After visiting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, I decided to read a couple of books to get more in-depth information. I started with “Best Friends: The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary” by Samantha Glen. Then I read “DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Redemption, and Rehabilitation” by Stefan Bechtel.
I started with “Best Friends” because it told the story of the founding of the animal sanctuary. It turns out that I would have started the story a little earlier, but it was still a pretty good book. Most of the founding members of Best Friends met in England. They were part of a cult called “The Process Church of the Final Judgement.” Samantha Glen left out this earliest chapter. Instead, she starts her story with the first animal sanctuary established by the group in southern Arizona.
Because a group of 17 individuals started Best Friends Animal Society, the story gets a little confusing as Glen moves from one person to another. Generally the story goes that they sold everything and lived communally to rescue the animals. Each of the founders was extremely committed to the process working without pay for a very long time.
“Best Friends” is divided into three parts. The first part talks about finding and buying Angel Canyon. The second part focuses on the founding of DogTown and its first director, Faith Maloney. The third part talks about moving beyond an animal sanctuary into advocacy and rescue work throughout the world. Because the book was published in 2001, the original founders were all around to interview. There are good stories about establishing the animal sanctuary.
In the second book, “DogTown,” Bechtel chose a story about one dog for each chapter. One chapter focuses on the Viktory Dogs – those rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting chain. Another chapter describes a dog grieving for his family. Interspersed with these stories are essays by the dogtrainers and veterinarians at DogTown. The stories are inspired by the National Geographic show, “DogTown.” All the chapters have happy endings for the dogs.
Both books, read together, enabled me to have a clearer view of Best Friends Animal Society and what they do. Both of them had wonderful pictures and heartwarming stories of love and sacrifice for the animals who can become our best friends.