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Howls from the Mountain

July 2012

From the President’s Pen

Hello Full Moon Farm Friends,

 

Pen as in ‘ink’?  Pen as in ‘enclosure’?

 

Well, BOTH!  The power of the Pen is what a newsletter is all about.  With that being said, I  hope you will enjoy our stories this month, and we are always interested in your feedback.

 

Please feel free to write me at any time, nancy@fullmoonfarm.org.

 

We are slowly building new enclosures, and working on replacing some of our ten year old  fencing.  We have put together a “Chip In”, to facilitate replacing our old buckets, pails, dig  wire, dog houses and damaged posts. See the link below, and ‘Chip In’ to help!  

 

In the Good News Corner, pulling and hauling 400’ of hose to water the ‘up’ guys is now a thing  of the past!  Due to the ingenuity and generosity of a supporter; we now have water spigots up the hill, at almost every enclosure.  Happy Dance!   As any volunteer can tell you, watering the  ‘up top’ animals was always the hardest part of the work here.  With the new water stations, watering time has been cut in half, and we are so grateful to JC and his dedication to improving the life of the residents at Full Moon Farm.  Group Howl!

 

Many Thanks also to Travis Marett, for grading the driveway.  The rainy spell we had took a toll on the driveway, and it is in much better shape now.  However, Travis reminded me that we could use at least two loads of gravel, so that has been added to our ‘Chip In’ request.  We will definitely need to add gravel before winter, or the van will not make it up or down the driveway.

 

We, the residents and I, are grateful to all of you, our supporters and volunteers for your continued support.  As we enter our 11th year of service to the ‘mythunderstood’ wolfdog, we go forward with optimism, and belief that the strength is in the ‘pack’.  Thank you for being part of our pack.

 

~Nancy

A Wolfdog Owner’s Experience at Full Moon Farm

“The puppy just jumped out the 2nd story window!” I cried, “I need help.”

 

Like many dog lovers, I had fallen in love at the first sight of a tiny wolfdog puppy. She was a mid-content with a pure wolf grandmother. I named her Mizune, but called her Zu.

 

At 7-weeks, Zu was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. She was sweeter than honey and drop-dead gorgeous. She squealed and chirped like a baby bird and scampered like a raccoon. Making her part of my family was a dream come true.

 

At 8 months, Zu was wild and intractable and for the third time in a matter of weeks, I was seriously doubting my ability to keep Zu safe from the world and the world safe from her. I had been living with dogs for 20 years and had raised an awesome low-content wolfdog called Mujo who, at 3 years old, was ready to serve as an example of good behavior for a new puppy. I thought I knew just about everything I needed to know to raise a mid-content wolfdog. I was wrong….very wrong.

 

The first thing I noticed was how strong willed Zu was. Her will was like a force of nature. When she wanted something badly, she was relentless and self-reliant. She was incredibly strong and athletic and had no tolerance for boredom. How was I supposed to train a creature with the fearlessness and resolve to bring down bison?

 

From the start, Zu’s passion for destruction was breathtaking. I couldn’t leave her in the house unsupervised, even with Mujo. The first and only time I did, I returned to the kind of devastation normally associated with hurricanes and tornados. Even so, I was determined to train her to live as an indoor/outdoor dog and to sleep in the house every night. Before Zu, all my dogs had accepted me as their all-powerful and benign dictator. If they wanted to go out, they would come to me whining, begging me to open the door, not Zu. When she wanted to go out, she didn’t even think of asking for my help. Instead, she went around the house, inspecting it for weak spots, hatching her escape plans.

 

One night, she stood on her hind legs on a wobbly cot and knocked out the flimsy plastic covering the window on either side of the air conditioner. Fortunately, she was too big to squeeze through the gap.

 

Another night Zu got trapped in the bathroom after drinking from the toilet. A bag of laundry fell against the door which opened inward and Zu couldn’t get out. In a similar situation, Mujo would’ve whined a bit and then resigned himself to wait for me to free him. Zu, on the other hand, didn’t see any reason to wait. The puppy went right through that door, leaving only kindling for the woodstove in its place.

 

Then Zu killed my landlady’s cat. Then she attacked a neighbor’s little cock-a-poo as if it was prey and it took all my adrenaline-powered strength to keep her from killing it as well. Nothing I knew about dogs had prepared me for this.

 

I was having trouble in other areas as well. At 8 months, Zu was still not reliably house-trained. Even after a 4 hour walk, she often peed on my pillow as soon as we got home.  When she didn’t want me to put on her collar, she growled and snarled. I had never had a dog do that before. Every instinct told me to take this seriously, but how? Should I ignore her and keep on trying to collar her? If I didn’t, would I jeopardize my authority as leader of the pack? Would she bite me?

