Rose Ordile is an animal trainer for the film and television industry. She's currently the official trainer for Morris the Cat.
iVillage: Can you tell us how you first became involved in training and handling animals professionally?
Rose Ordile: By the time I was a senior in high school, I knew what I wanted to do. I went down to my counselor and said, "I want to train exotic and domestic animals for television and film." My counselor laughed and told me that there was no such thing. So I went home devastated, and I ended up going to college to be a vet assistant. That was not what I wanted to do. I graduated with an associate's degree and then went off to a dog grooming school. I had a dog grooming and pet supply shop with another girl for five years back in New Jersey.
One day I caught the tail end of a program about a place called Moorpark College out in California, where they train and help gear up students to train animals for the film industry. I wrote to Moorpark and they sent me their information. I already had a lot of the credits from college. So I moved to California because I finally found out that professional training jobs do exist.
I did not end up going to Moorpark, though. They wouldn't accept my transferred credits and wanted me to take their full program, which is two to two and a half years. So, I weaseled my way into the industry by volunteering. A lot of what we do -- from kennel cleaning and feeding the animals to observing other animal trainers and getting into it that way -- is volunteering. But I had a lot of the prior knowledge in training already, so it was pretty easy in that sense to pick up everything.