We’re Here for You
We’re here to help you build a strong and rewarding bond with your pet. That might involve helping you welcome a newly adopted pet into your family, working together through training classes, or overcoming challenging behaviors. Our team of behavior experts and trainers offer extensive expertise and experience that you can access through our training classes, articles on common behaviors, and one-on-one help.
We also apply this expertise to our shelter animals to help them adjust to the stress of the shelter environment and prepare to join a forever family. This includes enrichment, training classes, behavior modification for needs such as resource guarding and fear of strangers, and buddy programs that match a volunteer to an individual cat or dog.
Meet the Staff
Laura Garber, CPDT-KA
Manager of Behavior and Enrichment
Laura Garber leads our Behavior and Enrichment Department. She believes strongly in strengthening the bond between human and companion animals, regarding training as an exercise in building relationships rather than obedience.
Laura’s mission is to rehabilitate and train our shelter animals and, in so doing, enrich their time while they’re in shelter and reduce their length of stay. Laura has relocated here from Long Island, N.Y., where she ran the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter behavior department for three years. For more than a decade, Laura has also held behavior consulting roles with the ASPCA, Forgotten Friends of Long Island, Last Hope, and the Liberty Humane Society. In 2005, she founded her company WoofGang to help people and dogs build deep and trusting relationships, using training to establish effective communication.
Laura is a certified professional dog trainer, an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, a mentor trainer for Animal Behavior College and Catch Dog Training Academy, and a cat behavior counselor. She has lectured and provided Ask the Trainer sessions for shelters, rescues, pet stores, and dog fancy groups across the country. She has also been a guest columnist and writer for publications including the Today Show, the Examiner, the Dog Service Network, Your Pet Connection, Jersey Tails, and The Animal Companion, among others. She is also a guest lecturer for Dog Trainers Connection, an online dog trainers’ educational resource.
Vic Gasser, MSc, CPDT-KA
Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator
Vic began her career in animal care in 2005, when she started working at Best Friends Pet Care, a boarding kennel for dogs and cats. Over the years she was employed in a variety of kennels, animal shelters, and volunteered for Forgotten Cats and Rescue Animal Placement. While studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior, Training, and Enrichment from Delaware Valley University, Vic was attending a Dog Training and Management course at Kutztown University.
In 2012, Vic moved to England where she obtained her Masters degree in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare from Newcastle University, while working as a pet sitter and dog walker. She became a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and ran a pet training and behavior consulting business for several years. Upon moving back to the States, Vic worked as the lead kennel attendant at the Brandywine Valley SPCA, then as an Animal Care Supervisor for the PSCPA.
Vic has trained a variety of animals, from cats and dogs to birds and horses, and has earned her CPDT-KA certification. Her goal is to help people better understand their companion animals and strengthen the pet-owner bond through education and scientifically proven training and behavior modification methods.
Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator
A Temple University graduate with a degree in Psychology and Anthropology, Kayla began her career with animals in 2013, when she became an Environmental Education and Animal Behavior Intern with the Philadelphia Zoo. There, she worked with various animals, interpreted behavior, and educated guests on environmental conservation issues. A year later, she accepted a position as a Public Programs staff member where she continued to educate the public on animals throughout the zoo.
In 2015, Kayla transitioned to domestic animals, when she took a job as a kennel attendant and then as a manager at the Philadelphia Pet Hotel and Villas, a popular kennel located in South Philadelphia. At the same time, Kayla began as an intern in the PSPCA Behavior Department. She soon became a part-time Behavior staffer, thanks to generous donors who saw a need to expand the reach of the Behavior and Enrichment Department, and finally became a full-time staff member in December, again thanks to a very generous donor.
Kayla enjoys all things behavior, now working with dogs and cats but hoping in the future to work with non-human primates.
Meet the Trainers
Rebecca Brame, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP
Rebecca believes training not only teaches manners but is instrumental in strengthening the bond between animal and person. A dog behavior enthusiast, Rebecca attends seminars and keeps current on training and behavior literature. She continues to improve her skill as a trainer and to ensure dog and human benefit from the most up-to-date techniques.
Rebecca has worked with many dogs and their people, emphasizing manners and communication while training. Trust and respect are the key to learning and Rebecca is committed to making learning safe, fun, and stress-free.
Rebecca is a certified professional dog trainer and a graduate of Karen Pryor Academy in animal behavior. She is an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and holds a AHH certification in the human/animal bond from the University of Denver.
Allisonjoy Faelnar, CPDT-KA
Allisonjoy is passionate about supporting people in developing healthy relationships with their animal companions, and being able to nourish and witness that bond is one of her greatest joys. With almost a decade of experience, she has been teaching classes, training clients, and participating in puppy socialization, basic and advanced cues, tricks, agility, nose work, sheep herding, and behavior modification. She has worked at both dog training centers/daycares and shelters, and has trained and evaluated Animal Assisted Therapy teams for AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Test and Pet Partners.
In addition to her hands-on experience, she has a solid academic foundation, graduating from the Hunter Graduate School of Psychology with a focus on Advanced Psychology of Animal Behavior and Conservation, as well as the Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Trainer’s program. She is also participating in Denver University’s Graduate School of Social Work’s Animals and Human Health program. She has been through Ken Ramirez’s Animal Training Seminar with marine mammals at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium, and is a proud member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), Karen Pryor Academy (KPA), and Society for the Promotion of Applied Research in Canine Science (SPARCS). But through it all, her dog Cornbread remains her greatest teacher.
With a background in workshop facilitation, social justice, and human rights work, Allisonjoy equally cares about the people on the other end of the leash. She has been on the core committee of The Alliance for the Safety of Animals and People (ASAP), a program of CONNECT NYC which endeavors to educate the public about The Link between animal abuse, child abuse, and intimate partner/domestic violence. ASAP has been instrumental in a campaign that helped to open the first domestic violence shelter in NYC to allow animals in-facility, so that survivors, their children, and pets can all remain together through the healing process.