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Adoptable dogs pick out gifts from “Santa’s Sleigh” at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Adoptable dogs at Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, had a very Merry Christmas as the non-profit animal welfare organization’s annual Santa Sleigh made its rounds to deliver gifts donated by animal lovers from all over the country, as well as a pallet of treats donated by Blue Buffalo.

Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society.

Wagging tails and big smiles were on display as dogs were brought onto the “sleigh” (aka: a Bronco and trailer) to pick out a gift and enjoy a treat. Best Friends staff in attendance were equally thrilled to watch the dogs revel in the holiday tradition that started over a decade ago.

“Best Friends likes to give our dogs as many family-like experiences as possible while they’re here, so the Santa Sleigh is very meaningful to our staff. It’s so fun watching the dogs pick an item, which they all do in their own unique way,” said Julie Castle, CEO, Best Friends Animal Society. “We’re so grateful to everyone who donated items to make Christmas an extra special day at Best Friends.”

The first stop was in Dogtown Headquarters, where dozens of dogs romped in the sleigh to select from a pile of ropes, balls, Kongs and more. The rest of the presents were distributed to the 400-plus adoptable dogs at the sanctuary that are currently awaiting loving homes. The dogs originated from shelters across the country before coming to Best Friends.

Blue Buffalo, which has supported the development of the Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Arkansas through both donations and volunteer efforts, is hopping on board the Santa Sleigh for the first time this year.

“We’re honored to build on our partnership with Best Friends Animal Society by donating treats for their Santa Sleigh tradition,” said Haley Perry, Senior Brand Experience Manager, Blue Buffalo. “Our mission at Blue Buffalo is to love, feed and treat all pets like family, and that’s exactly what Best Friends is doing by ensuring these pups experience some much deserved holiday joy.”

Best Friends Animal Society encourages anyone who is able to adopt or foster a pet to do so immediately, as many shelters are full. This is especially impacting adult cats and dogs over 40 pounds, which are the most at-risk population in shelters.

“The holidays are a great time to adopt a dog or cat. Shelters are full of amazing pets that were once in homes and are eager to be part of a family again,” Castle said. “If you can’t commit to adoption, fostering is a wonderful way to give a pet a break from shelter life and help them find a new home in the process.”

By doing so, adopters and fosters will be helping to make America a no-kill country by 2025, which is the goal of Best Friends Animal Society and it’s more than 4,400 network partners of shelters and rescues.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is open daily from 8 a.m. -  5 p.m. at 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, where you can meet adoptable pets at Roxy’s Room at the Welcome Center, Syngin’s in Cat World and the Adoption Hub on Rhonda Road at Dogtown. To preview adoptable pets, visit




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