Ree Merrill – Donor Relations Coordinator, Wolf Connection Host, Program Assistant & Lead of Day
Elena Albanese – Hospitality & Administrative Assistant, Program Assistant & Lead of Day
Julie Avila – Wolf Connection Pack Behavior Assistant & Lead of Day
While working as a receptionist for a veterinary ophthalmologist, Wolf Connection® brought one of the animals in to see the doctor for a scratch he had gotten on his eye. Living up to his nature, Malo attempted to escape from the exam room as I entered and ended up in my lap. He seemed very curious about me and I was interested in him! While the doctor was doing the exam, I asked one of the staff members to tell me about the organization. By the time I had heard about the wolf dog rescues and the programs Wolf Connection® offers to people, I had my hands over my face and was crying. I knew I had to be involved. So I emailed the volunteer coordinator that evening and within a couple weeks, I had gone on my first community hike, and applied to volunteer. Being a part of Wolf Connection® has brought me an immense amount of awareness about myself and the world. Fusing wolf dog and human rehabilitation is the cherry on top of my already sweet life.
Michelle Lima – Wolf Connection Pack Health Assistant
Growing up in NJ exposed me to the changing seasons and abundant wildlife. I followed my curiosity through the mountains and lakes, through the zoos and shelters and to Central and South America. I graduated from UD with a BS in Animal Science and Wildlife Conservation in 2006. After that, while working in a 24 hr emergency animal hospital, I obtained my veterinary technician license. My heart drove me to California in 2013 where I was fortunate to learn wildlife rehabilitation, join VCA West LA’s Department of Zoological Medicine and Surgery, and find my place right here at the Wolf Heart Ranch. Wolf Connection’s own Cate Salansky introduced me to the pack, motivating me to practice my technical skills out in the field. As Assistant of Animal Health, I help maintain their preventive care, diet regimen, medical treatments and activity, always honoring their wild spirits.
Jennifer Thompson – Corporate Development Liaison & Wolf Connection Host
My animal rescue work in Los Angeles, spanning over 15 years, included meeting a dear soul (and rescued wolfdog) named Arrow. After personally knowing a wolfdog and learning about the fate of most wolfdogs in the United States, I was led to the gates of Wolf Connection. Each wolfdog has so much to teach our guests and our volunteers. There is a sacred space that only animals (especially the wolf) can find within humans. I am honored to experience and witness this life changing exchange. When not at Wolf Connection®, I spend my time working with organizations around the globe, helping them to reach their goals through their most valuable asset- their people. I am thrilled that I get to take the lessons of our pack into the corporate world!
Valerie Fresh – Wolf Connection Host, Program Assistant & Lead of Day
Annette Golden – Wolf Connection Assistant
Stephen Rivera – Wolf Connection Assistant
The pack seems to call you in from any distance and always in right timing. 40 miles away I was engaged in a silent howl, launching my own rockets of desire for more depth, more expansion, more inner peace and more connection. A good friend of mine was journeying west for a temporary stay and was looking into visiting WC. I couldn’t turn down the invitation to join him. My first WC experience was a community hike at the ranch. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect from a “Wolf Sanctuary” but i was hopeful it would be a really interesting story if nothing else. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes on the property to recognize that you are in a unique and special space, one with a deep intention. At the arena Teo spoke of future plans for the ranch and ‘potential volunteer’ obligations. When he mentioned training to hike the Wolves (two of my favorite things) i raised my hand like a gitty teenager with genuine excitement and asked “When can i hike some Wolves!?”. Teo laughed and handed me a volunteer application. Little did i know it would be much more than that, it was the response to my silent howl for more connection and presence, exactly what i meant to find. Wolf Connection is a way of being, a way of learning, a way of teaching, a way of sharing, a way of expanding. It’s a sacred space that knows what we really need and calls us home to it the moment we join hands in silence as morning clouds settle over the mountains and Wolves howl each other back into balance. And for that i am forever grateful.
Chris Perry – Resident Photographer
Cutting my teeth as a professional photographer years ago, my main focus was on wild wolves and bears in Alaska and now Yellowstone. Although I photograph most everything, my passion has always been and will continue to be deep in nature. When I was asked to photograph and do some videography of the wolves at Wolf Connection, there was no hesitation as it appeared to be a natural fit.
Natasha Dolgushkin – Online Campus
Natasha has always had a profound connection with animals and finding Wolf Connection® helped in developing her love for wolves. Building relationships with the pack (human and four-legged) has become one of the highlights of her life.
Doris Glassberg – Lead of Day
After receiving an intriguing email from Wolf Creek Restaurant to come meet and take photos with some wolves I just had to go. I met Teo with his “Wolf Truck” and then met Maya, Rocky and Zimba: three stunning wolf dogs who changed my life forever. I began going on the monthly community hikes and eventually became a volunteer a few years ago. I am so honored to be a part of Wolf Connection®. It is a place where you can hear wolves howl, hear a Raven’s wings brush the air, and listen to the wind through the trees.
