Careers for Animal Lovers

♪[opening music]♪ ♪♪ ♪♪>>Eileen Buecher: Good evening,
my name is Eileen Buecher. I’m the director of
the career center. And I wanna welcome you here to
our Careers for Animal Lovers: Career Interests Panel. I’m joined by Dr. Ann Weber,
who is a professor in our psychology department,
and she is serving as a co-moderator with me.We’re also joined by several
panel members who have
devoted their lives to
working with animals. And they have volunteered their
time to educate you about how their careers have evolved and
how they were able to follow their passion and love of
animals and turn them into careers. So, the plan for
this evening will be- for the next hour, Ann and I will
ask the panelists questions, so you’ll be able to get
to know them better and be more aware of how their
careers evolved. And then we’ll have time for
question and answer periods, and then from there we’ll go
onto Networking 101 with the panelists. So definitely
think about questions that you may want to ask at
the end of the program. Okay. So, we ready? So, to begin the journey, I
would love for the panelists to introduce themselves and tell us
a little about how your careers have evolved and what you’re
doing now in your work. And we can start with Matthew.>>Matthew Christian:
Yeah, I’ll go first.
My name is Matt Christian
and I work for the North
Carolina Wildlife Resources
Commission, division of Conservation and Education. And I’m stationed at the Pisgah
Center for Wildlife Education. I’m an education specialist. Whole lotta words there.
What else you wanna know?>>Buecher:Just what you do.Your history, how you
ended up doing this work-
>>Christian: Just what
I do? My history? To be honest with
you- let’s see. I guess it started when
I was about 13, 12. I don’t know, somewhere
around there. I always had grown up
in a more of a rural, rural backdrop. That’s
a fun word by the way. And my father took me
backpacking and took me hunting, fishing- I spent a
majority of my childhood muddy. And as I grew up- I
remember, actually, this was a pivotal- pivotal?>>Buecher:Pivotal moment.>>Christian: How do you
say that, real quick? Say it right there.>>Allison Ballentine:Pivotal.>>Christian: There you
go, it’s what she said. But anyways, it was a
big moment in my life. It was actually a camping
trip- a backpack trip- up to Grandfather Mountain. And this guy came
down the trail and said, “Let me see your
hiking permit.” And you know, we have
him our hiking permit, and he said, “Have a good day,” and off we met. And I
turned to my father, said, “That’s a great job. That
guy just gets paid to hike? To check hiking permits?
That’s a great job.” And so anyway, you know- I
went to Appalachian State, which is right down the road
from Grandfather Mountain, and I remember my first
year at Appalachian State. How many of you guys pretty much
like where you are right now? Over at UNCA? You never wanna go home
again, is anyonelike that?I never wanted to go home
again. I decided I’d never
go home again. So, when
summer time came around and
my roommates left, I decided
I’d just stay put. And so,
wouldn’t you know it, I got a
job as a back-country ranger
at Grandfather Mountain.And pretty much held that all
through college and when I was going through college I was in
the- I guess it was college education? I was gonna
be a school teacher. Then I realized
there was like 19, 18-year-old chicks that
looked like my third-grade teacher already. They had the denim smocks on
and the apple thing there. And they were kinda
creeping me out, they wanna put- what do
they call those things? Billboards? Or, the
bulletin boards up there?And all of a sudden,
I was like, “Ooh!
I gotta get out of here.”[laughter] But another big aspect
of my life was just teachers that I
interacted with. And I had this one
history teacher. He gave like the
impossible final exams. It’s like a 500
question final exam. And he’d always say, “Either you
know it or you don’t,” right? It’s like you had no time to
wonder about the question. And- but anyway,
he pushed us. And I enjoyed the way he taught.
I enjoyed his enthusiasm. I enjoyed his connection
with the kids. So, there we are, you know,
I’ve got two things going on. I have a love for the
outdoors, you know, instilled in me
through my family. And at the same time, I had
this need to make a connection. And being the ranger at
Grandfather Mountain, you know- they have
us write citations, but they’re not, like,
really citations. Those go in a computer database
and if you ever try to go to Grandfather Mountain,
they say, “Oh, we’ve got you on our computer file
for mountain climbing in a closed area.” So, they didn’t really hold
any real weight, you know. Now it’s a state park, but
then it was private industry. But anyway, I kept
thinking about it like, “Do I really wanna go work
for state parks where I’m gonna spend 95% of my time writing
citations for stuff that looks like a lot of fun to me, and
that I would absolutely do. Or is there another avenue
where I can have my life for the outdoors and again, try to find
that connection that my high school history teacher had
with me, with other kids?” And the Wildlife Resources
Commission at the time that I graduated, actually about
a year after I graduated, had this place called the Pisgah
Center for Wildlife Education, and it was located in Brevard. It’s one of my many stomping
grounds when I was in college- when I was living that nomadic
life of being in college. And I just- I said,
“That’s where I wanna go.” Now, the trick is,
it’s a hard job to get. So, what I basically did was
I sold my soul to the devil. And that means that I found
a local commissioner, struck up a somewhat
of a relationship. I talked to the division chief
for the Division of Conservation Education. And I hounded the
staff at the Pisgah Center. I think I went and visited the
site twice before I- before they finally gave me the interview.
And luckily, you know, sometimes it’s just place and time and
everything coming together. I got the job. So,
that’s fantastic. And that is- basically my
job is to educate the public. You could call me a
propaganda specialist, I don’t know. But I basically conveyed the
message of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
to the itty-bittiest kids, like preschool all the way up
to your age and some college professors. So, it’s a really
neat opportunity for me to share my love for the outdoors and
establish a connection daily, so I think that’s kinda cool.>>Buecher:Great.
Thanks, Matthew.
>>Christian: Yep.>>Buecher: Jade? And Jade is also a
UNC Asheville alumna. So, welcome home.>>Jade Frank:Thank you!It’s really
wonderful to be here.
Thank you so much for
me on this panel. My name is Jade Frank. I’m the volunteer coordinator
for a nonprofit organization here in Asheville called
Paws with a Purpose. And I actually did an internship
as part of my course of study in health and wellness with
Paws with a Purpose in 2007, and that’s how I got
started in pet therapy. Before that, I was raised on a
horse farm- worked with dogs and cats and all kinds of wildlife
trying to, I don’t know, get to know animals better
and care for them. Always finding injured animals
or working with our own pets had a great impact on me and I
didn’t even know it was a possibility for me to work
in a field with animals, specifically around
the human-animal bond, until I did my internship here. I thought about being
a veterinarian, I realized that I just am such a
heartfelt person that I probably would not be the
strongest veterinarian, and therefore not a good
person to work with my clients. I would probably be as broken
up as they were about a possible loss or illness of an animal.
I thought about working with horses being a horse trained
or a horseback rider. And I found there were different
elements with that that I just wasn’t very competitive.
And that’s something you kind of want to do in horse
training and competing. And when I did my internship,
it was like a door opening. I realized that this
is a brand-new field, pet therapy, and the
animal-human bond is something that is just
now breaking through. Using animals in psychology,
using animals in hospitals, schools, prisons- all kinds of
different ways to really present the magnificence of what it is
to work with animals is amazing and I actually became a
registered pet therapy team with a dog. Andduring my
internship, I actually brought
her to this very room for the
internship fair as my final
project. I have since also
registered with my other dog-
his name is Bam Bam. He’s
a Pembroke Welsh Corgi,
and we actually just this
morning and read with three
1st graders who were working on
improving their reading skills.
And he’s a very energetic dog,
so for him to listen to stories for an hour is very good for
him, and he had a great time. I really enjoy my job more
than anything in the world. I tell people I think I have one
of the best jobs in the world. I can’t believe that I have it. This field is so
small right now, there are only a handful of
positions with nonprofits like Paws with a Purpose to work in
a paid position as volunteer coordinator or
facilitator of some sort. So, I feel extremely fortunate
and blessed to be where I’m at. I stayed with Paws with a
Purpose as a volunteer following my internship, and was actually-
the volunteer coordinator position became
available last September, and I got the email the
night before at 9 o’ clock- 8 AM the next day, I’d sent in
my resume and letter of intent. I kept my fingers crossed and
thought about nothing else for about a month and then I got
the word that I had the job. And I’ve been
ecstatic ever since. I just came upon my one year
anniversary of being volunteer coordinator and it still
feels like it’s the first or second day.
