Catching Up, Giving Thanks, and Pet Blogging

View Post

Get Out Of Anything (Because Pets) Excuse List

View Post

Why Rabbits and Easter Don’t Mix

View Post

The Dogs of The Fairway House

Last month I shared our experience of volunteering with the amazing cats of Quincy House at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. In addition to these fabulous felines, we also spent a day with the dogs at The Fairway House and the experience, although different, was no less extraordinary.

Visiting the dogs in Dogtown and The Fairway House at Best Friends

DogTown at Best Friends Animal Society

Dogtown is “a gated community” with a variety of neighborhoods: The Garden, The Clubhouse, The Fairway, and Old Friends. These canine communities allow dogs to heal from trauma, recover from injuries, learn to trust, form friendships and socialize.  Each building has both indoor and outdoor space and many of the dogs (at least at The Fairway House where we were assigned) share runs with one to three other dogs. The fenced in outdoor runs are larger than many suburban yards and provide plenty of space for play and fun. All dogs at Best Friends receive expert medical care, training, socialization and everything they need to thrive and grow. Most are adopted, but some live out their lives in this beautiful canyon, surrounded by incredibly devoted and loving caretakers.

Because my daughter is only ten, we were assigned to The Fairway House, which is home to friendly young adults. Besides Cassi (see below) most dogs are between one to three years old and on the larger side. Jen, our staff supervisor, explained that most of the little dogs at Best Friends have been rescued from hoarders or puppy mills and are not well socialized, especially around children.

Our volunteer duties consisted of walking dogs and doing dishes. There are many walking trails of varied lengths within Dogtown. Volunteers are matched with dogs based on comfort level, experience, age, etc. Children need to be ten to volunteer and over fourteen to walk dogs on their own. Staff bring out dogs one at a time and give each volunteer instructions on what to work on (or watch out for) with each individual dog. Volunteers are also provided with a whistle for emergencies and treats for training.  Dog/volunteer teams are spaced out by ten minutes to keep the dogs calm and stress free. When returning from walks, there is a bench off to the side where dogs and volunteers wait for staff to greet them and help get them settled back in their runs. Occasionally you see other dogs, but usually from a comfortable distance.

Visiting and volunteering with the Jed and dogs at The Fairway House, Dogtown Best Friends Animal Society

Volunteering with the Dogs at The Fairway House

Walks vary from thirty to forty-five minutes. The trails are quiet and peaceful and the outside world seems far away. The beauty of the canyon landscape combined with a heightened awareness and gratitude for a dog (who may have been hurt by others), but trusts you enough to share a walk through the dusty winding trails is kind of magical and life-changing.

Our first dog was Judd, a friendly Pit-Dane mix just under a year. He was a gentle giant with deep brown eyes who won us over in about two seconds. We walked one of the longer trails and worked on down and sit with him. He was eager to learn and looked at us with such hope in his eyes that pretty much melted our hearts. It was incredibly hard to return him at the end of our walk and I can still hear him barking from his run, wondering where we were going and when would we be back. Judd is no longer on the website so I’m hoping he was adopted by a wonderful family and now off living the good life.

Lotti, one of The Fairway House, Dogtown at Best Friends Animal Society

Another one of our favorites was Lotti. This beautiful, smart, friendly four-year old girl loves running with her toys and swimming in her pool (she has one in her run). Lotti can be a bit picky with her dog friends so she will need to be an only dog or have a tolerant and patient canine companion. She currently gets weekly shots for environmental allergies and has recently switched to a fish-protein based diet.

Lotti was the final dog we walked. She was friendly and engaging and did very well on a leash. Part of Best Friends’ Single Pet Adoption Special, Lotti qualifies for free adoption and a flight to her new home. Contact for more information.

Cassi is one of the amazing dogs of The Fairway House in Dogtown at Best Friends Animal Society
Special Cassi. Photo used with permission of Best Friends

My daughter’s favorite dog was Cassiopeia (Cassi) a fifteen-year old, spunky terrier with a huge heart. Rescued from a hoarding situation in 2014, Cassi is under-socialized and hesitant around new people. However, for those who take the time to get to know her, she is a total love. Once you earn her trust, she loves belly rubs, neck scratches, mouthing her toys, and playing tag in the yard.