It is a place where you learn many things and meet people from all walks of life. You can hike by a stream, discover your wild spirit or watch the wolves just be. It is a place of challenges and of healing. I love this place.
Laurie Cousins – Program Assistant
Bio coming soon…
As a child, Anita had always made a connection with animals. Growing up summering on her grandparents farm, she would go out amongst the chickens, cows, pigs and a variety of animals native to South Dakota. The wolves and bison of the Black Hills seemed to call to her and, throughout her life, working with animals became her passion. She graduated from the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark College in 2005, and from there has worked with a wide variety of exotic animals. She brings her knowledge and passion to Wolf Connection where she is helping to expand the positive experiences of the wolves and guests, allowing the healing of both the mind and spirit.
My husband Dave and I have been wolf advocates in Alaska for years so when we arrived in Acton and heard the distant howling of a wolf-pack we knew we had to find them. After searching, we found Wolf Connection® and have been there ever since.
Not a day goes by that we don’t count our blessings for being able to work with these amazing animals, care for them and learn from them.
It is wonderful to be a part of the pack (both human and wolf!)
A medically retired Marine. I came to Wolf Connection for my love of animals, especially wolves. Being at Wolf Connection® gives me the opportunity to help both the animals I work with as well as the clients we serve. I am also lucky enough to get to help educate people about both wolves and wolf dogs.
I had been looking at rescues and shelters to volunteer with, but none of them seemed to be right. In the summer of 2010, a news story came on about a fire that had broken out and mentioned that the wolves were okay. Since I had been a wolf lover for years, I immediately went to the Wolf Connection® website to check them out and found they had a volunteer program. I went to the next training and knew this was the right place to be. Taking care of the pack in their forever home makes me happy.
I first heard of Wolf Connection® in the Antelope Valley Press. After reviewing the phenomenal website more than a few times and learning so much from that source in itself, I signed up for the Community Walk in June. I was extremely touched by experiencing the wolfdogs close up and hearing each of their stories and quickly realized I would like to be a part of their lives. After hearing “the group” howl that same day I believe they were telling me they agreed!
The overwhelming added bonus in volunteering is becoming a part of such a dynamic, positive, and influential organization. Wolfdogs, youth, adults, and community outreach, nature, the environment … WOW! I am amazed at the diversity of what is offered at Wolf Connection® and the warmth, kindness, and caring so apparent. To be part of the “good things in life” gladdens my heart indeed.
A past docent at the Los Angeles Zoo I was honored to be in the position to teach about, and in some cases, introduce others to the animal kingdom. I enjoyed my time there and look forward to that feeling and experience again this time for the wolfdogs!
I am very appreciative to Wolf Connection® for allowing me the opportunity “to give and to receive” and to learn from the staff, volunteers, and the wonderful wolfdogs!
I have always loved wolves, and animals in general. Since being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, I have immersed myself in solitary pursuits and have missed working for a greater cause. However, as a full time Physics Major, I felt I had barely enough time for myself, let alone others. One special Halloween hike introduced me to the Wolf Connection®. Something about the place drew me in instantly and I somehow knew I was about to make time to be amongst the wolves and the people who worked with them. Volunteering at the Wolf Connection® fulfills my need to serve, and enriches my life in a very deeply spiritual way. I am so grateful to help these amazing animals in any way I can, and I am so proud of what this organization stands for!
The way I stumbled upon Wolf Connection® was timed so perfectly it had to be some sort of kismet. Having recently decided upon a career as a veterinarian and embarking on my educational journey, a friend asked if I would like to accompany her to a wolf/wolfdog rescue. After visiting the compound, I felt like I had just been “home”. It wasn’t a place or home I had been to before; nevertheless, the scenery, wolves and people all had the markings and feeling of it. The experiences I have had at Wolf Connection® are unparalleled to anything in my life before, including meeting my best friend Neo (wolfdog) at the ranch! I have grown in areas I had previously believed were lifeless, I have watched others grow (both two, three and four legged), and I get to serve in something greater than myself. I am grateful every day for my time at Wolf Connection® and I hope that I can continue my own education and to educate people about wolves and wolfdogs wherever I go.
I was struggling to cope with the death of my close friend when I heard about Wolf Connection®. I met Teo shortly after and he told me to come visit and “talk to the wolves”. I had no idea the power of these animals. Just being in their presence helped me begin to heal. But Wolf Connection® is not just about the animals — the human pack has also provided me with support, knowledge and wisdom that has changed my life in many ways. I’m currently a grad student studying psychotherapy, and I was beyond impressed with the Wolf Connection’s® dedication to helping youth. Whether you’re pulling weeds in 100 degree heat, hiking with your favorite Wolf, or bonding with the other volunteers, every moment is equally as challenging, fulfilling and joyful as the next and it keeps me coming back for more. I am eternally grateful to every animal and human dedicated to making the Wolf Connection® what it is today.