B.S., Neuroscience and Behavior University of New Hampshire, 2020
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2021
Animal Care and Behavior Specialist at the Animal Rescue League of NH
What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
Prior to joining to MAPP’s program, I was a full-time student at the University of New Hampshire. During summers and breaks I worked with a behavior veterinarian, dog trainers, small animal and exotic veterinarians, at the local SPCA (summer camp counselor & vet tech shadow), and at other various retail jobs to make money. Most recently I have spent my entire COVID-19 quarantine at Sandy’s Pet Food Center selling dog/cat/small animal food, supplements, and toys.
What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
MAPP’s smaller, single year program was a really big aspect of my decision. I knew that it fit my needs financially speaking, and was similar in aspects to Veterinary school,
since I would be location right on Cummings Veterinary School’s campus. Additionally, a huge draw was the externship post classes next summer. It really drew me in due to its outstanding opportunity to gain loads of experience, continue to network, and additionally, give me the chance to get job offers right off the bat when I graduate.
Interests in and experience with animals?
My primary interest is in animal behavior, more specifically canine behavior and canines with behavioral issues. I am also interested in policies that are intended to protect working service dogs and their handler(s). My animal experiences are primarily small animal & dog, however I have a strange few that I love to share. I have shadowed a exotic veterinarian, thus being exposed to bird and reptile veterinary care. Additionally, I spent two and a half years in 4H showing alpacas. Lastly, I have spent far too much time in dairy farms and love cows beyond belief.
What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this?
I was drawn to the MAPP program because I knew I could learn more about the policy associated with animal behavior, human-animal interaction, and other related connections that provided me with greater knowledge of working canines, the policy set for their handlers, and other various canine training policy/regulations that all interest me and pertain to my future career. I was also drawn to animal abuse/neglect policy and the major differences between animals in the different categories, such as pets vs farm animals, vs zoo animals and wildlife.
What are your career goals?
My career goals are to impact the training, handling, behaviors, and relationships between human handler/owner and canine companion pairs. I find the relationship to be so unique and special, but also something that should not be taken for granted. All of these relationships require work and effort from both parties, so understanding canine body language, training, and other aspects of dogs, helps owners adapt with their dogs and create better relationships overall. I would like to help as many dogs as I can from rescues that have behavior issues, to be able to learn how to be normal “dogs” again and to feel more confident with their owner’s support.
What are your outside interests?
My outside of class interests include reading, creative writing, painting/art in general, and photography. These are definitely all my creative outlets when I am not focusing on my schoolwork or career! I hope to travel and be able to experience the world and share my art on top of my career, if that may be a book I write, art I create and sell, or something completely else.
Number of pets? What?
I have two animals. My family has a cat, named Mookie after Baseball player, Mookie Betts (named while he was still on the Sox team). And I have my own hamster since I cannot currently have a dog with my living situation. My little guy is spoiled rotten and his name is Sterling. He looks more like a mouse because of his ears and perfect grey color. I hope to soon rescue a dog from a shelter as soon as I physically and can financially afford to!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have loads of dairy experience from my undergrad years where I spent time showing and taking care of dairy cows. I have spent over a year regularly milking cows and working at both a conventional and organic dairy farm. Two of the cows that are technically the University of New Hampshire’s property, are “my” babies that I love them both to death. They both are my absolute favorites due to my years of experience at that barn with them. They are both USA registered Holstein’s and they are mother and daughter. The mother is Gouda (#906, 4 years old as of 2020), and the daughter is Havarti (#1039, is only 1 as of 2020) who I got to name when I was a student at UNH. This is an important fun-fact as my profile photo is one with Gouda.
As an intern at the New Hampshire SPCA, I worked primarily within the behavior and training department. I assisted my mentor, Linda Haley, and the SPCA’s other trainer, Danielle Fuchs, with classes, playgroups, and 1-on-1 private appointments. I shadowed Nadine Perry during her agility classes by adjusting jump heights and learning about how to efficiently run obstacles. I also presented to the summer campers weekly about clicker training. By the end of the summer, I was running my own playgroup, having discussions with owners, and completing vaccination checks independently for all the classes offered through the SPCA. My education from MAPP prepared me well for my externship. I knew a great deal about the various aspects of sheltering, an in-depth understanding of clicker training, enrichment, and various other treatment methods. I felt as though I was especially prepared for this externship by my courses in Animal Behavior, Applied Animal Behavior, and the companion animal module of Animals and Society. All the lessons I learned throughout this experience is quite extensive. What I believe will be the most applicable in the long run, is how I learned more about understanding owners, communicating with them in a positive manner, and giving them the appropriate guidance needed for them to be the most successful with their pets.