Beating Burnout at Best Friends – Part 1

These past few months, I have been crazy busy and I have learned the hard way how easy it is to hit burnout! Between work and planning a move out of our apartment of four years, I have found myself easily exhausted and sometimes extra moody. And that is NOT how I like to spend my waking hours! Luckily, I have an absolutely amazing husband, Chase, who recognizes when I am struggling better than I do. For my birthday this year, he surprised me with a short trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary so we could volunteer with the animals there! And I found that there is no better way of beating burnout than at Best Friends.

Kanab, Utah
View from the cafeteria exterior of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

What is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary?

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a no-kill sanctuary that houses many kinds of animals – horses, rabbits, pigs, dogs, birds, and more. It’s located in Kanab, Utah and it takes up about 3,700-acres of gorgeous red desert. We got lost trying to find the building we had been assigned to because the sanctuary’s campus is so HUGE. Different buildings and areas are designated for animals and their needs. Like one for dogs waiting to be adopted or receiving treatment, a puppy training school, places for birds, bunnies, etc. If there is an animal with a need, there is a place for them there!

Beating Burnout with Best Friends
Chase holding an orange tabby cat at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

First stop – the building for FeLV positive cats:

We were assigned to the building assigned specifically for cats diagnosed with feline leukemia (FeLV). (Did you know that cats with FeLV might have a harder time getting adopted because of their diagnosis, but they can live long and happy lives just like any other cat? They just have to be only cats or live with other FeLV positive cats, and might require specific treatment).

That’s where I met a sweet little guy named Starksy, a black and white cat that had obviously gone through some hard times before coming to the sanctuary. Starsky was waiting to have surgery on his mouth and had been shaved for the procedure. So, he was a little shivery without his fur and a bit crusty around the mouth from the drool. But despite his rough exterior, it blows my mind that someone hasn’t taken him home yet!

A black and white cat named Starsky.

When I sat down next to him to give him some attention, Starsky crawled into my lap without any hesitation.

And man, can this kitty PURR! Despite whatever he had gone through in the past, this kitty just wanted to love and be loved. I’m thankful he let me give him those cuddles. He was so happy during our time together, and it was VERY hard to leave him (if we didn’t already have two at home, I totally would’ve)!

Beating Burnout with Best Friends
Me sitting on the floor with Starsky.

When it was time for us to go, he got VERY upset – and I am not exaggerating this. Starsky was a totally gentle and loving cat, but he wanted it to be known that he needed this attention. When I tried to get up, he gave a gentle little “mrrooowr” and grabbed onto my pantleg so I wouldn’t move… so I gave it a little longer, despite my legs having fallen asleep. But we had to leave eventually, despite Starsky’s objections. I hope someone adopts him soon, because this sweet boy was an absolute treasure to spend time with.

If you would like to adopt or sponsor Starksy, you can do so here. And if you do adopt this boy, you can definetely plan on LOTS of cuddles and lap time.

Beating Burnout with Best Friends
Kane (left) and Oberon (right).

There is no better way to beat burnout than volunteering at Best Friends.

I am so thankful for Chase for surprising me with this for my birthday this year. Whatever burnout or stress I was carrying melted away with every floor I mopped, every litter box I cleaned, and with every purr and tail wag. Putting my energy toward helping an animal feel cared for and helping the staff there catch a break felt good. Even just thinking about our time there makes me feel some ease from my stress, and I look forward to going back in the near future.

Because I have so much to share about my time at Best Friends…

…this blog is split into two parts. So tune in next week if you want to hear more about our time with the sweet dogs Oakes and Minnie!

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