It’s so wonderful. In my job, I get to experience
so many fantastic things. I work with amazing people who
all have a similar goal of imparting this animal-human
bond and healing to people. I get to experience that either
with my own dog or with my volunteers and their dogs. And it absolutely will move you
beyond any limits that you ever understood and really touches
your soul to see that and to experience that. I’m trying
to think of what else. I love my job. [laughter] I guess some of the
things-let me think.I think- I think
that’s good for now.
>>Buecher: A good beginning.>>Frank:Yeah, that’s
a good beginning.
I love my job. Go,
Paws with a Purpose!>>Buecher: Kendall
is with Horse Sense. You can tell us
about your career.>>Kendall Smith: Sure.
So, my name’s Kendall Smith, and I am an Equine Assisted
Psychotherapist and I work with Horse Sense of the Carolinas. And I’ve been there
for about three years. So, for me- what I knew
when I was pretty young, like 12 years old, was that I
wanted to be a therapist and that I wanted to
work with people. And I knew I didn’t want
to do that in an office. I thought that was
just- I didn’t like it. I didn’t feel comfortable,
it didn’t feel good to me. And it felt really limiting and
inhibiting to be in an office and I- so I didn’t understand
how traditional therapy got to be where it was. ‘Cause it just
didn’t seem natural to me to try and get somebody to open up
to you in this little box of an office space. So that’s
what I knew I wanted to do. And I always loved animals. But I grew up in the city, right
outside of Washington D.C., so I did not have the farm
life that I would’ve liked. I was very much growing
up on the metro girl. So, when I went away to school,
and I went to a school in a very rural area, and then I went out
to Colorado and I worked on a ranch as a wrangler
for a summer. And after that, I
was kind of like, “Okay, whatever I’m going to do,
it has to involve shoveling and being near horses and doing
some kind of manual labor.” So, I volunteered a lot at horse
rescues and at therapeutic riding centers,
and I went on and, you know, and got my
master’s in counseling. I got my master’s in wilderness
therapy and an emphasis there was on Equine
Assisted Psychotherapy. So, through a lot of
different positions, I ended up wanting to move to
Asheville specifically to workat Horse Sense and they didn’t
have any open positions at that
time. So, I moved
here to intern there,
which a lot of people thought
was a little bit crazy because
it was a Saturday internship ad
I was moving to a city without
a job to do an unpaid
internship on Saturdays.
But I got a job and I was
working as a therapist at a therapeutic wilderness
boarding school. And then interning on the
weekends with horse sense. And eventually I managed to
change roles and I worked as an Equine Specialist
at Horse Sense, and then as a therapist, and
now I’m in charge of all the clinical services there. So, what we do is really
different and it’s also still very much a fledging field.
And I think that more and more people are recognizing the value
of horses in a therapy setting. It’s something that the military
is starting to recognize as an option for returning veterans
who really don’t want to be in an office and sit down and
have a lot of trauma issues. Horses are incredibly
sentient creatures, so they feel everything around
them. They are designed that way, that’s what’s kept them
alive so long, is that they’re aware of their environment
more so than we are. Because they’re prey
animals and we’re predator. So, in order to establish a
relationship with a horse you have to get over that
predator-prey thing. And my belief is that most
people that come to therapy, some piece of what they
want to work on has to do with relationships. So, by being in a relationship
with a horse they’re working on some part of whatever issues
has brought them there. We also do things at Horse
Sense- we do teambuilding, we work with corporations. We do, like, personal
growth and development. So, we’re working with people
who don’t necessarily have any kind of mental illness but are
just trying to figure things out and decide what they want
to do next in their lives. Or maybe just wanna destress.
That’s a huge piece of what we do, is stress management. So, I think that’s it for now.
I really love my job, too.>>Buecher: It’s obvious,
Kendall, yes. And then Joelle is also a
returning UNC Asheville alumna. So, welcome home as well.>>Joelle Warren: Thank you.
Hi, I’m Joelle Warren. I’m the vice-president of
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. I’m also the general
shelter operations manager. I got involved with animals-
of course I’ve always been an animal lover, but while I
was a student at UNCA, I also had a young child. I started apprenticing in a
pet store grooming shop with- to groom dogs. I actually
watched her dogs while, you know, she did all the work.
And I did that for about a year while I was finishing up things
and learned how to groom dogs. Became a groomer. Couldn’t
really find a job I liked after graduation. So, I just
continued in the grooming field, worked at a vet’s
office, you know, got really interested-
more interested- in animals. And then when you’re in
that field for a while, of course you get stray dogs
brought to you all the time. There’s always somebody you
know or- actually I think that I’m a stray dog magnet as well.
They just found me all the time. So, I decided- I tossed
around a few things. I opened up my
own grooming shop. Then I had space to
foster animals there, so I started fostering
animals there. I worked with different
organizations in Asheville. It just wasn’t the
right fit for me, so I opened up my own rescue.
And it was Pet Soup Rescue. So, I did it all pretty much
by myself for a few years, and then of course
the burn out sets in. And that’s when I met Denise
with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. And we just decided
to pool our efforts. And a little over a year ago,
we opened up our shelter. It’s the first no-kill shelter
here in Western North Carolina and it’s been a
lot of hard work, but it’s wonderful. I mean, we get to
help animals every day. I still groom on occasion
because I’ve been grooming for 15 years and I have
those little ladies that will refuse to let me go-
they’ll have me grooming their poodles forever. But mainly I do operate-
I’m just the director there. And we do intake of
stray dogs and cats, behavior assessments of these
dogs that we do take in. We are a limited
intake facility, so we are unlike the
Asheville Humane Society, who has to take in everything.
So, we are- it allows us to be a no-kill facility to-
I don’t want to pick and choose, it’s not about
picking and choosing the cute dogs. It’s about the
ones we know we can adopt out successfully in
our community. We take dogs- we
take the pit bulls, the hound dogs, we take
everything as long as they don’t try to bite me in the
face upon introduction, or want to kill every
dog that walks by. I can work with
any behavior issues, but, you know, they have to be
able to be places back out in the community and
it’s not their fault,
but it’s just
what we have to do.
So, every day I get
to meet new dogs,
I take care of the
dogs at the shelter.
We have about 40-50 dogs at
all times living at the shelte.
Also foster dogs at my house.We also have about 20
cats at our shelter, but the majority of our cats
that are in foster homes, we have over 100, but only
about 20 at the shelter. So, my day to day
life is up early, taking dogs to get fixed at
the spay and neuter clinic, I usually don’t
get home until dark. I’m lucky that I do have a lot
of dogs that get to come to work with me every day,
so that helps. It’s long hours, but it’s
very rewarding work.>>Buecher:And Joelle
is a reflection of the
entrepreneurial spirit
at UNC Asheville.
We typically have up to 5% of
each graduating class for the past five years doing freelance
and independent entrepreneurial work. So, thank you for
sharing your story. And Allison is also with us.>>Allison Ballentine:Hello.
Is that loud enough? Can you hear me okay? Okay. Hi guys, I’m Allison Ballentine,
I am the animal curator of the Western North Carolina
Nature Center. And I’d say beginning
just like everybody here, I absolutely loved
animals as a child. I was very, very shy, and so
animals really were my friends. I was like the kid sitting in
the garden with my hand like this waiting for a
butterfly to land on it. I also collected stray dogs. My dad would tell me every
morning in the summer, “Don’t feed the dogs,”
and as soon as he left, I was like, grabbing bowls and
going outside and collecting stray dogs. I got my first
horse when I was 10. My parents are from New Jersey. They said- they gave me
every reason in the book why I shouldn’t have a horse and
finally they decided that they’d put me off by telling me how
expensive they were and that I would need to save up a
lot of money to get a horse, and sent me on my way. And I proceeded to save up $500
when I was 10 and went to my dad and said, “I have the money
now, can I get a horse?” And he just like went
ashen, and he’s like, “Okay.” So, I started in horses then.
