We like fielding questions about our rescues, and sometimes people want to know more about the people responsible for ensuring they’re well taken care of. If you have a question about our rescues or our mission, please ask them in the comments below, or you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this article, our staff and volunteers respond to the question:
What initially prompted or inspired you to apply to become a part of the WSWS team?
Brian Adkins with Kaya
Building & Maintenance Technician
I really love animals, especially canines. And I thought my skill set would be useful.[Editor’s note: Brian rarely has much to say, unless you want to discuss the health benefits of bacon.]
Mike Budd with Naia
Building & Maintenance Technician
Karen Burkart Guillén with Bowie
Animal Care Specialist
Crystal Castellanos with Naia
Director of Operations
Leyton Cougar with Cheyenne & Frost
Fundraising/Animal Care Specialist
Candy Kitchen Rescue Ranch was Founded in 1991. It became a 501 C 3 non profit in 1994. In 1995 I was tired of looking at all the trash and seeing falling down fences, so I knocked on the door of the founders and said, “you need my help!”.
I have been there ever since. I saw humans and animals that needed help. I grew up on a farm in the wilds of Washington state surrounded by animals wild and domestic. I knew with my skills I could be of service.
In 2000 I prompted the founder to change the name to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and here we are today 24 years later.
Stephanie Grenadier with Jaeger
Housekeeping/Keeping Tim Under Control
One very random visit to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary for a group photo trip was all it took to spontaneously decide to pack up and move from Massachusetts to New Mexico. That says it all, I think. I did not know I would work here but did know I wanted to be involved and volunteer or be supportive in whatever way presented itself.
I have always had a love for wolves and had met a couple of them in the wild and was fascinated. Even though I live quite a distance from the sanctuary now, I can still hear the pack howl when the wind blows just right, and it is spectacular.
I have come to love the individual animals and their caretakers, who do much more than could ever be described. The entire staff is dedicated and caring, and it is just such an amazing place to be. I hope never to lose the fresh appreciation for the sights and sounds, and never take for granted the unique and wonderful nuances of being around this animal (and human) pack.
Jared Kain-Woods with Quinn
Animal Care Specialist
Rae McCue with Leia
Animal Care Supervisor
Kendra Kain-Woods with Bono
Grant Coordinator/Animal Care Specialist/Animal Care Supervisor In-Training/Resident Professor of Verbosity
Throughout my life, I have held many passions; my brain is insatiably thirsty, and my inquisition has lead me to tread many roads. In 2016, I discovered Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary online through a YouTube video featuring Leyton J. Cougar, and he was discussing his experiences with the rescues of the sanctuary. As he spoke, he not only acknowledged them as sentient wild animals, but celebrated them for it. Appreciating the bluntness of, “Yes, wild animals can bite, but we would never euthanize an animal due to its natural reactions,” and the respect given to the animals, I sought and obtained a temporary volunteer position later that autumn.
Roughly three years later, the opportunity presented itself to become the Grant Coordinator for Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, and I knew this road was mine to take. With the dear support of my newly wed husband, Jared Kain-Woods, we packed up our lives and drove across the country from Massachusetts with our two cats, Orin and Emmi. Life has not been the same, but we are both incredibly grateful to the new Wild Spirit Family and for all of the lessons being thrown our way.
As corny and cliche a statement as it is: I am living the dream right now, and Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary has become a home.
Stephanie Leitch with Princess
Gift Shop Attendant
I came into the sanctuary and applied to be a part of the team without really any knowledge about wild canids nor have any idea of what will work life be working at WSWS. I was given a chance to work at the Gift Shop. Though I am not a part of the animal care department team, I have learnt a lot about wild canids.
The whole team is awesome that I am inspired to go to work everyday to hear the enchanting howls of the wolves, to get random hugs from my workmates and just being around these beautiful humans that makes you feel appreciated has been an amazing experience for me so far. Thank you WSWS! ❤️💚💜
Josh McNitt with Kaya
Guest Services & Human Resources Assistant
Having grown up just down the road from Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary (at the time it was the Candy Kitchen Wolf Rescue), coming to work at Wild Spirit seemed like a no-brainer when I moved back into the area.
After years of working in the Big City leading team, honing my building and maintenance skill set and possessing a comical love for rules, I knew I had a lot to share with Wild Spirit.
Lisa McNitt with Romeo
I was working for a small non-profit in the area when I heard that the sanctuary was looking for a bookkeeper, I interviewed and got the job, and have spent the last 5 and half years bringing light and joy to the office!
Megan Murphy with Jaeger
Social Media and Outreach Coordinator/Animal Care Specialist
I’ve always known I wanted to work with animals, I just could never decide what kind! While in college and trying to figure out what I really wanted to do, I was looking for an internship type opportunity and stumbled across Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. I applied, got accepted and just absolutely fell in love with it here. I spent 3 months volunteering in the Summer of 2015 and after finishing my degree I decided I needed to come back. I am so glad that I happened to apply back then and so grateful to be a part of this amazing team and family.
Jessica Schmidt with Cinder
Administrative Assistant/Animal Care Specialist
I found Wild Spirit on a whim. I was looking for a big change when a friend mentioned this wolf sanctuary in the middle of nowhere. Having always been an animal lover, I jumped at the opportunity. Two years later, I couldn’t imagine my life had I never met these beautiful animals and people.
Tim Waite with Dakota
Multimedia and Outreach Coordinator
In 2016 my wife and I came out with 10 students from our photography education studio near Boston. We fell in love with the sanctuary, the people working here, and the general area. When we returned home, it took a couple of days for us to realize we wanted to live in New Mexico. We returned in 2017 with another group of students, and at the end of 2017 we closed two successful businesses, sold our house, and moved here. In 2018 I started volunteering in Building and Maintenance, and in 2020 I was hired as the Multimedia and Outreach Developer.