by Brennan Stoelb, Animal Care Specialist/Wolf Haven International
So You Think You Want to Work with Wolves
First off, why would someone want to work in animal care? Usually people will say that it’s because they love wolves, which I believe, (as someone who has been fascinated with wolves for as long as I can remember), is a totally valid reason! However, I think there is a misconception about what the job entails. Often, after telling someone I work at Wolf Haven and in the Animal Care department, the question “so you get to play with wolves all day, huh?” is asked.
The answer is No. Neither I, nor any member of Wolf Haven’s staff plays with wolves all,
part, or even some of the day. Wolf Haven actually takes a more “hands off” approach when managing the resident wolves. Animal Care staff goes into enclosures rather infrequently. When an enclosure is in need of repair or routine maintenance, two or more people will enter it while someone keeps an eye on the animals at all times. The ideal system would allow the wolves to move to a vacant enclosure, completely sealed off from the one we are entering. Wolf Haven is currently very close to having this system in the lower portion of the sanctuary! So as you can see, as far as caretaker/resident interaction, there really isn’t much.
I stand 6’3,” so I can be an intimidating individual to some of our shyer wolves. Out of the 51 animals at Wolf Haven, four present for scratches at the fence, a behavior that we indulge only if the animal wants that interaction. The rest want their food tossed in a timely manner and that’s about it. For a feeling of love and acceptance, I go home to my dogs….and some days my fiancé. (to be continued…)
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