I think originally like a lot of people that love animals,
I wanted to be a veterinarian. That carried me through
Chemistry 101 and I just realized that the hard sciences
really weren’t my bag. Around the same time, I had a
wonderful anthropology professor and this was at a small
school in Savannah, Georgia. And she really turned me on to
primatology and human evolution. And I just took every
class that she offered, and really kind of found a love
in anthropology and sort of behavior. Like human behavior
and primate behavior and decided I wanted to be Jane Goodall. So, I got a- I graduated with a
degree in anthropology from the University of Georgia where
I transferred, and got out. Kind of didn’t know how
to become Jane Goodall. Knew I didn’t want to go back
for a master’s anytime soon. So, I just started volunteering
and trying to take any opportunity I could
to work with wildlife, and especially primates. During college, I interned at a
small nature facility similar to the one I work at now,
got some good experience. I begged and borrowed and
got to take a trip to Africa, where we were studying seven
species of endangered monkeys and also sea turtles. And that was pretty much a
pivotal point in my life. It was just amazing
in so many ways, but really found that field
conservation was really exciting- kind of being on the
front lines of conservation was pretty neat. I had always
done the sort of domestic, husbandry of animals
and loved that, but this was kind of exploring
something different for me. I went on and did another sea
turtle project in the Caribbean for about eight months,
which was terrible, terrible, terrible. And then got married
and kind of settled down, and decided that working at a
zoo-type facility was really a great way to meld
my two interests. A wise person once told me that
animal lovers have to make a decision pretty early on,
and he said there’s two types. There’s the ones that need to
have that every day bond- that looking in their eyes,
touching, feeling, having a relationship. And then there’s those that
are okay with appreciating at a distance and working to
protect their habitat and just, you know, appreciating that
they’re wild and that’s enough. And I haven’t figured
out which one I am yet. I just can’t decide, so a
zoo-type atmosphere is really perfect for me, because at the
nature center we’re involved with red wolf breeding. We’re part of a nation program
that has brought the red wolf from 14 individuals
to about 280, and actually released
some back into the wild. So, we are kind of doing
that frontline conservation, but at the same time I get
my fix looking in their eyes, and those that are socialized,
getting to handle them and be around them. And so, it’s just
a really great meld for me. And I think that’s it for now.>>Buecher:Good, good.
Allison and Jade and Kendall-
you talked aboutyour
educational background. What about Matt and Joelle?
What were your majors? Or can you speak to like
credentials to actually enter the career fields
that you’re in?>>Christian:Like-
oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mine is experiential education.Well, actually, it’s recreation
management but with a
concentration in
experiential education. And with a minor in geography-
geography and planning. So, how’s it related to my job? The education aspect, obviously,
plays a major role in the division of
conservation education. Basically, we
look at two things. Either you’re education or
you’re biology of some sort, so.>>Buecher:Good. And Jade
was health and wellness.
Allison was anthropology.
You went up for your counselling degree,
right, Kendall? >>Warren: A bachelor’s
within psychology.>>Buecher: In psychology. Okay.>>Warren: Yes. Since then
I’ve become a certified dog trainer through the Animal
Behavior College. I also have several
certifications for just animal behavior, dog behavior
work- just things like that. So just to continue
an education. I’ve been to Best Friends Animal
Sanctuary in Utah several times- taken animal certification
classes there. We also have a really great trained in Western
North Carolina, Kim Brophey. She also teaches
classes at AB-Tech. It’s general- or just different
certification classes. And I’ve taken her classes. And I apprenticed under
a few other trainers. Basically, it’s just to absorb
any dog behavior information that I can get. That’s just
my passion, is the behavior, and trying to fix some behaviors
to make dogs more able to stay in the home. So, more
peopledon’t have to,like, turn over their pets.Or like when I- when
we adopt dogs out,
I wanna be a behavior
consultant to them to,
like, get them over some of
those behaviors that drive
people crazy at first. You
know, chewing,
and barking, and stuff like that, so.>>Buecher:So, there’s lots of
specialized trainings outside f
a graduate degree. So, I think,
Kendall, you mentioned you were
taking specialized
training as well.>>Smith:Yeah. Part of-so, there’s several
different kinds of umbrella
organizationsfor Equine
Assisted Psychotherapy. And Horse Sense
belongs to EAGALA, which is the Equine Assisted
Growth and Learning Association. So, I had to go through their
training to be certified as in, EAGALA facilitator.
That’s one of them. And then there’s things that you
have to do if you’re going to be a therapist. You have to,
you know, do the state regulations so that I’m a
licensed professional counselor. That’s my license.>>Buecher:Good.
Excellent. Thank you. Ann, did you have a question?>>Ann Weber: Yeah, I- we’ve got
this fantasy list of questions to ask you and you’re
hitting on all of them, which makes our
job so much easier. But so many of you- in fact, I
think each of you has mentioned at some point that you had
a moment of inspiration or realization. And a passion,
which is really necessary to get you through, because it
isn’t all, “Oh, every day, oh this is great,
this is wonderful. Plus, I get paid so well!” There are moments
of inspiration, and then there are days of work
and nights of exhaustion and weeks and paperwork.
And I’m wondering if you can give out sort of capsuled
descriptions, each of you, what a day- what a given
day- might be like. So that the students
here can get a sense of, “Okay, like, if I were to go in
this direction in five years or so, I’d get up in the
morning and do this.” And if you can incorporate into
a little bit of- do you ever have moments where you go, “Boy,
I am so glad I know how to-” fill in the blank.
You know? Whether it’s something that you
learned formally or informally or figured out on your own.
You know, what’s a day, what’s a week like,
and what do you know that gets you through that.
You wanna start on this end? Should we start on
this end? Joelle.>>Warren: A day like- So, I
mentioned before it’s up early. Gotta tend to all the dogs
that I have- all my rescues. Then, I usually have some sort
of errand that I have to run, taking dogs to the
spay and neuter clinic, or other vet appointments, to
get their heartworm treatment or something else. Then I go
back to the shelter. I do have a shelter manager now,
since we do have 40-50 dogs. She gets there at 6 AM. I’m luckily now, I don’t have
to get there until 8:30-9. So, I go to her to check on
the health of all the animals. We have, you know, puppies from
six weeks old to senior dogs. In a shelter environment,
there’s of course disease. We take dogs from other shelters
in Western North Carolina as well. And then when they go to
the Humane Alliance Spay and Neuter Clinic, they’re actually
in contact with a lot of other dogs. So, they’re always
bringing back kennel cough. Kennel cough is the main
disease that we see the most of. It’s just kind of like a common
cold or the flu that just gets passed around. So, we have to
check on the health of the dogs ’cause some dogs, it can hit
them real hard and they canjust crash and get a fever.So, we also can administer our
own medications at the shelter.
So, I have to check on
everybody’s antibiotics. Some days there are dogs that
need IV fluids I’ll have to administer. I’m kind of a vet
tech as well, even though I have no professional
training as a vet tech. And so, I have to
check on the health, then I have to manage
the staff- who’s here, who’s called in sick,
who’s doing this. Then somebody tells me, like,
there’s a cat acting weird in the cat room. So, I have to go
assess the cat, see what’s going on there. Then you have to talk
to the 50 people that come in your shelter that day. Some great volunteers
that are wanting to help. Some that have
found stray animals. Some who accidentally had a
litter of puppies that they want us to take when we’re so full. So, I- that’s where I think
my psychology degree comes in. ‘Cause I talk to a lot of
people on a daily basis. You get into this
because, you know, you love the animals and you
have a passionfor helping theanimals, but it turns out that
we help a lot of people as wel.
More people than I thought.
Then you have dogs that come
in from other shelters
that have been scheduled.
We have a waiting list with lie
30 dogs on our waiting list.
Those get scheduled to
come in during the week.
