What It's Like to Work With Wolves (part 2 of a 5-part series)

Brennan Stoelb, Animal Care Specialist/Wolf Haven International

Working with Weather

A volunteer (Ron Bond) "enjoys" pulling Scotch broom in the rain.

A Wolf Haven volunteer (Ron Bond) “enjoys” pulling Scotch broom in the rain.

The weather can make daily work life challenging. Since it is the Pacific Northwest, rain is not surprising, so be prepared to be wet. As I write this blog entry, my pants, flannel shirt, and undershirt are soaked from pressure-washing log feeders (carved logs that we put

Oak feeder for dry kibble - standard diet for our Species Survival Plan wolves

Oak feeder for dry kibble – standard diet for our Species Survival Plan wolves

kibble in for our Species Survival animals, the red wolves and Mexican gray wolves).

The howling wind doesn’t help either. When the wind gets to blowing at 30 knots, Wolf Haven closes the sanctuary, not only for visits but for staff as well. We do this for a couple of reasons. First off, we have trees in enclosures and the limbs can break off and fall into enclosures

Downed branches "decorate" Eve's enclosure following storm.

Downed branches “decorate” Eve’s enclosure following storm.

or come flying towards an unsuspecting visit group. Secondly, blowing wind with swaying branches can be a source of stress for the wolves and we don’t want to add to a stressful situation. A visit can come back at another time. Whatever the task, it can wait.

Ladyhawk enjoying a shrimpsicle on a hot summer day.

Ladyhawk enjoying a shrimpsicle on a hot summer day.

This summer we also had some very hot weeks. As much as we like to bask in the sun when it’s around, we limit our time in the sanctuary during the heat spells. Just as during high winds, we don’t want to stress animals out and cause them to run. Running and heat don’t mix for humans, or animals. On an afternoon in the summer, it’s probably not the best time to see wolves anyway. They are lying in the tall grass, under a shady branch, just as they should be.

Word of advice, come in the cool of the morning! (to be continued)

next up: Working “with” Other Creatures