Monday, September 11, 2006

Black Mountain woman works with wolves

by Lindsay Nash, lnash@citizen-times.com

Name: Nancy Brown.

Age: Today is her 50th birthday.

Residence: Black Mountain.

Family: Three children — a son in Greensboro, a daughter in Germany and another daughter in Brown’s hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

Occupation: Owner and founder of Full Moon Farm, a nonprofit sanctuary for abused and refused captive-bred wolves and wolf dogs.

Job description: Brown takes care of the 84 wolves at the facility, feeding them, cleaning up after them, and working to rehabilitate and enrich the animals.

The facility does not adopt out the wolves like a dog rescue, Brown explained. They do not have a state shelter license that would place restrictions on the facility, which is not in the best interest of the animals, Brown said. But they do offer lifetime foster agreements, where the facility retains ownership of the wolf dogs.

Education/training: Brown went to an agricultural school in Ohio, but she left to get married and work at a horse farm. Later, she and her now ex-husband started breeding dogs but began running into problems with purebreds and turned to wolf dogs.

“We were looking for a healthier animal, and found the wolf dog,” she said.

Salary: Because the farm is a nonprofit, Brown receives no salary. The farm runs on her volunteer work, as well as the work of several other volunteers — many who come from Warren Wilson College’s service program.

For her “real job,” Brown works as a real estate agent for Mountain Vista Properties in Black Mountain.

What exactly is a wolf dog? Wolf dogs are any canines with wolf heritage in the last five generations, Brown said. “They’re just tremendously misunderstood,” Brown said. “The big bad wolf is a myth, a fallacy. They are timid by nature, not dangerous.”

Favorite part of job: “Watching an abused animal blossom into a real animal learning to trust again,” she said. “A good majority of them have been abused. And abuse can be termed as neglect.”

Least favorite part of job: Dealing with dog dumpers, she said. “In the rescue business, it’s not an animal problem, it’s a people problem … Wolf dogs aren’t for everyone. It’s a matter of education.”

Favorite outdoor activity: Working with wolves, especially the more social ones, the ones that have people skills. “I love being able to take them out for a good hike in the woods.”

Favorite spot in WNC: “My own property,” she said of the 17-acre farm.

What she finds meaningful about the job: “The opportunity to make a difference in either the dog’s life or a human’s life,” she said. “I like working with animal control and having them learn and see firsthand that their image of a dangerous dog is wrong.”

“I am pro-education and pro-licensing, but to outright ban a breed because of what they are is saying that all kids that wear baggy pants are gangsters.”

Learn more: Brown is hosting a “Howl-In” with a barbecue potluck at 5 p.m. today at the farm. It’s $5 per person, with proceeds going to the care of the wolf dogs. Full Moon Farm provides the meat and the drinks, and each guest is asked to bring a side dish or dessert. Learn about the animals, the farm, and hear the wolves howl under the full moon. Call 669-1818.

On the Net: www.fullmoonfarm.org

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