By Janice Eck
Photos by Janice Eck
(Apple Valley)– On St. Patrick’s Day, nonprofit rescue organization, In the Company of Wolves, held their first fundraiser at Applebee’s in Apple Valley. 15% of food and beverage receipts accompanied by their flier went toward the rescue, which is always looking for ways to educate the community about the exotic pet trade and adopting rescued pets.
It was more than just a night out for In the Company of Wolves founders John and Margaret Johnson as they were joined by friends and co-rescuers at the restaurant. Friend, Amber Foster, presented the Johnson’s with a beautiful hand-crafted wood sign created by her father, to show appreciation for all the hard work and dedication the Johnson’s have had for the rescue.
You may have seen In the Company of Wolves holding their pet adoptions at Petsmart, but what you don’t see at the adoptions are the rest of the animals that call the rescue their home – horses, big cats, raccoons, opossums, and so much more. Their first fundraiser came with the hope of a fundraising kick-off to help run the facility and finance future projects the rescue must undergo to follow new regulations such as changing out their 6-foot chain link fence to 8-foot.
The rescue is a No Breed, No Buy, No Sell facility. The exotic animals that are in their care are unfit to live in the wild because they have either been confiscated by illegal owners, taken from movie businesses that found them no longer needed, or from overcrowded zoos. The cost of caring for the exotic animals consists of more than food and living space. Margaret Johnson explained some of the costs in an interview with High Desert Daily, “These animals we have that can’t go back into the wild remain the property of California. We pay California permits, but they remain the legal owners. We are just the forever care-takers. They will never take them back. We pay California to have the permits, we pay California for them to inspect us, but we are not funded by any of these agencies. We pay permits to local animal control, to USDA, to California Fish & Wildlife and now soon we’ll have to pay to US Fish & Wildlife. We pay permits, but we’re funded by none. And we care for the animals that are legally theirs.”
The sign created by Foster’s father is a testimony to the compassion and devotion the Johnson’s have for their animals. Friend, Maria Alvarez, had this to say to High Desert Daily about the Johnson’s, “I think it’s a great service of Margaret and John to be doing what they’re doing for the community as far as the animals and taking in the animals and also the adoption events. I applaud both of them for what they’re doing in their community and I’m really proud to know them and call them friends.”
Ray Alvarez also added nothing but kind words about the Johnson’s, “It’s pretty cool to see people dedicated to a nature thing that’s not political. It’s awesome to see a dedicated couple do this. If the animals that interact with them had the ability to say something, I’m sure they’d be thanking them daily. My hat and honor go to this couple. It truly is an honor to see what they’re doing.”
Although the animals may see the Johnson’s only as humans who give them food, keeping the animals alive and well in their care to the fullest extent of their capacity is more than enough to continue their day-to-day life with the animals they’ve rescued.
If you’d like to learn more about In the Company of Wolves, please visit http://www.inthecompanyofwolves.org/.
Be sure to stop by their pet adoptions held on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Petsmart in Jess Ranch.