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Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers

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An invitation into the magical, grueling, and virtually unknown world of exotic animal training Behind the imposing gate of the Exotic Animal Training Program at California’s Moorpark College lies a kingdom full of small mysteries, deep passions, and a camel that shoots hoops. Each year a select group of students descends on this teaching zoo to learn an improbable talent An invitation into the magical, grueling, and virtually unknown world of exotic animal training Behind the imposing gate of the Exotic Animal Training Program at California’s Moorpark College lies a kingdom full of small mysteries, deep passions, and a camel that shoots hoops. Each year a select group of students descends on this teaching zoo to learn an improbable talent: how to communicate with animals. The only school of its kind, Moorpark pushes the limits of all the enrolled as they master hundreds of Latin species names and zoonotic diseases, all while hosing down cages at dawn and noting that Zulu the mandrill takes his morning juice in a paper cup— never plastic. The alumni of this elite program hold the most coveted positions at the world’s finest zoos, aquariums, and sanctuaries. They are also the trainers who work in television and film, bringing Moorpark’s enlightened methods to the business of animals for hire. Author Amy Sutherland returns with the same impassioned voice that made her debut, Cookoff, such a delight. Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched is a fascinating look at a little-known profession for animal lovers everywhere.


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An invitation into the magical, grueling, and virtually unknown world of exotic animal training Behind the imposing gate of the Exotic Animal Training Program at California’s Moorpark College lies a kingdom full of small mysteries, deep passions, and a camel that shoots hoops. Each year a select group of students descends on this teaching zoo to learn an improbable talent An invitation into the magical, grueling, and virtually unknown world of exotic animal training Behind the imposing gate of the Exotic Animal Training Program at California’s Moorpark College lies a kingdom full of small mysteries, deep passions, and a camel that shoots hoops. Each year a select group of students descends on this teaching zoo to learn an improbable talent: how to communicate with animals. The only school of its kind, Moorpark pushes the limits of all the enrolled as they master hundreds of Latin species names and zoonotic diseases, all while hosing down cages at dawn and noting that Zulu the mandrill takes his morning juice in a paper cup— never plastic. The alumni of this elite program hold the most coveted positions at the world’s finest zoos, aquariums, and sanctuaries. They are also the trainers who work in television and film, bringing Moorpark’s enlightened methods to the business of animals for hire. Author Amy Sutherland returns with the same impassioned voice that made her debut, Cookoff, such a delight. Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched is a fascinating look at a little-known profession for animal lovers everywhere.

