Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

Student Of The Month

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December Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– December 2014

Kimberly Hardy

Kimberly Hardy

Kimberly Hardy has worked very hard to be where she is. She has done extremely well in the Grooming Instruction Program. Kimberly also worked very hard in her externship at Divine Doggies located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is not only a student, but also a part-time groomer and a strong supporter of animal-rescue organizations.

  • What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

I wanted to work with animals all my life. I was interested in going into the medical side of the animal industry so I took an animal science course. I volunteered at Pawsitive Match, a rescue organization in Calgary, which I found while looking for a reputable rescue to adopt a new furry family member from. At Pawsitive Match, I walk the dogs, give them flea medication and put in the microchips. With the microchipping, I realized how emotionally challenging the medical side of the animal industry could be. While doing the bathing and brushing at Pawsitive Match and seeing the dogs so happy to have attention and relief, I decided grooming would be a better match for me.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

When I started grooming, I was really afraid of cutting and injuring a dog. The worst part was knowing how upset the clients would be that I hurt their babies. These animals we work with are so much more that just pets. They are family members. I would hate for the clients to be upset. I overcame this fear with a lot of practice and with the guidance and support of my mentors Charisma and Charlotte at Divine Doggies. With grooming, there is always a chance an animal could get hurt so you need to be confident in your abilities, listen to the advice and constructive criticism of those more experienced around you, and groom safely.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

The most rewarding thing was realizing that I’m the “tail person” at the shop. If anyone needs a tail done, I am the groomer they come to. Charlotte and Charisma told me I do the “prettiest tails” in the shop. I am not even sure what I do differently, but it looks good. Clients are noticing it now too.

  • What one thing stands out for you in terms of knowledge and/or skills acquired from the program?

I have learned that each and every salon and groomer you meet does things differently. For example, I used to work at a different salon before starting with ABC and that shop hand-dried dogs. At Divine Doggies, they kennel-dry them. The ABC curriculum discusses the pros and cons of both methods so it was really interesting to see and experience these differences in person.

  • Have you started working professionally as a groomer yet? If yes, where? And are you working full- or part-time?

I have started working as a part-time groomer at Divine Doggies. I also started my own business out of my home in my small town. I am excited to continue learning under my mentors. I eventually would like to be able to build my skills so I can successfully groom a Westie without any help.

December – Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
December 2014

Deborah White

Deborah White

Deborah White currently lives in Joppatowne, Maryland, with her daughter, 10 cats and a dog. She works for Blue Buffalo Pet Food Company. In her spare time, Deborah does some pet sitting and dog walking.

  • What prompted you to become a veterinary assistant?

After too many years of sitting in an office, being very bored and feeling like I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do, I quit my job of almost 28 years and decided to do something that made me happy instead of doing what I was expected to do.

  • Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

I was out on medical leave last year and had a lot of time to do some soul searching. A dear friend of mine I used to sing with asked me if I could do anything I wanted to and money was no object, what would I want to do? I thought about it and said I wasn’t exactly sure, but knew it would have something to do with animals because that is when I’m truly happy.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

Everyday that I walked into my externship location was rewarding because I had an opportunity to work with some of the most dedicated, caring and compassionate people I’ve ever met. One of the most rewarding aspects involves a little kitten I’ve been fostering. He came into the clinic at about 2- to 3-days-old. He was in pretty rough shape and the doctor wasn’t sure he’d make it. She took him home over the weekend and cared for him. Then, when she brought him back the following Monday and I cat-napped him, he’s been with me ever since. I’ve got him weaned and using the litter box and he will go to his new daddy in a couple of weeks. He’s a beautiful boy.

I saw an advertisement online and decided to give them a call. I wound up talking with Marla. She was delightful and very positive and encouraging.

  • What has your experience been like in the vet assistant program?

I’ve had a very positive experience. I like the flexibility of being able to study at my own convenience while doing all of the other necessary things in my life. All of the staff I’ve had contact with has been very helpful and encouraging.

  • What are your future career plans?

