My name is Lauren. A few years ago I made the decision to take part in the Kerulos Center’s Animal Being Internship. I chose to do this as I was currently studying my undergraduate degree in Animals Behaviour and I was strongly drawn to their ethos and work to speak up for those who have witnessed trauma. The decision to take part in the internship was one of the best decisions I have made. It taught me so much such as depth psychology and the interconnectedness of human and non human brains. It has also provided me with valuable life experiences such as doing my practicum at Boon Lott’s Elephants Sanctuary in Thailand.
I am currently working in the education and care sector helping children with behaviour and learning difficulties. I am also studying a counselling course in hopes to use skills to help others who have witnessed trauma. I hope to further my skills and gain experience in teaching and continue my passion for helping animals and helping to develop education programmes to show ways to be mindful. I strongly recommend taking part in a Kerulos Centre course, it will change your life for the better.
My name is Maggie and I live in London, England. I was born into a Canadian family, but lived in 9 different countries growing up, giving me a ‘Third Culture Kid’ perspective. I recently graduated from the Performance: Design and Practice (BA) at Central Saint Martins. I am an artist and performance-maker, inspired by futures that include, and make peace with the nonhuman. My performance-making is in many ways metaphorically amphibian, combining different artistic languages and living in various contexts. My research brought me to the work of Dr. Gay Bradshaw and the Kerulos Center for Nonviolence. The Animal Being Internship programme has introduced me to so much valuable and inspirational knowledge. The supportive environment and discussions with Dr. Bradshaw have helped me progress on the course, particularly as someone from a nonscientific background, as well as with many aspects of my artistic practice. My perception of, as well as they way I relate to, many animals has changed since the beginning of the course. The way that I speak and think about other animals as a whole has shifted into being more aligned with nature-based consciousness. This eye-opening course is helping me on my journey to meaningful, progressive, conscious art making. I plan to continue working towards a more sustainable practice, integrating and communicating Trans-species Psychology knowledge and related philosophies.
Corey is a companion animal behavior consultant and mindfulness teacher with over 35 years of helping people connect with their dogs on a deeper level. He is a regular guest lecturer on Eastern religion at the University of Scranton, and provided mindfulness programs Harper Collins and other local businesses. He also gives seminars to veterinarian offices on the healing power of the Human/Dog friendship. Corey served as the branch director of behavior and operations for the Pennsylvania SPCA for several years, assisting in the transformation of high-kill to no-kill. Corey holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He is the owner of A New Leash on Life Animal Behavior Services in Northeastern PA and Northern NJ, and the owner of Awakenings Meditation in Northeastern PA. He is the author of the Path of Friendship blog.
My name is Olivia Crossman. I am 20 years old and a student at Loyola University Chicago where I am in the Environmental Science: Conservation and Restoration Ecology Interdisciplinary Honors Program. I met Dr. Bradshaw and The Kerulos Center as a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. During my senior year I took a class called Investigative Research Design and Innovation (IRDI), in which students design and complete their own original research project during the school year. I have loved elephants for as long as I can remember, and when I enrolled in this class I knew immediately that I wanted to study elephants. My project was titled, The Effect of Trauma on Elephant Reproduction Rate. The first step of this project was to do an extensive review of the scholarly literature that exists on our subject. We spent all of September, October, and most of November reading five peer-reviewed journals per week.
This process was important for a number of reasons. It taught us a great deal about the subject matter we were dealing with, it taught us how to read and analyze scholarly articles, and it showed us who the “key people” were in our chosen subjects. I read numerous papers written by Dr. G.A. Bradshaw before I had any idea who she was or what she had done. The second step in this class was to reach out to experts in the field and ask them to mentor us. When that time came, I knew immediately who my first choice was for a mentor. At that point I knew much more about Dr. Bradshaw and felt confident that she was the perfect mentor for me and my project. We were required to reach out to at least ten potential mentors, as it is not uncommon to be turned down more times than you are accepted. However, I got very lucky. The first person I reached out to was Dr. Bradshaw and she responded roughly 30 minutes later enthusiastically agreeing to be my mentor. I was in English class at the time and I was so overjoyed I had to excuse myself for a moment. She was the first, and last person who I requested mentorship from because I knew from the beginning that we were going to make a good team. As I mentioned previously, we submit our papers to various competitions that we are then possibly chosen to compete at. I was chosen to compete in every competition and at the final one I won third place. I could not have done it without Dr. Bradshaw and her influence.