30 review for Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mila

    Amy Sutherland tackles an interested subject in this book and succeeds in describing "life" with believable detail but falls somewhat short of the promised "lessons." She refrains from passing judgement of any kind, or really even exploring the issues, of a fairly controversial subject. I would have appreciated some discussion of the ethics of keeping zoo animals as student projects or even some sort of summary of the "lessons" applicable to life in general. Sutherland barely brushes the surface Amy Sutherland tackles an interested subject in this book and succeeds in describing "life" with believable detail but falls somewhat short of the promised "lessons." She refrains from passing judgement of any kind, or really even exploring the issues, of a fairly controversial subject. I would have appreciated some discussion of the ethics of keeping zoo animals as student projects or even some sort of summary of the "lessons" applicable to life in general. Sutherland barely brushes the surface of the topic and sticks mainly to personal vignettes and somewhat interesting stories about the animals. The impression I was left with after reading Kicked, Bitten and Scratched was that life at EATM is unbelievably tiring and students are on the point of breakdown and exhaustion for their entire two years with dubious payoff at the end. The animals, whose names are confusing to keep track of, seem to get a bit of a short stick with constantly rotating student trainers and what appear to be fairly small cages and minimal exercise opportunities. The passion of the students for the animals is clearly present and Sutherland is plainly reluctant to make any sort of judgements, but as a result the reader feels they have too little information to have an opinion on the subject at hand other than that EATM is exhausting, a very odd assortment of people end up there, and only a few go on to actually have careers with animals. In a certain sense this book feels like it could've been a pithy and engaging long article in, say, the NYT magazine, rather than an entire book. That said, I thought it was interesting and definitely raised some issues worth thinking about. The whole thing felt more like a slightly too extended journalistic report rather than a deeply explored, well researched account of what is a more and more relevant topic as various animal species become threatened in the wild and need better conservation efforts. I was disappointed in the lack of what one might call a main point to the book. All that being said, if one has an interest in animals it's a pretty quick and engaging light read, and Sutherland certainly seems to paint a clear picture of what it's like to go to EATM. If you're thinking of applying, read this book!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    I am really disappointed by this book. I assumed it would be a memoir written by someone in the exotic animal training field; obviously, I realized immediately this was an incorrect assumption and instead was written by a journalist. No big deal. The big deal occurred when the author repeatedly misused scientific terms and misidentified animal species. I am neither a scientist nor am I in the veterinary or zoological fields; however, I have a knowledge of basic animal species differentiation, an I am really disappointed by this book. I assumed it would be a memoir written by someone in the exotic animal training field; obviously, I realized immediately this was an incorrect assumption and instead was written by a journalist. No big deal. The big deal occurred when the author repeatedly misused scientific terms and misidentified animal species. I am neither a scientist nor am I in the veterinary or zoological fields; however, I have a knowledge of basic animal species differentiation, and it is so obnoxious to have the author use terms as synonyms which are not synonyms at all. Turtles and tortoises are not the same thing. Camels and dromedaries are not the same thing. Guano is not a synonym for droppings or excrement. I am shocked this slipped past the author and editors and can only imagine how grating it is to an actual scientist to read these sloppy mistakes. Finally, the book was full of misogynistic characterizations: women are gossipy, women are scared of insects, women are squeamish, women are easily seduced. These repetitious depictions undermined the entire premise of the novel being about a highly competitive program set in a high-risk environment. I wish I hadn't wasted my time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I can see the point of the people here who have complained that the book lacked focus. Sutherland was faced with a rather difficult situation: She wanted to talk about a place, and to chronicle the inhabitants of that place, both animal and human (or animals, both human and non-, if you prefer). However, there were two many of both ilks to follow in any comprehensible way. So instead she chose the non-traditional route of profiling the place rather than the people. This did mean that characters I can see the point of the people here who have complained that the book lacked focus. Sutherland was faced with a rather difficult situation: She wanted to talk about a place, and to chronicle the inhabitants of that place, both animal and human (or animals, both human and non-, if you prefer). However, there were two many of both ilks to follow in any comprehensible way. So instead she chose the non-traditional route of profiling the place rather than the people. This did mean that characters tended to appear out of nowhere and then disappear, but it also allowed her greater latitude in which stories she told. I also get the sense given that some characters were described rather than named (such as "the young woman who raised baby deer in her house") that there may have been some privacy and legal issues as well. This could be a bit confusing at times, especially if you were also unfamiliar with animals. (One reviewer here complained that he didn't know what a cavy was. I didn't even think of that aspect and I'd bet, after having been immersed in the zoo world for so long, Amy Sutherland didn't either. So perhaps a good editor may have helped.) The solution to this, I would have said, was to provide an epic-fantasy-like cast of characters, or even an index would have helped. However, even with that caveat I greatly enjoyed this book. It offered an interesting window through which to view the world of a college that trains animal trainers. It was enough (almost) to make one want to pack up and apply. (Not quite though -- I still think my job's just a tiny bit cooler, and probably much more well suited for my skill set.) This is a book everyone who's interested in zoos, animals, behavior, or dog training should read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Paprocki

    I read the book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers by Amy Sutherland. In this novel it describes every aspect of life working at the famous Moorpark Teaching Zoo. In every chapter the book touches on different areas at the zoo and tells numerous memories and stories that different students their have come across. I give this book a 5 star rating because of my passion for animals and how it hides no secrets in sharing hot ruthl I read the book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers by Amy Sutherland. In this novel it describes every aspect of life working at the famous Moorpark Teaching Zoo. In every chapter the book touches on different areas at the zoo and tells numerous memories and stories that different students their have come across. I give this book a 5 star rating because of my passion for animals and how it hides no secrets in sharing hot ruthless the work is. "Many of these students have always felt out of step with the world. Here, they can talk about animals all day and no one will give them a sideways glance. Being among their own has it's downside, though: animal people typically aren't at their best with people, even other animal people." (Amy Sutherland, Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers). I choose this quote because it is not only a perfect explanation of how most "Animal People" are, but on a deeper subject it is the perfect explanation of me. Which is also why I think this book is great, because I can relate to what they have written on a personal level. This relates to class in a more indirect way in the fact that it is a group of memoirs in a non-fiction novel. Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched tells personal stories and puts them all together to make one great book about the teaching zoo. It relates to class in the ways we tell our stories in so many essays. This is defiantly another book for animal lovers and people who want to find out what real work goes into training animals and running a zoo. What a wonderful read!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cj

