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You do what? A day in the life of a wolf-care specialist

You do what? A day in the life of a wolf-care specialist


TENINO, Wash. (CIRCA) -- This place is a quite a bit wilder than your neighborhood dog park.

At Wolf Haven International, the staff is tasked with taking care of dozens of wolves and other wild canines. Although much of the job is about staying out of the animals' way.

"We are simply guests in the animal's home, and it's better for wolves to be left alone so that they can live as a wolf," said Kim Young, the haven's communications director.

The wolf sanctuary has rescued and provided a safe haven for over 200 captive-born and displaced wolves over the last three decades.

The mission of the sanctuary, nestled on 82 acres of Washington woodlands, is to conserve and protect wolves and their habitat. Wolf Haven provides not only a sanctuary for wolves but holds educational visits for guests to see the rescued wolves and learn more about them.

Wolf Haven 2
Meeka eats watermelon

Marisa Pushee, an animal care specialist at Wolf Haven, stays busy taking care of the 60 wolves, wolf dogs and coyotes at the sanctuary.

"A typical day starts early. I check in on all the animals to ensure that everyone is doing well," she said. "We feed the wolves a pretty wide variety of meats. We like to give them a lot of different options and we hand assemble meat packs from scraps and a lot of by-products that would otherwise go to waste."

"We also change the straw in the wolf enclosures," Pushee explained. "The wolves each have a deck pen that they are able to use to stay dry during the wet days. We also change water and clean up the wolves' enclosures."

Nash the wolf eating a pumpkin
Nash the wolf eating a pumpkin

The rescue wolves find their way to Wolf Haven from shelters, breeders who have been shut down and occasionally from other rescue facilities. Wolf Haven is constantly operating at capacity, Pushee said.

"Often what happens is people will purchase or adopt wolves or wolf dogs thinking that if they raise them from puppies they're going to grow up and be a good pet, and that's not what happens. Typically those animals reach maturity and those individuals aren't able to handle them, so they surrender them to shelters, which aren't equipped to handle wild animals. So unfortunately most of those animals do end up being euthanized."

"I think doing a job that really matters to a lot of creatures is super important. Working in animal care your daily job tasks are ensuring that these 60 animals have a good life and a good place to live. "
Marisa Pushee, Wolf Haven International animal care specialist

Visit here if you want to schedule a visit to the sanctuary or learn more about the rescue wolves.

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