I heard you are closing Brother Wolf. Is this true?
No, Brother Wolf is not closing. Over this next 12 months, Brother Wolf will be transitioning our operations from our old, dilapidated warehouse in Asheville to our beautiful sanctuary location in Leicester (still in Buncombe, about 25 min from the current Glendale location.) Construction on the new facilities there is about to get underway, so we wanted to give folks plenty of notice about the transition. The new facilities for our dogs and cats will be state-of the-art design, and provide much more space and tranquility for their healing and rehabilitation.
Why are you leaving the Glendale location?
When our Founder cashed in her retirement fund 8 years ago to lease the building and buy all the equipment we needed to get started, she never intended for us to stay long term at this location. But at the time, our community was in a total state of crisis for the animals. Perfectly healthy dogs and cats were being killed in our county shelter for “lack of space” and very treatable conditions. So, our Adoption Center has served a critical purpose for saving many thousands of animals over the years. While the conditions have not been 100% perfect, we did a really good job utilizing the space to best care for our animals and the staff/fosters/volunteers who worked there. And we are all so grateful to the community for supporting us while in our Adoption Center over the years. It is unprecedented for an animal shelter to have their doors open 7 days a week, 365 days a year as we have the past 8 years. But we have outgrown our home. Our animals and the people who rally around them everyday will greatly benefit from a facility more suitable to our needs. And it makes best economic sense that we put all of our operations at one location.
Are you going to be selling the warehouse that on Glendale that currently serves as your Adoption Center?
Again, we never intended to stay long term in the Adoption Center because we knew it was not ideal for what our animals and people needed/deserved. The new Sanctuary facilities will be much better suited to our operational needs and much more cost-effective to maintain. We have listed the adoption center building with Keller Williams. As we prepare the building for sale, and as our sanctuary construction ramps up, we will be working to get all of our Adoption Center animals adopted into new homes or placed into foster. The great news is that because of the booming real estate market it seems that the purchase of the building in 2012 was a great investment not only for the animals then, but for the future of our sanctuary. In 2012 we purchased the building for $390,000 and then a few years later we purchased the adjacent lot for $55,000. We are currently listing the building at 31 Glendale for $910,000.
Why does Asheville need a sanctuary?
Over the last 8 years, our community has progressed leaps and bounds for the animals. Thanks to the work of BWAR and other local rescue groups like Asheville Humane Society; having access to a state of the art facility like the Humane Alliance for spay/neuter; and having such a caring, compassionate community of animal lovers, we have been able to safely place all the easier to adopt animals and have cut down on “unwanted litters.” Because of all that progress, the majority of animals we’re now seeing are those requiring longer-term behavioral and/or medical support. As most all our volunteer and staff caregivers know, our busy, noisy Adoption Center environment is not optimal for the animals who need longer-term care. Animals stay longer than they would if we had them in an environment that was quieter, with more space, and lots of fresh air and tranquility. Some really struggle there. So, our new sanctuary facilities are a critically needed resource now.
Are you going to stop intake of animals during your transition year? On any given day, we have anywhere from 500-600 animals in our care! This includes animals in foster, at our adoption center, and at our remote adoption locations, such as PetsMart and PetCo. An important factor to note is that the MAJORITY of our animals have actually always been in foster. Typically our adoption center houses around 90-130 animals and the other 400-500 are in foster! Even though folks see the Adoption Center as the hub of our work, we are still and always have been a primarily foster based organization. During our transition year we will continue to take in animals into our foster network as space allows. We will never turn away an animal who is sick, injured, or in imminent danger in our community. During the transition period, our greatest challenge will be placement of dogs with acute behavior issues– those who may need 6mos or more of behavioral rehabilitation. These types of dogs need expert, ongoing support, and until our new sanctuary facilities are available, we will have to work with expert fosters, local rescuers and trainers for their placement.
If intakes are slowing down over the next 12 months during your transition year, what steps are you taking to prevent an influx of unwanted animals into our county shelter or animals being abandoned on the streets?
