I know it's been a while since my last Blog entry and, trust me, when I say it's been a busy few months around these parts. Summertime is "high season" for us with many people taking their vacation and needing a safe place to have their fur babies stay while they're away. Taking care of people's family pets is a serious responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly by either the pet owner or the pet care facility. That's why we are extremely proud to be a part of the PACCC!!
PACCC (Professional Animal Care Certification Council) is an international third party organization that provides certification to people in the pet care industry who have the training and knowledge to provide care for people's furry family members. In order to achieve certification, the pet care provider is required to study and pass a written exam actually proving their knowledge multiple areas that are used every day in pet care facilities around the world. There are actually 3 level of certification:
- CPACP - Certified Animal Care Provider
- CPACM - Certified Animal Care Manager
- CPACO - Certified Animal Care Operator
Each of these levels has different areas of required knowledge and each prove that the animal care provider has the training and knowledge to work with family pets.
Is it easy to get certified? Nope! The exam is tough - as it should be! If it were easy, then everyone could get certified regardless of skill or knowledge and the process would lose its' credibility. AND, once you're certified, it's only valid for 3 years. In order to keep your certification you need to obtain Continuing Education Credits proving that you are still learning and possess the most up to date information on health, wellness, training and animal behaviour.
Depending on the level of certification, the exam is between 125 and 225 questions covering a wide variety of topics including canine body language, sanitation, first aid and emergencies, administering food and medications, anatomy, safe standards protocol, identifying health conditions, off-leash dog play, providing care for geriatric and special needs pets, documentation, evacuation standards, animal management, animal temperament, operational safety, code of ethics, extreme weather and emergency preparedness, staff expectations, etc. etc. etc.
I am proud to be PACCC certified!!!!
In virtually every industry, some type of independent third party certification is required before you start practicing. Think about it... would you go to an un-registered massage therapist or perhaps to a doctor who doesn't have their medical license! You want to know, 100%, that these professionals have proven that they know what they're doing!!
Now I'm not writing this Blog entry today as a marketing ploy..... I don't want to be set apart because of my certification.... I want all animal care providers to be certified!! I am writing it to let people know that they should be asking their pet care provider to get certified. Yes, it takes time to study and some dollars to write the exam.... but shouldn't certification be an EXPECTATION of the public?? Or is it currently a misinformed assumption??? I know that before I started down this road of providing pet care to furry family members, I assumed that if someone had a business of providing care to my pet, they were licence and certified.
What the public should find absolutely terrifying is that there are only 66 people in the world who are actually certified to take care of other people's pets for a living. 66!! There are only 2 of us in Canada - one in British Columbia and me, here in New Brunswick. Compare these numbers to the number of daycare and overnight boarding facilities that are out there charging money for a skill set that they may or may not actually possess. I look forward to a day when my certification no longer sets us apart from other facilities.... to a day when certification is actually required in order to operate a doggie daycare or provide overnight care.
Aside from certification... did you know that, in New Brunswick, there are NO REGULATIONS governing doggie daycares? Facilities only require an NBSPCA licence if the facility allows dogs/cats stay overnight! No training? No inspection? No rules? No standards? Nothing. What kind of a place do we live where someone can take 25 dogs off-leash, put them all together, charge the public $$ for a service and have absolutely no inspection or standards about food, water, shelter, emergency procedures, vet care, etc.... And there are so many places out there that keep animals overnight who don't actually have the licence. If you charge any type of fee in exchange for keeping animals overnight, you MUST be licensed and inspected and your license needs to be in plain view AND on every marketing initiative/ad - even Craig's List and Kijiji.
Some of you may have already known about PACCC certification and about the NBSPCA licence requirements but I'm willing to bet that most of you are as shocked as I was when I found out. Education is important... people should know about this. So please, start talking... start asking.... start demanding. These animals have no voice of their own and we, as pet parents, should expect more for them.
My dream is that some day every single person who wants to provide care for animals will need to PROVE that they have the knowledge, skills and a physical environment to do so... safely!
For more information about PACCC, check out www.paccert.org
If you are reading this and currently or plan to work at OR operate a daycare/boarding facility and would like to become certified, I am willing to help you! Just contact me...
For more information about the standards of licensing in New Brunswick, check out the NBSPCA ACT and the Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations published by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.