â€œOne was waving a frying pan at me, and the other had a shotgunâ€¦â€
Pastor Stephen has been helping us out with a big hoarding case in Northwest Buncombe County. There are 48 dogs involved altogetherâ€” 18 adults and 30 puppies.
We started the project in July, and to-date, thanks to Pastor Stephen’s help, we have rescued, spay-neutered, vaccinated, loved and adopted out 36 of them. We’ll have them all out by March.
“I’m an ordained minister, and I also work for a roadside assistance service, so I do a lot of ‘rescue work'”, says Pastor Stephen. “When I first met these dogs, I knew I had to help them out.”
The dogs are owned by four elderly ladies- all sisters, who live off the grid in rural northwest Buncombe County. Pastor Stephen discovered the dogs while out on a roadside assistance call.
“The distress call was actually from another pastor. He’d locked his keys in the car while out ministering to these ladies. It was a very rural address, and I was supposed to proceed with caution, so I wasn’t sure what I was in for.
“When I finally found the place, two elderly ladies came barreling out of the cabin. One was waving a frying pan at me, and the other had a shotgun! Dogs were barking at me from every direction, and the elderly minister who had called for assistance was trying to explain to all of them that he’d invited me out there to help with his car.
Things eventually settled down that night, and Pastor Stephen was able to get the elder minister on the road again.
That was over two years ago, and a lot has happened since. The two ministers became friends. Pastor Stephen learned that the four sisters had been living without electricity and running water most all their lives. They had some family money but just preferred to live simply. They didn’t like visitors! The sisters didn’t read well, so they allowed the elder minister to visit them to do bible study every few weeks. The five of them had been doing this routine for nearly 50 years!
Unfortunately, soon after the men met, the elder minister passed away. In his will, to Pastor Stephen’s surprise, he left a letter for the sisters, asking them to continue the bi-weekly bible study with Pastor Stephen.
As soon as Pastor Stephen began visits with the sisters, he asked them about their plans for all the dogs. “They told me they were just gonna let them loose and run wild.”
“It took several weeks for me to earn their trust and to convince them that we needed to find these dogs a better home.Â After each visit to the sister’s house, I would take a small group of dogs to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, where your staff would vaccinate them and begin the intake process.”
“This has had to be a slow process to make it work for the sisters.Â I worked closely with Joelle- your director of shelter operations- to make sure we had room for the dogs in the adoption center or in one of your specialized foster homes.”
One of the dogs, Muppet, was featured in a recent email update. She’s been fostered over the past six months by one of our staff and has takenÂ significant staff time in rehabilitation.Â With a lot of patience and attention, she’s come through and is ready for just the right home.
As we get closer to the goal of No-Kill in our community, there will be more and more special needs animals like Muppet. And we’ll need more and more folks toÂ step up and adoptÂ these special needs animals.
If you can’t adopt another animal permanently into your home, pleaseÂ consider becoming a foster parent. The social skills that dogs and cats can learn in only a short time can greatly improve their socialization and adoptability.
And if you can’t foster or adopt right now, pleaseÂ make a donation.Â It takes all of us pitching in to achieve a No-Kill Asheville.Â Your gift of $20 or more- or whatever you can giveâ€”Â will help save lives now.Â Thanks for your support.