So, when those dogs come in,
we have to a complete
medical evaluation at intake and
a behavioral assessment- which I’m pretty much
in charge of that, too. Which the dogs have to
have the heartworm test; their initial vaccines;
if they have fleas, they need flea treatments;
we have to check their ears, and just to make
sure they’re healthy. If they’re not, then they get
scheduled for a vet appointment. But we do have a lot of the
antibiotics that we can go ahead and give if they
need some meds. Then the behavior assessment,
we just- on a lot of the dogs, we’ve met the dogs on
the waiting list before. Some of the shelter
dogs we have. So, I just have to be able
to touch them all over, like their feet and their tail,
and see if they’ll let me look in their mouth. I mean, if they
give me weird signals this time, I mean, that’s fine. Of
course, they’re stressed. I don’t, like, give them a life
or death sentence because of this. But it’s just some of the
information that we have to know upon intake. So, I get those all
done, and then there’s probably 25 phone calls and
emails to answer. I also have children, so I try
to get home at least by seven. A lot of times, my
child, who is now 11, and my 15-year-old, they grew
up in the shelter environment. She comes to- my son is 15 now,
so he can do more of his own after school thing. But my
daughter, she comes to the shelter almost every day
and hangs out, helps out. The child is very skilled
at her dog-wrangling skills. So, then usually I get
to leave, you know, maybe be home early,
about 7-7:30. And then go home and do
all my dog stuff again. Then answer some more emails or
maybe read an article from a dog behavior, like,
magazine or something. And then maybe go
to bed if I can. So, it’s long- It’s a long day.>>Weber: We’re inspired,
we’re jumping up. [laughter]>>Warren: Lot of work.>>Buecher: Kendall?>>Smith: Okay. Something that I didn’t mention
about Horse Sense that I think is important is that the premise
of Horse Sense was to pair rescued horses with people
who are looking for something. So, the majority of our
horses can’t be ridden, and we don’t do
riding at the farm. And these are horses
that Shannon and Richard, who own the farm, would
get a call and say like, “Either you’re gonna take
this horse or it’s gonna go to the slaughter house.” Horses that had been neglected
or abused by their owners, especially with our
current economic experience, a lot of people are just turning
their horses lose into the woods and things like that,
because horses are expensive. So, Horse Sense is a lot about
it- it started as a rescue program and then evolved
into being mental health, and being personal
growth and development, and teambuilding, and
all those things, so. So, I felt like
that was important. And we have a lower barn of
horses that aren’t ready to be with people yet, so
they’re still in rehab. One of them was
attacked by a cougar, another one had
an abusive owner. And then we have the rest of
our herd. We have 18 horses. And the rest of the herd
that is trained and able to be with people. So, my day- I get up in the
morning and I walk my dog and then do my morning routine,
which isn’t very interesting. And then we go to work. Which is really nice, I
get to bring my dog to work. He doesn’t get to
be free on the farm, but he comes to work
with my every day, which is excellent. And then my day will
consist of seeing clients. So either seeing couples,
families, or individuals that have, you know, either been
self-referred- they’re struggling with something and
want to come in and work on it like a typical, you know,
outpatient mental health experience. Anybody who’s
ever seen a therapist, but we’re with horses. Or I work with the
Changing Together Project, which is a gang violence
prevention program, and we work with people who have
recently release from prison. Or I work with the
adjudicated youth, who are in detention
centers. Things like that. I might do a teambuilding,
or I might have a substance abuse team group, or
something like that. So, my day’s divided between
being up on the farm with horses, leading a group or
facilitating a therapy session, and then doing
paperwork in the office. Writing up all my
clinical notes,
doing all my collateral calls
to talk to people’s schools,
and all the other folks that ae
involved in that kind of mental
health experience. Yeah.
Emails, faxing things,
trying to create programming
and develop curriculums
for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy,
and things like that. I’m trying to think about
what else I do during the day. I don’t get to do as much-
I mean, I’ll go in. I’ll catch horses
when they’re out, but because I’m no longer
the Equine Specialist, I don’t get to do as much
hands-on horse stuff, which I really miss. And it’s
hard not to do that every day, ’cause that’s what I was
doing everyday as the Equine Specialist. Which, you know,
to be an Equine Specialist, you need a history with horses,
but you don’t have to have any kind of mental
health experience. And that is very- then you’re
always going out to get the horses, you’re the one who has
your eyes on them every day, you’re cleaning stalls, you’re
checking on the herd dynamics, making sure everyone’s
getting along well enough, things like that. So, I miss
that part of that job. I think that’s it.>>Buecher:Horse Sense also
typically comes to campus in
the Spring at UNC Asheville.
We have an event called,
“Life is Calling: What
is Your Intention?”
And it’s a series of
experiential programs to get you centered in
what you really want. And they typically bring a
couple horses to campus and work with our students and engage
them in working with the horses, and leadership, and
mirroring, etc.>>Weber:If I may just mention
that they frequently have the
horses up in the upper quad
outside of Carmichael Hall,
and I teach in Carmichael.
once a student sees a horse through a classroom
window, I’ve lost them.>>Buecher:I get more
students at the horse
event than I do
the job fairs.
[laughter]>>Smith:That was great this
year. It was really great.
I think one thing to mention is
that my day-
some of my days are really, really hectic,
and very, very long. And over the summer, I was
working really long hours- you know, really long days.
Days that sound a little bit more like your days
that are long. But part of what I’m trying
to do and help people do is be aware of self-care
and of burning out, and how to incorporate into
every day a way to have balance, so that you’re doing something
that- even if your work is what you love, and is what
gives you inspiration, you still need to have something
else that’s just for you. So, I think that’s
another piece.>>Buecher:It’s very
important. Jade?
>>Frank: Alright, so
a typical day for me. I’m very- I don’t know, I’m in
an interesting kind of position. Paws with a Purpose does
not have a central location. We don’t currently have a
building or office that we can call our own. So, myself and the
rest of our administrative staff basically work from
our own spaces. So, I’ll get up in the morning,
walk my dogs- or I’ll let them out in the yard. I usually check
email by 7 AM, because I get a lot of emails. We have about 91
volunteers and 80- no, 77 dogs. So, a lot of those people
usually are emailing me. Different people who are
interested in pet therapy are emailing me.
And I have to say, part of it being working from
home, I guess, is that I’m worried about the welfare
of my volunteers 24/7. If I’m not in town, I’m still
worried about the welfare of my volunteers and
how they’re doing. Because we have visits
every day of the week. We’re in so many different
places that I want to be able to be there for them, so even
though I’m trying to work on the self-care part of it, because
it’s like- I don’t know. It’s the most enjoyable
thing to my job. I still have to
take time for myself. But still, it’s
always on the forefront. I usually check my
emails about twice a week. I have an 8 AM meeting with our
executive director who’s also the pet therapy coordinator
at Mission Hospital. Only the third- actually,
fourth pet therapy position in a hospital in
the United States. And she was brought on their
last year in that position. So, we meet about twice a week
for about two- two and a half hours. You wouldn’t
believe it flies by, we have so much to talk
about, and so much to do. They’re some of the shortest
meetings I’ve ever had even though they’re
some of the longest. So, we usually are working
on organizing the volunteers, developing our
fundraising events. One of the things that I’m
constantly having to keep track of are our rabies
and certifications. Because if we had an incident
occur or an audit of some kind- say if we were visiting
at the hospital, we have to have that
documentation at all times. And I also have to keep
a schedule of all of our volunteers and where they’re
visiting for the programs that I coordinate, as well as the ones
that Pam coordinates at the hospital, and that our president
Norma Palmer coordinates at the schools, at all times. Just to know where everybody
is and what they’re doing. After our meetings, I’ll usually
either go on a pet therapy visit myself with my dog or I will go
on a site visit and observe a team visiting with a population,
depending on where they are. Or I may do what’s called
leashless volunteering. And as a volunteer, I volunteer
both with my dog and without my dog. So, for instance when we
come here to UNC Asheville, if I don’t bring my dog, then
I’m there to be a support to the teams that are here with their
dogs that visit just down across from the café. And I’m a
person who’s without a dog and therefore can focus on
things aside from the dog. One of the biggest things in
handling when you’re doing pet therapy is you need to be
focused on the interaction between the people
around you and your dog. And things like questions about
how to get involved with pet therapy, water bowls,
water for the dogs, all different sorts of
things that come up. Especially if you’re
visiting with children, or you’re doing things
in ahectic area.A leashless person,
which I do a lot,
is very, very beneficial.
So that way the handler
can focus on, again, the
interactions with their
dogs and the people
they’re with.
Usually our visits
are about an hour. The dogs get pretty tired
after about an hour, so I may do one or
more visits in the day. Some days we’re busier,
some days I’m not so much. I tell people my job
is a part-time job, but it’s a full-time passion,
and I feel that with all my constituents here on the panel. That it’s something that
we’re passionate about 24/7, even if we may not necessarily
be doing it all the time. So, sometimes our pet therapy
visits are in the morning, they’re in the afternoon,
they’re in the evening. Depending on what I’m
doing throughout that day, I’ll also be
reviewing documents, keeping up with our
various paperwork, emails, phone calls
to our site contacts, phone calls to our volunteers,
phone calls to people who are interested- which all the time,
people are wanting to know about pet therapy and how
they can be involved. And there’s a lot of criteria
that are involved in being a pet therapy team, including
being registered, which takes a lot of my
time explaining to people. And being a registered pet
therapy team with either- two organizations, for
instance, are Delta Society, which is a global organization,
and Therapy Dogs, Inc., or TD, Inc. And both of
these organizations- all of our volunteers are registered
with one or the other. And when they are
volunteering with their dog, if a negative incident were
to occur, Delta or TD, Inc. provide- unless in the case of
negligence- provides up to about a million dollars of insurance. So, it’s a really important
thing to have to be able to do what we do. All of the
facilities that we serve require registration. Liability
is one of the biggest roadblocks to getting pet therapy into
a facility. So, that helps us out a lot.
