Lifelong Friends Program Helps Sustain No-Kill Asheville

By Audrey Lodato, Director of Animal Care

Truly believing there is a person out there for every homeless animal we encounter is what makes it possible to keep going as an animal rescuer in the No-Kill movement.

Seeing  animals that come in battered and broken, with their spirits crushed, their bodies injured and sick, their hearts completely incapable of returning the love we are offering them is so difficult. It will drive you to tears again and again and again. But, a big part of being a rescuer  — maybe the most important part — is having faith. Faith in the process. Faith in the community. Faith that they WILL heal. Faith that that we, because of our love, our dedication, our experience, and our drive, have the capacity to heal them.

When the most broken of our residents complete their journey to a new home and a bright future, it’s validation for that faith. Proof that we can do it again and again. It’s the fuel we use to keep going. A reason to get out of bed on the hardest of days.

However, the closer a community gets to rescuing every saveable animal, the more challenging the search becomes to find that someone for each and every animal that comes into our care. Nathan Winograd, a leader in the No-Kill movement, once said something at a conference that I’ve carried with me my entire career:

“People want to help. They just need to be asked.”

What I’ve learned during my twenty years working in animal welfare is that there are an endless number ways you can ask people to help an animal. Creativity is often the key to the lock — the way to get people to take home the blind animal, the sick animal, the one who is so frightened that they can’t return love. And the one that will have costly medical expenses every month.

At Brother Wolf, we value all life. Because of this, we have quite a few programs that support permanent homes for animals that otherwise might not find them. One of our programs is called Lifelong Friends. Geared toward the most difficult animals we receive, this program is designed to financially and emotionally support adopters in their choice to adopt a “less adoptable” animal.

Animals become eligible for the Lifelong Friends program when they have been in our care more than six months and have either a medical or behavioral condition that is prohibiting them from finding a family. Adopters receive free food, medical care, behavioral support, grooming, and a number of other benefits when they choose to take one of these animals home.

We currently have forty animals in our lifelong friends program, and these animals have many different kinds of challenges.

One of our most successful Lifelong Friends is a cat named Amy. Amy came to Brother Wolf  in 2014 with feline leukemia virus, a severe case of stomatitis, and some mild incontinence. Amy’s adopters met her and immediately fell in love. When they learned that Brother Wolf would cover her medical expenses, it made the decision much easier to take her home. Now, Amy has a life of luxury laying in sunbeams, snuggling with her new mom and dad, and even posing for photos on her very own instagram, @amy.the.amazing.

If you think that you might have the capacity to help one of these more challenging animals, come to the Adoption Center and meet with an Adoption Counselor. They are specially trained to help you find the perfect fit for your home, and to identify the animal who needs you the most.

Together, we can save every animal in our community. There’s a person out there for each of them, and that person may be you.

The photos accompanying this story are of Sprite, Amy, and Tammy. They are three of the many animals who have found their forever families through the LifeLong Friends program. 

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