Bill and Mary Ann became acquainted with Brother Wolf last year after the death of their beloved cat Blackledge, who had been the queen of their home for nearly two decades. After losing her in the morning, they wandered into Brother Wolf for the first time. “We didn’t know what else to do,” Bill recalls. “The day that Blackledge died, Brother Wolf saved us. A staff member took time out of her day to sit with us for two hours while we mourned. It was the hardest thing we had ever gone through. We had experienced the deaths of parents, siblings, and friends. But that cat was the hardest loss.”
The comfort they found that day led to an ongoing relationship that will save thousands of lives for years to come. Shortly after Blackledge passed away, Bill and Mary Ann donated a van in her honor to our Community Cat program, which is used every day to humanely trap outdoor cats and transport them to spay/neuter.
More recently, they sponsored a cat building at the Sanctuary — marking the first title sponsorship!
The cat buildings will provide housing for the variety of felines in our care, including those with special needs. Cats who are medically able will be able to enjoy the outdoors within the safety of enclosed “catios”, and visitors will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the company of a purring friend at an onsite cat cafe! Click here to learn more about the Cats Village and Cat Cafe.
Originally, the Sanctuary wasn’t on their radar. “We knew we were going to donate money to Brother Wolf,” Bill says. “We have to donate a certain amount per year for tax purposes. The Sanctuary wasn’t something we were thinking about, but this year we started hearing more about it. We had heard you were working on designing the animal buildings and we knew there would be a way to donate a certain amount to name one of the cat buildings. When the opportunity arose, we took it.”
Bill and Mary Ann, who have spent time wandering the land at the Sanctuary, are excited for the future of Brother Wolf.
“You do wonderful things where you are now,” Mary Ann says, “but you can do so much more where you’re going. This is the obvious next step. Everything about it just makes sense. It’s what’s needed.”
“The Sanctuary will be better for the animals and better for people,” says Bill. “It’ll have separate buildings for dogs and cats instead of sharing a cramped, converted warehouse. It’s going to be amazing to have the modern facilities on site, like the medical clinic and the learning center. It’s going to be wonderful.”
Bill and Mary Ann’s investment in the Sanctuary goes deeper than their commitment to cat care. “As time goes by, it has become important for us to build a legacy,” Bill says. “Both of our families are gone. It’s just the two of us. The Sanctuary is going to be there for decades to come. It’ll be there long after we’re dead. And we know you’ll always be there for the cats and dogs.”
Bill says he has been inspired by our willingness to put our neck out in the name of progress and to expand our circle of compassion to all animals. “Brother Wolf needs to continue to grow and evolve. In fact, there is a responsibility to donors to keep advancing and working to provide even better care for the animals. Building the Sanctuary is a leap of faith because supporters are so used to how things have been and change is scary. It’s a shift from what you’ve been doing for the past 10 years, but we think it’s great. Why limit rescue efforts to cats and dogs? There are so many abused animals. We hear about it all the time. The land is beautiful and all kinds of animals will benefit.”
Now that the ball is rolling, Bill and Mary Ann have a challenge to pose to dog lovers: PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!
“We’re cat people,” Bill says, “but we know the majority of people in Asheville are dog people. It’s a dog-centric city, but the cat building got sponsored first. The dog people have some work to do.”
The dog buildings at the Sanctuary will give each dog plenty of indoor space with outdoor access, will minimize noise and optimize fresh air and natural light. The property will also include hiking trails and a dog park with a splash pool and agility course.
Click here to learn more about the Dog Village. If you would like information about memorial donations and special naming opportunities to support construction of The Dogs Village at Brother Wolf Animal Sanctuary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.