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TRAINER BIOS


Rebecca Lohnes, MS, CDBC
Behavior and Training Manager
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant
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Rebecca Lohnes grew up on a small cattle farm in Southern Illinois following around her dogs, cats, and cows. It was there and in her father’s veterinary clinic that her love of animal behavior was born. She attended Yale University and continued to expand her knowledge of animals during her undergraduate degree – focusing specifically on ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavior. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Yale in 2005.

Before entering graduate school, Rebecca worked as a field biologist and went on many adventures! She spent the year monitoring nesting songbirds in the cypress swamps of southern Missouri, teaching park visitors about raptor migration at Grand Canyon National Park, monitoring nesting Golden-Headed Quetzals in the cloud forest of eastern Ecuador, and partnering with private landowners to preserve Mountain Plover nests in agricultural fields in northeastern Colorado.

Rebecca continued her education at Cornell University, where she studied the breeding behavior of a poorly-known bird species, the Common Nighthawk. Nighthawks lay their eggs on the ground and their nesting sites are very hard to find. Rebecca trained her dog, Lima, to help her find nests and subsequently re-discovered that her passion really is for companion animal behavior. During her last year of graduate work, Rebecca shifted focus and began learning all that she could about training, common behavior problems in dogs and cats, and animal sheltering. After graduating with a master’s degree from Cornell, Rebecca served as the Behavior and Training Manager at the SPCA of Tompkins County in Ithaca, NY.


“We enjoyed this class very much. Rebecca’s pleasant manner and patience was greatly appreciated. Missy learned a lot, and so did we.”

Rebecca has been the Behavior and Training Manager at Lollypop Farm since 2011. She teaches classes and is available for private consultations for both dogs and cats. She believes in using positive reinforcement and force-free methods to enhance the human-animal bond. The training and behavior modification techniques she teaches are based on the science of how animals learn.

Rebecca is a certified dog behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also guest lectures at Cornell Vet School.

Rebecca’s animal family includes Lima an English Setter who loves K9 Nose Work, rolling in the grass, and squeaky tennis balls; Grumkin a black cat whose favorite activities include trick training, making biscuits, and being sassy; and Johnny a flame point Siamese who enjoys wand toys, sunshine, and being chatty. Both cats Lollypop Farm alumni and originally came home as foster kittens (who just never left!)


Brittany Smith, CPDT-KA
Behavior and Training Instructor

DupraBrittany has always shown a passion for animals. Whenever possible, she would dog walk and pet sit for family, friends, and neighbors. Growing up right in Fairport, she’s always loved Lollypop Farm, often taking trips to visit the animals throughout her childhood. Starting off, Brittany worked as a kennel attendant at a local animal hospital. After that, she made her way into a rehabilitation and physical fitness center for dogs and horses, where she learned about physical therapy and rehab.

Brittany started out at Lollypop Farm as an Adoptions/Admissions Counselor in July of 2014. Always having an interest in animal behavior, Brittany transferred into the Behavior Department in January of 2015 and has continued her knowledge of animal behavior by becoming a certified professional dog trainer through CCPDT, a CGC evaluator through AKC, and attending many conferences and workshops focused on refining force-free training skills and enhancing the human-animal bond. Brittany lives with her husband and two Pitbull mixes: Denver and Omaha. You may catch Denver demoing in a class or assisting in a training session! When the work is all done and it’s time to play, she enjoys horseback riding, fishing, and taking her dogs hiking.

“We had a wonderful training experience over the last several months with Brittany. We appreciated all of her hard work and guidance. Finn loved coming to Lollypop each week and we look forward to our next session with Brittany”

 


Alex Ferrente, CPDT-KA
Behavior and Training Instructor

AlexAlex grew up fascinated by all nonhuman animals. She graduated from Canisius College in May of 2015 with a B.S. in Animal Behavior, Ecology & Conservation, and Biology. Before starting at Lollypop Farm, she worked mostly in the world of marine mammals and held various jobs that involved observing and researching their behavior, training, and public education. It wasn’t until September of 2016 that the volunteer work Alex had been doing at local animal shelter in Friday Harbor, WA, inspired her to apply for and accept a position as Behavior & Training Staff here at Lollypop Farm.

Alex loves being part of such an incredible organization and working with so many others that are committed to making a difference in the lives of companion animals and their families using the most up-to-date and humane training methods. She recently adopted her first dog (in her adult life)—a Border Collie/Springer Spaniel mix named Pigeon. Together, they are having a blast working toward their AKC Novice Trick Dog title.

 


Greg Fiete, KPA CTP
Behavior and Training Instructor

GregGreg has spent his entire life among animals, starting with a border collie named Casan. The list only grew from there: more dogs, fish, frogs, turtles, guinea pigs, a cat, gerbils, and even a prairie dog. He has been working with animals for many years, beginning by shadowing veterinarians at the age of 15. In 2012, he began studying Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation at Canisius College. It was here that he first practiced marker training by teaching rats to run through obstacle courses. Three years later he graduated and got a job at a boarding facility in Avon, NY. During that time, he attended the Karen Pryor Academy along with his corgi, Scamp, to become a certified professional dog trainer. After he and Scamp earned a perfect score on their final assessment, he began teaching private lessons both at work as well as in his free time for family and friends. In the summer of 2017, Greg was hired at Lollypop Farm as an adoption counselor, and only a few months later transferred into the behavior department. Greg currently lives with his cat Molly.

 

 


Jessica Sowa
Behavior and Training Instructor

JessJess’s passion for animals grew from watching “Animal Cops,” caring for household pets, and even assisting in the rescue of a squirrel from a pool many years ago. In high school, this passion grew into volunteering at a cat rescue and studying science. She began attending the University of Rochester in 2014 where she studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and ran behavioral studies on squirrels and bees. Her interest in animal behavior grew during an internship in 2016 at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. There she learned about clicker training, and was given the chance to practice on dogs as well as potbellied pigs!

During her undergraduate career Jess worked during the summers at a pet boarding facility in Western NY. This experience led her to realize that she belonged with shelter animals, where she feels she can make the most difference. The summer before senior year, she split her time between the boarding facility and interning at a local veterinary clinic. After graduating in May 2018, Jess was hired at Lollypop Farm as part of the Behavior Team!

Some of Jess’s hobbies include playing softball, hosting board game nights, and snuggling with her kitten Crouton. She loves cheering on Buffalo sports teams (no matter how painful it is) and listening to country music.

 


Kari LaBounty
Behavior and Training Instructor

KariKari grew up with an immediate love for animals. At home she had cats, hamsters, and bunnies, and was always helping her grandfather with his dogs and raising pheasants down the street. Through grade school, she rode and competed in the Quarter horse circuit for many years with her own horse Elmo. In high school, she also volunteered at the Seneca Park Zoo. After college, Kari decided she still wanted to pursue her love of animals and started working at Lollypop Farm in 2008. This was originally supposed to temporary, but here she is 10 years later! Kari has taken on many roles at the shelter, starting as an admission/adoption counselor, supervisor, and foster/rescue coordinator. Kari also worked as an Animal Control Officer for the City of Rochester, which gave her a lot of experience educating the public while handling both domestic and wild animals. Kari welcomed a baby girl into her family when she made the move back to Lollypop Farm, and started working part-time in the Behavior Department. She discovered her love for training, positive reinforcement, and behavior modification with the animals in the shelter. Kari has two dogs: Rocko a French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix, Otter a French Bulldog and three cats Purdy, Sweetie and Tobey.