Nicole’s professional animal training career began in college, teaching equestrian and horseback riding lessons. After graduating from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh with a double major in marketing and advertising, she worked at a boarding kennel as head trainer and obedience instructor, where she earned her CPDT-KA title.
In 2005, Nicole decided to move into the world of Animal Sheltering. Her introduction to shelter work was with Animal Friends, a no-kill animal shelter and companion animal resource center in Pittsburgh.
In 2008, The Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia recruited Nicole for the position of Director of Animal Behavior and Training; where she built a program to enrich the lives of the animals during their stay in the shelter, and to educate the public in an effort to find permanent homes for shelter animals. In this role, Nicole gained extensive experience working with the most vulnerable populations of animals including those affected by extreme cruelty and neglect. Nicole’s specialty in this role was retraining and rehabilitating fighting pit bulls and helping them to acclimate to life as family companions. Nicole continues to work in the field of animal rescue by contracting with shelters to build behavior programming. Nicole also created behavior programming and served as the Director of Behavior for New Leash on Life-USA, a prison dog training program; working hands on with the inmates and their dogs. Nicole’s efforts in animal rescue have been documented on television shows including Animal Cops: Philadelphia; Animal Planet’s: Dogfighting Exposed; National Geographic Network’s show ‘What Breed Am I?” and on local television and radio programming.
Nicole currently owns and operates Philly Unleashed (www.phillyunleashed.com), which provides group and private dog training and behavior modification to the Philadelphia metro area. In 2013, Nicole was elected to the Board of Directors for the Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers (ccpdt).
Nicole also co-instructs (With Dana!) the shelter behavior residency for the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, is a sought after speaker both nationally and internationally, and is under contract to produce her first dog training book.
In her spare time, Nicole loves to travel, and has successfully meshed vacations and animal behavior through working to rehabilitate wild parrots in Belize, and baby elephants in Kenya. Nicole resides on a small farm in the Philadelphia area with her husband and a whole menagerie that includes; an Australian Cattle Dog named Uluru, a Border Collie mix named Porterhouse, two donkeys, four goats, and a flock of chickens.