 

The morning Zu leapt from the 2nd story bedroom window, landing like an Olympic gymnast and grinning from ear to ear, it finally hit home. I was in over my head. Zu was becoming a danger to herself and to others. Even though I loved her dearly, I knew that if I wasn’t able to keep Zu safe, I had no business owning her. I would have to find her a better home. That’s when I called Full Moon Farm.

 

My experience with Mizune was nothing new to Full Moon Farm’s founder and director, Nancy Brown. The sanctuary she created for abused and abandoned wolfdogs was operating at full capacity. Hundreds of wolfdogs, many on the brink of death, had found refuge there and all too many of them were “owner surrenders” -- the victims of well-intentioned people like me who had fallen in love with adorable wolfdog puppies only to find that they lacked the resources and experience to keep them as they grew into powerful adults with a serious will of their own.

 

When I tearfully asked Nancy if she could help me find Zu a better home, she said “no”. She couldn’t find her a better home because there aren’t any. Instead, she could teach me what I needed to know to keep her. I was so relieved to find the help I so desperately needed, I broke down and cried.

 

True to her word, Nancy and the volunteers built a “guest enclosure” for my dogs and for the next 6 months or so I brought Zu and Mujo to Full Moon Farm on Saturdays for training. Nancy made it clear that I needed to be trained even more than Zu if I wanted to be leader of my pack.  As I helped to clean enclosures and feed and water the 80+ residents of Full Moon Farm, I watched the more experienced volunteers carefully and slowly gained a better understanding of wolfdogs and how to work with them. When the work was done, I would leash up Mujo and Zu and Nancy would walk with us, watching closely, answering a million questions and giving advice.

 

Slowly but surely it paid off.

 

Training a wolfdog is not like training any other kind of dog; wolfdogs remember everything. You can’t use anything but positive reinforcement to earn their trust yet you must assert yourself as the unambiguous leader. It’s tricky, demanding and time consuming. If you fail, the wolfdog doesn’t have many options. Unlike most dogs, they do not adapt easily to new owners. Most shelters and animal control facilities do not even try to find wolfdogs new homes. They just euthanize them.  Fear and ignorance are the wolfdog’s greatest enemies.

 

Many people wrongly assume that wolfdogs are aggressive, unpredictable and dangerous. In many places, they are banned altogether. Good breeders make buyers sign contracts saying that they will bring the wolfdog back if they can’t keep them. They check out prospective buyers very carefully and go so far as to inspect their homes before agreeing to sell them a puppy.  Greedy “backyard breeders” make a lot of money selling wolfdog puppies to anyone who will buy them. Many of the wolfdogs they breed end up abused or abandoned. Many live and die in agony. The lucky ones end up in sanctuaries like Full Moon Farm.

 

Nancy Brown does her best not to turn any wolfdog away and she cries almost every day because that’s not possible. Full Moon Farm depends entirely on volunteers and donations. It is a non-profit and no one there gets paid, but even so, the volunteers will tell you that they’re getting back more than they’re giving from the love and trust they receive from the wolfdogs.

 

They have many stories to tell about animals that arrive at the farm starving, suffering and terrified of humans and how they are healed and cared for until they learn to trust and love again. I have seen this happen and it’s nothing short of miraculous. Nancy Brown doesn’t only work to provide homes for wolfdogs that humans have failed, she is equally devoted to keeping wolfdogs out of sanctuaries and shelters by educating the public as well as animal control officers and others who work with dogs. This is very important to wolfdog owners like me. We love our dogs and want to be able to tell people all about them but we often run into people who think we’re nuts (or worse) for living with and loving a “big bad wolf”.

 

Many people think wolfdogs shouldn’t even be allowed to exist. Fighting centuries of prejudice from people whose primary understanding of wolves is derived from fairy tales isn’t easy. We need all the help we can get.

 

As I write, my sweet Zu is sleeping next to me on the bed, on her back with her feet in the air, head thrown back, snoring softly. She is now 2 ½ years old and thriving. She’s the most loving and fascinating canine companion I’ve ever had. Every day, Zu, Mujo and I go for long walks off leash in the woods next to our home and I get to watch Zu leaping from boulder to boulder, up and down cascading waterfalls, happy as a wolfdog can be. There’s nothing like it. I thank Nancy Brown and all the volunteers of Full Moon Farm for making this possible.

 

Michele Sevik

Contact Us

Full Moon Farm

PO Box 1374

Black Mountain, NC 28711

828-664-9818

fullmoonfarm.org

A 501(c)3 organization


Links

Full Moon Farm

What is a Wolfdog?

Donate

Wish List

Sponsor a Wolfdog

Volunteer

FMF on Facebook (Group Page)

FMF on Facebook (Causes Page)

River's Facebook Page

Full Moon Farm on Flickr

FMF on MySpace

FMF on Twitter

FMF on YouTube

In this issue:

From the President’s Pen

A Wolfdog Owner’s Experience at Full Moon Farm

Contact Us

Links

Woofer Spotlight – Harley Girl!

