Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner: KPA-CTP
Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed: CPDT-KA
Certified Humane Education Specialist: CHES
Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant: ACDBC (Summer 2018)
Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed: CBCC-KA (Fall 2018)
Ames Chamber of Commerce: Gold Member
Ames Community Arts Council: Silver Member
IAABC: Shelter Behavior Affiliate Member
APDT: Professional Premium Member
PPG: Full Member
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary: Dogtown Intern
Emerson College: MA Theatre Education
University of Utah: Honors BFA Acting, Minor Anthropology
I hold an Honors BFA in Acting from the University of Utah and an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College. The fields of performance and animal training both require careful observation and thoughtful interpretation of behavior, creative problem solving, and the ability to view a given situation from multiple perspectives. Training is a highly physical skill requiring spatial awareness and precision, and my abilities as a dancer prove very useful. My lifelong interest in primatology and my minor in anthropology enhance my understanding of canine evolution and ethology, interspecies relationships, and comparative cognition.
I have fifteen years of experience working with children, including private nannying, parent-and-child classes for infants and toddlers, performing arts classes for ages 3-12, workshops and story times at libraries, arts integration in elementary classrooms, theatre summer camps, and directing, choreographing, and performing in children's productions. In Massachusetts I held a state teaching license as a theatre instructor. My work with children prepared me to apply my knowledge of development and learning theory to the enrichment and education of our canine friends.
I'm a trainer with the Puppy Jake Foundation, providing socialization and behavior modification for service pups in training. I am passionate about companion animal welfare, and I volunteer with adoptable dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and the PAWS program at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. I have previously volunteered with the ARL's humane education department and TheraPets program. I'm a member of several prominent professional organizations, am involved in ongoing education, and am currently completing two certifications in canine behavior. During 2018 I'm engaging in continuing education with Karen Pryor Academy, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Pet Professional Guild, Denver Zoo, the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, and Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.
I spent four months as a Dogtown intern at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where I adopted my sweet cockapoo Butterscotch. Butterscotch and his sister Marmalade are official mascots as the Plucky Paws Therapy Dogs. Marmalade holds Canine Good Citizen and Community Canine titles with the AKC, and Butterscotch surpassed the odds to earn his CGC title as a blind-deaf senior dog. I owe a lot to Miss Marm--our therapy visitation initially inspired me to pursue a career involving dogs and kids. Marmalade and Butterscotch are frequently present at promotional events and Plucky Kids educational programs, so check the Event Calendar for their upcoming appearances.