Over the past year Dr. Bradshaw and her amazing team at the Kerulos Center have been unfailingly supportive. Not only did Dr. Bradshaw thoughtfully answer all of my questions, whether they were something simple about elephant reproduction or something more complex about the nature of trauma in elephants, she was also kind enough to read and re-read my entire 30-page paper and offer comments and edits. She was kind and helpful and taught me so much about the field I hope to pursue throughout my life. However, I must say that I am especially thankful for her encouraging words throughout the year. This was the hardest and most demanding class I have ever taken, and at times it was very overwhelming. Dr. Bradshaw was always there to offer her support and encouragement, and her kind words will remain with me for years to come. I am eternally grateful that I was able to take this class and I believe it was the most rewarding thing I have done in all of high school, but it would not have been what it was without the support from Dr. Bradshaw and all of you at The Kerulos Center. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking time out of your lives to help me and mentor me. It has been an experience I will never forget.
When I stumbled upon the Kerulos website several years ago, I felt like I’d discovered my tribe. Having been involved in the Animal Rights/Liberation movement for several years, I was already surrounded by many people struggling against speciesism, but I hadn’t heard others articulate the vision in quite the same way: honoring Animals as kin and transforming human culture so that Nature and all beings can thrive. As an educator, teaching English as a Second Language and helping faculty develop their skills, I was also thrilled to see that experiential learning is such a foundational part of the Kerulos approach.
These days I’m mostly focused on Animal rescue and care, centering on urban wildlife and survivors of the agricultural system. After completing the Trans-species Psychology course, I am more mindful of the complexities of this work. When I encounter an injured Pigeon, I need to slow down and consider not only his or her physical needs, but also the potential socio-emotional impacts of taking him or her out of the flock for treatment. How can I can listen for and hear the will of the individual before me? Do I have their permission to intervene? What relationships need to be considered? Are there ways to help that can minimize unintended traumas?
Another arena I’m beginning to explore is how meditation can facilitate individual and collective transformation. Becoming “who Animals need us to be” takes a lot of internal work: being present, learning to let them lead, processing vast amounts of suffering, and checking the ego. Sitting in silence seems to help all of this, leading to more grounded and effective interactions within and across species. Inspired by recent climate demonstrations, friends and I have started to meditate in public spaces to bring the message that Animals need autonomy and respect. I’m excited to see how this type of action can deepen receptivity and further the cause.
Sara is a depth psychotherapist, executive coach, and ecopsychology doctoral candidate at California Institute of Integral Studies. She began her journey as a Philosophy major at Harvard University, where she specialized in French and German continental philosophy. Within these disciplines, she began to question the underlying assumptions of psychology, philosophy, and every discipline in between. With this questioning mind, she entered into Zen practice and psychology graduate school, while advocating for animals on the side. She hesitated to join the movement full time, because she noticed that many techniques elicited strong resistance and even counter-productive reactions in intended audiences. With this paradox weighing heavily upon her, she decided to devote her second graduate degree to exploring it. In her current doctoral research, she investigates psychological defense mechanisms, cultural trauma, and ruptures within the collective trans-species psyche that arise in response nonhuman animal advocacy. She hopes to use her psychology background and her doctoral research to support animal advocates and the advocacy movement, to produce writing that breaks through cultural barriers, to found an animal sanctuary that builds unlikely bridges, and to spread the word by teaching at the university level.
While completing her Master’s in Anthroozology at Canisius College, Ashley was introduced to the work of Gay Bradshaw Ph.D., Ph.D. and The Kerulos Center. She became an intern with Kerulos in January 2018 as part of her Master’s Capstone experience. As an intern, Ashley assists with social media marketing and continues work on the Animal Being coursework. In addition, she is a professional dancer with The Movement Project, a nonprofit dance company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Ashley continues to use her education and passion for Animal advocacy to deter the exploitation of human and nonhuman Animals while exploring Animal sentience. She joined the Kerulos Board in 2018.