At her last check up, the vet found Cassi to be in perfect health for a fifteen year old dog. She currently lives with a big dog named Sherman, but like Lotti, she can be picky with her canine friends. Cassi would probably do best as an only dog with a patient human companion who would shower her with love and affection on her own terms.

Cassiopeia is free to adopt, but does require a trip to the sanctuary for an in-person visit. If you are looking for a sweet, spunky senior, please email

Thanks to Jen and all the staff of The Fairway House for making us feel so welcome and for taking such wonderful care of all these beauties. In addition to the animals, meeting the sanctuary staff was truly amazing, humbling and inspiring. Many have given up lucrative careers and made great sacrifices to follow their dream and work at the sanctuary. Different ages, backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities, all united in a mission of kindness and compassion – I loved being part of it, even if only for a few days.

Visiting and volunteering with the dogs of The Fairway House, Dogtown Best Friends Animal Society



  1. KB Bear
    August 5, 2016 / 5:26 am

    What an incredible place. You and your daughter are angels, as are all the people who care for the dogs. It breaks my heart to hear of dogs like these who don't have their own homes, although it sounds as if they are very well loved at the Fairway House. I loved all the dogs who you highlighted. I wish I could rescue every single one. I'm sure that you felt the same way.

  2. Mark Muller
    August 5, 2016 / 7:37 am

    that are such beautiful pups… I love the color of Lotti, isn't she like an artpiece? hugs to the people of Fairway house!!!

  3. Molly and Mackie
    August 5, 2016 / 9:44 am

    Such beautiful pups!

  4. Yamini MacLean
    August 5, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    Hari Omthis is such a wonderful intiative… blessings to all who care and share like this. YAM xx

  5. ChristaV
    August 5, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    What a great time for you and your family to share. The volunteer stint at Best Friends is now seriously at the top of my to-do list. <3

  6. Valerie
    August 5, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    Wow, that's awesome! I read a book about DogTown! It's my dream to visit and volunteer!!

  7. Madi and Mom
    August 5, 2016 / 1:37 pm

    Kristin what a beautiful post and I cannot tell you what a wonderful thing you are doing for Madeline…teaching her to give back to her community along with what she has known since birth to love animals who teach us all each day about unconditional love.You are giving Madeline so many life lessons. Hugs Cecilia

  8. Three Chatty Cats
    August 5, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    Great post and great place! When we volunteered at Dog Town, we spent 4 hours walking the dogs and it was wonderful. I can't wait to go back. All sweet faces!

  9. Nichole Burke
    August 5, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    What an absolutely amazing experience! I would love to visit and volunteer at Dog Town. It's on my bucket list.

  10. Dory and the Mama
    August 5, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    Such a wonderful place!! Thanks so much for sharing it!!

  11. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    August 5, 2016 / 6:06 pm

    The world needs more places like this for all the dogs who need that special level of love and care. Thanks for telling us about The Fairway House.Woos – Ciara and Lightning

  12. Emma
    August 5, 2016 / 6:41 pm

    Looks wonderful. They are lucky dogs to be there.

  13. M. K. Clinton
    August 5, 2016 / 6:55 pm

    What a wonderful place to volunteer and kudos to you for bringing your daughter. It is never too early to teach the importance of helping pets. ♥

  14. Carleenp
    August 5, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    Such sweeties. Posts like this make me want to adopt every single dog that I see!

  15. Momo and Pinot
    August 5, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    Love all these sweet doggies! Thank you for your hard work, the organizers and volunteers!Momo & Pinot xo

  16. Groovy Goldendoodles
    August 5, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    WOW! Every State needs a place like this! Bravo for sharing this with all of us. Thank you…

  17. Murphy
    August 5, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    Yes, Best Friends is doing some great work!Your Pals,Murphy & Stanley

  18. Tenacious Little Terrier
    August 5, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    Adorable dogs. I hope they all get adopted. What types of dogs are in the different neighborhoods?

  19. The Island Cats
    August 6, 2016 / 12:51 am

    What a wonderful experience you had meeting so many sweet dogs.