So, let’s see. Some of the other things
that I’ll do, say- often in the afternoons,
I’ll go meet a new volunteer and their dog. A lot of times
I’ve spoken quite a bit with people over the phone or
via email, and they’re all registered, they’re ready to
get started in pet therapy. And it’s my job to
meet them and again, evaluate them and their dog just
on a more casual basis about what locations might be
appropriate for them to visit, and what might be the best
situation for them to get started, and guide them through
the process of beginning to make pet therapy visits. And
that’s always really fun. We usually go to a dog park
and I will spend a lot of time loving on the dogs,
seeing how they react. Again, they’re evaluated by a
certified Delta or TD, Inc. evaluator, but as
volunteer coordinator, it’s also my job to get to know
my volunteers and to know their dogs. And everybody
who’s on our roster, you say a dog’s name
or a person’s name, and I’ll be able to
match them up right away. And I can probably tell you the
dog breed and whether they’re a rescue or not- lots of things. And I guess one of the things
that I am so thankful for on a constant basis is the
ability to multitask. Again, that 24/7 is
always going in my head, and I’m looking at the next
step of what I need to do. Whether it’s working on our
newsletter or entering email contacts into our newsletter,
or- two newsletter things, but. It’s a lot of different
things but it’s really fun. And every aspect of
my job, I greatly, greatly enjoy. So, at a lot
of times, I just- again, I’m like, “Is this work?
Is this- am I really getting paid for this?
‘Cause this is amazing!” Even down to the scheduling,
which organizing people, that many people, for as many
visits as we do- we do about 120 visits a month.
It’s a lot, so. Yeah.>>Buecher: Okay, thanks.>>Weber: Thank you. Alright,
Matt, follow up that act.>>Christian: I was- I don’t
even know if I should tell you what I’m doing anymore. [laughter] Well, obviously I’m an educator, and on average we educate
probably four hours a day. But it seems like lately
it’s been six hours a day. And I think you’ll hear
it’s a common thing. If you want to
work in this field, you wear a lot of hats.
I’ll give you a good example. The other day, I finished
teaching a group of- I believe they were middle schoolers-
and I took them on a stream investigation. We looked
at macroinvertebrates. All the insects that live
underneath the rocks in the river. And talked
about water quality. I left that and I had my elbow
deep in waste water trying to manage our waste water system,
’cause we’re in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest, and
we have such a high volume that we actually have to
treat our own wastewater. So, you wear lots of hats
to make the system work. But tomorrow- [laughter] I will be taking, I think
about six or eight people, along with some other coworkers,
and we’re going to teach them how to fly fish. So, we’ll be
on the East Fork, which is just outside of Rosman
in North Carolina. And we’ll be fly
fishing for four hours. When I get back from that I’ll
have to check my email because I’m also on our strategic
planning committee. The governor mandates that all
state agencies come up with some sort of strategic plan, which
is actually a pretty good idea, and we’ve put it off
for a number of years. We’ve had, actually had, a-
that’s a fun word- strategic plan for a number of years,
but we call it annual plans, but- anyway, it’s
a five-year plan. And so, I have to, when
I get back from that, check my email, make
sure there’s no messages, then hop in the car
and drive to Raleigh. And about 8 o’clock
the next morning, I’ll have meetings
all day. Wonderful. You know what’s funny?
You know, 10 years ago, they wouldn’t let me come
near anything like this.>>Frank:Really?>>Christian: You
ever notice that? When you get older, they make
you do stuff that’s a little bit more formal.
It’s the truth! They make you- they put you on
these big committees and they make you go to Raleigh
and sit in boring meetings. [laughter] And you don’t get to play
as much as you used to. It’s a shame. But
basically, yeah. I love my job on a daily
basis ’cause I don’t grow up. I don’t get to grow up. I play with little kids all day
or play with adults, you know? Shoot archery. Shoot
shotguns, rifle. Not at things. At
targets and stuff. [laughter] But ultimately, we are
training folks to do that. So, anyway. Pretty
interesting day. Not as hectic as y’all’s days.
My hat’s tipped to you for sure.>>Weber: And you’re wearing it.>>Frank: He was
thinking about it.>>Christian: Do what?>>Weber: Thanks. Allison?>>Ballentine: Okay.
A typical day for me. Yeah, I’d have to deal
with all the pets at home. There’s four dogs, four
cats, three tortoises. Everybody wants to
eat first thing, and handle that, and
then head over to work. Being the curator of a small
facility- talk about wearing hats. There’s a lot
of hats there. First thing I do is
check on everybody. Make sure all the staff- make
sure that nobody’s sick or ill or has any limitations that day.
‘Cause if they are, then I’m going to be a keeper
for that day. If they’re not, then I’ll get to
devote some time to- yay! Desk work. There’s a lot of that
with my position right now. I’m in charge of the staff
and the staff scheduling, ordering most of the supplies,
paper work involved with animals that we bring in or
animals that may leave, paperwork involved with
veterinary procedures. I’m also pretty involved with
any construction that we have onsite as far as exhibit design. And we’re also going
through strategic planning, so there’s generally a
meeting per day, at least. And then one of the things that
was sort of a surprise when I became a curator versus a keeper
was how much attention I now have to pay to
people. Bleh. [laughter] I’m just like, “Will you
please get out of my face and stop whining?” And now I have to deal with my
staffand their time off andtheir requests and their needs.And I sometimes just wanna
go hide in one of the animal
exhibits and let nobody
find me for a while. But-
So, I’m learningto be
a human manager now, and an animal
manager. Yeah. We often have a pump
that’s not working. Oh, we don’t have
any medium rats. You know, oh, the
otter has a cold. And I mean, some days
I’m just spinning, and the radio chimes, “Ally!”
And I’m just like, “What now?” You know. So, multitasking
is a big necessity. And in my area- I mean,
I feel like I don’t know enough. I feel like- I mean,
I could learn forever ’cause it’s so variable. I mean, one problem has to
do with animal behavior, the next problem has to do
with the computer and our email. The next problem has to do with
staffing and trying to figure out, like, two staff members
aren’t getting along and how to handle them. I need to call-
I need to get your number, therapy. The next problem
could be maintenance. As far as keepers go, we just
hired a new keeper mostly for her ability to do maintenance. And I mean, that’s
kind of crazy. Obviously, she had good
animal experience too, but she won out from the
other candidate because she had maintenance experience. We’re owned by the city and
they’ve got a hiring freeze, and our maintenance department
is two people strong. And there’s just always
stuff falling apart, you know? So that’s actually huge, knowing
how to work a Skilsaw and a hammer in our field. And
that’s in big zoos as well. I mean, we interviewed people
from major zoos and they had to get involved, too, so. So, there’s a lot of that
as well as the animal stuff. As far as having that
moment where you’re like, “Wow, I’m glad I know that.” I don’t really know.
Probably behavior. That’s at least the most
enjoyable part of my day, is- recently the ed staff who
takes care of our groundhog- she’s Nibbles. The famous Nibbles, she’s a
little program groundhog. And he says, “Nibbles is taking
stuffing out of her bed and putting it in her litter box
and sleeping there, and she’s pooping in her bed, and she’s
never done that before.” So, you know, so, “I’m
like, well maybe she’s old, maybe her vision is going.” Her litter box is more of a
Buddha dome thing. I’m like, “Maybe we need to get her a
Buddha thing for her bed to feel more secure, or maybe the
wind’s blowing a different way.” And so, we just had all these
different challenges to meet. And there’s a lot of that
everyday that’s really, really neat. And I love taking on those
challenges and trying to find out what those animals
are gonna need. Longest day I had
recently was last week. I acquired two animals that
I can’t say what they are, ’cause they have to
go through quarantine, and they’ll be big fanfare
sometime in the winter, so I can’t say anymore,
but it’s really cool. They came in about midnight. My assistant curator
flew out to get them, brought them back on a plane,
picked them up from Atlanta, brought them in at midnight.
I met her. We were, you know, in a dark building, unscrewing
them and making sure their needs were attended to and
sitting with them. And then I crashed on her couch
for three hours and got back to work to meet the vet so he could
look them over and we could start the quarantine process. And today I was
buying toys for them. So, there’s some
really cool stuff. I don’t mean to
be Negative Nancy. There’s a lot of cool things.
I think, as he was saying, you get older and they make you
do boring stuff. I’m realizing the higher I get, the further
I’m getting from the animals. That being said, I’m learning
how to balance that, though. I’ve decided that I’m going to
take a walk every day and just walk the zoo, you know, and
just- I think I might take off my uniform so I don’t
get stopped a lot. But just to walk and take it
in and realize why I’m there, and just appreciate them.
