When a young Brittany Bloor told people she wanted to be a veterinarian, she really meant it. Now, as a senior in Carroll’s animal behavior program, Bloor is thriving.
“I know that is a typical response to that question, but I was just so curious about how animals worked,” said Bloor. “I became really excited about actually pursuing animal behavior as a career path.”
Bloor remembers the exact moment in high school when her AP psychology teacher issued a reading assignment about animal communication and learning. It didn’t take long for her teacher – or Bloor – to discover how passionate she was about the topic.
When Bloor was a senior at her high school in New Berlin, she began working at HAWS (Humane Animal Welfare Society) in Waukesha. There, she grew close to people in the animal caretaker department and began to understand how to connect people in the community with dogs in the shelter for adoption.
Once Bloor got to Carroll, she quickly discovered how much she loved the hands-on experience of working at the animal shelter, combined with dog training classes. It was just the kind of supportive environment she needed to thrive. HAWS eventually hired Bloor to be a kennel technician and then a training instructor, teaching basic manners for dogs or helping clients work directly with their pets – dogs, cats or other small animals.
The animal behavior program requires independent and group research projects, which allows students to take what they’ve learned in lecture and apply it to real life. Students who are passionate about training even have the opportunity to foster a dog and learn how to teach different skills. This class (ANB 255) armed Bloor with the confidence to ultimately get a job as a training instructor at HAWS.
Bloor says that the animal behavior major allows students the opportunity to dive deeper in other niche topics they are passionate about. That has meant she will be able to graduate this spring with minors in biology and natural resource management. She also attributes her success in the program to Carroll’s small class size.
“The opportunity to form connections with students and my professors and personal relationships with my professors was huge for me,” Bloor said. “I feel appreciated, and so comfortable walking into class."
Eventually, Bloor fostered a rescue dog named Riley in her ANB 255 class. The final piece of this class is to use what is learned in the program to assess potential forever homes for the dog. Inspired by the exceptional learning she had seen in the program, Dr. Josie de Hartog, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, applied to adopt Riley. Bloor ultimately determined that de Hartog’s home was the perfect environment for Riley.
“I have been lucky enough to see first-hand the incredible work that these students are doing,” said de Hartog. “This program provided incredible learning opportunities that inspired me to adopt Riley and I was so excited to welcome her into my home once the program was complete.”
Despite the fact that Brittany had never been in one of de Hartog’s classes, the animal behavior program – combined with Carroll’s small campus size – gave them the opportunity to build a relationship and bond over their shared love for Riley.
What’s next for this animal lover? Bloor is currently taking Carroll’s behavioral ecology course, conducting research on elk at the Milwaukee County Zoo. In the future, consulting as an animal trainer is a real possibility for Bloor. But for now, she would love to remain in the shelter setting, due to her love for helping displaced animals and people find companions in one another.
“I find this work to be incredibly rewarding,” said Bloor.