My goal is to move to Kanab, Utah, to work for Best Friends Animal Society. I am inspired by the work they do and they are part of the reason I decided to become a veterinary assistant. I know it’s a position that can be widely utilized in a rescue. I volunteer locally with a couple of rescue organizations and would love to pursue further that career path. I also see myself continuing my education with the goal of becoming an RVT.

December 2014 – ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA

ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – December 2014

James Blanchard

James Blanchard

James and his four dogs: Hendrix, the big Lab mix; Khloe, the medium Pit Bull mix; Harlow, the small Terrier Shih Tzu mix; and Bambi, the Chihuahua.

Recent ABC Graduate James Blanchard of Green Valley, California, just started his own dog training company called Caring Canine Commands. He trains part-time on the weekends while still working full-time during the week. He found out about ABC’s Dog Obedience Program from the Internet and he also knows an ABC graduate. The program’s biggest draw for James was the flexibility of the distance-learning component, which allowed him to schedule it around his existing job. James doesn’t accept failure and said he will do everything he can to get the job done. If it involves extra training time, different training techniques or doggie day camp, he will make sure that clients are satisfied and the dogs succeed.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

Since I am a quiet person and a bit introverted, talking in front of a group of people I don’t know was the hardest part. I overcame it by knowing my material and practicing what I would say ahead of time and just made myself do it. It got easier the more I did it.

  • What was your most rewarding moment during your externship?

The most rewarding part was seeing the puppies obey their owners and enjoy it just as much as their owners were. I love helping people and their dogs succeed together.

  • Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan to continue your volunteer work?

I can’t describe just one story. It just makes me sad knowing how many dogs are out there that need a home. I will definitely continue to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society in Mission Hills, California, and the Brittany Foundation in Acton, California. I’m currently taking the ABC Grooming Program as well so I will volunteer at both places to help keep the dogs looking and acting as good as possible to get them a forever home.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?

I’ve had a very positive experience. The things I have learned have really helped me to train my own dogs during the program. Since I have graduated, I’m seeing a lot of clients succeed with ABC’s training methods. I love the fact that you can be positive and still get awesome results from the dogs you are training.

  • What are your plans for dog training? Do you want to specialize in a particular type of training or in training a particular breed of dog?

In the future, I want to work in all fields of dog training. I want to learn how to train therapy and search-and-rescue dogs. I also want to study dog behavior so I can help cure dogs of aggression, separation anxiety and PTSD. Basically, I want to be a dog guru.

November 2014 – ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA

ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – November 2014

Claudia Brooks

Dog Obedience Program Student of the Month

Claudia Brooks knew a long time before enrolling at Animal Behavior College that she wanted to work with animals. She grew up in a household that raised all sorts of animals, including dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, birds, cattle and fish. Growing up in such a manner provided her with some unique experiences. Claudia helped her father maintain 35 tropical aquariums, in which they raised fish for the local shop. She raised countless kittens and puppies, and even helped birth a breached calf. While Claudia loves working with animals of all kinds, dogs are her favorite. As she explained, “They have been the best teachers I have ever had. They have taught me patience, kindness, forgiveness, perseverance, tolerance, how to handle stress, and unconditional love. Though I have had a number of jobs in my life, working with dogs is my passion.” Claudia’s passion for working with dogs eventually led her to enroll with Animal Behavior College where she graduated with honors and was hired by her Mentor Trainer, Kelly Legaretta of Healing Pawsabilities.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

There are several. Working with the shelter dogs at Gulf Coast Humane Society, and seeing them adopted is definitely near the top. Watching shy and fearful dogs become much more confident would be another. However, the most rewarding moments are when you see the relationship between the owner and her dog change from one of frustration to one of mutual respect.

  • Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work? If yes, how/where?

