, which is updated quarterly.