Corinna Kratz (animal trainer trainee)
June 1st, 2014. A wonderful, sunny spring day, the day my life entered new territory. Why? Well, I actually wanted to use my semester break wisely by completing a 3-month internship at the Wolf Science Center in Ernstbrunn. Unintentionally, I began my personal career at the WSC and I am still thrilled when thinking about it. Two weeks after my arrival, my life changed fundamentally. Three of Layla’s adorable puppies were looking for a new home. I decided to take Zazu, a really cute male dog. For the last 5 years and hopefully many more to come, Zazu is my trusted companion and such a funny guy! All in all, I spent an incredible summer at the WSC. Working with the wolves and dogs as well as having great conversations with the trainers left a deep impression on me. That is why I came back in 2016 to perform my master thesis. Another 8 months which shaped my future decisions intensively. I was able to get to know the animals even better, explored similarities and differences in wolves and dogs in general, but also experienced individual characteristics of them.
Eventually I finished my time at the WSC. What now? Should I continue my scientific career or was there maybe something else I desired? During the several stays in Ernstbrunn, I have learned something new about myself. Science is important and really fascinating, that is why I became a behavioral biologist in the first place. However, what really amazed me was the dedicated work of the trainers with the wolves and dogs. I understood that the precious relationship and mutual trust between trainers and animals actually determine the performance of scientific tests. It can be describes as a highly valuable, invisible bond providing the basis for most of the studies executed at the WSC, medical treatment of the animals and touristic attractions, e.g. leash walks with wolves. The passionate work of the trainers inspired me to become an animal trainer myself. After finishing a secondary education as a dog trainer, I applied for a trainee trainer position at the WSC. And what can I say? Here I am again, proving myself worthy as a wolf and dog trainer. I hope from the bottom of my heart, that the wolves and dogs will accept me as a new member of the trainers. By doing so, I also want to give back something to the WSC, especially its lovely people who welcomed me so nicely every time I returned but also the animals themselves. I am sure, that it is going to be a long and challenging journey but it is definitely worth it! I am so looking forward to working on my relationship with the animals and I am already enjoying every single minute of it.
I simply cannot resist the Wolf Science Center both its wolves and dogs and people. In summary, that is how a young biology student from Germany became the new trainee trainer. I would not describe it as a happy end but a magnificent start into a new adventure! And one thing is for sure; as soon as I heard the wolves howl again, I knew I had a place and I am back home.