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Blaine Peluso-Miller

ABI Success Story


Wildlife Rehabilitation
Zoo & Aquarium Science

Let’s Meet Blaine!

I was looking for a program with a Zoo & Aquarium focus to better compliment my Bachelor’s degree in Biology and steer me towards exotic animal husbandry – that’s when I found the Animal Behavior Institute. I was in a job slump after college, despite my degree; I knew that I needed to invest a bit more into myself, fill-in some knowledge gaps, sharpen some old skills, and build some new ones as well if I wanted to gain a foothold and get into the zoological field.

How did you become interested in your field?

I knew that the veterinary route was not for me, yet I wanted to work with exotic animals. Exotic animals and wild places have always interested me. Outstanding animal programs of the 90’s and 2000’s, such as those on Animal Planet, National Geographic, and Discovery, were staples in my house growing up. During my freshman year of college, the publishing of Bunderson & Thompson’s 2009 study: The Call of the Wild: Zookeepers, Callings, and the Double-edged Sword of Deeply Meaningful Work, really defined it all for me in terms of what drives me to be part of this field. It was a natural fit for me to pursue this profession further and become a zoo keeper; you honestly won’t find a more driven group of professionals.

How did you benefit from your ABI experience?

Currently, I have completed two programs with ABI: the Zoo & Aquarium Science program and the Wildlife Rehabilitation program. Next semester I will have completed my coursework and field hours for the Exotic Animal Training and Animal Training & Enrichment programs. The coursework has allowed me to go one step further and learn from in-field professors offering a large base of expertise and experiences across multiple disciplines in animal husbandry and management. They have given me a stronger understanding of disciplines that I once considered weaknesses.

How did you complete your field requirement?

For my Zoo & Aquarium Science program, I completed my field experience while interning at the Audubon Nature Institute-Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. For my other programs I completed my field requirements while employed at my current zoo keeping job.

Do you have any advice for potential students or current students?

Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone, and go one step further to further open up the discussion. Some may have the answers but not the confidence to put it out there. Be the one to challenge yourself (and others) and the positions you stand on! It will help not only build your own confidence up, but help others build themselves up as well!

Would you recommend ABI?

Yes!! The faculty offer real experience and truly want you to succeed.

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