Nonprofit Series: Best Friends, the Beginning of a Miracle - The Trupanion Blog
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Nonprofit Series: Best Friends, the Beginning of a Miracle

In 2014, Trupanion members donated over $104,000 to nonprofit animal welfare organizations across the United States and Canada. We’re now asking you to vote for the next nonprofits we should support. Vote through the online poll at Voting ends May 14, 2015.

Nonprofit Series: Best Friends, the Beginning of a MiracleFor so many animals, Best Friends Animal Society was the beginning of a miracle. Best Friends No Homeless Pets Network is in the running for the next nonprofit to support so we caught up with Nathan Measom, Best Friends Animal Society Development Officer, Strategic Partnerships, to learn more  about what the group does and here is what he shared.

“It was the 1980s at a time when shelters across America routinely killed cats and dogs, simply because they didn’t have safe places to call home. Pets who couldn’t easily be adopted — senior pets and pets with a few medical or behavioral issues — were the first to go. Tragically, around 17 million of these precious animals were being killed every year.

But one group of friends knew that the killing had to be — and could be — stopped. So they moved out to the high desert of Utah and built a safe haven where some of those supposedly unadoptable pets could heal. With proper care and patience, the vast majority of these animals found loving forever families. Those who didn’t spent the rest of their days romping around in the new sanctuary. The group of friends who cared so deeply about animals grew and flourished and became Best Friends Animal Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

A leader in the no-kill movement since its founding in 1984, Best Friends Animal Society operates Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as lifesaving programs across the country.

Nonprofit Series: Best Friends, the Beginning of a Miracle
Image from Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of cats and dogs in America’s shelters. In just 30 years, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to around 4 million. That’s tremendous progress, but it means more than 9,000 dogs and cats are still losing their lives in shelters every day.

We won’t stop until, together, we Save Them All®.

Just a few miles north of Kanab, Utah, in Angel Canyon lies Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a place that, on any given day, about 1,700 animals call home. These animals, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, pigs and others, come to the Sanctuary from near and far. Some are ill, some have been neglected or abused, and all are homeless. But once they arrive at this safe haven, they receive everything they need — physically, emotionally and psychologically — to thrive and find good homes.

The Sanctuary is at the heart of Best Friends’ work. All the animals, most of whom have special needs, receive an individualized plan of care for medical treatment, socialization and training. The Sanctuary has six specialized animal care areas and a comprehensive visitors and volunteers program. In 2014, a new state-of-the-art clinic was added, allowing Best Friends to be an industry leader in animal care and rehabilitation. Each year, approximately 1,000 Sanctuary residents find loving forever homes.

Regional programs. Since the early 1990s, Best Friends has branched out beyond the Sanctuary, extending its lifesaving programs throughout the state of Utah and the city of Los Angeles. In 2011, Best Friends entered into a partnership with the city of Los Angeles to operate a Los Angeles Animal Services shelter as a Best Friends pet adoption center featuring animals from L.A. city shelters and specializing in high-volume adoptions and low-cost spay/neuter services. In 2012, Best Friends launched NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles), an initiative that includes a coalition of 90 (and counting) local animal welfare organizations focused on making L.A. the largest no-kill city in the country by 2017. Since the launch of NKLA, the number of dogs and cats being killed in city shelters has decreased by 56 percent. And in 2014 alone, the NKLA Coalition helped find homes for about 24,300 dogs and cats, and Best Friends provided support for about 16,700 spay/neuter surgeries for L.A. pets.

In 2014, Best Friends introduced a similar initiative in Utah, called No-Kill Utah (NKUT). The initiative includes a dedicated coalition working to end the killing of animals in Utah shelters by 2019. Also in 2014, Best Friends opened an adoption center and kitten nursery in Salt Lake City. Nearly 1,200 newborn kittens were saved in 2014 via the nursery. As of March 2015, 27 Utah communities have reached no-kill status.

Best Friends also expanded its programs in New York City in 2014. As part of this work, dozens of animal welfare groups benefit from Best Friends–led super adoption events, where hundreds of pets find forever homes, and Strut Your Mutt, which provides much-needed financial support to local organizations. A new Best Friends foster program gives pets from Animal Care & Control of New York City a better chance at finding forever homes.

Lifesaving initiatives. Best Friends believes that collaboration is key to ending the killing in America’s shelters. The No More Homeless Pets Network comprises more than 1,000 animal welfare organizations across the country that are working with Best Friends to reduce the number of dogs and cats killed in local communities. Membership includes the chance to take part in Best Friends national adoption promotions and fundraising events, and to receive discounts to conferences and consultations with Best Friends staff.

In addition, Best Friends operates trap/neuter/return (TNR) programs in a number of communities around the country. As a result of these TNR programs, thousands of community (unowned, free-roaming) cats are sterilized, vaccinated and released each year. TNR programs save lives because they keep community cats out of shelters, where they are at great risk of being killed since they are unlikely to be adopted.

Nonprofit Series: Best Friends, the Beginning of a Miracle
Image from Best Friends Animal Society

In 2014, Best Friends directly helped more than 165,000 pets across the nation. This number includes about 41,000 adoptions across all programs and around 106,000 animals who were fixed through spay/neuter programs nationwide. Plus, Best Friends’ 1,000-plus No More Homeless Pets Network partners helped more than 88,000 animals across the country. In addition, more than 1,100 animals were welcomed to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and nearly 1,000 found loving homes.

In 2015 we plan to:

– Increase the number of pets who are adopted and spayed or neutered through program support, public awareness, and our own clinics, as well as increase the number of community cats saved via trap/neuter/return programs.

– Strengthen and expand our No More Homeless Pets Network – which is working community-by-community to save lives throughout the country – by increasing engagement with existing network partners and working to secure new network partners.

– Increase our legislative and advocacy efforts that protect pit bull terriers, community cats and mill-bred dogs.

– Continue to provide love, attention and care for around 1,700 animals who live at the Sanctuary on any given day.

– Increase our lifesaving efforts in the key locations of Utah, Los Angeles and New York City.

There are countless ways to help save the lives of homeless pets. And now it’s easier than ever to join in Best Friends’ lifesaving efforts. At, you can choose among many different ways to donate, including becoming a Guardian Angel to special-needs animals at the Sanctuary and making a lasting gift through planned giving. You can get “hands on” by volunteering at the Sanctuary in Utah; via our local programs in Salt Lake City (like Trupanion’s own, Jamie Kelley who will be traveling from Seattle to Utah to work at the Sanctuary), Los Angeles or New York; or at one of our many events held nationwide.

Other quick and easy ways to help are signing up at to receive alerts about pending humane animal laws or connecting with Best Friends on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Best Friends loves to share stories about the animals at the Sanctuary and the lifesaving work happening around the country. Please visit to learn more.”

For more information about Trupanion’s Shelter Support Program to help pets in need have a happy, healthy start in their new forever homes visit


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