I have always been interested and passionate about animals in general and psychology which is grounded in the study of people. I became a mental health counselor in 2007 and started a group practice in 2012. Since I have taught undergraduate psychology, supervised and mentored emerging clinicians in the field and provide counseling to a wide range of diverse clients. My love and interest in animal welfare, however, never ceased and I wanted to expand on just my volunteer efforts. I was seeking to bridge my worlds of animal welfare and psychology.
Serendipitously, I found the Kerulos Center who was already doing just this! The Animal Being course provided a spring board for furthering my passions and knowledge to support and inform my career and philanthropic directions. In the final phases of this course, I spent my practicum at a primate sanctuary in Florida where I applied material and lessons from the course, used my clinical knowledge, innate insight/intuition along with observations and interviews to further my learning and take steps towards my next animal welfare career path. Dr. Gay Bradshaw has definitely pushed me and made sure I grew over the last two years. Gay holds high standards for her interns and has been a great mentor and friend.
I came to The Kerulos Center for Nonviolence and Being Sanctuary Internship to explore the concept of sanctuary and a way of being with and caring for Horses that would allow them to thrive. I wanted to unpack my thinking around sanctuary beyond a ‘freedom from’ or refuge concept to a ‘freedom to’ space of liberated expression attuned with essential nature.
While my way of being with and caring for Horses had shifted significantly over the years, I couldn’t stop thinking there was more I could do. I had evolved beyond the conditioned and traditional ways of keeping Horses and created large open spaces of paddock, shelters and pasture that allowed them unrestrained movement, changed feeding practices to provide continuous access to clean water and forage and released them from any physical, mental and emotional constraints. They seemed content and healthy yet there still seemed to be something missing—a vitality of spirit.
With Gay’s guidance through The Ten Principles of Being Sanctuary, I explored areas of neuroscience, psychology and ethology synthesized within the field of trans-species psychology, the common model for understanding brain, mind and behaviour across species, and engaged in contemplative exercises associated with each principle.
Through the learning process, I began the practice of accompaniment, a way of walking side by side, deeply listening to and honouring another, with the Horses in my care and with other nonhuman Animals residing on the land. I began to feel an attunement with what mattered to each Horse—their interrelationship with each other and all the residents of the habitat, to the trees that provided shelter and grooming, how their bodies responded to the sun and rain, wind and temperature, light and darkness, how they selected from the array of grasses and browse over the seasons. Through embodying the learning and this practice of accompaniment, I experienced their belongingness and place in the wholeness of nature and I came to recognize and remember my own kinship and interconnectedness with all of these, and my place in the interrelationship with all of life.
As a result of this learning and understanding, much has evolved in how I care for Horses and in my own way of living. In attuning with the needs and preferences of the Horses, to their sense of belongingness and security, I learned the importance to them and to me of living attuned with and as a member of a thriving biodiverse habitat.
Ironically, the answer of what more could I do was to do less—much less—and instead, to simply attend to living in harmony with Nature. Through the Being Sanctuary Internship and as an accompanier to the Horses, I remembered my way home, to my place in the web of Life and in the lives of the Horses. And with coming to understand and honour the Horses’ essential nature and interconnectedness, came the return of spirit and vitality.
Jessica Bell Rizzolo
Jessica is a dual Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy at Michigan State University, with specializations in Animal Studies and Conservation Criminology. Her research interests include the illegal wildlife trade, wildlife tourism, discursive representations of animals, and the intersection of individual animal well-being and species protection. Her current work uses qualitative and quantitative data to examine the links between wildlife commodification (wildlife farming and wildlife tourism), legal context, and wildlife consumption.