We are being proactive in our approach to this transition year. Like we mentioned previously, we are mainly a foster based network and will continue to accept animals into our foster homes on a case by case basis as space is available. In addition we will be working really hard this year to strengthen our pet retention programming. We are increasing staff on our animal HELP line where our staff and volunteers work diligently to help folks looking to surrender their animals by trying to provide the resources so they can keep their animals. We provide access to free Behavior Training with one of our expert Behavior Team, access to low cost spay/neuter or veterinary care, and housing support through our NeighborCorps volunteers who help build/repair animal habitats (fencing, etc) for pets of families in need.
Additionally, we will be increasing our offsite adoption events so you will see our staff/volunteers out and about in the community promoting our adoptable animals. We will also be able to help folks looking to surrender their pets by offering them access to our offsite adoption events. There are also other steps/measures we’ll take to help folks with rehoming their animals without actually bringing them into our adoption center, including “courtesy posts” in which we promote pictures and a bio of a pet on our high-traffic website thus facilitating their adoption. Animals that meet certain criteria will continue to benefit from our Transport Program which partners with animal shelters up North. For cats available for adoption, we now operate THREE off-site locations daily, and we’ll be adding a fourth location before end of year. So our work is not slowing down- it will just look a little different over the next 12 months.
Is your transport program going to continue to run over the next 12 months?
Yes, our Transport Program will continue to run and serve as a resource to Asheville and the surrounding communities. Our transport program brings hundreds of animals each year from the overcrowded shelters in the Southeast to our partner rescues up North.
Will your chapter locations in Rutherford-NC, McDowell-NC, Henderson-NC, and Dickenson-VA be affected by this transition year? No, the chapters will be running “business as usual” as we continue to help them grow towards complete self-sustainability.
Will your Community Cats program be operating during your transition year? Yes. In fact, our goal for the next 12 months is to expand our Community Cats Volunteer Network with more volunteers specifically trained in TNR and community cat issues, so we can help even more cats than ever before.
Will some of your staff be laid off during the transition year? As we transition out of the Adoption Center, and eventually over to our sanctuary, there will most likely be some layoffs of staff during the transition period. We have assured our staff that any who gets laid off will be giving ample notice so they can find other employment. If so, we’ll also make sure they know how to apply for unemployment if they choose to do that. And any folks who do get laid off will have first dibs at employment at the sanctuary. We very much love and value our staff and want to make sure everyone is protected as we undertake this important transition year.
Will your Second Chances Thrift Store be closing?
No, we have no plans to close or move our Second Chances Thrift Store at 49 Glendale Avenue.
What will happen to the animals if your location on Glendale sells and the buildings at the sanctuary are not ready to accept the remaining animals yet? Let us reassure you, that all of our animals will be provided for. And to dispel some of the misinformation out there, NO ANIMAL WOULD EVER BE EUTHANIZED FOR “LACK OF SPACE.” We know that despite our best efforts, we will most likely have a group of dogs who are not easily adopted or placed into foster and who really need the benefit of the sanctuary. If we are in that position where we have animals who are still in our adoption center when it sells, we will absolutely do everything necessary to keep them safe and secure. If so, we will likely lease a transitional facility until we can bring them home to the new sanctuary. We do not think cats will be an issue but if there are some cats still available who can not be placed in foster or adoption, we will do the same for them. These animals are like family to us, and we are 100% committed to their safety and well being during this transition year.
Do you still need volunteers?
Heck yes we do! Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization and that will never change. Volunteer positions will stay the same over the next year. When our adoption center closes, the volunteer positions will be focused more on offsite adoption events, events in general, sanctuary help, office/admin help from home, community outreach, and so much more. Please do not think we do not need our volunteers. As a matter of fact, we have recently invested in hiring a professional volunteer manager to help really build out and better organize our volunteer program. She is a game changer for us. If you haven’t met Amanda, feel free to email her at Amanda.Cantrell@bwar.org
Are you worried about fosters not being able to make it to your sanctuary clinic for everyday needs like flea meds, vaccines, etc?
We have asked and heard the concern from folks who foster for us who like the easy accessibility of our Glendale location. We will absolutely do our best to give our fosters continued easy access to our medical support, including using our four adoption depots (PetSmart and PetCo locations) for meetups and drop-offs, if making the trip to our sanctuary clinic is a deterrent. The last thing we want to do is to lose fosters who are fearful that making the drive will take too much time. We will continue to work as a team to come up with solutions that best serve these life saving foster homes.