    Pretty tasty mind candy, especially for me since I consider a fish tank the ideal pet. It seemed like a very good perspective on those, to me, odd folk who are willing to put up with a great deal of crap (in every sense of that word) to be around animals. The title sums up things pretty nicely. This is NOT a book about animal training, it is a book about the people (and animals) involved in the two-year EATM program at Moorpark college. I am kinda sensitive to overly dramatic prose, and at times S Pretty tasty mind candy, especially for me since I consider a fish tank the ideal pet. It seemed like a very good perspective on those, to me, odd folk who are willing to put up with a great deal of crap (in every sense of that word) to be around animals. The title sums up things pretty nicely. This is NOT a book about animal training, it is a book about the people (and animals) involved in the two-year EATM program at Moorpark college. I am kinda sensitive to overly dramatic prose, and at times Sutherland can seem a little sensational in her narration of the life and times of the denizens of EATM. But, it is highly appropriate that the initials sound like "eat 'em", because the students level of commitment to the program is challenged, it sounds like, on a daily basis, making for a very exciting, and occasionally graphic, read. Though, this might not be the best book for the squeamish. I do some volunteer work for a local aquarium, and I was very surprised at how the description of the students so matched the trainers (the husbandry staff) I come in contact with when I volunteer. Very interesting perspective on the commitment and mindset of an animal trainer, also some very interesting ethical questions brought, fairly gently, to the reader's attention. As long as you don't mind quite a bit of gory detail, and a very straight forward (some might consider non-pc) look at a year at EATM, it is a pretty cool read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    I was drawn to this book by the Op-Ed that Sutherland wrote promoting it when it came out. The piece, titled What Shamu Taught Me About My Marriage, was about applying animal training techniques to humans, specifically her husband. In the first 100 pages that I was able to read before I completely lost interest, there was very little discussion of animal behavior. The book details life at the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark Community College, but never gets close to any I was drawn to this book by the Op-Ed that Sutherland wrote promoting it when it came out. The piece, titled What Shamu Taught Me About My Marriage, was about applying animal training techniques to humans, specifically her husband. In the first 100 pages that I was able to read before I completely lost interest, there was very little discussion of animal behavior. The book details life at the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark Community College, but never gets close to any particular students to form any characters. The writing is mediocre, and the final straw for me was the jump to present tense in a chapter on the fires that put the school at risk. Throughout, I felt like I was reading a auditing agency's report on the school; though the time spent researching it is evident, I didn't have the interest in the subject to propel me through the rest of the book. For those with that interest -- in animal training or the Moorpark school -- it would be worthwhile. Everyone else, I suggest looking up the Op-Ed she wrote for the New York Times (or maybe her later book that I haven't ready: [Book: What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers].

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    This book was neither fish nor fowl. The location was very interesting and the stories were crazy and unbelievable. But the decision to follow dozens of students, teachers, and animals made it hard to get connected. I had a lot of trouble remembering who was who, despite the descriptions of "shoulder-length chestnut hair" or "big brown eyes" or whatever. And I still don't know what the hell a cavy is. I think a strong-handed editor could have helped. Or really, a total reorganization of how the b This book was neither fish nor fowl. The location was very interesting and the stories were crazy and unbelievable. But the decision to follow dozens of students, teachers, and animals made it hard to get connected. I had a lot of trouble remembering who was who, despite the descriptions of "shoulder-length chestnut hair" or "big brown eyes" or whatever. And I still don't know what the hell a cavy is. I think a strong-handed editor could have helped. Or really, a total reorganization of how the book was written. I constantly kept thinking of other people out there who might enjoy this book more than I, even while I was reading it. Plus, it didn't have the part in there about using animal techniques for training one's spouse and children, and that was my secret goal in reading it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Keegan

    Of course this was a book in my mom's library that I read while I was taking care of her exotic animal farm while she was out of town. I'd never heard of this school before my mom told me about this book. Really fascinating. Unlike my mom, I am not at all interested in attending such a school (--my grandma's words: "You couldn't *pay* me to go to such a school."), but I enjoyed reading about it. It was probably more interesting to me because my mom is such an animal person than it would have bee Of course this was a book in my mom's library that I read while I was taking care of her exotic animal farm while she was out of town. I'd never heard of this school before my mom told me about this book. Really fascinating. Unlike my mom, I am not at all interested in attending such a school (--my grandma's words: "You couldn't *pay* me to go to such a school."), but I enjoyed reading about it. It was probably more interesting to me because my mom is such an animal person than it would have been otherwise. The author was not really an animal person as far as I could tell so I was able to appreciate her perspective looking in on that particular exotic animal world.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Helen Dunn

