At Brother Wolf, who rescues whom is a debate

Barbara Hootman

Kaylie Bivens, a registered nurse from Morganton, was thinking about depression after her friend, a fellow nurse, committed suicide.

“I love my job and wouldn't trade it for anything,” Biven said via email recently. “However, being in a field where you are constantly giving all of yourself to people who do not always appreciate your efforts is exhausting and can leave even the most seasoned nurses emotionally drained.

“When I would get home there would be nothing left for me to share with my family and friends,” she said. “I was becoming more and more depressed and found myself coming home after shifts and going straight to sleep instead of giving my husband time he deserved because I felt like I had nothing else to give another human being.”

Then Bivens read an article about how having pets lowers the chances of depression among nurses.

“I was feeling depressed,” she said, “so I decided to adopt a cat.”

In November, she went to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, a nonprofit no-kill shelter in Asheville that seeks adoption of its animals through The Black Mountain News and elsewhere.

“When I walked into the door at Brother Wolf, I saw a huge ball of fur with a grumpy cat face,” Bivens said. “I fell in love with him immediately. He had an eye infection, and I wanted to help him that much more.”

Mr. Bigglesworth (she also calls him “Baby Biggs”) is a Persian/Himalayan mix. “I felt he was just like me - misunderstood but with a lot of love to give,” she said. “We literally rescued each other. I cry when thinking about it because this little kitty has really brought me back out of those dark times.”

Dawn Powell, a West Asheville resident who has had such good experiences with Brother Wolf that she volunteers to work the front desk every Sunday, shares her home with several adopted animals. Her most recent Brother Wolf adoptions are Dave, a white cat, and Eddie, a tiger-striped cat. They now live with her Brother Wolf rescue dog, Rudy.

“These animals rescued me as much as I rescued them,” she said.

Madeline Kimbrough adopted Sinder, a black kitten, from Brother Wolf in December. She works from home as an administrative assistant and closing coordinator for the Troy Flack Group, Keller Williams Professionals in Candler.

“Sinder is a tremendous source of joy and entertainment,” she said. “He was a surprise, since my husband is allergic to cats and originally said we’d never have pets. He has had zero allergic reactions since getting Sinder. (Sinder) will even play fetch with us.”

Crystal Hefner from Conover adopted Daisy last February after losing her dog of more than 15 years and her human best friend within three weeks.

“I was overwhelmed with grief,” Hefner said. “Daisy barely got into Brother Wolf Animal Rescue when she had eight huge babies. A friend of mine from college fostered Daisy and the puppies. When Daisy was ready to be adopted, I asked if I could have her. She has helped me begin to come to terms with losing my best friends. I am sure that Daisy rescued me.”

Jude Lally adopted his dog Mama from Brother Wolf two years ago. Mama was a street dog with a pup tagging after her. She was also pregnant and nearly dead.

“This funny little dog with bat-like ears has changed our lives,” Lally said.

Sheila Ellington from Black Mountain adopted Libby last April from Brother Wolf. Libby participated in the Halloween Pet Parade in 2015. She was dressed as a cute bumblebee.

“Libby is a West Highland and Pomeranian-Pekingese mix,” Ellington said. “She came to us after a recent loss of our beloved 18-year-old cat, Arty. Libby is perfect love.”

Katharine Winship, owner of Black Mountain Pilates, adopted Pappy, a 10-month-old Feist-Chihuahua mix that had been surrendered by his original family because they couldn’t manage him.

“After the Paris (terror) attacks, I felt a magnetic pull to do something,” Winship said. “My ‘something’ was to get an animal out of a cage.”

She took Pappy home on a five-day trial adoption. The day before Winship visited Brother Wolf, Pappy had been returned as a “failed” adoption because his adopters thought he was too active.

By the third day of the five-day trial, “I was smitten and signed papers,” Winship said.

Brother Wolf, 31 Glendale Ave., Asheville, open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every day - offers free spay/neuter assistance and a pet food pantry, in addition to its adoption services. The adoption center is home to some 100 dogs, puppies, cats and kittens waiting adoption. It can be reached at 828-505-3440.