About the Authors


Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey began working with animals after graduating from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Zoology. Since 1993, Nicole has worked at several zoos and aquariums training and enriching several species of marine mammals including Keiko (Free Willy) the killer whale. Nicole also ran her own animal behavior and consulting business for over ten years in the Portland-metro area. She has worked with hundreds of pets and their owners in developing basic obedience and assisting with behavior problems. Nicole understands the importance of offering environmental enrichment to both exotic and domesticated animals for overall health and has recognized the need for it within pet owners’ homes. Today, Nicole is employed as the Senior Keeper of Marine Life at the Oregon Zoo in Portland.

CinthiaCinthia Alia Mitchell has been caring for and enriching animal lives since 1983. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of Puget Sound in 1989. Cinthia began her career as a Staff Biologist at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington training various species of marine mammals and birds for educational demonstrations. In 1990 she moved to Chicago, Illinois to work as a marine mammal trainer for the Shedd Aquarium. She returned to the northwest in 1992 after accepting the position of Senior Mammalogist at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon. It was there she had the privilege to work with Keiko the famous killer whale. During her career Cinthia has developed and managed animal husbandry, training and enrichment programs for marine mammals, birds and land mammals. In 1999 she opened Doggone Fun! Doggy Daycare Center, one of the first dog daycares in Portland, Oregon. She now offers her years of animal care and training experience to pet owners through training, behavior counseling and providing a fun, safe and enriching place for dogs to play and socialize.