Educational Requirements for Animal Trainers: Now, generally, in most cases, animal trainers need to have at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent. But it's to your best advantage not to start training without having at least your bachelor's degree along with other additional skills.
**I haven't proofread it for errors--so pardon any poor format, grammar, punctuation and whatever else you find off**
"...And now, Ladies and Gentleman, I will proceed to stick my head into the head of Jasubens, here! Can I have your attention please?. I need quiet, please! I will now I will place my head in this Lion's mouth .."
Before she stuck her head into the Lion's head, her entire life danced across the hidden windows of her eyes. Her past, her growth, peacefully danced within her Soul. Her actual Self, and heart and Mind' reminded her of how much all of yesterdays have shown up to this moment. How it all became this way. The steps that she walked on..and why:
The first time she realized she wanted to be an animal trainer. She used to dream that she'd own a training school and have at least 5 animals within her care. Those dreams began as a little girl, when she'd climb into a tree and sit there and read, and listen to the birds sing around her.
When she was older and at the part where she was eligible to actually apply for Animal training school, and how she still wanted to have that training school. She knew that she had to follow certain guidelines, to stay on the path of life to prepare her for Animal training. Her heart was ready, her mind, well, no matter what you do, nothing can actually prepare your mind for this particular venture. Anything can happen. That's what happens in a career choice such as this one.
She remembers when she trained and learned how to train her first animal. She thought she was prepared, even though her particular animal was sprung on her without notice. It was quite shocking for her because at the time not all her resources were in order, so she had a lot of paperwork and office management to do on top of learning how to train an animal. When she realized that she'd be happy with just training the animals, not owning a business with 5 animals, rather being given 3 to work with on a constant basis. A contract that was signed before they were birthed from their mother. The contract stating that She, the trainer, would have the following responsibilities in order to qualify for the title of animal trainer:
- Animal trainers must be patient and sensitive.
- They should have experience with problem-solving and animal obedience.
- While animal trainers aren't required to have certification, several organizations offer training programs and certification for those who want to enter this field.
- That she would have to be financially reliable for them as well.
- She would be looked up to, and she had to be able to teach trust and honesty
- She had to remember that even when she's sick, it is her job to take care of her caged wild ones.
- She had to sign the contract stating that after a certain amount of time, these animals would cease under her care, and would separate to run free in the safe haven of open forests. Where bubbling brooks trickled water along the smooth rocks that, when the sun hit them, it looked like you were gazing at prisms of such remarkable colors through a mirror. The animals to run around solo, without you there anymore to help them. Knowing quite well that there are risks. Things do go wrong. Hurt is felt, given and dreamt about. But she was willing to make those sacrifices for the love of those animals.
Her favorite ones to train?: Lion, Dog, and Monkey
Naturally she signed the contract even though it's far more ideal to go into a contract, such as this with the level of care it involves, with a committed partner.
When the lion was birthed from her mom, when it was the first time that this animal trainer held this tiny bear cub, the coloring, the mane softly blanketing his back as well as on top of his head. His mouth, oh boy, it was the biggest part on him, aside from the size of his head. Have you ever actually looked at lions lips? WOW!
She followed the responsibilities of being an animal trainer and cried along with her Lion as growing pains and sharp paws joined forces with her life. The more she walked in her new shoes, the more she learned that as far as this role is looked at, a job outlook, it was impossible for each trainer to train the same way. You'd get some people saying that yes, just follow the many handbooks that tell you how to train, and you'll be fine. But there are so many different manuals. No matter how long you sit in the classroom for theory, each one of the potential trainers, would learn differently. Just as the voices of lessons, all taught differently. Each classroom the same, the room, the windows, where the students sat, the temperature of the room, the smell of the room, all of these things were the same. The difference was one thing, one thing out of all the other things: the professor. Her professor did not teach the same way the classroom next door was being taught.
It amazed her at how caddy some students would be, boasting about how well they were doing in the class, saying that their professor knew more then your professor, competing with you regarding your knowledge of training, scoffing your tips on how to teach a Lion to eat sitting down. When you were in the "clinical portion of it," and these students would continue to compete against the girth, size and how quickly your animals developed along, versus theirs. Or when these live bundles scratched you, made you tired by standing on your feet, hovering over a circular table lifting and moving the lion cub around, as it would kick you and scratch you, sometimes right into your ribs, sometimes when you weren't looking, these little cubs would nail your lower back.
Enter the caddy trainers. Nothing made some of these students happier to boast that their body parts aren't nearly as scratched up from the cubs as yours are. When you were permanently scarred, their body looked as though they'd never even trained a cub before. As a matter of fact, there were some that looked as though they'd never held a cub before in their life. Never carried around the somersaulting cubs, their claws causing so much distress, you'd be sick for months.
