Do they pull together?

(02.10.2017, Alexander Dharmarajah)

Photo: Kerstin Kadletz Image 1 of 1 Open lightbox

Since the beginning of my biology studies and especially since I discovered my passion for behavioral genetics, I have always been hoping for working with dogs and wolves. The nature of dogs and their closest relatives has fascinated me from a young age on - even though I never had the luck to call a dog my pack member, due to my living situation. Questions about the evolution of the “men's best friend” and how it came, that two distinct species are bonded so closely have bothered me several times during the past few years. Although other interspecific relationships are known to exist, none is described as complex and deep as the human-dog bond.

I arrived nearly a month ago with some good favor and several lucky occasions at the WSC to conduct my masters. I will be studying the cooperative behavior of dogs and the influence of the oxytocin receptor gene (a bonding hormone) on their performance. As the tests just have started, there are still a few minor problems which have to be addressed - but they should be solved soon. The tests all should be done until the end of February, which still has to be seen if it can be done - I sincerely hope as much!

Daily life at the WSC is more than agreeable! The wolfish kisses alone compensate for any stress experienced. I’m looking forward to a probably straining, but instructive, satisfying and enjoyable half a year!