Mid-Summer Dream?

Why I Volunteer:

Howl In

Back Issues

Woofer Spotlight – Harley Girl!

 

 

 Our Woofer Spotlight this month is Harley.  Harley is a low-content wolfdog who came to us in April of 2006 from Shadow’s Den, a rescue/breeder from a neighboring county who was evicted and had 24 wolfdogs that had nowhere to go.

 

Harley will be 10 years old in August and we absolutely adore her. She loves her toys and doesn’t wag her tail like a normal dog… she twirls it around like a helicopter blade! One of our long time volunteers and previous caretakers, Tam, wrote this adorable poem about our sweet girl:

 

Harley, Harley,

Don't be snarly!

Give me a twirl,

Whirly Girl!

 

Would you like to sponsor Harley? Please visit our Sponsor Page for more information on how you can help provide food, shelter and vet care for Harley. For more information on Harley visit our wolfdog bio page here.  

Mid-Summer Dream?

 

Will you please help us care for our 74 wolfdogs with a donation today for our Mid-Summer Dream?

 

We chose Mid-Summer Dream because it is almost mid-summer and our dream is to ensure the continued high quality care of our beloved Full Moon Farm wolfdogs!

 

The Sanctuary’s  current needs include:

 In addition to normal budget expenses, (rent, kibble, utilities), our chip in for the month of July is to help us replace dented and old stainless steel buckets and pails! We need a total of 33 new 13 qt. water buckets, at $22.95 each, and 52 new 4 qt. feeding pails @ $9.25 each - (see buckets page here). Also, Fly traps - 25 @ $4.98 each from Lowes.

 

We also need material to finish 1 enclosure under construction, and build the lock-out extension for it.  These materials, cattle panels – 10 x 19.99, goat fence for dig wire – 249.99 per roll, 10 - 4 x 4 x 10 pressure treated posts – 10.99 each.  

 

Replacement of 15 Ex large Dogloos, with windbreaks, estimated at 189.99 each.

 

We are 10 years old this year, and many of the dog houses, enclosures, and buckets are 10 years old too!

 

Total Goal to meet these current needs is $7,500.

 

Thank You in advance for your help!

 

Click here to donate! - Or mail a check to Full Moon Farm, Inc, P.O. Box 1374, Black Mountain, NC  28711.

Why I Volunteer:

Being a volunteer is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.  I spoke to an elderly gentleman recently who volunteers approximately 40 hours a week at a local rehab center.  I asked him why he doesn’t accept their offer of employment.  He said because they could never pay him enough money to equal the personal rewards he receives from volunteering. If you have ever volunteered you know what he is talking about.

 

 

 

If you are an animal lover there is nothing more satisfying and rewarding than volunteering for a rescue or sanctuary.  There is something so profound in seeing an animal that has been abused or neglected slowly learn to love and trust again. The joy you feel when, after weeks and weeks of gentle encouragement, they finally give you a gentle nudge or even better, a slobbery kiss, your heart soars. I feel this joy every time I go to Full Moon Farm. When I walk up to my favorite wolfdog, Shylo’s, pen and he starts wagging his tail furiously, my heart soars. When I first met Shylo about a year ago, he was pitiful.  He was so terrified of everyone and all he did was pace back and forth in his pen constantly. Now he’s a happy boy and loves running around in his large enclosure.  He also loves to get scritches and always thanks me with a slobbery kiss. I’ll take a slobbery, wet wolfy kiss over money any day of the week.  No amount of money, titles or worldly goods could ever bring that kind of joy.

 

If you would like to volunteer at Full Moon Farm please visit our Volunteer Page.

 

Donna Wiedrich

Volunteer

 

Howl In

2012 Howl Ins - Come join the fun!

 

 

Remaining Howl In dates for 2012

 

•    July 7

•    August 4

•    September 1

•    October 6

•    November 17  - special Howl In for the Holidays

 

Come on out and join us on the mountain for some good old fashioned fun, food and fur-babies!

 

Enjoy a partial tour of the farm, learn about this mythunderstood” breed and hear the

heartwarming stories of our beloved animals.  The first tour begins at 3pm followed by an optional pot luck dinner for $5 a plate (bring a side dish, we provide the meat and drinks). Be sure to visit our Gift Den for local handcrafted jewelry, artwork and other unique gifts.  

 

Please call 828-664-9818 or email info@fullmoonfarm.org for details and directions.

 

We are also looking for any grocery stores, restaurants or cafés that would like to become a Pack Patron by contributing the main entrée for 60 people for each month's Howl In.  For more information on that, please contact Sarah Hallback.

Back Issues

You can find our back issues here.

Full Moon Farm • PO Box 1374 • Black Mountain • NC • 28711-1374
http://www.fullmoonfarm.org
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