Come celebrate our birthday!

Pit bull puppy wearing a birthday hatThinking back on the journey that Best Friends Animal Society embarked on, oh, some 27 years ago, I’m reminded of the lyrics of a once-popular song (talk about dating ourselves!): “What a Difference a Day Makes.” In our case, it’s more like 9,855 days, give or take a few. Being one of the original co-founders of Best Friends, I can tell you it feels like it was just yesterday  that we began our mission of realizing a day of No More Homeless Pets.

Our entry into animal rescue started with a few dozen dogs and cats, some rudimentary enclosures, and a lot of commitment and passion from a group of people who saw a problem and wanted to be part of the solution. The fact that there were stray dogs and cats who had been abandoned in our area was just the tip of the iceberg for where our sanctuary work would take us.

All the animals at Best Friends are certainly a part of our birthday celebration. Our residents include dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, pigs, goats and sheep, to name a smattering of the species that call our Sanctuary home. Many may be blissfully unaware that this place they love was their last chance at having a wonderful life. I would venture to guess, however, that some of our pets-in-waiting are acutely aware of what our safe haven means to them. The Vicktory dogs are surely partying with a purpose, as well as the cats from Pahrump who were saved from a hoarding situation in the desert, an undertaking we dubbed the Great Kitty Rescue. These large-scale, high-profile rescues certainly shine a light on some of the greatest challenges companion animals in this country face today. But what about the other millions of dogs and cats who are finding themselves in a shelter system that often has one way out, one that is not particularly healthy?Cat playing in birthday wrapping paper

Thanks to the support of caring people like you — people who care about the issues, care about quelling the killing, care about making a real, sustainable difference — we are able to make an impact by saving lives from coast to coast. Because of you, we are taking our lifesaving lessons and sharing them through our initiatives and our city programs, where partnering with the public and private sector, local government agencies, and shelters saves thousands of more lives. We’re helping homeless pets find alternatives to entering packed shelters, with endeavors like the Feral Freedom program, the No More Homeless Pets Network and Pup My Ride, and events like this year’s No More Homeless Pets National Conference, which will bring together cutting-edge leaders in the movement from every walk of animal rescue. We are diligent in educating communities about humane alternatives and providing resources before man’s best friend and his feline counterpart become another dismal statistic.Dog wearing a birthday hat with a woman

Animals who don’t even know our name will be celebrating our birthday on July 25. When I look back on all the days that have led us here, to the brink of saving the rest of the pets who are in danger of losing their lives because of a system that is overburdened, I know each triumph, misstep and seemingly radical maneuver have all been worth it for the animals. I ask you to join in our celebration and help make our Birthday Wish come true! Your contribution helps us to continue to go forward together and ultimately bring about a day when there will be No More Homeless Pets. And that’s the most meaningful difference we are all striving for every day!

Gregory Castle