Not all students were nasty though. Soon enough you'd find yourself drawn to trainers that were placed in the stations closest to yours, and the big one, you'd befriend those that displayed the same mannerisms as you believed you had, when it came to animal training.
Some of these students didn't have very involved professors, then there were some way too involved, you know, picture the parables of the infamous Jewish mother in law. Or the ones that believed with each lesson, there had to be a banquet hall filled with every different type of food for you to dine on, as well as the cubs. So many different types of trainers.
And here she was. She had made it. She found the best partner to help balance out the work load, especially when it came to training the lion, dog and monkey, and cleaning up after them, feeding them, teaching them right from wrong.
Not all trainers ended up with good partners either. Sadly, some of these business ventures would dissolve and both individuals would experience so much loss. Some partners were just plain lazy, and you'd end up having to manage 95% of the roles that this business required to run on a fair level.
When their animals grew ill, when their animals weren't developing on track. Some learned to train animals that needed extra attention due to one little difference within their warmed thoughtful core, one difference that would even change the way a Lions face would look, roar and walk. These particular trainers I've always admired. They sacrifice so much more then regular trainers, and they never complain. I believe their hearts are the size of three animals in one. Truly gifted trainers, that's for sure.
But anything to change with any one of us. When storms blow down the training facilities, or when blizzards of cold darken the clouds and make it seem as though nothing will ever improve.
These amazing creatures, who we had to train to grow into good, solid, strong and courageous, independent animals that would without a doubt tire of your training and leave the facilities, with you required to let them go. It was as if there was a time clock growing beyond the fur of their coats, just waiting for the alarm to sound to tell them that it's time to roam the roads without their trainers.
The kicker? You never get feedback from the animals as far as how well you're doing training them. You just continue to teach, to love, to care for and feed them, without getting a grade or raise. It's not the animals faults. After all a lion, dog and monkey as little ones, cannot see beyond their own mind at that moment. They'll learn a lot about giving and giving up and being scared and getting hurt, when they leave for their own adventures and that's when they'll see how much you've done for them to get them to the beginning race of the finish line for the freedom in the forest....
The moment for her had come to this point. As she slowly peeled open the mouth of the gentle sensitive lion, of the coco puff strong willed maven colored dog, of the furry flipping, all eyebrows monkey, each at different times, but at that moment it was all for the same show. Different rings but same audience, she realized that she had arrived at the moment where this would be the last session with these interesting creatures.
After this show, they would be leaving for the forest. First the Lion. Then no less then 3 years, the dog behind his leader, the lion. The dog would leave although they had just spent their life wanted to shadow the lion. Wanting to like what the lion liked, wanting to go where the lion went. All typical of these types of wild creatures. Then right on that poor dogs tail, the monkey. Ahh the monkey! The one that would drive the dog crazy. Crazier then the sound of a cat covering their turds in automated litter box. The monkey would be the last to leave the ring and it would see as though that particular creature flew through the departure to the forest, faster then the lion and the dog. All of these creatures out.
On warm nights, if you happened to find yourself in the neighborhood of this facility center, you'll probably find us sitting outside, on our front porch swing. Crickets crackling in the distance, sounds of dogs barking in the distance with a slight whine to it, the roar of the lion sounding so much like a freight train passing by, and the monkey, as though someone was filling metal pots that sat up on the shaker roof, catching rain drops as they flipped down from the clouds from above.
You'll find us sitting there, in awe over the past, hoping we did the best we did, talking about the yesterdays. The times of strict obedience and trying out different levels of training on them, especially when one particular process grew old and stale.
'Forget about the porch, woman!', I think to myself as I have held my head in the lions mouth for over 5minutes, I need to focus on right now. This task. No matter how quick it will arrive to when we have to say goodbye to our given wild things. Just try my best not to get cut up so much by the jagged etches of the teeth, hopefully learning the best way to enter this unknown territory no matter how many times you've done it. Not to mention, try my best not to let these buggers get hurt in anyway, by my partner and I, or anyone else in the audience for that matter.
Just focus on this particular moment, and not wonder about tomorrow. For now, I will continue to walk up to these wild things, and on the eve of what will soon be tomorrow, with each eve always before the tomorrows, I will lean down and pull the covers up over their dreaming bodies. I will whisper lessons of unconditional love into their soft ears, and say to each of them, on every eve, "goodnight my favorites." "Goodnight my infinity and beyonds." " Snuggle and buggle and cuddle boo, oh darling how much I love you. Make you tickle on your toes. Make you smile with that cute button nose. Snuggle, Buggle, Cuddle, Boo, Oh Jackson how much I Love you. Oh Sullivan how much I love you. Oh Ben how much I Love you."