Do you have a passion for the ever-growing field of animal husbandry, zookeeping, and animal care? Then we encourage you to apply for our Animal Care Internship!
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is a non-profit facility dedicated to providing exceptional, life-long care to wolves, wolfdogs, and other wild canids in need. We are currently home to over 50 rescues including wolves, wolfdogs, coyotes, New Guinea singing dogs, Australian dingoes, red foxes, and more.
Wild Spirit’s Internship Program was developed and implemented in September of 2020 with the goal of providing interns with the knowledge and skills required to obtain a career in the field of exotic animal care. Interns will be responsible for daily husbandry, diet preparation and feeding, enclosure maintenance, grounds-keeping, operant conditioning, enrichment, assisting with medical needs, and more. Individuals will also participate in hands-on learning opportunities through structured labs each week. Please note: All interns will be required to participate in leading educational tours to the public (COVID-permitting).
Our ideal candidate will have an outstanding work ethic, good communication and conflict-resolution skills, and the ability to strictly follow safety protocols. Being self-motivated and showing initiative while working in a team environment is also important.
Our internship program is offered in 3-month sessions, but arrival and departure dates are flexible, as we are accepting interns year round. When filling out the internship application, you will see the available internship terms and be able to select which you are available to, or would prefer, to participate in.
Please review the contents of this page to learn more about what this Internship entails!
All applicants must be 21 years of age or older. No exceptions.
We do require that interns applying for this opportunity be at least 21 years old. Within the communal areas we apply a strict no drug or alcohol use policy, and due to the liabilities surrounding the sanctuary providing housing, we will not risk the potential for underage drinking with interns younger than 21. Exceptions will not be made.
Accepted Interns complete many physically-demanding tasks on a daily basis. Furthermore, due to the nature of caring for wild animals and working outside in the elements, Animal Care Team members face hazards and potential injury. Please read through the following common tasks to know what will be expected from you as an intern:
- Animal Care team members walk, on average, approximately 20,000 steps a day, and are expected to work 40 hours per week. This includes walking up rocky/hilly terrain while carrying buckets of water, moving dirt for USDA projects, and various other daily activities.
- Animal Care is completed every day regardless of the weather. Animal Care Team members perform regular daily tasks in rain, snow, below freezing temperatures, and the high, dry heat of summer.
- While preparing meals for the rescues, team members lift anywhere between 25 and 85 pounds of meat and other ingredients repeatedly and spend multiple hours bending, squatting, kneeling, twisting, and maneuvering donated meat items.
- The completion of enclosure maintenance to ensure USDA compliance is a must for all interns, and involves moving wheel barrows of dirt, trimming tree branches, cleaning and emptying splash tubs and ponds, filling in holes, etc. These activities take place on a weekly basis, especially during the summer months.
Another requirement for interns is the completion of an independent project that is based on an aspect within the animal welfare/zookeeping field. This independent project is not graded, but is meant as an opportunity for interns to add an additional skill set or project to their resumes that are also beneficial to the mission at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.
Team members will be providing support and direction when needed, but this is a largely independent project. Some examples of projects completed include…
- Creative T-shirt and Sticker designs created using photos of our rescues
- A 4-week in-class curriculum for 4th and 5th grade students; handouts, worksheets, and a video was created.
- Creating holiday “Letters to Santa Paws” written by our 51 ‘rescues’ and sent to over 100+ sponsors.
We encourage and implore our interns to get creative and use an area of interest to base this project off of!
Intern housing is on-site, outside of the sanctuary’s perimeter fence, due to our rural location. Living off-site is extremely difficult during seasons where weather fluctuations are unpredictable, and is not recommended. Even most staff live on site! We offer shared housing in single bedrooms. Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary understands that most people in the industry own pets themselves, but at this time we cannot accommodate pets.
Our housing is limited in quantity, and while you will end up with your own bedroom, spaces such as the kitchen, laundry, bathroom and living space are all communal with other interns. The intern housing will/may include people of all races, genders, sexualities, religions, cultures, and backgrounds.
The housing is a walkable distance from the Sanctuary grounds, and includes three single bedrooms, one master bedroom with a full bathroom attached, and one other full bathroom. All bedrooms have lockable doors. There is WiFi, electricity, running water, and heating/cooling systems, however, during storms and high wind/rain/snow seasons, it’s common for electricity to flicker in and out, or WiFi to become unavailable. Because of this, we don’t recommend relying on our internet for online schooling, but it isn’t an impossible hurdle to overcome, just a potential inconvenience to keep in mind!
Due to the living conditions and harsh environment, our internship is a 3-month position with opportunities for an invitation to stay for 6-months for those whose experiences have been mutually beneficial and would remain mutually beneficial.
3-month to 6-month interns will receive a food stipend of $250 per month. This stipend is paid on the 1st and 16th of every month in $125 increments, with the first payment received prior to arrival at the sanctuary. This is to allow new interns to pick up food and other essentials before they arrive.
While Animal Care will always be a requirement for interns to participate in, we do our best to offer opportunities for your experience with us to include the particular areas of your interest. When you complete the internship application there will be an opportunity to select what areas you would like to gain experience in other than the required Animal Care.
Animal Care interns spend a majority of their time in our Wolf Kitchen where meals are prepared for the rescues. Responsibilities in Wolf Kitchen include handling and sorting through raw meat, including game meat, bones, hides, and skulls during hunting season. When not assigned to Wolf Kitchen responsibilities, Animal Care interns assist with enclosure maintenance, operant conditioning training, enrichment creation and distribution, virtual educational tours, grounds maintenance, and a variety of other activities included in the day-to-day operations of a 501(c)(3) non-profit wolf and wolfdog sanctuary.
We are always looking for interns who are interested in working for the animals without directly caring for them each day. Our Maintenance Department has an ever-growing list of tasks to complete, and they are always in need of individuals who are experienced and possessing relevant skills. Tasks may include anything and everything, whether it be building repairs, property improvements, enclosure maintenance, habitat construction, vehicle repairs, general upkeep, or assisting with other projects, as needed.
As a non-profit and functioning business, we have quite a bit of administrative tasks that happen behind-the-scenes. These tasks include managing our online presence, marketing, guest and donor communications, member services, customer service, Gift Shop management, and educational outreach, to name a few. If you have applicable skills and interests that you would enjoy donating, we’d love to hear from you! There is so much that can be done for our rescues!
Our online presence is a huge part of our success and we’re always excited about new and engaging ways to involve our community of supporters. Whether it be through Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or our Howling Reporter, we’re always looking for those with an interest in the marketing and media aspects of a non-profit organization. If you have an interest in taking photos or making videos, this would be a great opportunity for exploring how that can benefit the sanctuary as a whole.
As a non-profit, most of our financial support comes directly from private donors. In order to engage and show appreciation, we are always looking for those with an interest in the four pillars of donor relations; acknowledgement, stewardship, recognition, and engagement. This looks like animal updates, connecting with interested individuals, and communicating our mission and goals with supporters.
If you’d like to apply for our internship, please fill out the application using the button below.