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)


Professional Memberships

Ames Chamber of Commerce: Gold Member

Ames Community Arts Council: Silver Member

IAABC: Shelter Behavior Affiliate Member

APDT: Professional Premium Member

PPG: Full Member

APHE: 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 an Assistant Trainer with Puppy Jake Foundation, providing one-on-one training for for service dog candidates.  I am passionate about companion animal welfare, and I volunteer with adoptable dogs at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women's PAWS program and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.  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 consultation.  During 2018 I'm engaging in continuing education with Karen Pryor Academy, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Pet Professional Guild, Assistance Dogs International, Denver Zoo, the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, and Minnesota 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.