About

cheriemascissamson1729

I was born into an animal loving family, always had a wide variety of pets and from a very young age, cared for sick and injured wildlife, releasing them back into the wild when healthy.

I started on the road to being an animal behavior professional after being accepted into Moorpark College’s Exotic Animal Training and Management Program (EATM) the summer after I graduated from high school. My first animal job was working with parrots at Busch Bird Sanctuary until the park was closed.

During several summers in high school, I worked as a veterinary assistant and when Busch Gardens closed down, I was hired as a Veterinary Technician at Marine Work Africa USA.  After a short time, I was asked to take over the bird department. I was the Curator of Birds for 5 years, working primarily with many species of parrots but also ratites and waterfowl. I wrote a monthly column for Parrot World magazine, wrote articles for Bird World and was on the first cover of Bird Talk magazine. I concurrently, presented parrot care and training programs to pet owners, pet stores and local bird clubs.

When Marine World relocated, my husband and I started Animal Trax-presenting educational wildlife programs to schools and for the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

Later, I became Curator of Animal Programs at Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum, where I developed and presented educational animal programs about the wildlife found in the Redding/Mount Shasta area.  The animals in our programs were unable to return to the wild.

I have also trained animals for commercials and movies-always being a strong advocate for the proper treatment of animals on the set.

 

After a 7 year stint as an Estate Manager, caring for an 8,000 square foot home, horses, a zonkey, llamas, sheep, goats, chickens, cats and dogs and concurrently running Pet Education and Training Services, my husband and I moved to Kanab, UT so I could work at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

I started working for Best Friends as a Dogtown Caregiver, became a Behavior Consultant, Lead Behavior Consultant and then Dogtown Manager, all within 2 1/2 years.

Best Friends provides sanctuary to over 400 dogs, many with severe behavior issues. As Lead Behavior Consultant and then Dogtown Manager, my primary goals were to educate our visitors and volunteers, staff, and shelter and rescue personnel about positive reinforcement-based, cutting edge animal behavior and training methods to help reduce the number of pets being euthanized in shelters and to empower our caregivers to help the sanctuary dogs become more adoptable.

I (along with the other behavior consultants) ghost wrote articles for the Best Friends magazine, their website and the local newspaper.  I have presented at the Best Friends National Conference several times and provided training and behavior workshops to people from all over the world.

I loved being a behavior consultant but as I got farther away from working directly with the animals, even though it was worthwhile and I was helping animals in a broader sense, I found myself disconnected from what I enjoyed doing most. I decided to get back to my roots and help people keep their animals in their homes so they don’t end up in shelters.

I am a certified professional dog trainer-knowledge assessed (CPDT-KA) and an Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Canine Life and Social Skills (C.L.A.S.S.) evaluator.

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