A week from now will be Day One for a new animal rescue group in McDowell County.

Within a week, the Brother Wolf chapter for McDowell County will no longer exist and a new locally based animal rescue group will take its place. This new group will be called Day One Animal Rescue and it will be totally independent and separate from the Brother Wolf organization, which will continue to operate in Asheville.

“Saturday, Aug. 3 will be the last day that we will operate as Brother Wolf,” said local chapter Director Jamie Stillwachs to The McDowell News.

She added the new Day One Animal Rescue, effective Sunday, Aug. 4, will continue her chapter’s commitment of helping the homeless animals in the local community.

“It’s the community we’ve focused on and where we’re really invested,” said Stillwachs of McDowell.

The reasons behind the change have to do with some financial issues facing the Brother Wolf organization and its recent decisions to scale back some of its previous operations as a result of those issues. All of the other Brother Wolf chapters are closing except for the Asheville one, where it all started. And the creation of a new locally based animal rescue group has many advantages for the McDowell chapter, according to Stillwachs.

“In the end, it will help us a lot and we will be able to qualify for a lot of grants,” she said. “It will benefit us as a rescue to be on our own.”

The new Day One Animal Rescue will still have Stillwachs as the director and the same staff. But another big change concerns the thrift store that the Brother Wolf McDowell chapter has operated in downtown Marion since March 2017.

That thrift store is in the process of closing down. At this time, Stillwachs and her staff are hard at work trying to rid their store space at 74 S. Main St. of the used furniture, clothes, records and numerous household items that were the majority of the store’s merchandise.

“We are trying to sell everything in the store - including some nice displays and furniture - which will help fund what we need for launching the new rescue,” she said to The McDowell News. “When Brother Wolf McDowell transitions to the new rescue, Day One Animal Rescue, we will be permanently closing the thrift store in favor of a new store that we feel will fit the rescue and our mission much better.”

The new Day One Animal Rescue Retail and Resale store will exclusively sell pet supplies and pet-related products, both new and gently used. All money raised from store sales will go right back into the rescue work and allow the Day One staff to continue saving animals in McDowell County and beyond. This new operation will allow the staff to focus more on their original mission of helping the homeless cats and dogs in McDowell and providing them with good care until they are adopted, said Stillwachs.

From now until Saturday, almost everything in the old thrift store has got to be cleared out.

“We are asking the public to come and take what they would like, in exchange for whatever donation they see fit,” said Stillwachs. “We do ask that a minimum donation of $1 be made for any items being ‘bought’ from our store, as it will all go to support the new rescue. We have tons of great items left to go, plus many of our display shelves, small tables, jewelry case, clothing racks, and much more. Customers are welcome any time during our business hours. Additional hours can be pre-arranged for anyone looking to purchase larger items or bulk items.”

She’s hoping more people will come by at 74 S. Main St. and take advantage of this sale. Whatever is left over will be donated to other local charities.

Likewise, Stillwachs and her staff are no longer accepting donations of thrift store items. The only exceptions have been animal-themed items (artwork, jewelry, T-shirts), gently used pet items (collars, leashes, scratching posts, litter boxes), pet supplies (food, cat litter, harnesses, crates, dog houses) and any unique items that can be sold at fund-raising auctions. Everything else must go, said Stillwachs.

These animal-related items will go to the new store.

The opening date and the location for Day One and its store are still uncertain. Stillwachs said the plan originally was for them to stay in the downtown at 74 S. Main St. and have the opening date for the new animal rescue/shop set for Saturday, Aug. 17.

But that could change. Stillwachs said Thursday she and her staff are talking with a property owner about possibly moving to a different location where there is more parking and perhaps an outdoor area for dogs. All she could say for now is there will be a grand opening for the Day One Animal Rescue store sometime in mid-August at a location to be determined.

What is certain is that Sunday, Aug. 4 will be Day One for the new organization. It will have its own website and a new Facebook page. The new website is not live yet but it will be by opening day. The address is www.dayoneanimalrescue.org, according to Stillwachs.

As for the sale at the thrift store, the hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 828-559-2777.

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