We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly Schulz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Molly, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The most common question I am asked is why to I decided to start a fox and wolf dog rescue. It seems crazy on first glance to devote your life to caring for animals that you may never be able to hold, pet or cuddle. To some that may sound crazy, but to me, the reward is so much greater! I get to spend every day saving the lives of amazing animals and advocating for those that need a voice. I get to wake up every morning and know that I am making a difference and helping be the change that I want to see. In 2016 my husband and I welcomed our first wolf dog to the family. Although we had read and researched everything we could find, living with a wolf dog was different than reading about it. There were challenges and a lot of learning along the way, but with each challenge we worked through our bond with Maugrim grew stronger. At the time we lived in the suburbs and a rescue wasn’t even a thought. A few years later though we moved out to the country. I am a city girl through and through, so I told my husband I would move to the country if I could get as many animals as I wanted, within reason. With that agreed upon we started talking about turning some of our 20 acre property into a wolf dog sanctuary. It was more of a casual conversation and one that we would always start with, “eventually” or “down the road.” About a year after moving we welcomed our first captive bred fox, Banjo. Banjo was a pet surrender at four years old. He had been through a lot in life and rebuilding his trust in humans was not just rewarding, but hear melting as well. Banjo gave us the fox bug and in June of 2019 we rescued a 4 1/2 week old fox kit from a fur farm, Fiddle. It was Fiddle that took our “one day” conversation and lit a fire under us that we had to do something. Fiddle is a very unique fox. He is always sweet, craves human attention and cuddles, loves going on adventures, car rides and shopping trips and has the kindness most loving soul. To think that an amazing and sweet animal like him was going to be killed and pelted, I couldn’t sit back and do nothing. With the fire lit, we decided to turn “one day” into today and Walking Wild Rescue was born.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I decided to start Walking Wild Rescue, my goal was to be different. I wanted to create a rescue that put the needs of every animal first. I wanted to create a professional non-profit and use my background doing PR and Marketing for a large national non-profit to bring a different level of professionalism into this space. From the beginning we saw that there was a need in the captive bred fox and wolf dog rescue world to provide animals with an environment they could be comfortable in, no matter if they came from; a fur farm, a pet surrender that lived in a house or the end of a chain. In March of this year we were asked to help with a 30 fox seize being carried out by the NY DEC. At that time we had just started talking about building our one-of-a-kind facility and had nothing built yet. My husband and I talked and he agreed to build a few large enclosures so that we could ensure that every fox was able to be rescued. On March 26 we welcomed five foxes from that seize. Well the band-aid was ripped off after that and Walking Wild was born. We are now home to 14 foxes and two wolf dogs. As you know, Walking Wild wasn’t the only thing that happened in March of this year, COVID and a country wide shutdown did as well. Despite the pandemic we have been surrounded by amazing supporters that have continued to pour into us. Because of their support we have begun our Capital Campaign to build our on-of-a-kind facility that will give every animal indoor/outdoor spaces and expansive areas to run and play. Upon completion of this amazing facility it will be the largest captive bred fox rescue in the US, housing over 60 foxes and able to save the lives of over 20 wolf dogs. I am so proud to be able to set a new standard with the facility of how these amazing animals should be cared for. To make it to today hasn’t been easy. To go from 0 to a respected rescue, advocate and resource in my field in just 7 months has required a lot of work, but my secret is thinking outside of the box and never settling for that’s how everyone else does it. To be a leader you have to lead and to make a change you have to be that change. It doesn’t mean that road blocks don’t arise, but how you overcome those disappointments or challenges will drive you to achieve even greater things.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Lots of people hear that you live in a country setting and think, what is there to do? I thought that as well before I moved here. The reality is there is everything to do. The country is filled with peaceful buried gems, local restaurants and plenty of places to soak in the natural beauty, with a Starbucks in hand! We have a local winery and restaurant on Buckeye lake that we love to enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the peaceful lake view, an amazing local pub, Red Oak and pizza kitchen, Elliot’s. And when all is said and done and you need that something sweet, there is Velvet Ice Cream. Of course, nothing is more relaxing than picking apples, peaches, pumpkins or flowers at one of our local orchards while enjoying the rolling hills and sounds of birds.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a special shoutout to a few amazing people. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The first is my husband, David. David has taken my dream and made it his own. He has built enclosures, slept on the floor next to a sick fox so I could get rest, slept outside with foxes during their first thunderstorm, assisted me with every photo shoot, tour and program, proudly sports Walking Wild merchandise every moment he can and celebrates every success and encourages me through every challenge. I would also like to give a shoutout to my parents. My mom and dad have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and continually remind me that I can do anything I put my mind to. There love and support from the time I was born has given me the courage and strength to believe in myself and my dreams.