Virtually every industry offers a level of high quality independent certification except the pet care services industry…until now
The Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit created by a team of industry experts to recognize high quality providers and help them meet the challenge of educating pet parents on the value of a pet care provider’s investment in education and training. Independent certification, using testing from industry developed standards, clearly identifies the premier professional animal care providers in our industry. Both providers and pet parents benefit from the implicit distinctions a reputable and objective third party certification provides. PACCC awards three levels of certification to recognize the expansive knowledge required and basic career levels in the industry: Certified Professional Animal Care Provider (CPACP), Certified Professional Animal Care Manger (CPACM), and Certified Professional Animal Care Operator (CPACO).
Who is PACCC?
PACCC was co-founded by pet care services industry veterans, Charlotte Biggs and Susan Briggs, to provide independent certifications for industry providers. In addition to the expertise of Charlotte and Susan, PACCC is guided by an experienced Board of Directors who have been actively involved in the animal care industry and who possess proven business skills. PACCC has retained a professional, experienced testing company to assist in the development and management of the testing program for certification.
The mission of the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) is to bring independent testing and certification to the pet care services industry. Independent certification is an important step for a rapidly growing, easy to enter industry frequently damaged by news reports of serious pet accidents and deaths. Professionals that pass stringent testing, which reflects a professional’s broad base knowledge of animal care, will receive a 3-year certification.
PACCC CODE OF ETHICS
HUMANE PET CARE
Meet the PACCC Board of Directors
Amy Hillis, CPACO
Amy is Social Pet’s Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Childhood Education from Ohio University and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also earned her Certificate of Leadership and Change from Queens University of Charlotte. During her time as a teacher and administrator, she recognized the power of differentiating instruction to meet each child’s individual needs and has worked to translate that to the pet care industry. Amy has a passion for raising awareness of the need for independent certification in the pet care industry and currently serves as the Chair of the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) board and the chair of the International Boarding and Pet Services Association (IBPSA) Education Committee. She is also a Certified Professional Animal Care Operator. Amy lives in Fort Mill, SC with her husband, human son, and 3 dogs.
Stephanie Shipley, CPACP, CPACO
Immediate Past Chair
Stephanie, born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada, opened her own pet care facility, Paw & Order Inc., in December 2009 after having dreamed of helping, playing, and working with dogs as a career since she was a young child. After spending 20+ years working in the hospitality/hotel industry as a Director of Operations and Director of Human Resources for both Delta Hotels and Marriott Hotels, she welcomed the opportunity to switch her focus to providing exceptional pet hospitality. Stephanie started training dogs to play flyball many years ago but soon became much more interested in the specialty areas of Canine Communication and Behaviour. She is heavily involved with local dog rescue through ongoing partnerships with Dun Roamin’ Stray and Rescue, Oromocto SPCA, Transition House and Boston Terrier Rescue Canada. She also spends much of her time conducting educational workshops on dog training, dog behaviour, responsible dog ownership, and has created and presented children’s educational programs in the local school system and the 4-H Club. Stephanie initially set out to change the way that pet care is provided and viewed in her community by raising the bar and encouraging others to do the same.
Cathy Brooks, CPACP
Cathy is a career communications professional whose work has ranged from radio to television, newspaper and digital platforms. She started in radio and after getting a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, her career path turned through Silicon Valley. While there she worked in public relations, event content curation, and business development. After testifying in the San Francisco Diane Whipple dog mauling trial in 2000, Cathy began to pursue further education in dog behavior and training. In 2012 Cathy turned her life-long passion of canine behavioral study into a full-time career, opening The Hydrant Club. She applies her lifetime as a communications professional and student of canine behavior to facilitate communication between dogs and their humans. She does this through private instruction and an award-winning business, teaching everything from behavioral modification to basic and advanced obedience. It was through this work Cathy realized by exploring the dog-human connection, she could transform how people communicate – making sure messages land and facilitating connections that lead to success. In 2021 she launched Unleashed Leadership LLC – a media, event and coaching business leading people to financial and personal success through effective and powerful communication (between humans). Unleashed Leadership includes the weekly show, Talk Unleashed, a live event series, and private/group coaching. Her mission goes beyond helping businesses thrive, to a vision of a world made better by supporting people in more effective and authentic communication with each other.
Nichole Bennett, CPACO
Secretary | CEU Committee Chair
In 2015, Nichole and her family turned their dream of creating a safe, healthy, and fun space for dogs into a reality when they opened Biscuits Doggie Daycare in Tacoma, Washington. Born and raised in Lakewood, Washington, Nichole graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Being well-educated in everything “dog” is very important to Nichole – she attended the Northwest School of Canine Studies and became certified in Canine Studies in May of 2016 and became a Pet Tech Pet First Aid and CPR Instructor the same year. Nichole will never stop pursuing new opportunities for learning and growth and is excited to help carry on the mission of the PACCC.
