Getting Back to the Roots

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue has been a staple of the Asheville community for many years. Hundreds of dogs and cats have found their forever home, and many families have fallen in love with their best friend because of BWAR. As widely known and loved as it is, however, Brother Wolf recently found itself in some financial trouble. Luckily for Asheville, Leah Craig has stepped up as the executive director, and she is working tirelessly toward getting the shelter back on track. 

Before she took the executive director role at Brother Wolf, Leah was the development director at the Nature Center, and she’s brought her experience to rebuild Brother Wolf into the organization it needs to be for the community. The focus is now shifting back to the adoption shelter and away from the proposed sanctuary farm in Leicester.

“Unfortunately the organization had tried to grow so quickly in such a short amount of time that they had really taken on a project that they couldn’t afford,” Leah says. “We had to make really critical decisions in order to cut costs, and one of the biggest ones was to decide to sell the sanctuary. It was a very unfinished project, and nothing ever came to fruition.”

With the pressures of a project as big as a sanctuary farm of their hands, Brother Wolf can now return their focus to the organization’s core mission: To build no-kill communities.

“North Carolina is one of the worst states in the entire country for the euthanization of companion animals. There is so much work to be done,” she says.

Just this year, Brother Wolf will affect the lives of about 10,000 animals. In order to do this effectively, it’s critical they cut costs where they can and reach out to the community to help during this time of rebuilding. 

“To me and many other people, it’s critical that Brother Wolf is here and able to run these lifesaving programs,” Leah says. “It is a difficult time in the organization’s history, but it’s also exciting because Brother Wolf will come out of this. We’ve already seen tremendous response from the public.”

Leah is excited to help Brother Wolf get back to its roots, starting with a sharp focus on the shelter animals and staff. She also stresses how important it is for them to put best practices into place and to follow a standard.

“We’re looking at putting best practices into place, like a budget. We’ve put a budget into place and created a leadership staff so we have multiple voices and multiple points of view when decisions are being made. We’re also forming a board, as any successful nonprofit should. We’re up to six board members, and we’re interviewing more. We’re also still looking for a lawyer and a CPA who feels passionate about animal rescue and is eager to get involved.”

In the past, there were three Brother Wolf chapters, but as the organization is rebuilding, the other two chapters—one in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, and one in Virginia—will spin off into their own nonprofit so Brother Wolf can shift its focus entirely to the shelter. If you’d like to get involved, there is always a need for volunteers, fosters and, of course, financial assistance. Outward Hounds is a wonderful way to spend time outside with some incredible dogs, and fostering can be a short-term commitment for those able to take on an animal at home.

“We’re rebuilding trust with the community and being as transparent as we can,” Leah says. “The only thing we know to do is to tell the truth and ask the community to rebuild with us. We’re seeing a lot of donors and volunteers coming back, which is really rewarding. If anyone walked away from Brother Wolf in the past, for whatever reason, I really hope they give us another chance.”

For more information, visit BWAR.org.