The mission of the Professional Animal Certification Council (PACCC) is to increase pet safety through the independent certification of pet care providers. In our “Part of the PACCC” series we interview some of these dedicated professionals who have successfully demonstrated their knowledge and experience to become certified. In our very first series installment, meet Certified Professional Animal Care Provider Jessica Okon, CPACP. Jessica is the Director of Canine Care at Applause Your Paws, Inc., in Miami, Florida. Applause Your Paws offers dog training, dog daycare, boarding, and grooming.
Why was becoming certified important to you?
Becoming certified is important because it provides credibility in an otherwise unregulated field. Certification proves to clients that their furry family member is getting the best care from genuine professionals.
Do you feel it’s important to your employer that you’re certified?
Absolutely. Certification of employees bring credibility to the business itself! And, as a hiring manager, if I had to choose between two fantastic candidates – one is certified and the other isn’t – I would hire the one with certification because I know that person took the time to study and learn how to interact with animals safely.
What is your favorite part of being an animal care professional?
The relationships I build with my clients, both the pets and their owners – I see some of my clients more than my own family – and knowing that they trust me with a member of their family.
What is one thing you wish all pet parents knew about professional animal care?
It is a lot more work than playing with puppies all day. And for as much as we love their pet, we have several more that require equal attention AND love.
What is the most humorous or touching experience you’ve had with a pet as an animal care professional?
That is hard to narrow down! The most recent experience came from one of our regular campers, Leo, who is a little shy and nervous around people and dogs. We have bonded so much that whenever he sees me, he starts a full body wiggle and smiles. His family got a little jealous – they don’t even get that smile! It’s those little moments when our (furry) clients show us how much they love being with us when their owners aren’t around.
Thank you, Jessica, for being part of the PACCC! For more on what it takes to become certified, visit paccert.org/pet-pros.