Otherwise you can get really bogged down in the emails and
paperwork and stuff like that.>>Christian: You know,
luckily you get to write your own schedules. Sometimes.>>Ballentine: Sometimes. Unless somebody calls in
sick or there’s a sick animal. [laughter]>>Christian: So, you get
to make your own gigs.>>Weber:No cubicles, no->>Ballentine: No, no cubicles->>Weber: Doesn’t sound very
much like the kind of job-job that I think we have
stereotyped, you know, in popular media. And there’s
a lot of themes here, and there’s no
boredom here. So->>Buecher:So, you’re
definitely all living your
passion. Can you, maybe a
few of you, comment on
future trends of working
with animals, and career
opportunities? Maybe a couple
of you can speak to that?
Kendall, did you have->>Smith:Sure. Well,
I think that animal
assisted psychotherapy is
definitely something that’s
growing.So, this is a good
time to get involved in it. And anything where there’s
research supporting it. So anytime- and I have a
list of website information, if anyone’s interested
in things, but- anytime when there’s
studies done, ’cause anything in mental
health is about evidence-based, and so there are some studies
coming out about animal assisted psychotherapy. So, I think-
I think that’s emerging. I don’t know if you
would say the same?>>Frank:Oh, definitely,
I’d say theuse of animals as
a modality in psychotherapy, occupational therapy,
speech therapy, physical therapy, in schools,
in any kind of rehabilitation especially, is just
burgeoning right now. And I think it’s the future
of mental health and physical health, I really do. Of
wellness, actually, in general. I think the more that we can
bring people together with animals, we’ll be alleviating
some of Joelle’s problems. We’ll be bringing more places
like Horse Sense and the Nature Center- bringing people
together with animals, and we all- it’s just
really interesting. We all have a very similar
goal in expanding people’s understanding of what it
is to work with animals, how amazing they are, and
how they can relate to us. So, in so many different fields,
you can work with animals. Especially, like
physical therapy, that’s something I’d
love to do some day, and use my dog as a modality
for rehabilitative session. That’s way up here,
that’s my star. But yeah, I think there’s a lot.
It is brand new. It’s awesome.>>Ballentine: I was gonna
say in the zoo world, you know, in spite
of the economy, zoos are still maintaining
really higher membership across the United States. I think
especially since people are having those staycations
that they’re talking about, and they’re kind of
rediscovering their zoos and nature centers. And there’s really a big push
now for these institutions to become heavily involved
with conservation. They call it ex
situ conservation. Where a zoo is doing
in situ, in-house, but they’re giving money or
research or staff time towards ex situ conservation. A small instruction like us, we
don’t get to do as much of it. We do get contacted a lot by
universities that maybe want some stool samples or blood
samples from our animals and things like that,
and we participate. But some of the bigger zoos-
I just went to the NC Zoo. Oh, they have amazing programs
that they’re taking part in in Nairobi and Papa New Guinea
and all these places. And most of them really
start with people. I think they’re realizing with
conservation that you can go and try to create a protected area,
but you have to start with the people that are gonna encroach.
And if they need to encroach on that land, they’re going to. And so, it’s not
gonna help you to say, “It’s protected, and those
animals are protected.” And people are realizing
you gotta start with local communities and get the
conservation message out there, and zoos are really
doing amazing things as far as that goes. So, I think as far as in my
field and people entering it, I think getting some, you know,
conservation biology degree, extending it more towards
those conservation issues. Even learning some nonprofit
skills to help with those programs that get
started over there, I think that’s kind of
the way of the future, as far as my industry. Beyond, obviously, the keeping
and- there’s exhibit design. I mean, there’s a lot of ways as
far as- zoos are great in that they offer so many
opportunities to be involved. I mean, just pick a passion,
and your passion can be guest services and you can still go
and be a part of it because they just operate on so
many levels, so.>>Buecher: Excellent. Ann, do you have
any final questions? I want to open it
up to the students.>>Weber: I want to open
it for questions too, and I think Allison actually
took on the thing that I wanna hear from everyone who has been
terrific enough to come here and get this amazing- what an
amazing group of people. I’m just- I’m so proud.
You’re all here, you know? You know, so. So, how did
they get into it, okay? And what do you want to know
about how to get into it? Let’s just go straight
to questions.>>Buecher:Do you
have any questions?
>>Christian:Break it down,
come on. Step forward-
>>Buecher:Please, if
you have a question,
please step up to
the microphone.
And say your name and->>[audience member]: Hi.
I’m Margaret Earthman. I graduated from
UNCA this past May. And like all of you, I have
the need and desire to work with animals and be
outside of the office. I can’t have an office job. But I noticed it’s been a trend
in what y’all have all talked about, and what I’ve heard
from a lot of other people, that working with animals in
these types of organizations, the key is to work your
way from the bottom up. It’s, you know, pretty much a
hierarchy, a pecking order. And volunteering is the obvious
way to get in and the bottom level and work your way up. And I do volunteer for an
animal sanctuary at the time, or, you know, now, and
have for three years. But how do you maintain a
full-time job to keep the roof over your head and get enough
volunteer experience in with these organizations?>>Buecher:That’s
a good question.
>>Weber:Excellent question.Who wants to talk about that?
Advice to break into the field?
>>Ballentine:This is bad
but I had to bartend. I had to make fast
money at odd hours, so that I could have my
day free for volunteering. I’m not advocating going
and being a bartender, but I had to find creative ways
to keep the roof over my head, because I knew that, you know,
I just had to commit to the volunteering and the internships
and for whatever it takes to do that. And pawn my pets
off on my parents and save my money and took off.
So, there will just have to be- I think there will be a decision
that you make that you’re like, “I’m jumping in and
I’ll do what it takes.” If not, it’s gonna go
slower, in my opinion.>>Christian:I can
tell you also,
don’t always work for free.>>[audience member]: Yeah.>>Christian: But seriously. If you feel adamant about
getting into this field- this field is actually
really broad. And while we were sitting- or
before coming into this room, and sort of discussing. They use animals for therapy and
to protect animals and put them in better homes
and better places. And I was looking at
myself and I was like, “Holy cow, we kill animals.” [laughter] I mean, in all honesty,
I work for a hunting and fishing organization.
But we use harvesting as a management tool,
and it’s regulated. And we promote ethics
and fair chase, and we really try to push
for good decision-making when you’re out there.
But, it’s a broad thing. And there’s a lot of
internships out there. There’s a lot of state-funded
programs that you can become a part of where you can find
ways- it may not be with that organization that you’re
volunteering with, but if you’re really aggressive,
you can find internships that pay. My wife says
I’m so selfish. And she’s right, I need to
volunteer more of my time.>>Frank:Yes.[laughter]>>Christian:I know,
exactly! I do, I do.
>>Frank:Volunteer version.>>Christian:I do,
and I need to.
But if you really want to
get your start in the field, try to find the money first.>>Warren:I disagree with that.>>Weber:Okay.>>Warren: Most of our staff
that we have hired have all been volunteers at first with
different backgrounds. I mean, some in vet tech school
that just can work on Saturdays. Some- one was a Warren Wilson
college student and she started volunteering just
coming to walk dogs. Then we offered her a part-time
job as kennel- you know, just kennel worker, where she
worked for maybe 20-25 hours a week while she was
at Warren Wilson. Then as soon as she graduated,
she’d been there for almost a year, and we made her,
you know, our first paid volunteer coordinator,
you know? So, you know- we’ve only
been around a year so, I mean, positions
open up gradually,especially with like
fledgling organizations.
And even if you’re volunteering
with one organization,
maybe you have one Saturday a
month that you could get your
foot in the door
somewhere else.
And you, know,a lot of times
with being with an organization long enough, you can
create your own position. And funding pops up eventually,
but even owning my own business when I had just
Pet Soup Grooming, and I did the
Pet Soup Rescue. I mean, there were plenty of
weeks where I went without a paycheck so I could keep a roof
over the foster dogs’ heads, you know, so. It’s
all about, you know- Now I’m 37, so hopefully
by one of these days I’ll get paid a lot. But now it’s
still very bare minimum. But I just think volunteering is
the way to get your foot in the door. And I think there’s
only three people there that have not volunteered their
way into getting a full-time paid position, so.>>Christian:But
you will be hungry.