    This is my favorite type of nonfiction - getting a good look inside the inner workings of a tiny subculture - in this case, a college program for animal trainers at a California teaching zoo. Unfortunately, I didn't like this particular book very much. The primary characters (human and animal) all kind of blurred together and it felt like little more than a blow by blow account of daily chores. When dramatic things happen during the course of the school year, it was hard to care because I had no This is my favorite type of nonfiction - getting a good look inside the inner workings of a tiny subculture - in this case, a college program for animal trainers at a California teaching zoo. Unfortunately, I didn't like this particular book very much. The primary characters (human and animal) all kind of blurred together and it felt like little more than a blow by blow account of daily chores. When dramatic things happen during the course of the school year, it was hard to care because I had no real investment in who it was happening to. Eventually, it just felt like homework to read this and I finished just to cross it off the list.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claudine

    First of all, this book had so many spelling errors 1/2 way through to the end of the adventure that it took away from the reading experience totally. When little errors like missing the 't' in 'student' show up, I get a bit cranky. Additional spaces with words also bothered me. The adventure itself was interesting, but I found that for the last 4 chapters of the book that I didn't CARE anymore as to what happened to the students. Poor writing or too long of a book??? Not sure, but I kept going ti First of all, this book had so many spelling errors 1/2 way through to the end of the adventure that it took away from the reading experience totally. When little errors like missing the 't' in 'student' show up, I get a bit cranky. Additional spaces with words also bothered me. The adventure itself was interesting, but I found that for the last 4 chapters of the book that I didn't CARE anymore as to what happened to the students. Poor writing or too long of a book??? Not sure, but I kept going til the end - and it was a battle.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie A.

    Nothing like vicariously living through a grueling year of upper education in a single night. It was fascinating, but I can't imagine anyone voluntarily going through this. SO HARD. So insufficiently rewarding! I'd rather just visit the zoo. Maybe try to find an exotic petting zoo if I needed interaction. Nothing like vicariously living through a grueling year of upper education in a single night. It was fascinating, but I can't imagine anyone voluntarily going through this. SO HARD. So insufficiently rewarding! I'd rather just visit the zoo. Maybe try to find an exotic petting zoo if I needed interaction.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    Interesting look at Moorpark College's Exotic Animal Training and Management program. Focuses equally on the people, the program and the animals. I went to a summer camp here in middle school and I only wish I remembered more about it beyond having fun seeing the animals. Interesting look at Moorpark College's Exotic Animal Training and Management program. Focuses equally on the people, the program and the animals. I went to a summer camp here in middle school and I only wish I remembered more about it beyond having fun seeing the animals.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Coleen Sparkman

    Have wanted to read for awhile- This book tells a good story about the positive aspects of using operant behavior principles in animal training- and all the good outcomes in terms of care for animals- as well as the educational opportunities this provides.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mitch

    This book comes highly recommended if the reader is a person who loves exotic animals, but not too sentimentally. There are parts of this factual account that reveal the less attractive side to working with animals that are, at core, still both wild and unpredictable. Just as one would expect from the title, in fact. Sharing the stage with them is a fledgling class of students who bring along with them plenty of drama in their own right. This too is only to be expected considering the crucible th This book comes highly recommended if the reader is a person who loves exotic animals, but not too sentimentally. There are parts of this factual account that reveal the less attractive side to working with animals that are, at core, still both wild and unpredictable. Just as one would expect from the title, in fact. Sharing the stage with them is a fledgling class of students who bring along with them plenty of drama in their own right. This too is only to be expected considering the crucible that the Exotic Animal and Training Management Program was back in 2003-4. The reader goes with them through their first year and also sees the second year students as they finish their training and then head on out into the world, hoping to get usually poorly-paid jobs as animal trainers, educators, zoo people, etc. The author does a good job of conveying the facts and the emotions that attend both sets of students as they face their animal and interpersonal challenges. It's a unique glance into a unique human experience and I recommend it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this book because of the lovely Modern Love essay Amy wrote years ago (about how she started using animal training techniques on her husband.) I did enjoy the book, but there is a lot about animals dying and students having to be able to kill pigeons and/or rats, which I had to skip. It definitely makes sense as it is a part of their training, it was just tough for me emotionally and I wanted to warn folks so they'd be prepared. I read this book because of the lovely Modern Love essay Amy wrote years ago (about how she started using animal training techniques on her husband.) I did enjoy the book, but there is a lot about animals dying and students having to be able to kill pigeons and/or rats, which I had to skip. It definitely makes sense as it is a part of their training, it was just tough for me emotionally and I wanted to warn folks so they'd be prepared.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Very long winded but educational and engaging enough that I finished it. Should have been much shorter. Reads almost like a diary but seems to give a very real feel of what the EATM Program is all about which is exceptionally fascinating if you ever considered going into the animal field, veterinarian or otherwise.

  17. 5 out of 5

    G.K. Hansen

    Weirdly sexist, but otherwise good I guess? I wanted more photographs. Narrative pretty hard to follow because there were so many people being written about and it wasn't clearly arced so that they could be followed. Weirdly sexist, but otherwise good I guess? I wanted more photographs. Narrative pretty hard to follow because there were so many people being written about and it wasn't clearly arced so that they could be followed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Loved her Modern Love Column, and highly recommend this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Richelle Catlett

    AMAZING. It was fascinating learning about animals I have never heard of and about the animal training world. Human drama, of course, is always interesting too.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Cruise

    A great read for anyone who wants to get into the field of animal care, or for anyone who just loves animals in general.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liesel

    Very interesting look into animal training in general. At times it was difficult to follow because there are so many students, staff and animals but the author did a good job at trying to remind the reader who was who. Overall, it was a good over view of how animal trainers start out. I did wish the delved more into the ethics portion looking at the various opinions among students and staff on reward based training, cages in general, protected contact, etc. This definitely wasn't meant to be tha Very interesting look into animal training in general. At times it was difficult to follow because there are so many students, staff and animals but the author did a good job at trying to remind the reader who was who. Overall, it was a good over view of how animal trainers start out. I did wish the delved more into the ethics portion looking at the various opinions among students and staff on reward based training, cages in general, protected contact, etc. This definitely wasn't meant to be that thought provoking. It just seemed to be a simple lay out of 'here is what this college is like' and that proved to be decently interesting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Fascinating and I learned a lot, but some errors and outdatedness

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mollie

    A NYT article about how learning about animal behavior was better than marriage counseling prompted journalist Amy Sutherland to write a whole book about it. A self described animal lover, she spends a year at the exotic animal training college, Moorpark, in CA, following a year of students through the main travails and trials of the year. It is definitely a very interesting book, and you learn all sorts of factoids about animals and get a glimpse into the world of animal training--which one rar A NYT article about how learning about animal behavior was better than marriage counseling prompted journalist Amy Sutherland to write a whole book about it. A self described animal lover, she spends a year at the exotic animal training college, Moorpark, in CA, following a year of students through the main travails and trials of the year. It is definitely a very interesting book, and you learn all sorts of factoids about animals and get a glimpse into the world of animal training--which one rarely thinks about, but is so cool! You almost want to go join up, except that the pay is shit and you have to learn to be immune to pain. So maybe not. There was not so much about how to cross human and animal behavior--but the book certainly told the soap opera of the school. So, like any reality show where you put a bunch of strong minded people into an intense situation, things happen. Sometimes interesting things, and sometimes annoying ones. The book was interesting enough, but I don't feel particularly enlightened. I do have a heightened respect for anyone who works with animals, and appreciate the many fine lines that need to be walked. The take home message, however, was to use bribery, not fear--which I guess is as good as any in the human world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joy H.