The one pet story that touched me the most would be Rosie. She was a purebred Rottweiler who came in with some other dogs, and was afraid of everyone. She was difficult to get close to and almost impossible to touch. One day when I got to the shelter, I went into her kennel, which was divided down the middle with partial concrete wall and cutout door. When I opened the door, she dashed to the other side and wouldn’t come out. It took me nearly 20 minutes of just sitting on the floor, tossing her treats and kibble, letting her get closer and closer, until she finally came up to me. She was still scared, but every time I went back I did the same thing and she gradually got better. I found out one of the other volunteers was also working with her and she was adopted in just a couple of months.

I plan to start back with my volunteer work at the shelter in January once I am no longer working at my current job. I found out recently that Gulf Coast Humane Society is building a new shelter very close to my house and I plan to volunteer again with them. At one of the GCHS fundraisers, I met two members of the Lee County Sheriff’s Department who work at the Cell Dogs program, a joint program with their department and GCHS. I have been asked to work with the Cell Dog program starting in January and I can’t wait for that.

  • How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

Once when I was taking classes with Kelly Legaretta, she had three ABC students doing their externship. I spoke with them and really liked what they told me about the program. Kelly was (and still is) a great mentor/teacher so I couldn’t have asked for a better program.

  • Which dog breed best describes you and why?

I am a cross between a Labrador and a Border Collie. I have the energy of a Border Collie but the temperament of a Lab.

November – Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
November 2014

Jessica Boychuck

Veterinary Assistant Program Student of the Month

Jessica Boychuck lives in South River, New Jersey, and has three dogs, a cat and a fish. At first, she wanted to major in criminal justice. However, after rescuing a couple of stray kittens from the street, Jessica realized her true calling was to work with and help animals. Caring for the stray kittens is what helped her decide to enroll at Animal Behavior College.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was when I was working in the treatment area. It was a normal morning, prepping up everything for the day, which included a mass removal surgery. The dog was a 9-year-old golden retriever-lab mix. When she came in, we saw that her mass was bigger than we thought. We had to bandage it because it was hitting the floor and it was bleeding a little bit. We gave her pre-surgery meds and put her in a big cage in a room to calm her down and for her to sleep. [A bit later,] we walked passed by the room to check on the dog and there was blood everywhere. We rushed her to the table, put her under anesthesia and cleaned up the mass (she had bitten the mass while she was in her cage). The dog kept waking up because she was holding her breath so the anesthesia wasn’t going through. They told me to squeeze the bag every 10 to 15 seconds while the tech was monitoring her vital signs. Finally, after half an hour later, she was breathing on her own. She pulled through the surgery and was good to go home. I overcame it by staying calm and listening to [the veterinarian and vet tech’s] directions.

  • Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.

A funny moment was when I was in boarding. When we take the dogs out for a walk to go to the bathroom, we take families out at the same time. There were these two dogs, one dog was doing its business and the other one came and peed on his head. When I saw that, I started to laugh and it made my day.

I heard about the ABC program on television.

  • If you could work with any exotic animal, what would it be and why?

I don’t have a favorite exotic animal. I would like to work with every type of animal.

November – Grooming Instruction Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
November 2014

Amanda Loren

Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month

Amanda Loren, who lives in Clyde, New York, has always been an animal lover. At first, she wanted to be a veterinarian, but Amanda quickly learned she didn’t have the stomach for it. Instead, Amanda chose ABC’s Grooming Instruction Program to help her achieve her goal of working with animals. Amanda is currently working nights at Wal-Mart in order to pursue her animal career during the day.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was scissoring around the face, especially the eyes, because I was so nervous that I would injure an animal. Practicing with my mentor helped me build the confidence I needed. I still practice often to help me overcome my fears.

  • Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.

My mentor loved to sing to and dance with the dogs as she was grooming them. I was able to learn a lot about reading the dogs. It was a lot of fun to watch her interact with the animals.

  • How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

I Googled pet grooming schools and Animal Behavior College was the first one on the list. When I was browsing through the website, it seemed perfect. When I called, the woman I spoke with really helped me and convinced me to try the program.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?

My experience with ABC had been great. I was sent emails regularly to check [on my progress] and whenever I had questions, I knew that help was just a phone call or email away. I would definitely recommend the program.

