The celebrated author and civil activist, Maya Angelou, once said, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” Too many times, people allow life circumstances to prevent them from pursuing their dreams, but Animal Behavior College’s (ABC) graduate, Brandon Ellis, is an exception to this and has proven his resilience.
How It Began
Ellis’ love for animals began as a child, growing up with his grandparents’ dogs. He found a connection with animals that he sometimes struggled to find in human interaction. “Growing up, I did not always have the easiest time expressing myself around people but for these dogs, it came so easy. I was gentle and loving to them and I felt it back,” said Ellis. To him, these dogs were not just pets, but rather members of the family. While playing with their dogs one day, his grandparents told him that he had a unique way with dogs, and this gift would help him work with them as he got older. These kind and impactful words stuck with Ellis as he grew up and the memory remained fresh in his mind. He eventually pursued a communications degree in college but his love for animals, specifically dogs, never waned.
Changes In Career Path and Education
While his professional career pursuits moved him away from animals, Ellis managed to find himself gravitating back to the animal industry when he began working with the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, a STEM education center. Here he operated in multiple roles including facilitating as an educator and looking after their 40+ exotic animals, including owls, lizards, snakes, and emus. He was content with his work but knew that it would not fulfill his passion for working with and caring for canines. In January of 2022, Ellis decided to enroll in Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Program to earn his certification as a professional dog trainer. “My time of learning and working with dogs in this period was especially rewarding. Applying what I learned with my dog, Baron, helped grow our bond in ways much deeper than I originally thought possible. I knew if I could connect with my dog like this, others would have the ability to.” said Ellis. Brandon pressed on with the program because he knew that furthering his education would allow him to better understand and ultimately help animals.
When asked about the program, Ellis mentioned how the curriculum “really changed everything for me. It changed how I saw dogs and it changed my whole outlook on the approach of training.” He had two top take aways from his studies. First, for Ellis, it was about learning what a dog trainer really is, which is not solely about training dogs, but rather training people to understand the dogs through positive reinforcement. The second take away was how you should find common ground with your training approach. It is important to provide structured training sessions for education and fun and relaxed times with the dogs for positive reinforcement and enrichment. Brandon now feels more knowledgeable about canines, because of his education, and even feels more empathy and responsibility towards the animals since taking the ABC course.
Persistence Through Unexpected Life Circumstances
Everything was going well and as planned until tragedy struck. Within the same year of enrolling with ABC, Ellis, unfortunately, lost those that meant the most to him, his grandparents and his wonderful canine companion, Baron. He stated, “As much as I loved continuing my dog training journey, I cannot explain how hard it was to finish it when two of my inspirations for it passed on. At the same time, I knew they would want me to see it through. So, in their honor, I pushed on and eventually earned my certification with honors.”
Now, Ellis wears his title of an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, as a badge of honor and to him, it is more than just a professional certificate. Brandon looks at it as a responsibility he holds for the pets he has adored and respected all his life. He currently volunteers at the Second Chance Animal Rescue in New York and is actively seeking out clients to help train and take care of their pets. Ellis stated, “My certification may be completed but my learning is not done. I am looking to learn more and gain additional experience in the dog field. Whether I work somewhere to help them or pursue my own business, I know I am going to make a difference and I can thank the Animal Behavior College for giving me that chance.”
Knowledge and Accomplishments Gained Through Resilience
With the understanding that dog training is more about training people rather than the dogs themselves, Ellis is eager to help those who are struggling with their pets create that special bond between them in hopes of keeping pets out of the shelters. He is passionate about the animals in shelters and believes people need to understand that they can be worked with to be given that second chance at life along with the love and attention they deserve.
Some advice Ellis shared was that as a dog trainer, “you are going to make mistakes, but learn as you go and learn to adapt.” He also expressed how life does not always go as planned. Life may lead you to other career paths, but it does not mean that you must be there all your life. You can always go back to your dreams, no matter how old you are. Do not let life stop you from pursuing your dreams.
ABC is proud to see the recent achievements of Brandon Ellis and hopes this inspires others to keep searching for a dream career they will love. If you are interested in enrolling in the programs offered at Animal Behavior College, check out more information at www.animalbehaviorcollege.com or call 800-795-3294 and ask about dual enrollment opportunities.
*The testimonials and experiences presented on www.animalbehaviorcollege.com are applicable to that of the individual and not a guarantee of the same or equivalent results for every student or graduate.