Animal Behavior College Graduates Give Back to their Communities

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Dog trainer graduate creates project that gives toys, treats and essentials to Meals on Wheels participants' pets for Christmas; Another volunteers thousands of hours training dogs at shelters and is awarded first place in the Blue Buffalo Give Back Program

“I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing I’ve made a difference. There’s nothing that makes pet owners happier than sharing the joy of Christmas with their closest friends and confidants – their pets,” Kim Jukes said.

For Kim Jukes, nothing is more fulfilling than helping dogs and their owners. It was her spirited rescue dog, appropriately named Joy, who inspired Kim to enroll in Animal Behavior College’s (ABC) dog trainer program and make a difference in the lives of canines. After hearing about a program in her Waco, Texas, community that provides meals for seniors and their pets, Kim decided to do something special to help. This past October, she contacted Meals on Wheels Waco to share her idea.

“Like most people, seniors love their pets and consider them family,” said Kim who graduated in July 2018 and is a certified Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer (ABCDT). “Even though the Meals on Wheels program provide meals for seniors and their pets many can’t afford to buy treats or replace their pets’ leashes or toys. It’s for this reason I decided to do something special for their pets for Christmas.”

Kim created Meals on Wheels Waco for Pets. The purpose of the project, which is sponsored by Kim’s business, People and Pups, LLC, is to provide Meals on Wheels Waco program participants with goodie bags full of treats, toys, leashes, collars, litter pans, bones, blankets, and more, for their cats or dogs for Christmas. Her goal was to collect items and assemble goodie bags so they could be distributed with Meals on Wheels deliveries in December. With only weeks to design and distribute flyers, place donation baskets throughout the city, contact local businesses and retailers for donations and organize volunteers to stuff bags, Kim dedicated all of her free time (she also holds a full-time job in addition to her dog training business) to ensure she met the deadline.

“It was stressful, but worth it,” she said excitedly. “In addition to private donations, we received items from Charlee Bear® [Dog Treats], and Bare Arms Brewery donated spent grains to make dog cookies. We had donations that filled two pickup trucks and an entire room in my house. Twenty-one people volunteered to sign Christmas cards, fill bags and attach bows. The outpouring of support was amazing!”

The project received enough donations to fill 233 goodie bags, 138 for dogs and 95 for cats, as well as extra items of canned pet food and 70 pounds of dry food, which Kim donated to Meals on Wheels Waco to assist in its monthly pet food deliveries. Pleased with the project’s success, Kim has decided to make this an annual Christmas event.

“I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing I’ve made a difference. There’s nothing that makes pet owners happier than sharing the joy of Christmas with their closest friends and confidants – their pets,” she said.

For Kimberly Bandusky, ABCDT and ABC Mentor Trainer, volunteering to help dogs find forever homes is a lifetime commitment. Since graduating from ABC in 2008, the Burbank, Illinois, native has volunteered thousands of hours training dogs. In addition to working for an advertising company in Chicago, she volunteers and serves on the Advisory Board of NAWS Humane Society located in Mokena, Illinois.

“I’ve never stopped volunteering because giving back means a lot to me,” Kimberly said. “I’m a huge animal advocate and believe there’s no such thing as a bad dog. I love being a dog trainer; it’s my passion and one of the many reasons I became a Mentor [Trainer] [is] to inspire, encourage and help future ABC dog trainers.”

Earlier this year, Kimberly’s volunteer efforts were rewarded when she placed first in the Blue Buffalo Give Back Program (helping shelter pets, together) for the second quarter and was also named one of the top five trainer volunteers for the third quarter. The Give Back Program requires certified professional dog trainer participants to donate training and other volunteer hours at local shelters or rescue organizations that are 501(c)(3)eligible. Participants are hand-selected by the company and must upload their volunteer hours to Blue Buffalo’s online system. At the end of each quarter the winner with the most volunteer hours is announced and receives $2,500 in pet food for their shelter, as well as dog treats and an assortment of Blue Buffalo gifts.

“I was thrilled to find out I won,” Kim said. “This is an incredible opportunity to help shelter pets, make new clients, and improve your community—one well behaved dog at a time.”

Since ABC’s inception in 1998, the college has graduated and certified more than 15,325 students in its online dog trainer program. The course teaches positive-reinforcement training techniques and covers a range of relevant topics, including learning theories, basic dog obedience cues, effective problem-solving, business building and pet first aid and CPR. Students acquire invaluable knowledge and skills that equip them to start a dog training business, work for an established company, or pursue other professional canine-related careers.

ABC also offers certification in pet grooming, cat training and in veterinary assisting. Specialized certificates of completion in seven short-term programs are also available on subjects, including doggie daycare, pet fostering, pet nutrition, and training shelter dogs.

For more information, call 800-795-3294 or visit ABC’s website at

About Animal Behavior College
Now celebrating its 20th Anniversary, Animal Behavior College is a vocational school that trains professional dog trainers, cat trainers, veterinary assistants and pet groomers nationwide and in the 10 provinces of Canada. ABC has graduated more than 27,000 students from its four core programs combined. Students obtain practical hands-on experience applying what they learn by working side-by-side with a member of ABC's expert mentors group. These professional mentors include thousands of professional dog trainers, veterinary hospitals and clinics and grooming salons from all across the U.S. and Canada who are dedicated to helping students succeed in the pet services industry.

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Angela Pena
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