Man’s Best Friend and Best Friends Animal Society

I have always loved  dogs.  I had a ‘Lassie-like’ collie when I was a little girl.  My parents bred chihuahuas.  My husband and I had mutts and purebreds; big and small.  Eventually we ended up with four toy poodles. They all lived to old age and have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Like most of the world on August 29, 2005, I sat mesmerized by the pictures on television:  the wind, the rain and the flooding of Katrina.  When the first levee broke, I couldn’t imagine the horror.  And when the CNN reporter flying overhead in a helicopter broke down reporting about the cries for ‘help’ my heart broke, along with everyone else.

That hurricane changed how the world understood the devastation that could occur when a major metropolitan coastal city was forced to evacuate.

As a dog person, hearing about the animals left behind broke my heart.  The pictures were horrendous.  Anderson Cooper, from CNN, did a number of segments on the pets left behind, running wild, hungry or dead.

Through it all, a courageous group of rescuers worked tirelessly to save these innocent victims of disaster.  I found one group particularly impressive:  Best Friends Animal Society, from Kanab Utah.  They sent staff and organized volunteers; fundraised, treated and cared for animals of all sorts.  All while trying to connect families with their pets.  It was a massive undertaking and Best Friends was one of the most visible rescue organizations in New Orleans..

From my home in Calgary, there wasn’t much I could do other than the obvious – I took out a membership for Best Friends and the American Humane Society.  I made a couple of small donations to help other organizations rescue the most vulnerable among us.  I followed the stories on the internet.  I laughed with the wins and cried with the losses.  And through it all I learned every pet owner has to be prepared for this kind of situation.

I still follow Best Friends and pay attention to their amazing work.  Thanks to them, many of Michael Vick’s fighting dogs were rescued.  All of them have had training and socialization.  A few have been adopted.  All of them are better off.

They are regularly involved in puppy mill rescues, taking hundreds of dogs out of disgusting conditions with little or no human contact.  (They even took some of the worst dogs from a puppy mill in Manitoba, a Canadian Province east of Calgary.)  Best Friends take the sick, the lame and the unwanted to rehabilitate and train so these animals can enjoy a ‘forever family’

I have probably given the idea that Best Friends Animal Society is a dog sanctuary, but they actually take in many types of animals.  Birds, horses, rabbits, goats, donkey, cats and dogs, and more I’m sure.  They’re not the only organization who deserves recognition for the wonderful work they do with animals, but they’re one of a kind.   Check them out at

And because of their amazing work I made sure my next dog was a rescue.  Both of them.

After a few years of being alone, I brought dogs back into my life – two of them.

Please meet my boy Jake and my little Lucy.

Both are spoiled rotten.  Both are my best friends.

Please read the stories of the animals Best Friends have rescued and treated.  Tell me what you think.

About Louise Behiel

Author, coach, therapist, mother and grandmother. I'm on a spiritual journey and consciously work to grow every day.
This entry was posted in Louise Behiel, pets, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Man’s Best Friend and Best Friends Animal Society

  1. These stories are amazing, Louise. Although we don’t have any pets, I’m a dog person. Thank goodness there are organizations like Best Friends and people like you. Thank you for the lovely post! 🙂

  2. they are an incredible organization. Took the worst of the dogs from that horrid puppy mill in Manitoba – horrible conditions. so ugly. they take the worst and work with them, sometimes for years. Amazing what they can do.

    thanks for stopping by

  3. Shannon Esposito says:

    I had a collie growing up to! We had to leave her at a farm when we moved from Pa. to Fl. and I still give my parents a hard time about it, it broke my 11 yr. old heart. Your babies are so cute! Adding this organization to my charities, they are amazing people. Thanks!

  4. Alicia Street says:

    Love this post, Louise! I grew up with pets, too, and they were valued (and adored) members of our household. I support several wild and domestic animal rights and animal protection groups and am so thankful for their brave efforts. Give Jake and Lucy a cuddle for me!

  5. animalvoice says:


    Welcome to the blogsphere. I have a wordpress blog on animal activism that I haven’t had time to deal with in a while. I need to get back to it and to also do a blog on writing as well.

    I love the pictures of your fur-babies. They look like shih-tzu or Lhasa Apso’s mixes. Growing up I had a shih-tzu named Patches that was my best friend – he lived to be 16. About 8 yrs ago my parents got another one which I named Rusty, who I call my baby brother. We always grew up with cats and dogs which was a wonderful experience.

    My husband and I have three children that are all ‘quadra-peds’ as I like to call them (of the feline variety). Tigger, my eldest daughter is 13, Calie my baby girl is 12 and our youngest is my baby boy Riley who is 10. We decided early in our marriage that we wanted to raise fur-babies instead of human ones and are sooo happy that we made that decision.

    I also am a big fan of Best Friends and have been for years, even before Katrina. I know you can visit it and my husband and I intend to take a vacation to Utah one of these years to spend a week there helping the volunteers work with the animals, That vacation is definitely something on my bucket list.

    Great posts so far – I’ll be following you 🙂


    • thanks so much for your comment and for stopping by. My two are shih tzu crosses. Jake is, I think a schnauzer shih tzu cross. But his history was a very friendly one…he has big feet and long, skinny legs. He’s cute but has a remarkable personality and is the most peaceful pooch. Lucy is crossed with a bichon. she’s smart as a button and stubborn as can be. heaven help me as I continue to try to train her.

      reactivate your blog, so I can follow along. we pet lovers need to hang together.

  6. timlobrien says:

    Great post! Growing up we always had numerous dogs in the house. Favorite childhood memories always seem to revolve around our pets!

  7. My dog is a rescue…. Love this post and your adorable pups! Such a fantastic organization as well.

    • rescue pets are the best. Never again will I ‘buy’ a pet. Jake is the calmest, most peaceful dog I’ve ever seen. It’s as if he knows he has a new life and he observes and watches all the time. too funny.

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