She also has a M.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University, which she applies in her capacity as director of the Asian Elephant Program at the Kerulos Center. Jessica’s work has appeared in Society & Animals, Crime, Law and Social Change, and numerous edited books. She received a UCLA Animal Law and Policy Grant in 2019 for her work on the wildlife trade, and she has presented at numerous international conferences, including the Conservation Geopolitics Forum at Oxford University, Conservation Asia, the Australian and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies, and the International Conference on Asian Elephants in Culture and Nature.
As a Being Sanctuary intern, Brenda is aiming to explore nonhuman animal traumatology within both shelter and sanctuary settings. Brenda is also utilizing her knowledge and experience in animal assisted therapy to explore the ethical implications related to incorporating nonhuman animals within a therapeutic context.
Her goal is to promote a message of compassion for all beings, human and nonhuman, and provide humane education to children and adults within the community. Brenda has obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Anthrozoology through Canisius College.
She shares her home with an adorable German Shepherd and three feisty felines.
katherine interned at BLES and studied with Kerulos in 2015 as part of her undergraduate studies at Antioch College. She grew up with great love and respect for all animals, and after completing two human-focused internships, wanted to focus her attention on non-human animals. By marrying theory and practice she was able to develop a thorough understanding of trans species psychology and the complex relationship among elephants and between elephants and their mahouts.
She was fortunate to assist with the introduction of five new elephants to the sanctuary, allowing her to witness the radical changes that can be made when a disempowered individual is welcomed into an accepting environment. This experience with Kerulos and BLES bolstered katherine’s desire to become a part of the healing process for those who are often overlooked, exploited, or marginalized by society. Because of this, she was drawn to pursue a master’s in counseling, specializing in addictions, at Lewis and Clark Graduate School. katherine hopes to work with low income individuals and communities who are in greatest need of assistance in their recovery process.
Jennifer E. Winer L.Ac.
I jumped at the chance to be an intern with Kerulos! A few years ago I traveled to Thailand and was privileged enough to spend time with some elephants in sanctuary there. I learned about the mistreatment of these amazing and beautiful animals. I knew it was my purpose and calling to help.
Being an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner I also know that the exotic animal trade that goes on is in big part due to the belief that parts of animals, including elephants have healing properties. It is now the 20th century, it is not 3000 years ago, and there are now alternatives to treat ailments. Many animals including elephants are harmed and hunted in other countries still today because of these beliefs.
I learned through my internship vital information about the relationships, social structure, emotional states, and environmental impact to animals. And learned to look at all beings (animal and human) as just that ….all beings. The amount of information and training is superb!
The mission of Kerulos completely resonated with me. You can give an animal sanctuary, but what about healing the trauma, post-traumatic stress, grief, and/or more that the animal has endured. I give my heart to the elephants and to all animals. This is the best organization I could ever hope to be a part of in my journey to save the elephants and save all animals while giving them the respect and care every being deserves.
Jennifer graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Minnesota State University at Mankato in 1998. She worked in the financial field before returning to school to study Oriental medicine in 2000. Jennifer made the decision to pursue a career in Oriental medicine after experiencing chronic pain and trying all of the traditional therapies available without any success. She believed there had to be alternative options for medical care and wanted to help others. Jennifer had some acupuncture for her Chronic pain and it worked! She made it her life’s mission to help as many people as she can with this amazing medicine. She received her Master of Science in Oriental Medicine from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Racine, WI on October 4, 2003. During graduate school, Jennifer studied abroad at the Training Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Guangzhou, China and received a certificate in the Advanced Course of Acupuncture of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Jennifer is licensed in both Minnesota and Wisconsin and is nationally certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is clean-needle technique certified by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Jennifer specializes in infertility, anxiety and pain treatments. She Takes pride in going above and beyond for her patients. She also works with many other conditions. She has done advanced studying with Chinese medicine and acupuncture for the treatment of Hepatitis C, Facial Rejuvenation, low back pain. Jennifer is a certified Hepatitis C practitioner, certified Facial rejuvenation practitioner and certified level 1 &2 Voila practitioner. In addition to acupuncture, Jennifer utilizes Chinese herbal therapy, moxibustion, nutritional counseling, auricular therapy, cupping, tui na, and gua sha, VOILA, and the Body Sound Chair.