  20. Idaho PugRanch
    August 6, 2016 / 3:02 am

    oh how we wish there were more places like this for these precious ones. hugsMr Bailey Hazel & Mabel

  21. pilch92 15andmeowing
    August 6, 2016 / 3:10 am

    That looks like a wonderful place.

  22. tubby3pug
    August 6, 2016 / 10:44 am


  23. Rosa Doodle
    August 6, 2016 / 7:08 pm

    Wow. These dogs are amazing and what a wonderful facility! Just beautiful!

  24. Ruth Epstein
    August 6, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    The people are heroes for opening a sanctuary and saving these beautiful pups – thanks for sharing

  25. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    August 6, 2016 / 11:32 pm

    I am sorry those poor dogs don't have homes but it is good to know they have a very good what I hope is a temporary home. You and your daughter are angels. It must be hard to leave them after their walks. Bless you and your family

  26. sprinkles
    August 7, 2016 / 4:08 am

    What an incredible place! This seems like an incredible temporary home for them until they find furever homes.

  27. CreekHiker / HollysFolly
    August 7, 2016 / 4:36 am

    I what an amazing trip! What an animal lover you are raising!

  28. Jeanne Pursell
    August 7, 2016 / 10:37 am

    Definitely an amazing place! It is so important to teach the kids when they are young…the importance of volunteering! Great job!

  29. Talent Hounds
    August 7, 2016 / 1:03 pm

    What an amazing Sanctuary and visit. So great that you got to volunteer with your daughter as so great to teach the joy of giving and empathy early. Beautifully written as always.

  30. Inger
    August 7, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    I'm so glad you and your daughter were able to go there and help. Judd touched my heart and I hope he got a wonderful home somewhere. I have helped Best Friends with donations almost since their beginning and it's wonderful to see how they have grown and that so many have responded to the need of the cats and dogs there. A place of love in this world of ours.

  31. Sadie and Co.
    August 7, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    I love hearing about organizations like this. What an amazing place. Thank you for sharing!

  32. Lola The Rescued Cat
    August 7, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    This makes Mommy want to visit even more. She'll probably come home with a new family member when she does!

  33. Dash Kitten
    August 7, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    A special post with so much love. Well done and those dogs really get to you don't they!

  34. Jana Rade
    August 7, 2016 / 10:12 pm

    God bless volunteers. We really want to start fostering but first we have to have an actual house :p

  35. Daily Dog Tag
    August 7, 2016 / 10:32 pm

    I am glad that you had such a great time at Best Friends. I told my companions that it was like Disney World for animal lovers. I know that Lotti and Cassi must have loved spending time with you and your daughter. I hope they find homes of their own soon, but I know that they are safe and happy at Best Friends.

  36. FidoseofReality
    August 7, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    I wonder if I would be a blubbering mess if I visited there. Your journey and sharing it with us is spectacular. Did you feel liberated or sad or both?

  37. Sweet Purrfections
    August 8, 2016 / 2:28 am

    What a great experience. I never thought about the undersocialization of dogs from back yard breeders or hoarding situations.

  38. Kia
    August 8, 2016 / 2:46 am

    I love these photos! What a lovely experience that you got to share with your daughter. I'm sure my daughter would've loved it as well.

  39. Robin Mudge
    August 8, 2016 / 4:10 am

    Such a wonderful program! There needs to be more of these out there. I can see a program like this helping both the dogs and some humans that could use to learn to love again. -Purrs from your friends at

  40. Ava at Savvy Pet Care
    August 9, 2016 / 6:36 pm

    Best Friends has become such an awesome voice for animals. Thanks for sharing your experience there and giving us a little look behind the scenes.

  41. Marty the Manx
    August 10, 2016 / 2:10 am

    What a wonderful sanctuary 🙂

  42. Jane H
    August 12, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    Such a wonderful place and great experience for you and your daughter. Lotti is adorable ❤

  43. Astro
    August 13, 2016 / 10:16 pm

    We just clicked over to the web site.So much love was expressed, for each and everyone of the animals.Thank you for telling us about it.It's inspiring your daughter was able to join you, I am sure she will want to go back.xo Astro

We love comments! Thank you!