    ADDED 3/25/16 (first published 2006) Also see NY TIMES article by the author at: TITLE OF ARTICLE: "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage" http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fas... QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE LINKED ABOVE: "The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband." MY OPINION: This may work ADDED 3/25/16 (first published 2006) Also see NY TIMES article by the author at: TITLE OF ARTICLE: "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage" http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fas... QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE LINKED ABOVE: "The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband." MY OPINION: This may work on husbands but not on animals. I'm sure Jim of KY (at my GR group) would agree! LOL (He has trained his own pets, including horses, goats and dogs!)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This was a fabulous book a very different from the usual books on animals that I find myself reading. A great look at the ups and downs of students going through the two year program there. This is not an explanation at how perfect a job with animals is, but a realistic look at the profession, from the low salaries and job shortages to the PETA controversy and the evolution of animal training. A great book for anyone looking to get into the animal field and have yet to be bitten. Because whether This was a fabulous book a very different from the usual books on animals that I find myself reading. A great look at the ups and downs of students going through the two year program there. This is not an explanation at how perfect a job with animals is, but a realistic look at the profession, from the low salaries and job shortages to the PETA controversy and the evolution of animal training. A great book for anyone looking to get into the animal field and have yet to be bitten. Because whether it's working with cats and dogs as a vet, or monkeys and lions as a trainer, it's not a question of if you'll be bitten, but when you'll be bitten.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    This book was an interesting look at the Moorpark College's animal training program. It follows the students through their joys and failures during the rigorous program. The book was especially interesting to me because of my profession. Working with animals can be one of the toughest yet rewarding fields to be involved in and this book illustrated that well. The writing did get sloppy at time and sometimes the writer used so many names you forgot what animal or person they were referring to. This book was an interesting look at the Moorpark College's animal training program. It follows the students through their joys and failures during the rigorous program. The book was especially interesting to me because of my profession. Working with animals can be one of the toughest yet rewarding fields to be involved in and this book illustrated that well. The writing did get sloppy at time and sometimes the writer used so many names you forgot what animal or person they were referring to. All in all, not a bad read and a decent look at what dedication it takes to have a career with exotic animals.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A journalist's account of students' first year in the exotic animal training program at Moorpark College in CA. A well done book, it certainly convinced me I should have no regrets in having not tried for this program. It was a great read, but I was disappointed to see how little really happens in the program (though the somewhat sketchy origins, so common in the exotic animal field, are quite interesting). I recommend this to anyone considering an exotic animal career, it totally nails both the A journalist's account of students' first year in the exotic animal training program at Moorpark College in CA. A well done book, it certainly convinced me I should have no regrets in having not tried for this program. It was a great read, but I was disappointed to see how little really happens in the program (though the somewhat sketchy origins, so common in the exotic animal field, are quite interesting). I recommend this to anyone considering an exotic animal career, it totally nails both the un/professional attitudes and the social drama of the field.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I really, really enjoyed this book. Books about the day to day lives of people with weird jobs fascinate me, as does training large and dangerous animals. However, this book is also an example of what happens when publishers cut corners on editing. While the overall story was well done, there were acronyms used randomly with no explanation, names used confusingly, and a few other touches that probably would have been easily remedied by a good editor. But despite that, I would still highly recomme I really, really enjoyed this book. Books about the day to day lives of people with weird jobs fascinate me, as does training large and dangerous animals. However, this book is also an example of what happens when publishers cut corners on editing. While the overall story was well done, there were acronyms used randomly with no explanation, names used confusingly, and a few other touches that probably would have been easily remedied by a good editor. But despite that, I would still highly recommend the book. It was fascinating.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine Delea

    Well-written and engaging, this book focuses on one year at a school for those who wish to work with animals. The students from this year are a diverse group, which makes the account even more enjoyable, and the reader gets a good sense of each student. The animals, of course, are just as important and just as diverse, and although they are "used" to humans, they are still wild animals. This is a great book for anyone interested in animals and anyone curious about the people who choose to work w Well-written and engaging, this book focuses on one year at a school for those who wish to work with animals. The students from this year are a diverse group, which makes the account even more enjoyable, and the reader gets a good sense of each student. The animals, of course, are just as important and just as diverse, and although they are "used" to humans, they are still wild animals. This is a great book for anyone interested in animals and anyone curious about the people who choose to work with animals.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    a dollar store find I picked this book up because when I was a kid working with animals would have been a dream job of mine. In 'Kicked Bitten and Scratched' journalist Amy Sutherland chronicles the year she spent with students at the grueling exotic animal training program at Moorpark College in CA. If you are looking for a 'how-to' you won't find it here, but I wasn't expecting it to be one. This is more about the lives of the trainers than the animals. I found it an interesting and entertainin a dollar store find I picked this book up because when I was a kid working with animals would have been a dream job of mine. In 'Kicked Bitten and Scratched' journalist Amy Sutherland chronicles the year she spent with students at the grueling exotic animal training program at Moorpark College in CA. If you are looking for a 'how-to' you won't find it here, but I wasn't expecting it to be one. This is more about the lives of the trainers than the animals. I found it an interesting and entertaining read, but I don't think I want to be an animal trainer!

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