Jenn Dahinten, CPACO
Jenn Dahinten became the owner, operator of Royal Pets Hotel and Enrichment in 2009 and founded the charitable “Racers Fund”, for retired service dogs shortly after. Having been a pet parent and client of pet care facilities on four different continents she relished the opportunity to provide the kind of loving care, expertise and professionalism that she always felt our fur family deserved. Before joining the pet care industry, Jenn first was a paramedic (human). Jenn studied Biochemistry at University of Guelph, Ambulance and Emergency Care at Conestoga College, and then Advanced Life Support Paramedic (L3) at the University of Natal. During her years of providing air/ground emergency care across continental Africa, Europe and the UK, Jenn was also active in providing veterinary assistance at local small animal practices and shelters. During a subsequent career in pharmaceutical sales, marketing and training, Jenn returned to Canada and there discovered her calling in the pet care and education industry. From the start Jenn has been an advocate for fear free practices across grooming and training and has ensured that Royal Pets has been at the forefront of setting the standard in pet care. Royal Pets has been a part of both the IBPSA and The Dog Gurus since their inception and is proud to be active members of the APDT, Fear Free ™ Organization and PACCC. Jenn continues to provide education and training opportunities locally and within her industry and continues to champion for continuing education, certification, regulation and professionalism as some of the many necessary means to guarantee our pets get the care and attention they deserve.
Tara Crouse, Pet Parent
Tara Crouse is PACCC’s Pet Parent Board member and Marketing Professional who is responsible for providing an unbiased perspective in everything PACCC does. Tara’s passion for animals began at a young age when she would visit neighbors to play with their dogs. She’s been a pet owner since childhood and currently lives with her husband and fur-kids in New Brunswick, Canada. Her professional work experience includes over 14 years in Consulting experience. She enjoys collecting survey data for the Pet Care industry and has presented some of her findings at the IBPSA Pet Care Conference. Tara has also taught Marketing courses at the University of New Brunswick and worked with the local SPCA on Marketing and Education initiatives. She is passionate about the work that PACCC does and believes independent certification in the pet care industry is imperative for the safety and wellness of all pets.
Jamie Engerdahl, CPACP
Jamie is the Owner of Kinder Canine Coaching in Manitoba, Canada, and has over twenty years experience in the Animal Care Industry. She is a Certified Professional Animal Care Provider, Certified Professional Canine Behaviour/Obedience Trainer, CKC Judge, Certified Veterinary Assistant, and an Animal Advocate. In her spare time, Jamie works alongside many Rescue Groups and Animal Welfare Organizations, offering expertise in several areas of the industry. As a Military wife, Jamie has been able to take her work all over the country and help many animals in a unique way. She specializes in Anxiety and Aggression Behaviour by helping pet parents understand their dogs’ needs from their point of view. Jamie also likes to focus on prevention, safety and education with pet parents, striving for a successful, accepted and reliable Canine Good Neighbour. Jamie’s passion has always been and continues to be to improve the standard of care in the Animal Care Industry. Her life currently revolves around her two dogs, Mya and Molly and her two cats, Hope and Boots. Mya is a Husky/Shepherd mix full of sass and silliness as she enters her senior years while Molly is a Terrier Mix who recently retired from being a Demo/Competitive Dog. Jamie enjoys competing in Scent, Agility, Flyball, Obedience/Rally, and Wag it Games with her dogs and her family hopes to welcome a new addition in the near future.
Janie Budnick, CPACO
Janie Budnick founded 4-Legged Kids, Inc in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1997 after nearly a decade of animal education including pursuing her Bachelor’s in Animal Science at Mizzou and veterinary technician training. 4-Legged Kids provides dog walking and pet sitting services as St. Louis’ largest staffed in-home pet care service. 4-Legged Kids exists to maintain and support the connection between pets and people because Life With Pets is Life Well Lived ™. The Company’s mission combines love for the amazing pets and families of St Louis with the social responsibility necessary to provide for those homeless animals not as fortunate. Their One-for One business model provides a meal to a local homeless pet for every service provided. Janie has spent the last two decades working directly with local rescue, from personally pulling dogs and puppies from death row and preparing them for fosters, to serving on the governing board of Open Door Animal Sanctuary, the largest no-kill shelter in the State of Missouri. She is also mama to four cats and four “2-legged kids”. Her expertise in the industry has led her to develop online education and strategic planning courses for other dog walkers and pet sitters. She is excited to be part of the change that PACCC is bringing to the in-home pet care industry.
Kathy Hennessy, Pet Parent
Kathy is a Pet Parent Board member who is a vocal advocate for everything PACCC stands for. She is a pet parent to two giant and high energy dogs who benefit from a well structured daycamp program and who occasionally require boarding. She has also adopted a donkey who lives at the Irish Donkey Sanctuary and who she was able to visit while on vacation. It was while seeking the best care for her first dog that Kathy learned about the lack of training requirements or regulations in the pet care industry. She now believes that in lieu of having regulated standards, a certified provider demonstrates a commitment to standards, safety, care, and accountability that more pet parents would insist on if they were also aware. In her professional life, Kathy has almost 20 years of experience with technical documentation and instructional design which has helped to fuel her passion for educating pet parents on what independent third-party certification means and the level of comfort that it can bring to a pet parent wanting to ensure the best for their family and community. Kathy also provides volunteer support for local rescue groups by helping with dogs in foster care.