  • If you could style a dog or cat after any celebrity, who would it be and why?

If I had to choose a famous person to style my cat after, I would say King Henry [VIII] because my cat is very fat and royal looking. That is actually where my cat, Henry, got his name from.

October – Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
October 2014

Elizabeth Alonso

Veterinary Assistant Program Student of the Month is Elizabeth Alonso

Elizabeth Alonso, who lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, is a very motivated student who has dedicated herself completely to the program and her studies. Elizabeth did her externship at St. Bethlehem Animal Clinic and, shortly thereafter, she applied and got hired to work full-time at Murphy Road Animal Hospital. From there, Elizabeth plans to continue her education and become a Registered Veterinary Technician.

  • What prompted you to become a veterinary assistant? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

My husband, who is in the military, and I were moving from Georgia to Tennessee, and I decided it was time for a career change. I went from human medicine, working at a neurology clinic for almost 10 years, to a Patient Services Coordinator to veterinary medicine. My husband and I are huge animal lovers, and I’ve always said if there were circumstances where I could change careers, I would take it. Fortunately, I’ve had the support of my husband during this transition.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was dealing with my emotions during a euthanasia process. Regardless, the veterinarians were all very supportive. They allowed me to show my emotions, which was actually very helpful for the owners during their last moments with their pets.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

My most rewarding moment was having my first parvovirus patient make a full recovery. She came in very sick and was hospitalized for about eight days. I had to hand-feed her for five of those days. I found out she was released the day after I completed my externship.

  • Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.

A humorous moment occurred when dealing with a very unhappy feline. She just did not want to go in the kennel for boarding. The technician I was assisting finally got her in the kennel and the feline gave her a nice love tap to let her know she was not happy. Luckily, no one was injured with her paw taps because she was de-clawed.

  • How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

I found ABC by researching online for a Certified Veterinary Assistant program. I wanted the certification because my husband is in the military. We have a tendency to move around frequently. Since we will be moving to another state again at some point, I wanted a foundation to build on. This is a career I can take with me to any state I move to.

October 2014 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

ABC
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
October 2014

Tracy Hamilton

Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student of the Month is Tracy Hamilton

Animal Behavior College’s soon-to-be graduate Tracy Hamilton lives in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada, on Vancouver Island. She trains part-time at Cedar Ridge Canine while working at Little Rascals Pets and Supplies in Ladysmith, British Columbia. Tracy said her plate is pretty full, but that doesn’t stop her from hiking. “Don’t worry. I still manage to get in a good hike each week with a few fellow dog lovers,” she said. Tracy has wanted to work with animals her whole life. As a youngster, she wanted to be a marine biologist, but when she realized she wasn’t that good at science, Tracy went back to the drawing board. After researching on the Internet, she came across Animal Behavior College and the rest “is history.”

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

I think one of my most rewarding moments was when I finally realized how confident I was when it came to instructing classes. I always knew how good I was with dogs, but didn’t fully realize until I worked the kennels in the SPCA for a while.

  • Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.

During my volunteer hours, I had the joy of working with a Cane Corso that didn’t do well around strangers. She was a very large dog and quick to react. My most memorable moment was when I came in to work with her. We had been working a lot on no jumping up, as she was a big girl. She would run at me then do a sliding stop on her back so I could rub her belly. Nothing but dust, jowls and slobber; she was so thrilled to see me. I plan on continuing to volunteer in the future.

  • What are your plans for dog training? Do you want to specialize in a particular type of training?

I feel like I have a good connection with dogs that tend to have a more difficult time in life. My largest goal in life is to run a rescue/rehab center. I would love to continue my career working with the more difficult breeds and can really see myself doing well with aggressive dogs.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?

I have really enjoyed my whole experience with Animal Behavior College from the knowledge in the book material to the staff that has really helped to keep me on track as much as possible, understanding life tends to get in the way, to the great Mentor Trainer they found for me. I would fully recommend ABC to anyone considering getting their dog training certification.

  • Which dog breed best describes you and why?

I am like a Border Collie. I will work myself crazy to be sure everyone is happy. I don’t think I could have done this program without any of the people I have worked with in the past year. They have really made this much easier on me than it could have been.

 

October 2014 – ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA

ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – October 2014

Chelsi Woolwine

Dog Obedience Training Student of the Month is Chelsi Woolwine

Recent ABC graduate, Chelsi Woolwine currently lives in Ojai, California. As a child, Chelsi always knew she wanted to work with animals. In her neighborhood one day, there was a little dog running around that no one else could catch. Her neighbors came and asked for her help. As soon as she got down on the ground with a leash and treats, the little dog came running over to her—no one could believe his eyes. Chelsi said that was her “this is what I need to do with my life” moment. She heard about Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Program from the Educational Director at a shelter in Colorado who also attended ABC’s program and told Chelsi to go for it, as it was a great starting point for her career.

  • Are you currently employed in another field? If yes, what do you do?

I’m currently employed at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation working as a Program Assistant. I do get to train with the dogs, but I mostly work with bringing new dogs into our program and getting to follow them throughout their lives.

  • Was dog training your first career choice? If not, what was it?

Dog training was not my first choice as a career. I was set on being a veterinary technician until we had to put my corgi/chow down and it absolutely broke my heart. Becoming a vet tech is still something I would love to do so I can further my career.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

My most rewarding moment was when it clicked for one of the students in our class. They finally understood how to get their dog to do the specific behavior that my amazing Mentor Trainer, Genie Tuttle, had been working on with them. It’s easier to tell someone else how to teach a behavior since you are seeing it firsthand and can correct it right away.

  • Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.

During my volunteer hours, there was a dog that stole my heart, Rusty, a six- to seven-year-old Shar Pei that had been at the shelter for more than a year. He was often passed up because he always sat in the back of the kennel and didn’t visit with the people walking by. After working on his walking skills and socializing him, he finally got an amazing home and I see him often around Ojai.

  • What will be the secret to your success in the pet industry as a dog trainer?

The secret of the dog training pet industry is to be a sponge. Take in every opportunity you can and learn as much as possible. You can never have too much knowledge because no two situations are the same.

October – Grooming Instruction Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
October 2014

Krysta Ringler

Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month is Krysta Ringler

Krysta Ringler lives at the Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. She works at Prometric where her full-time title is that of a Test Center Administrator. Her job is to proctor exams, such as the GRE, MCAT and the USA MLE. Although she is currently not working as a groomer, she loves animals and plans on beginning her own mobile business in the next year or two.

  • What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

Prior to being introduced to pet grooming, I was a bather. I enjoyed the grooming aspect of the position and got asked, one day, if I wanted to learn how to groom. I fell in love. Grooming sort of fell into my lap and I have loved it ever since. Not long after being offered to be taught how to groom, I got married to a guy in the military and found out they were going to cover my education.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

The most rewarding moment was when I got the opportunity to groom a very matted Shih Tzu. He was very sweet and needed to be shaved down. Since this dog was so lovable and the owner had intentions on taking it to a shelter, I ended up taking him home and naming him Ollie.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?

I sincerely loved my experience in the Grooming Instruction Program. I liked that the first part of the course work is all background information. This way, I could find out the “why.” I am the kind of learner who needs to know the method and reasoning behind the rules that apply in order to remember and understand what I am doing. I also appreciated the hands-on experience even though I already had previous hands-on knowledge.

  • What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?

Scissoring is a skill I would like to master during the next 12 months. This is something that I enjoy but would like to perfect with more practice.

  • If you could style a dog or cat after a celebrity, who would it be and why?

While working with a co-worker at my previous place of employment, this very thin, tall and well-dressed woman walked by the shop. Her hair was very long and seemed to be freshly straightened. A male co-worker noticed her and mentioned to me that she resembled an Afghan hound. I found this to be very funny but, in the midst of my laughter, realized that this woman did resemble that particular dog breed. Since this woman was so put together, I would, indeed, style my dog with the intent of it being as neat as she was.

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