I’ve always known that I wanted to help animals. Growing up we were one of those families who would take a sudden detour off the highway to save a stray dog and we always had lots of animals who we shared our home with. So when I started earning an allowance in middle school and my mother suggested I donate some to charity, it was no surprise that I chose to give to animal rescue organizations.
The mail flooded in from these nonprofits I admired and I read every single donation appeal letter they sent. I thought that’s what everyone did! Some of them were pretty heavy reading for a middle schooler, but they opened my eyes to the injustices that animals faced across our country. I knew then that I would commit my life to helping them.
Flash forward a few years and I was enrolled at NC State University studying to be a veterinarian. Then a family trip to an animal sanctuary opened my eyes to another world of animal care: the operations side of an animal rescue organization. I spent some time talking to staff there and learned that the animal rescue world desperately needed business-minded people in order to succeed.
When I arrived back at NC State, I changed my focus to nonprofit studies, communications, and animal science. As I dove deeper into the world of nonprofit management I knew I had found the right fit! To this day, my passion has only continued to grow.
Luckily for me, when you spend your time working in small to medium sized nonprofit organizations, you don’t just do one thing–you do all the things! In this environment, everyone multi-tasks and goes above and beyond their job descriptions. Skill sets are ever expanding and there is always an opportunity to learn more. I’ve been blessed to have a wide variety of experiences in my nonprofit career while working on behalf of animals and children.
I love this work, and I especially love the people I get to work alongside. Nonprofit professionals are passionate, committed, and the hardest-working people you’ll ever meet. And nonprofit supporters, those who dig in and become part of the heart and soul of an organization by giving their time and resources, they embody the same beautiful qualities. Sharing a vision of hope for a better future instantly bonds us together. Even though this work is hard, it feels exhilarating because we’re working together to create real change–change that saves lives!
I’m one of those people who has mapped out a life plan. I always knew that one day I would step into an Executive Director role, and I hoped that it would be for an animal rescue organization–my heart’s work. So you can imagine how honored and excited I am to be here at Brother Wolf.
I’ve had a number of people say, “I would never be able to do that work. It’s too sad.” And I can see where they are coming from. Can this work be heartbreaking? Absolutely. But do the triumphs and miraculous transformations far outweigh the sadness? Absolutely! I understand that it can be tough to see a dog or cat living in a shelter instead of the home they deserve. But I invite you to come here, meet them, and remember that because of the work our community has done together, these animals have been saved. They are the lucky ones. And how blessed we are to get to share our lives with them.
Thank you for working alongside Brother Wolf to save lives.
Leah Craig Chumbley
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue