Volunteer vacation was doggone fun

While some Plateau families spent their spring break on sandy, faraway beaches soaking in the sun, the Carbonado mother-daughter team of Cheryl and Harlee Day spent their week in April taking care of homeless dogs in Utah.

“It know it doesn’t sound like a real fun vacation, but it was,” Cheryl Day said. “It was very fulfilling.”

“It was hard to leave,” Harlee said.

The two spent their week working two shifts a day at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah’s Angel Canyon, a 33,000-acre ranch in the red-rock country. The sanctuary is at the heart of Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Bryce Canyon and Lake Powell.

The sanctuary is home on any given day to about 1,700 animals. Most are dogs and cats, but there are also horses, burros, birds, rabbits, goats, farm animals and assorted other creatures.

“We went for the dogs,” Harlee said.

The pair volunteered as part of a community service project for their Show Me Canines 4-H club. Show Me Canines is part of the King County Dog Project. This is the Days’ 10th year in 4-H, but third year as an independent family club.

The Days funded the trip themselves and drove to Utah. Before they left, they hosted a fundraiser and brought $50 that they donated to Best Friends. They also brought some Wilkeson’s Buono Coffee with them for the staff and volunteers.

While in Utah, they walked, socialized and fed dogs and cleaned kennels. Harlee worked with feral dogs and participated in a puppy socialization class. They also had a dog sleepover with a pit bull named Screech, who was rescued following Hurricane Katrina.

The Days also spent time with a number of what Best Friends calls the Vicktory Dogs – 22 pit bulls seized from NFL star Michael Vick that had nowhere else to go.

That’s what Best Friends does. It operates the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for homeless animals. It also provides adoption, spay/neuter and educational programs.

“It’s a very cool place,” Cheryl said and Harlee agreed. “I’d advise anyone who loves animals and loves to volunteer to go there.”

Harlee would like to work there. A senior in the White River School District’s distance learning program, she volunteered at Best Friends earlier as part of her senior project. She’d like to use the experience she’s gained from more than a decade in 4-H and become a professional trainer.

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