As we move into 2009, Best Friends Animal Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Best Friends is the nation’s largest no kill animal sanctuary and is located in Angel Canyon in southern Utah. Their population including cats, dogs and other animals numbers a staggering 2000. Their philosophy really resonates with me:  kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us.

I just returned from spending a wonderful holiday break with my family in Missouri. This year I gave my family a different kind of gift. The Best Friends site features pictures and bios of animals that you can sponsor through monetary donations. A donation helps to provide food, vitamins, medical care and a safe warm place to sleep. I had fun perusing the dogs and cats and matching an animal up to the gift recipients and giving a donation in their names.

Mother is caring for Toes—you guessed it—he has six toes on his two front feet! My brother‘s cat, Homer is a beautiful orange marmalade and is described as a shy sphinx, like he can see into your deepest heart.  My sister-in law’s cat is a fluffy gray and white cat named Lois. My sister loves beagles, and I wanted to find one for her to sponsor since her beagle, Pearl passed on in 2008. However, there were no beagles in the database, but I found an equally sweet looking dog named Sophie 2. My brother-in-law has always had labs, so Trisha, a beautiful chocolate lab was a good match for him. My brother was paired up with a dog with lots of character named Basil.

I downloaded a color photo of each animal along with their biography and included a card explaining the gift. This year American Greetings had animal wrapping paper designed with red and greens paw prints and Meowy Christmas and Yappy New Year on it. I have always wanted to do an animal themed gift, so this year it all came together!

I hope these six animals will be adopted into caring homes in 2009. If you would like more information about these animals and about Best Friends go to

Happy New Year and Bountiful Blessings!