The Animal Behavior Center is run by volunteers and students seeking experience in animal behavior and the use of applied behavior analysis. Once in a while we have a volunteer position available. If you are interested in volunteering and are over the age of 18, please contact us, and we will get back to you in touch with you.


Our internship inquiries are coming in at a high rate and we are working with a few different colleges nationwide to provide this service. Please contact us with questions.


Karen Pratt

karen-croppedKaren has worked in the marketing and communications field for 23 years as an Accounting Supervisor and then as a Director of Administration and Accounting. She then went on to a whole new endeavor as an Accounting Manager for 8 years and a Practice Manager for 1 year until a major medical incident cut her professional career short in 2011. She has been with The Animal Behavior Center for three years. Karen is not only the manager of The Animal Behavior Center, but also serves as The Volunteer Coordinator and heads all Marketing and Public Relations. Karen lives in Sylvania very close to The Animal Behavior Center with her youngest daughter Sandy. Sandy also volunteers at The Animal Behavior Center. Karen’s other daughter, Michelle is a Veteran Marine Corporal and married to a fellow veteran Marine, Wes. They reside in Columbus, Ohio. Karen loves any kind of animals! She has 3 dogs, 6 cats, an African Grey, an English Budgie, one regular budgies, 24 rats, 1 fire-belly newt, a very large aquarium and a few smaller ones as well.

Sandy Pratt

sandy-croppedSandy previously worked at a local pet boarding and care facility for the past three years and had previously worked for another dog facility for a year. Sandy has grown up with dogs, cats, and fish but now at 23 years old, she has all the animals listed in Karen’s biography and helps care for them as well. Sandy volunteers on a regular basis helping out with feeding, cleaning and training. Also, volunteers at the events wherever she is needed. Sandy has a passion for rescuing animals in need and will go out of her way to help the owner or get the animal in good hands, whether it be a veterinarian, shelter, etc. Sandy’s dream is to open a rescue facility someday.

Crystal Phelps

crystal-bio-picCrystal is a graduate student pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree through Maine College of Art. After living in Phoenix, AZ for several years she moved back to Toledo, OH to be closer to her family. She is married to her best friend, Tim, and they have a small menagerie that they share their home with: Amelia Bearhart, a corgi-beagle mix, Budgie-Budge, a parakeet, and Lizzie the leopard gecko. In her spare time Crystal stays actively involved in the local arts community and trains with Bird’s Eye View Circus at the Collingwood Arts Center. Crystal has a passion for communication with both people and animals!

Angie Knannlein-Rahman


Angie is a mother of 2 (Alexxis-22 & Mason-17) beautiful children; as well as an umbrella cockatoo (Roscoe), a black lab (Pearl), a chorkie (Churro), a boa (Rosie), & a ball python (Kaa).She has been a registered nurse in critical care for going on 20 years. In her spare time she coaches high school track (@ Central Catholic) & and she volunteer as a transporter & fosters for Nature’s Nursery. She is a tattoo collector & very much enjoy the multitude of colors in our beautiful world, whether it be on canvas of paper, wood, skin, flora or fauna.

Lindsay Douglas


Lindsay is currently a student at the University of Toledo majoring in Biology with a concentration in Organismal Biology. She plans to go into Wildlife Biology to study animal behavior after school. Ever since she was old enough to recognize what an animal is, she’s been in love and felt desperate to learn more about them. Growing up, Lindsay always had animals in the house including dogs, cats, frogs, hermit crabs, hamsters, guinea pigs, and even a bearded dragon.She volunteered at the Toledo Zoo for five years as a ZooTeen and participated in many outreach projects including some at the Toledo Humane Society. Angie says she has a passion for learning about every animal out there which is why she chose Wildlife biology for her future career.

Amanda Gutek

From a Sun Devil to a Buckeye, Amanda has been to the desert and back on a journey that has brought her here to the Animal Behavioral Center. She is coming to us with degrees in Zoology and Microbiology from The Ohio State University. Amanda has spent the last 7 years participating in research through both the Departments of Animal Science and Horticulture and Crop Science. For 5 years, she volunteered at the Ohio Wildlife Center in Dublin, Ohio, rehabilitating orphaned or injured wild animals in preparation for their release back into nature. She has 2 dogs and 1 cat and when not spending her time with her pets, you can find her reading, painting, water-coloring and movie watching. Amanda hopes to learn more about animal behavior and the training techniques used here at the center in order to utilize this knowledge for future work in a zoo or aquarium.


The Animal Behavior Center
"Visiting The Animal Behavior Center was like a breath of fresh air. Her passion and dedication for providing outstanding care to her animals was reflected in literally every inch of her center. Without a doubt, she has gone above and beyond to ensure that her animals are never without both mental and physical enrichment. The level of care that she provides for her animals should be the standard. While I was at the center, I had the privilege of watching Lara train her animals and mine and it is clear that she is an exceptionally talented trainer. Every interaction she has with her animals, formal training session or not, is flexible and focused on creating an environment in which they are comfortable and empowered.
As a future veterinary behaviorist, I aspire to reach Lara's level of finesse, expertise, and thoughtfulness in every aspect of animal training and husbandry. She is truly in it for the animals."