Live Music With Your Dog: We Went To Best Friends Animal Society’s ‘Songs to Save Them All’ Virtual Benefit Concert

Leia and Amanda watching the BFAS benefit concert.

Leia and Amanda watching the BFAS benefit concert. (Photo credit: Amanda)

Like many around the world, I’ve sorely missed going to concerts over the past year. There’s something about the energy of live music that is stimulating in a way that pre-recorded music, for all its perfection, doesn’t quite capture.

When I heard about the Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) benefit concert on May 6, I was ecstatic! Combining my love of music and animal rescue would surely be a treat! Best of all, the concert was virtual. People around the world could tune in and support the rescue organization safely, regardless of the pandemic or vaccination status.

What a line-up of artists and celebrities! And the list above didn’t even cover all who attended! It was truly an ingenious event, showcasing very talented musicians across all genres.

A special touch I didn’t expect was when they shared their individual stories of rescuing animals, lending star power to the organization’s lifesaving efforts.

What Is ‘Best Friends Animal Society’?

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025.

Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement. They’ve helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. The organization runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary.

Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®.

For more information, visit

Going To A Concert In Sweats With My Dog

"Wow, Mom, are you hearing this awesome song?" -- Leia

“Wow, Mom, are you hearing this awesome song?” — Leia (Photo credit: Amanda)

The last time I wore sweats to a concert was… never! Never ever.

However, we were attending in the comfort of our own home, I’d had a long day at work, and I had actually just covered another event for DogTime, so sweats felt like the right move.

My dog and concert partner, Leia, was her radiant self, as always.

Another unique aspect of this concert was that it was free! The musicians and other celebrities who attended generously lent their talents for free to maximize the fundraising capability for the rescue, so attendees could dedicate their budget to the rescue itself, instead of paying concert fees.

Besides its price, the concert was also extremely accessible in that it livestreamed on a variety of platforms, including Tiltify, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook, as well as at where Leia and I watched it.

A Concert, But So Much More

Melissa, volunteer at Best Friends, and Misty, available for adoption at Salt Lake City location (Picture Credit: screenshot from Best Friends Animal Society)

The fact that this was a benefit concert made for a really neat format, interspersing musical performances with statistics, stories, and fundraising pleas. It made it feel like any other swanky black-tie event, except, again, in the comfort of your own home.

They also cleverly added some heartthrob costars to the some scenes, in the way of adoptable animals.

I’m not really sure why I was surprised, but it didn’t take me long to cry at the event. Every aspect was touching, from how much the celebrities loved their own pets, to the massive impact BFAS has had in saving animals’ lives.

BFAS volunteer and fosterer in NYC with Arrow (cat) and kittens available for adoption (Picture Credit: screenshot from Best Friends Animal Society)

BFAS announced the extremely impressive statistic that, as of last year, Los Angeles became a no-kill city, with a survival rate for animals going into shelters at over 90 percent.

When they launched their No-Kill Los Angeles initiative in 2012, only 56 percent of the dogs and cats in the city’s shelters made it out alive. What a stunning success story!

Besides the great achievement of making L.A. a no-kill city, this also set an example for other areas, showing that a major city can become no-kill. BFAS has a goal of making the entire nation no-kill by 2025.

Superstar Performances For Animals In Need

I really enjoyed discovering several new artists I liked. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but Wrabel’s act was it!

I melt at animal-human duets, and this pup looked like a relative of Leia’s.

It was also cute to see pets stationed nearby, even the weren’t singing, themselves. Victoria Anthony sang a few beautiful songs, with her cat Momo walking in and out of the scene, according to his whims — as a cat is wont to do, no?

Victoria also shared an important, sobering fact: twice as many shelter cats are killed as dogs. It was touching to see how much the performers personally connected with BFAS’s mission.

Another performance I really enjoyed was by The Joy Formidable, a Welsh alternative-rock group. Not only am I partial to UK accents, but their live video split-screen really had me swooning. Check out that cutie in the center!

I couldn’t decide what was more impressive — The Joy Formidable’s performance, or their commitment to saving animals. They are a strong partner of BFAS. Last year, alone, Ritzy fostered 13 dogs for them!

Right, Katie Sackhoff and one of her dogs, Happy. Left, Brittany Smith and her rescue dog. (Picture Credit: screenshot from Best Friends Animal Society)

My inner fangirl nerded out to see Katee Sackhoff of The Mandalorian, Battlestar: Galactica, and 24 fame, as one of the first emcees of the event. Pop culture enthusiasts will also recognize actress Brittany Smith, another of the event’s emcees, along with her eleven-year-old rescue dog.

Celebrities Match The Generous Donations!

Funds being raised during Laura Jean Anderson’s performance (Photo Credit: Best Friends Animal Society)

I thought it was a fantastic idea how BFAS presented levels of donation. Amazingly, just $25 would provide for a spay/neuter for a rescue animal, and only $100 would assure them of a home. It made donations tangible, bridging that abstract gap between funds and results.

Little bones popped up on the screen when someone would make a donation, as did occasional factoids in the corners — so cute and unobtrusive to the performances.

Bill Cameron, author of A Dog’s Purpose, and Dennis Quaid, one of the stars of the film, came on for an impactful segment. (Picture Credit: screenshot from Best Friends Animal Society)

The fundraising moment — and perhaps star-struck moment — that blew everyone away, though, was when Bill Cameron, author of A Dog’s Purpose, and Dennis Quaid, one of the stars of the film, came on for an impactful segment.

Together, Cameron and Quaid pledged to match every donation up to $10,000. Wow! Talk about using star power for good. This was one of the many moments I cried during the event! Well-done to these celebrities!

Encore! Encore!

Leia and I really enjoyed the concert!

Leia and I loved the concert! (Photo credit: Amanda)

Leia and I really enjoyed this concert, and we’ll be sure to tune in next year if they have it again — fingers crossed! It was a moving night that introduced us to new favorite bands, not to mention a new favorite rescue.

If you’d like to see more of the concert, or donate, you can view the page on the Best Friends Animal Society website.

To learn more about Best Friends Animal Society, please visit their website, Facebook page, Instagram page, or YouTube channel.

Have you attended any virtual concerts with your dog? Will you help spread the word about Best Friends Animal Society and all the amazing work they do? Let us know in the comments below!