Animal Hero of the Month: Janice Wolf

Meet our April 2013 animal hero of the month: Janice Wolf of Rocky Ridge Refuge. Find out what makes her so deserving of this award.

The April 2013 winner of our Animal Hero of the Month award is Janice Wolf of Rocky Ridge Refuge, in northern Arkansas.

Janice said she had always dreamed of being surrounded by animals while offering hope and healing to them and others. She is living that dream at her refuge, taking in special needs, unwanted or displaced animals.

Some of them continue on to new homes when healed, while others remain as permanent residents. The refuge isn’t limited to cats and dogs; Janice has quite the cast of characters (we’ll explain more later).

The Nomination

We received numerous heartfelt nominations for Janice and her refuge. The nomination that stood out the most was sent in by Susan Jakubowski:

“Janice works tirelessly day after day to help any animal that needs help, not just dogs and cats. She has helped goats, horses, donkeys, tortoises, ducks, deer, skunks, cockatoos, heron, pigs, llama, sheep and even a capybara. She works wonders with injured, sick, tumor-ridden, starving, mange-laden, elderly and abused animals from all over the country.… She has a healing touch for all, and once they are healed and healthy, she re-homes them. If they can’t be re-homed, they stay at her refuge.”


Here’s what all of our Animal Hero of the Month award winners get:

Winners will receive a Animal Hero of the Month medal.
Winners will receive the Animal Hero of the Month medal, a $50 cash prize and a $50 gift card.
  • A feature article like this one
  • Social media mentions across all of our platforms
  • A permanent spot on the list of winners
  • Our custom, engraved gold-tone paw print medal with ribbon shipped to the winner
  • $50 cash award from Pets Adviser
  • A $50 gift card to Pet Food Direct

That last prize is brand-new this month, courtesy of our friends at Pet360. Pet Food Direct offers 148 brands of pet food along with supplies, toys and treats, so this gift card is sure to help our animal heroes such as Janice continue to provide for the animals they help.

“We’re proud to partner with Pets Adviser to honor the unsung heroes of animal welfare,” says Nicolas Chereque, VP of Partner Development and Operations for Pet360. “Countless people dedicate their lives to improve the lives of animals, and we’re happy to recognize and support their work.”

We are thrilled to have the support of Pet360 for our animal hero program! If your company would like to join as an award sponsor too, look for information below this article.

About Janice’s Organization

Resident supermodel Butterbean the bull terrier. By: Janice Wolf
Resident supermodel Butterbean the bull terrier. By: Janice Wolf

The more I learned about Janice’s refuge, the more an image started to form. Do you remember scenes from Snow White where various woodland creatures appeared, and everyone sang and swayed in harmony regardless of species, as in this clip?

Looking through Janice’s pictures reminds me of that scene. Despite the wildly different species at her refuge, they all seem to get along and enjoy being around one another.

While it sounds idyllic, I’m sure Janice has had her share of oozing wounds to clean, poop to pick up, nasty mange baths to give and the occasional scuffle to break up. She has 50 to 60 animals that call her refuge home at any given time. Some of the residents include Cheesecake the capybara, Butterbean the bull terrier (a fan favorite for being so photogenic), Crouton the turtle and Bazinga the mini colt.

Lurch lived from 1995-2010 and still holds the record for widest horn circumference on a steer. By: Janice Wolf
Lurch lived from 1995 to 2010 and still holds the record for widest horn circumference on a steer. By: Janice Wolf

The refuge is also home to a Guinness world record holder: Rocky Ridge Refuge became home to an African watusi steer named Lurch. Lurch grew up and got bigger, and so did the horns. The horns grew so large that they were recorded as producing the largest horn circumference of any steer in the world, a record Lurch still holds, even though he died from cancer in 2010. Lurch still holds a special place in Janice’s heart and will forever be a part of her mission to help any animal she can.

Janice heals physical wounds and health conditions in the animals she treats, but there is something more than just medicine and wound dressing involved. As one of her Facebook fans described, she heals “not only their bodies, but some part of their souls that most people can’t quite touch, no matter how much they adore animals. And they seem so grounded and at peace.” Indeed they do, and long may that continue.

Q&A With Janice Wolf

Janice, what got you started helping animals?

I have been drawn to animals always and also to helping the less fortunate, whether human or animal.

What’s your earliest childhood memory that is animal-related?

My earliest memory is when I rescued an injured pelican from the beach where I lived in Florida. I was not yet 3 years old!

How old were you when you got your first animal?

My family was military and not big animal lovers, so I wasn’t allowed to have a pet as a young child. I secretly stashed little critters in my “forts” in the woods!

What is your favorite animal?

That is too hard! Dogs, bovines of all kinds, donkeys — these would be on the main list for sure!

Cheesecake the capybara cuddles with the puppies. By: Janice Wolf
Cheesecake the capybara cuddles with the puppies. By: Janice Wolf

Tell us about the one animal you will never forget.

There are many I will never forget, but I guess Lurch, my watusi, is one no one will ever forget if they ever met or saw him. He held the Guinness World Record for the largest horn circumference on an animal. He was incredible and very sweet, and thousands of people from all over the world found their way to my little place to see him.

What are the least and highest amounts of pets you have had at one time?

The highest amount of animals is around 60. I try to keep it down to around 40 now as I get older.

If your pets could talk, what would they say?

If they could talk, I would hope they would say that they know I do the best I can and forgive my failings.

If you could solve one problem facing animals, what would it be?

If the one problem of so many people just not having enough empathy and understanding for other creatures would be solved, all the other issues would be fixed.

If you could be reincarnated as any animal, which would you choose and why?

If I were reincarnated, I would probably be an Anatolian shepherd, one of the breeds I love and rescue. They are independent, self-contained, loyal, self-sacrificing, tough, and by nature protective of other animals, so much like me.

If the rainbow bridge exists, which pet would you most like to see waiting for you on the other side?

I can’t say who I would most want to see; there are so many. I expect I will first spot Lurch, since he would be hard to miss! And just as here on earth, the other animals would be gathered all around him.

The video below shows some of the many animals that have graced Rocky Ridge Refuge or call it home:

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We need your nomination! If you would like to nominate someone to be Pets Adviser’s next Animal Hero of the Month, details are available here.

Help us make this award even more special. If you or your company is interested in sponsoring our Animal Hero of the Month award or adding prizes, contact us at [email protected]

  • Learn more about how Pets Adviser is working to help make a difference: How We Help.
  • Check out our Q&A with our previous Animal Hero, John Bartlett.

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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