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Meet the Team

Get to know the ARL's Behavior Team!

Mick McAuliffe

Mick McAuliffe

Director of Behavior and Enrichment
MMcAuliffe@arl-iowa.org
515-381-7995

Mick McAuliffe has worked in animal training, behavior and enrichment since 1987. Before coming to the United States, Mick served as the Director of Animal Behavior and Training for the RSPCA Queensland, Australia, where he developed assessment, modification and training programs for multiple species. In addition to his extensive work in canine training, Mick has developed, implemented and lectured on training, behavior and enrichment programs for animal shelters, zoos, government and private facilities around the world. Mick joined the Animal Rescue League of Iowa in 2009, and oversees all behavior, training and enrichment programs for the ARL, ensuring the mental well-being for all animals in the ARL’s care. The pet behavior, enrichment, and training team, under Mick’s supervision, only uses positive reinforcement training techniques, eliminating the need for physical or verbal correction or training equipment that can cause pain or injury. Throughout his career, Mick has written for animal magazines, research papers and has co-authored two books for the ARL that are in stores nationwide: For Love of Dogs and For Love of Cats.

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Kathryn Vry

Kathryn Vry

Dog Training & Shelter Enrichment
KVry@arl-iowa.org
515-473-9131

Kathryn knew her passion was for animals at a young age, and began pursuing whatever opportunities were available to learn more. Bringing a background of canine body language from years of working at a doggy daycare and boarding facility, it became clear her fascination with animals was their behavior. Joining the Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s Dog Behavior Team in 2019, Kathryn jumped headfirst into animal behavior, ready to learn more about not only dogs, but also other species. Currently she oversees dog training classes, as well as works with shelter behavior for dog, cat, and horse. Kathryn is a graduation of Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science, and is a certified Fear Free Professional. She is always striving to learn more about how to help the animals she interacts with, and enjoys thinking of new ways to benefit the animals around her. One of her favorite parts is seeing the positive changes made between dog owners and their dog, and helping them have fun while doing it.

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Cassandra Johnson

Cassandra Johnson

Dog Behavior & Enrichment Coordinator
CJohnson@arl-iowa.org
515-473-9125

Cassandra arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa in 2013 starting work as an Animal Care Technician. Shortly after starting she knew she wanted to do more to help dogs feel more comfortable during their stay at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and began working part-time with the behavior department six months after her arrival. In 2013 Cassandra joined the Dog Behavior Team full time overseeing the shelter’s enrichment programs, behavior modification programs, and private consulting and training for members of the public.  During her time at the ARL she has gone to many conferences (The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, The Humane Society of the United States Animal Care Expo, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, Ken Ramirez, Karen Pryor Clicker Expo) and strives to seek continual knowledge to help not only homeless pets, but owners.  One of Cassandra’s favorite things about the ARL is working with fearful or reactive dogs helping them modify their behavior and placing them into homes that are a good fit for their needs.

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Emily Scholtec

Emily Scholtec

Horse Behavior and Enrichment Specialist
EScholtec@arl-iowa.org
515-473-9112

Emily fell in love with good horsemanship at her first riding lesson as a child and has been chasing it ever since. She has worked under several trainers across the country and most recently was a Legacy of Legends scholarship recipient in 2018, which gave her the opportunity to spend two months in Whitefish, Montana, learning in-depth about the style of horsemanship endorsed by Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman. Emily learned about positive reinforcement training through her work at the ARL and loves the joy and enthusiasm it brings to training sessions. She enjoys starting colts, developing older horses, and showing in a variety of western disciplines, specializing in the ranch horse classes. Emily especially enjoys being involved in the rehabilitation of the horses and donkeys who come through the doors of the ARL who have endured cruelty and neglect, and helping them to become confident and willing partners.

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