Utah’s best-kept secret

Anyone familiar with the founding of Best Friends probably knows the story. In 1984, a group of friends made a promise to one another, and to the animals in their care, to build an animal sanctuary in southern Utah. There, we would dedicate our lives not only to caring for unwanted pets, but also to advocating for the idea that pets shouldn’t be killed in shelters.

One of our co-founders, Francis Battista, was driving through red rock country near Kanab, Utah, when he came upon a spectacular piece of land. The 3,300-acre former ranch and Western movie location was centered around a canyon oasis in the midst of a dramatic and harsh desert landscape. It was almost entirely undeveloped land, but Francis could see the potential to do what we had dreamed of for so long — build this oasis in the desert into a safe haven for thousands of animals with nowhere else to go.

Of course, the rest, as they say, is history. The founders cobbled together what little money they had and made a down payment. Today, the Sanctuary, located just north of Kanab, is regarded by many as the best of its kind in the world. Thousands of animals — dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, pigs, birds and others — have called this magical place a home between homes. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of visitors have stopped by for a tour, many staying to volunteer with the animals for a few days or longer.

Today, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is not only a world-class animal care center, it is the heart of the entire organization, embodying the ethics and standards of care that are reflected in all of our community work around the country. This is true whether it’s a full-blown shelter operation like the one we run in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, high-end adoption centers like those we run in West Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, or our community cat programs in many cities around the country.

But even with approximately 30,000 visitors per year and the widespread support for our work that has helped the organization grow to where it is today, the Sanctuary has remained something of a hidden gem.

Now, thanks to a marketing grant from the Utah Office of Tourism that is intended to help promote the wonders of southern Utah, we’re proud to launch our first national marketing campaign for the Sanctuary.

Please check out these beautiful ads that have been produced for the campaign. We hope you’ll agree that these two 30-second spots truly capture not only the beauty of the Sanctuary setting, but also the heart of what we do and who we are.

Thank you to the Utah Office of Tourism for their generous grant for this campaign.

If you haven’t been to the Sanctuary, I hope these engaging videos will convince you to make the trip. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Together, we will Save them All.