Board and Train Instructor | Office Assistant
Just like most animal-lovers, Laura’s affinity for critters began early in life where dogs were definitely her first love. As soon as she was old enough to work, she got her first job at her local veterinarian’s office taking care of the boarded cats and dogs. She learned quickly that being a veterinarian was not what she wanted, but she also learned that, for her, a job without animals was a job without purpose.
After graduating from high school, she began volunteering at her hometown zoo, ZooAmerica. Working with the education department’s ambassador animals and educating the public soon turned into a favorite pastime. During her time in college, she worked as a part-time Educator Aide back home, and after graduating became the Education Specialist in charge of the ambassador animal collection- including all animal training. Some of her favorites included a crow, a raven, birds of prey, roadrunners, and a North American Porcupine.
Later she moved to the area to work as a zookeeper and eventually the Assistant Curator for the Elmwood Park Zoo. Over her six years at the facility she was lucky enough to work closely with all of the animals housed at the zoo and worked as a primary trainer for capybaras, monkeys, wolves, a mountain lion, and jaguars. She also worked daily with Best Paw Forward’s Training Manager, Erin, to train a bald eagle (the live animal mascot for the Philadelphia Eagles), Noah.
One of her major training accomplishments includes working with one of the young jaguars to voluntarily accept injections through the fence. This allowed vet staff to administer vaccines or medication without having to anesthetize the cat which is stressful for the animal and the staff.
Although Laura has spent 14 years in the zoo industry, she is enthusiastic to return to work with her first love. She’s been honing her training skills with the help of all kinds of exotics and is looking forward to continuing the learning process with domestics!
When not working with the dogs in our board and train program, Laura spends time with her husband, daughter and 3 Shiba Inus.