Is it true that Brother Wolf rescues more than just cats and dogs and what kind of animals will be helped at the sanctuary?
It is no secret that Brother Wolf has evolved our work to help all animals, not just dogs (which is what the foundation of the organization was founded on.) As our ganization evolved its mission to help our community go No Kill, we naturally extended our work to help cats. And as our rescue and foster network grew, we also learned that there were rats, mice, snakes, fish, turtles, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, sugar gliders, ferrets (and the list goes on and on) that needed our help, too. Our mission is to provide the resources and programs to help build No Kill communities- our No Kill philosophy extends to all animals.
Over the years, our work has also introduced us to farmed animals- like cows, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, and pigs. We have come to see that all of these animals are no less sentient than the dogs and cats we share our homes with and no less worthy of our compassion and concern. From the response we have seen from the community whenever we share a story about a rescued farm animal, we believe they feel the same. Local media has covered our work for other animals over the years. Here is a great story done by the Asheville Citizen Times years ago about a national award we won for our work for all animals: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2015/03/05/brother-wolf-ashevilles-kill-shelter-goes-vegan/24463361/
And here is a nice story that the Mountain Xpress did last year: https://mountainx.com/food/brother-wolf-launches-vegan-advocacy-arm/
What all will be included at the sanctuary?
Our sanctuary will be a state of the art facility that will be a home for dogs, cats, and some farm animals. Even though all of these animals will always have our sanctuary to call “home” every single one of them will also be available for adoption, when the time is right for them, so it will continue to free up space for more animals to come through and be helped by our sanctuary. Like we mentioned earlier, we will have dogs buildings where every dog will have inside space and access to their very own fenced in yard. There will be an off leash dog park with a splash pool for playing and training purposes. We will have several cat buildings housing healthy cats, FIV cats, Fe-Leukemia cats, neurological cats, as well as nursing moms and their kittens. Cats will have indoor/outdoor access within an enclosed “catio.” Folks can also hang out with our cats in our new Cat Cafe. In addition we will have some ambassadors from certain “farmed” animal groups like cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and turkeys. Our sanctuary veterinary clinic will be built to serve the needs of the animals who live in our sanctuary and those who are in foster. The Learning Center will be an educational hub for our youth humane education programs where we will be able to hold classes, conferences, and camps for kids, and so much more! Hiking trails will be created throughout the property so that folks can walk our sanctuary dogs, and connect with nature on our beautiful property. Our welcome center will be the first stop when folks come visit us- they can watch a video, sign up for a tour, and ask any questions they may have. Guest cabins will be available for visiting volunteers to rent so they can stay on premise, volunteer, and really engage in our work for the animals. Last but not least, we will have a very beautiful memorial and reflection garden. Folks who have lost beloved pets can come here and sit and remember their loved ones, and even spread their ashes here if they would like for our sanctuary to be their final resting place.
Where is your sanctuary located? Do you think it is too far for people to come to? Are you worried about losing volunteers/adopters?
“If you build it, they will come.” That saying is not just true in “Field Of Dreams” but in our work for the animals, too. Our sanctuary is in Leicester, still in Buncombe county, and only 20 minutes from downtown Asheville. Many of us do this drive daily to and from the sanctuary and adoption center, and it is not a bad drive at all. Plus, with our work at the sanctuary brings an international audience. We will attract volunteers, adopters and people interested in our work from all over the world. We guarantee you that people will not only come, but they will come over and over again. As if Asheville needed one more reason for folks to choose us as a destination- throw an animal sanctuary in there and this community has just about every reason to visit and live here!
You can click here to see the latest elevation drawings of our Sanctuary facilities and learn how you can become a Founding Donor of Brother Wolf Animal Sanctuary.
If you still have questions that have not been answered, feel free to email Denise@bwar.org We are also offering small group tours if you are interested. Reach out to Denise and she would be happy to get you set up.
If you are interested in making a memorial gift to the sanctuary and/or interested in one of our naming opportunities, please email Tamara@bwar.org.