Caroline Ritter

Trainer assistant
University University of Vienna
With us since April 2011
Favourite animal at the WSC All, Kenai, Maisha, Meru

My name is Caroline Ritter, I am from Germany and I visited the WSC for the first time in April 2011. At the moment I work together with the trainers and help them, whereeveer I can. Part of my duties are walks with Kenai and the puppies, independent training and working in direct contact with the dogs, training at the fence with the other wolves, assistance in working with direct  wolf-contact, occasionally support in the touristic arey and a lot of more things. In addition I could make the wonderful experience of raising the little wolf puppies.

in the course of time the number of tasks and the possibility to collaborate at the WSC extended continuously. And I think this isfor me the most appreciated fact at the WSC. Neverwhere I could have learnt that much in such a short time, could have made such incredible experiences and could have gone to my limits. In particular it is unbelievable and thrilling to see, how the animals are working and how they forge a strong relationship with us humans.

In the last year Kenai thereby grew dear to my heart, for he was the first wolf I was allowed to work in direct contact. He is merely wonderful.  Maisha and Meru are the coolest dogs - attentive, mad and cuddly.  Each one here has simply his own character.

But back to the beginning. I arrived at the WSC as trainee. I just had finished my  bachelor in biology at the Martin-Luther-University in Halle/ Germany and thought "just get outta town". At surfing in the internet I quickly made a find, sent my application to the WSC and only a few later the journey started and I took up my 4-month internship. Fortunately I got the possibility to contribute to the very intersting project about the tolerance behaviour in dogs and wolves and to extend my knowledge. Thus I testet, coded, analysed and presented during these months. Then I was asked in winter, whether I would like to come again. Of course I didn't have to think very long about my answer and travelled back directly. From December to February I then worked as training assistant. This was the most important time for me, for I could work very close together with trainers and animals. During this time I have learnt incredibly much and came to know better man as well as animal.

At the end of this internship I said farewell, I packed my bags and then it should go back to germany. In my thoughts being already back at home in Halle I unexpectedly was asked, whether I would like further to work at the WSC. Since I had decided to realize my masters degree (Behaviour-, Neuro- and Cognitive Biology/ Ecology of wild animals) in Vienna it was clear in a second, that I would stay at the WSC furthermore. Thus I started as a trainee and now I collaborate with the trainers and the animals. Of course, It is a gorgeous experienc for me as biologist and "animal-mad"  to work with these stunning animals. Thereby I refer to dog and wolf.

And I'm also very glad hat I quasi have managed the leap from hamster to wolf. I was always sure, that I want to use my biology-animal-study for the co-working in the research of large mammals. Thereby I'm interested the most in the social structures and the possibilities of communication within the species and between them. I wrote my bachelor thesis on the chronobiology in rat-like hamster and thereby could improve my methodical skills. Now I'm looking forward to write my masters' thesis about a larger mammal - perhaps about the wolves.