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Pets allowed: Best Friends Animal Society to open pet-friendly hotel in support of mission

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17 July, 2019 By Mikayla Shoup

KANAB — The Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab is preparing to open the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile, offering a “pet-centric” experience for guests with proceeds going toward eliminating kill-shelters nationwide. 

The hope is that the roadhouse will provide a place for volunteers and adopters to stay while they visit the sanctuary, as well as inform visitors about their mission regarding kill shelters. 

While the society currently offers some accommodations for volunteers and adopters that visit the sanctuary, it hasn’t been sufficient. Brooks Bradbury, the general manager of hospitality for the society, told St. George News that last year the sanctuary saw around 33,000 guests and over 10,000 volunteers. 

The roadhouse will be located on the renovated property of a former Four Seasons hotel on Highway 89 and Center Street in Kanab, just 5 miles south of the Best Friends sanctuary, and will include a number of amenities to make the stay enjoyable for pets. 

Behind the roadhouse, there will be a fenced-in pet park, including a pool with circulated water and a splash pad, with a separate pet park to accommodate smaller dogs. 

The roadhouse will also have staff on hand to help care for animals, and guests can schedule pet check-ins, walks, meal times and playtime at the pet park.

“We want to provide a full level of service for pets,” Bradbury said. “We really want to treat the pets as well as we treat the guests.” 

The roadhouse will have 40 rooms, including 30 regular sized rooms, eight king suites and two multi-level suites.

Regular rooms include a queen-sized bed and a living room with a queen-sized sofa bed. King suites have king-sized beds, a kitchenette, a sitting area and a built-in pet cubby in the wall. The two-story suites will have a living room and a kitchenette on the first floor, and two bedrooms upstairs, one with a king-sized bed and one with twin bunk beds. 

The beds in the rooms will have a custom platform with a pet bed that can be moved around the room, and all of the bedding has been chosen specifically to withstand pet use while still being attractive and comfortable for humans. 

Guests will also have access to a complimentary laundry room and pet washing station, and a free shuttle will provide service between the roadhouse and the sanctuary. 

Not only can pet owners bring their own animals to the roadhouse, but potential adopters – who spend some time volunteering as part of the process – have the opportunity to have a “pet sleepover” with an animal they’re considering adopting to make sure that they’re a good fit before bringing them home. 

“They’ll make arrangements for them and that pet to spend the night at the roadhouse knowing that we have backup animal care if it isn’t working, or to finalize the adoption process,” Bradbury said.

Vegan food and drinks, including beer and wine, will be available for sale at the mercantile, along with Best Friends branded merchandise.

“Everything to do with food and beverage is vegan in nature and will support a plant-based diet. Anything we do here will be vegan inspired,” Bradbury said. 

The society also built a performance stage on the property where they’ll host Best Friends educational presentations, musical performances and local community events. 

They first began construction in December and expect to start taking reservations at the beginning of August, opening their doors by Sept. 1. 

The rate for a normal room is $179 per night, $269 for a king suite and $309 for a two-story suite. Best Friends members are eligible to receive a discount of $20 per night. 

Once the mortgage is paid off on the building, proceeds from the roadhouse and mercantile will go toward the society’s goal of trying to end the practice of kill shelters nationwide by 2025. 

The society hopes to be able to share their mission to “Save Them All” with those traveling to the area. 

“We’ll have people come who are already our members and adopters and volunteers, but we also hope to tell people about Best Friends who’ve never heard of us,” Bradbury said. “We’re all about encouraging people to share in our work and go home and get involved.” 

Best Friends Animal Society is home to around 1,600 animals at a time – mostly dogs and cats – but they also housing horses, birds, rabbits, potbellied pigs and any other pet that needs a home. 

The sanctuary is “no-kill,” meaning that they never euthanize an animal in order to make room for more. An animal is allowed to stay there as long as it takes for them to be adopted, even if that means a lifetime. 

According to the Best Friends website, nearly 2,200 dogs and cats are killed in shelters daily in the U.S. because of a lack of space. In Utah, the save rate is 86%, meaning that around 11,500 of the nearly 70,000 animals brought to shelters are still euthanized, which is almost 10% less than the national average. 

Local groups nationwide are starting to move away from the practice, only euthanizing animals when it is humanely necessary due to medical issues. In the past 30 years, Best Friends, along with 2,600 animal welfare partners nationwide, has helped to reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to 800,000. 

 


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