>>Buecher:Kendall?>>Smith:Yeah, and I also think
there’s a part of it that you
have to think about what you’re
to do with your life. So, like, are you really
to look for work anywhere? Are you willing to move? Are you- you know,
where are you at? What are you willing to risk? And doing a kind of big
assessment of what you want and how to create it. So, not making it
as narrow as like, “How do I have a full-time
job and you know, and do this volunteer work so
that I can get into the field that I want,”but making it
a little bit bigger about,
“What do I really want to
do, and what am I willing to
sacrifice in order to be
in that kind of position?”
>>Frank:Yeah, I think what
Kendall just said is very important. What are you willing
to do to be in that situation? When I did my
internship with Paws, I had my very first
administrative meeting with our executive director
and our president and the current volunteer coordinator.
And it was one of the most amazing experiences
I’ve ever had. I sat there and looked at
these three women and said, “I want to do this. I want
to be volunteer coordinator for this group someday.
I don’t care what it takes. And I just know this is
absolutely what I want to do.” And it wasn’t until
three years later, I had no idea it was to
actually gonna happen, even though it
was what I wanted. So, I was researching schools
and programs when there’s not that many in animal
assisted interactions, trying to figure out, “How can I
get an educational degree that will make it even possible for
me to have a paid position in this field? What can I do?” And I was really fortunate that
I hadn’t actually pursued any of those when this
position came up. And I wanted it
more than anything. It was all I thought about.
I was very aggressive. I went up against several
people that had master’s, and were much more
qualified than I was. But the fact that I was so
invested in our organization- I worked at a kennel
for several years. I worked here at UNCA for
two years and had a very, very busy job in
health and wellness. But because it was my
passion to volunteer, that was my reward time,
my time for myself. And just whatever I could do to
stay connected to Paws and the organization and the people
I was working with was the most important thing. And I think a lot of people that
want to volunteer and start at that bottom level and
hopefully there is some room for a possible
positon in the future. That, you know, when
you’ve earned your chops, people really can see the
passion that you have about it, and they want to have someone
that motivated and enthusiastic, and who’s willing to make
whatever sacrifices that are necessary to be
in that situation.
They want somebody
like that on the bus.
They want someone on, really
driving their mission and the
purpose of what
they’re trying to do.
Especially with a nonprofit.So, I would say go with your
heart and do whatever you
can to possibly support yoursef
educationally, financially,
in getting there.And if you
really, really want it. I mean, I’m serious. I never thought I would
have this position. And I’m still so happy,
and there’s many other things I want to
do with my life. Many educational opportunities
that I want to pursue. But this is something I
never thought I would have, and you just gotta
want it really bad. More than anything. So, whatever you want
go for it, hardcore.>>[audience member]:
Thank y’all very much.>>Frank: You’re welcome.>>Buecher: Any other questions?
Or did you have-?>>Warren: No.>>Christian: Bring
on the questions.>>Buecher: Any other questions?>>Christian: There
are no bad ones.>>Buecher: About internships?>>Christian: [indistinct]
they grow, they shrink, they go sideways. Sometimes
we throw them away->>Frank: Perks of work?>>Buecher: Here we go.>>Frank: Non-perks of work? Come on guys.
Oh, we got one!>>[audience member]: Kendall,
you mentioned about your background with
wilderness therapy. Could you tell me a little more
about your education with that and the benefits of that
compared to maybe like a more traditional therapy method?>>Smith:Sure. Yeah.So, I knew- I said I knew
I wanted to work outside,
so I started looking for
therapy programs and I wanted to get a PhD, and
I really wanted to research it, and that didn’t exist. And
I happened to be living in Boulder, Colorado at the time. And I didn’t realize it,
but Naropa University had a wilderness therapy program. And it was one of two,
the other is Prescott, where you kind of make your
own, and that’s in Arizona. So, I was already living there
and it was like two days before the deadline for the
application, so I did it. And my belief around how that is
better than traditional therapy? Is that the question?>>[audience member]:Well,
just the difference, I mean.
Or what maybethe certain
benefits of it are, as opposed to some->>Smith:Sure. Well,
it’s wildly different.
Because you’re in the wild.So-and wilderness therapy
has a huge range of things. Some people take groups
out for two weeks at a time, you know. There’s all
sorts of programs. Aspen is a big program
that has a lot of- a lot of organizations in
this part of North Carolina. There’s SUWS,
there’s Four Season, there’s all sorts of
wilderness therapy programs. But then there’s also people who
do more things like what I do. Where you have people and
you might go on a hike for a session, or you
might work with horses, or you might just incorporate
the natural world in some way. Some people work in an office,
but they have a lot of plants. Or they, you know, bring out
natural objects and utilize those. I mean, people
do this in city parks. They decide to take people
to the park for a session. And that kind of work, I think,
is amazing because you’re working with populations who
have access to a bit of the natural world and they’re
never going there. So, you take them to a park
that’s like three blocks from their house and you open up
a whole new world for them. I think the benefits of it
are that it takes people out of their usual pattern,
and so there’s that- it disrupts homeostasis,
which we’re always talking about in psychology. So, you can’t just be the way
you always are because you’re in a different environment,
and it’s calling you to experience something
differently. And there’s all sorts of opportunity
for metaphor in the natural world, too.
And it’s also physically- it has a physical
effect on your body, and most of that is stress
reduction, you know?Unless you’re taking them out
on some hardcore adventure,
which has its own
purpose. More?
>>[audience member]: Yeah,
yeah, no, that’s great. That’s exactly what I was
looking for. Thank you.>>Buecher:Okay,
excellent. Thank you.
Any other questions?>>Christian: Alright!>>Frank: Yes!>>Buecher: Come on up.>>[audience member]: I guess
first I’d just like to comment and say that it’s really cool
and really inspirational to hear all of you talk. And I think that
what you do is great. But Allison, something that
really chimed in with me when you were talking is how
when you were little, you wanted to be
like Jane Goodall. And I really have a strong
affinity for primates, and I actually have a
picture of Jane Goodall and David Greybeard hanged
in front of my desk, so when I’m doing that
chemistry homework, and I’m about to
give up, you know? I just keep going. So, when I was reading about
yourfield work with primates,I found that to be
really interesting.
And I was wondering how you
got involved with that after
you graduated, and if you
had any advice into being
able to have that kind of
out in the wild.>>Ballentine:Yeah, primate
experience us kind of tough to
go by. There’s a lotof
competition for it. I was pretty lucky in Savannah,
where I went to school. There was a small island that
was associated with the Wildlife Conservation Society, and they
had free ranging lemurs on the island, and that
they were studying. And my anthropology
teacher said, “Oh, you need to go speak
with this guy and you can do a student internship,” and
so I got to follow around black-and-white ruffed lemurs,
and they were supposed to be- they were being considered
to be released back into Madagascar, so that I was
supposed to be recording all their wild behaviors.
Most of the time, they were in my lap, trying
to get in my backpack. [laughter]Which I secretly
loved, but I was like,
“Oh, no. No. Go forage,”
but, you know.
[laughter]So, I got really lucky there,you know, that there
was something local. With my trip to Africa, it was
something I found online that I researched, that, you know,
had a lot of credibility. And it was a paid experience. I don’t think that you
always have to do that. I think some of them are
certainly more touristy than really scientifically grounded,
but this was one, I got really lucky on and
it is very well-respected. And I just got really lucky I
was able to borrow the money. Are you familiar with the
Wisconsin Primate Center? PrimateInfo Net?I can give you the- well,
it’s Primate Info Net,
but I’ll give you the website.But it lists all
the experiences-
people list volunteer,
internship, and paid experiences with primates.
And it’s fantastic. I still check it all the time
because I’m just daydreaming about living in Kenya. But it’s a great resource, and
I- with working with primates, I would recommend
that perhaps if you can, be willing to move or relocate. Or take six months
and go do something. I don’t know what
your situation is, but if I could go back, I would
not have credit cards and not have pets so that I
could’ve done more of that. The things that ground
you and keep you here and sometimes gonna stand
in your way if you’re looking at field research.>>[audience member]:
Yeah, that’s a
tough call. I once saw Dr.
Lucy Spelman speak, and I was totally star-struck
when I got to meet her. But she said, you
know, she said, “I’ve no dog. No family.
Nothing,” and it’s 100%. So, that’s definitely something->>Ballentine:It’s really hard.>>[audience member]:
And, on a side note, were the lemurs
successfully reintroduced?>>Ballentine:
Those weren’t, no.
>>[audience member]:
Okay. Try again.
>>Ballentine: Sad, yeah.
They weren’t ready, but yeah.>>[audience member]:
Alright, thank you.
