Christina O’Bryant has loved being around animals since she was a little girl, when she started volunteering at a local shelter at the age of 13. In 2009, just having graduated from high school, she learned about Animal Behavior College (ABC) and was happy to find out that she was eligible to receive tuition benefits as a military spouse through the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCAA) sponsored through the Department of Defense. Christina immediately started the veterinary assistant course. “I didn’t skip a beat when it came to looking for something that I really wanted to do, and that was to work with animals,” she said.
Christina has been living in Misawa, Japan since 2011 where her husband Chris is stationed as an USAF Fire Fighter. They have a three-year-old son, Wyatt, whom Christina says definitely keeps her on her toes. Their “energetic pet family” includes Knuckles who is an orange Maine Coon mix cat with “tons of character”; Kai, a Great Labradane (Great Dane/Chocolate Lab mix); and Hachiko, an 8 month old Akita who was purchased in a Japanese pet store.
“I was so happy to spend more time with my family because of the advantage of the in-home study program at ABC. I did not have to worry about running off to class and I could just do my work when I was able to,” says Christina. “I also graduated from the certified dog trainer course before we moved to Japan. I am a hands-on learner so my studies were really put into perspective when I actually got to work with my externship trainer at Wipe Your Paws K9 Training & Education. The experience was invaluable.”
The ABC curriculum also provided Christina with the tools of how to open and run a dog training business and she is now the successful owner/trainer of Camo Paws K9 Training. The mobility of her skills allowed her to move her dog training business as far away as Japan! She works with many different breeds of dog and her clients come to her for basic obedience help or behavioral issues. She credits ABC for teaching her a broad aspect about the right way to train a dog through positive reinforcement.
Christina enjoys interacting with followers on the ABC Facebook page to help shine light for those that are interested in pursuing a career as a dog obedience trainer or veterinary assistant. She lets them know about her success and hopes to inspire people to pursue work in their animal career field of choice.
Through the MyCAA program, military spouses are eligible to receive $4,000 in education benefits to pursue associates degrees, certificates and licenses. To date, ABC has enrolled more than 3,300 military spouses in response to fulfilling the need for portable and viable careers.