Ailigh Vanderbush is the Executive Director of Behavior and Training for Animalia Inc., a nonprofit organization in Indianapolis that offers animal-based programs that focus on engaging and educating the public to further the appreciation, conservation and responsible care for all animals -- native, exotic and domestic.
In 1995, Vanderbush graduated from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, a small liberal arts college in Indiana. She moved to London in 1997 and soon began course-work through the Open College to earn a certificate in Companion Animal Behavior and Training through COAPE (Center for Applied Pet Ethology). Since 1999, she has taken her love of animals and turned her passion into a profession as an animal behavior consultant and trainer. Vanderbush also became a licensed teacher in Indiana in 2003. She is currently enrolled at the American College of Applied Science and will soon be graduating with her Masters in Companion Animal Behavior.
Vanderbush’s first real pet (as an adult) was an iguana named Garcia, who is now 16 years old and nearly 6 feet long! Garcia moved to England with her, where six British ferrets were soon added to the mix. This was her first real experience with ferrets, and Vanderbush became hooked. She has since had the pleasure of being owned by more than 30 ferrets throughout the years.
After Vanderbush and her animals moved back to the United States, she married a fellow animal lover, zoologist Joel Vanderbush. What happens when an animal behavior consultant and zoologist get married? They start an animal-based, nonprofit organization of course! Ailigh and Joel founded Animalia in 2005 and currently work with 80 animals representing 40 species. Animalia’s collection includes birds (parrots, hawks, owls, crows), reptiles (snakes, lizards, tortoise), invertebrates (tarantulas, hissing cockroaches) and mammals (a kinkajou, genet, raccoon, opossum, hedgehog, rabbits, rats, chinchillas, degus, cats, dogs and ferrets, of course!).
Vanderbush is a seasoned writer for Ferrets USA and Critters USA magazines, contributing articles ranging on topics from behavior to nutrition. As a regular speaker at the International Ferret Congress symposiums, Vanderbush presents ferret behavior to veterinarians, ferret shelter operators and ferret owners alike. She is a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and has lectured on animal behavior at the IAABC conference.
In addition to the exotic animals of Animalia, most of Vanderbush’s animal behavior and training work is with dogs and cats. So, she really enjoys the opportunity to educate people at SmallAnimalChannel.com about one of the animals she is most passionate about, ferrets.
Ask Ailigh Vanderbush, CABT a Ferret Question
Click here to contact our editors and contributors