>>Buecher: Thank you. Do
you have a question? Yeah.>>[audience member]: Joelle,
you mentioned you had some behavioral certifications. What organizations did
you get those through?>>Warren:The Animal
Behavior College.
It’s actually- I got it just
to say that I was certified,
because you kind of have to
have some stuff under your belt to be like respected
in certain situations. And it was an online course. But you did- you
have an internship, an externship, you have shelter
work that you have to do. There’s- and since I kind
of owned my own shelter at the time when I went through,
it was very good for me. Then, I’ve also gone to Best
Friends and taken classes there. So, it’s basically just
certifications through, like, animal- beginning
dog behavior, intermediate dog behavior, advanced
dog behavior. And I’ll probably go back to
Best Friendsat least once,like, every year
for my entire life.
There’s also Pit Bull EdCamp,
which is in San Francisco,
that I’m on the waiting list
to get into for next year.
And it’s just a
week-long course, you know, working
with pit bulls, and it’s basically, like,
helping people understand their dogs and
their dog behavior. That’s the big kicker, too. And it’s, like- that’s one
thing I’m very natural at, is like, understanding
dog behavior, learning dog behavior. But it’s harder for me to
make people understand their dog’s behavior
and how to modify that. So, that’s the
challenge for me. ‘Cause people are
set in their ways. They’re set, and-the flippin’ dog
whisper. You know?
[laughter] It’s like everybody watches
the TV show and they think they’re
a dog trainer!And, you know, most
accredited dog trainers, dog behaviorists, aren’t the
biggest fan of Cesar Millan, although I do think
that, you know, he’s done a lot of great
work for pit bulls. I know that he loves dogs. He just sees it a different
way than a lot of people. So- but, you know. When he first came
out, I was a big fan. I went to see him
in Austin, Texas. That was, like, years
ago when the first, you know, came out. So- but, you just have to take
his stuff with a grain of salt. But anyway. So, that
was basically it. I have, you know, a certificate
class from Kim Brophey, another certificate class
fromanother trainer.But not any major
educational certifications.
>>[audience member]:
Yeah, I’ve looked at the animal behavior online- the
whatever college online before.>>Warren:It’s actually-
I mean, it was actually
a good experience forme. It’s a good foundation
to start with, and they provide you also with
a lot of resources to start your own training business,
to get you into a lot of different animal behavior
fields. So, it was good. It gives you some
people experience, too, ’cause I had
to teach classes. I’m not really good at
the teaching classes part. That’s not what I like to do. So- but it gives you
that experience as well.>>[audience member]:
Okay. Thanks.
Any final questions? No? Any final advice on how
to break into the field, or internships, before
we start networking?>>Ballentine: Intern,
volunteer, intern, volunteer. And impress the people that
you intern and volunteer for. I think two of the major
career breaks I got were for- one was for being very
persistent when I wanted the job. Like, calling like
every few days, and talking more about my great attributes. And
the other- this recent position, I was recommended for by
my former and current boss. He moved, and sort of
contacted me and told me this position was open.
And I took it here. And the reason for that-
I really wasn’t very qualified, and he knows that.
But I managed to impress him in my former place and I
just went above and beyond. And I- “Hey, I know you guys
are talking about this today, and I know it really
doesn’t involve my job, but I’d like to sit in
and learn about it,” and just jumping at every
experience I could. So, when you do volunteer
at the shelter, you know, maybe there’s a need that
they have that you’re not currently supposed
to address, but maybe you’ve got
some good ideas. And you walk over,
and you say, “Hey, I’m thinking about this,
and I’m pretty good at making phone calls.
Maybe I could call and try to do some
fundraising for you.” Whatever you think that
you can bring to the table so that they
notice you more. I think that that’s
my best advice.>>Christian: Yeah,
if I have any advice, it’s every morning you wake
up, do it intentionally. Work really hard
to keep it fresh. Like, do it differently. And I know that’s- that
sounds really simple, but it’s actually very easy to
become complacent and to say things like, “Well, when
I first started here, this is the way we
did it,” you know? But try to keep an
open mind and listen. Listen to everybody,
’cause everybody’s got some wacky ideas.>>Warren:I agree with listen.
Listen to your mentors.
They are not reinventing
the wheel. They are telling you from experience
how things are done, why things are done the
way that they are done. And you get so many eager
volunteers who don’t listen to your, like protocol. Or like, this is how we do
it, this is why we do it. They think that they
can do it this way. We don’t like
those volunteers. Just listen and,
you know, and learn. You can learn so much by just
listening to your mentors. That gets you in the door.>>Smith:Andmy last thing
would be that Horse Sense is a resource for
you all, too. So, this is a majestic,
90-acre farm. And it’s only 25
minutes from here, and we have a lot of things
this fall that are like stress-reduction activities. And I know that
college is stressful. At least, it was
when I was in it. So, definitely don’t hesitate
to get in touch if you wanna participate in any of the
stuff we have out there. And that’s a way to learn more
about, you know, what working with horses can be like.>>Frank:Just in regards to
Allison and Joelle just said as well, about
volunteering and internships. Be as professional
as possible. I know that you’re volunteering,
and it’s your given time. But the more
professional you are, the more seriously you take that
on and really identify with it as a passion, then people
will recognize that. I keep starting with off,
and then I’ll forget. But also, if you really do want
to have a career working with animals, look at
what’s out there, and you can make it happen. You absolutely can build
a niche with yourself. Whether it’s actually building
a position within one of the organizations, or organizations,
or striking out on your own. Pet therapy, for instance,
is a pioneering field. We’ve got Horse Sense,
we’ve got Brother Wolf, we’ve got the Wildlife Center,
we’ve got rehabilitation. It all comes together because of
this animal human bond that’s, again, so incredible.
But if you really want to work with animals, you
will find a way to do it. And if that’s what drives you,
you will find a way to do it. So, just don’t stop hoping,
and don’t stop trying ’cause it will happen for you if it’s what
you really are wanting to do. Not just meant to do. I’m not
a huge believer in destiny. Not necessarily. I think
you make your own destiny. You can definitely do
that, so be strong. Also, anyone interested
in volunteering with Paws, let me know. We always are looking
for volunteers as well, and I have to say, college
students are very enthusiastic, and we have lots of energy,
which you always need in a non-profit organization, or
any of these organizations. And thank you guys so
much for your time today.>>Warren:I just have one
little comment that I’d like to
say.Like, I can hardly
go into any room of people without at least one-
and in here, I know of at least two people, that have
adopted a dog from us. And that’s like the
most rewarding- like, I haven’t met her. I have met her, because I
did her adoption counselor evaluation. But, yeah, two
people in this room have adopted a dog from us.
And it’s just the most amazing feeling to know that.
I know that there are thousands of homeless pets out there,
but that we made a difference in these two pets’ lives,
and these two people’s lives. So, these pets have enriched
these people’s lives as well. So. It’s so cool.>>Buecher:It is very cool.
I wanna thank you all, for first of all, for
choosing your career paths. You’re definitely all
following your passion, and I appreciate you sharing
your passion with our students. And on a personal note, I’m
very happy that you are all championing animals and people,
and living your life calling. I really admire you. And again, I appreciate you
being here and sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm, and
just zest for life and your careers, with our students.
You’re true role models. So, thank you. Thank you,
thank you, thank you, thank you. Excellent, yeah. [applause] And thank you, Ann
Weber, for joining us. We still have time
for networking. So, for you folks
who love the animals, we have a great
panel up here. So, maybe you wanna
inquire about internships, or volunteer jobs,
or future trainings. They are staying here
until 6 o’ clock. I also have food. I believe- Thomas
Ann slipped out. We have food in the hallway,
refreshments for you folks. Also, before you leave, if you
could complete the evaluations. They’re a green form. And for follow-up, we gave
you the background on all our speakers and their
contact information. So, I’m hoping your intention
is to keep networking, keep being in the right
place at the right time, so you can open up doors
to your own possibilities and career choices. If
you need assistance with volunteer work, internships,
navigating your career, know that you have access
to the Career Center. We’re in 259 Highsmith Union.
We have walk-in hours every Wednesday and Thursday from
2-4 for quick questions. And you can also stop by and
make an appointment with one of our career counselors. And then a final announcement,
our annual Career and Graduate School Fair is scheduled
on Tuesday, October 19th. And it’ll be in Highsmith Union
so you can network with lots of different employers
as well on that day. But thank you all
for being here, and again, thank you, and
let’s start networking. ♪[closing music]♪ ♪ ♪

One thought on “Careers for Animal Lovers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *