ABI Success Story
Animal Training & Enrichment
Let's Meet Heather!
Heather has completed the Animal Training and Enrichment certification at Animal Behavior Institute, Inc.
Can you give us a bit of background? Where do you live and work?
I grew up in New England, completed my undergraduate degree in Vermont in Marketing and PR, and decided to change career paths a few years after graduating. I currently work at Verrill Stables, where I assist in saddle bred horse training and lessons.
How did you become interested in your field?
I followed an organic path to arrive at my current career aspirations. Caring for my cat when he propelled himself from my third floor balcony and required a leg to be amputated provided me with my first realization that I wanted work with animals. After slowly nursing him back to health, I enrolled in a Vet-tech program.
Months later I came across the experience of a lifetime and seized the opportunity. For the next three years I worked on a traveling Australian animal show called “Aussie Kingdom” and traveled from state to state performing educational programs about Australia as well as its native animals. It was here that I learned to care for marsupials, birds, and lizards with a focus on joeys.
My passion for this field prompted me to apply for an online certificate in Animal Enrichment and Training from the Animal Behavior Institute, consisting of five online courses ranging from Animal Behavior to Wildlife Management. I was able to complete these courses while working at Aussie Kingdom and applied my new knowledge by clicker training a wallaroo to hop on command and testing out novel enrichment ideas to engage these animals.
How did you benefit from your ABI experience?
When I learned about ABI through an Internet search, at the time I was looking for an online program that offered course work in the animal husbandry and enrichment field. I was working with the kangaroos and wanted to learn more about caring for them in captivity. The fact that the course work was online made a large impact on me. I was able to travel and complete the certificate.
I also enjoyed the class readings and discussions because I was so invested them and able to implement things that I was learning on a daily basis. I have passed on much of my reading material to other friends interested in animal behavior.
What was your favorite course? Why?
My favorite ABI course was Animal Behavior because we read Temple Grandin's book, "Animals in Translation." I hadn't known who she was before I took this course and she is an important person to know about when working in the animal world. It changed the way I view both animal behavior and people with autism.
How did you complete your fieldwork requirement?
I completed my field requirement through Aussie Kingdom, where I was working at the time. I was able to test out all of the things I learned at ABI on kangaroos, birds, and lizards.
Would you recommend ABI to peers, colleagues, or friends?
I would highly recommend ABI to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the field of animal husbandry, training, or any animal based career. It has helped me get to my aspirations of going to vet school.