Dog Shelter Surprises Rescues With Canine-Friendly Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving made its way to dogs at the Best Friends Animal Society's Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, as dozens of residents enjoyed a gourmet dinner.

Local chef Shon Foster from the neighboring Sego restaurant spent 26 hours turning ingredients into an elaborate canine-friendly feast.

"Watching the dogs enjoy this meal is just the best feeling," shelter supervisor Kayla Riding told Newsweek.

Dogs enjoy Thanksgiving meal
Pictures of two dogs (main picture and top left inset) from the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah enjoying a specially made Thanksgiving meal. The chef used 700 pounds of ingredients that had been donated. Best Friends Animal Society

Founded in 1984, Best Friends opened in 1984 and is a key voice in the no-kill movement for animal shelters. When the shelter opened in the mid-'80s, U.S. shelters were euthanizing an estimated 17 million dogs and cats every year. That figure has since fallen to about 355,000, according to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary 2021 data.

Located in the canyons of southern Utah, the shelter houses thousands of dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and other animals.

As millions of creatures were stuck spending Thanksgiving in a shelter in 2022, but with a little bit of love and thought, the animals at Best Friends were able to have a special treat.

This is the second time the team at Sego restaurant have prepared a holiday meal for the residents of Best Friends.

Chef Foster told Newsweek: "Once they see the food and start to eat, you can see the excitement throughout their whole body. I get to be a hero for a day. It's kind of emotional."

A generous donor helped supply more than 700 pounds of ingredients, so that the chefs could create canine-friendly meals without any salt, sugar or spices.

The animals tucked into meat, vegetables, pie, and whipped cream in a series of adorable pictures.

Shelter dogs enjoy pumpkin pie
Two shelter dogs from Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, enjoying Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The dishes were prepared by local executive chef Shon Foster. Best Friends Animal Society

If you're looking to treat your canine friend to an extra-special meal, the American Kennel Club (AKC) warns that the holidays can coincide with an increase in vet visits, due to dogs being fed unsafe human cuisine.

Safe foods for your dogs include potatoes, apples, turkey meat, green beans, plain peas, pumpkin, and frozen yogurt, according to the AKC.

Bones can be a particularly dangerous part of a holiday meal, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends keeping them out of reach. Bones can potentially break off and cause damage to your pet's digestive tract or stomach.

The AVMA also warns owners to be mindful of foods that can harm your pet, including chocolate, onions, raisins and grapes.

It is also a good idea to ensure your trash is well disposed of in a place that pets cannot get to, and be aware of any festive flowers or plants that could be toxic to your animals.

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to life@newsweek.com with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.