March 1, 2019

Animal Technicians Find Passion and Purpose at AFB’s PARC

By: Erica Nichols, Amanda Huenefeld

We were excited for the opportunity when we were hired as animal technicians at AFB International. We understood that our love for pets, past experience and education would allow us to play an important role in the development of pet food palatants. What we didn’t anticipate is everything we’d gain from the job – a rewarding career and much more.

As animal care and health technicians, we have the pleasure of caring for the animals that reside at the company’s Palatability Assessment Resource Center (PARC). This facility is where we study palatability and behavior with cats and dogs. PARC provides a loving and playful environment that creates special bonds between its resident animals and the technicians that look after them. Those relationships are just one of the reasons we feel so passionate about our jobs. Being able to love and care for these animals is a great feeling.


While spending time with the animals is incredibly rewarding, working as an animal care or animal health technician is also a great responsibility. PARC is home to more than 200 dogs and cats of varying sizes and breeds, and features more than 25,000 square feet of pet-focused indoor and outdoor areas. Animal care technicians are charged not only with watching over and feeding resident animals, but continuously cleaning up after them to help ensure the facility maintains the highest standards to support their health and well-being.



Animal health technicians play a critical role too, and contribute to the Center’s animal health program. In addition to completing daily tasks, animal health technicians assist PARC veterinarians in providing care for any sick resident animals, maintaining records, and enhancing the Center’s health services.


Another rewarding aspect of our jobs is the role we play in supporting our customers. The purpose of PARC is to help our customers better understand companion animal food preferences through palatability testing and behavior studies. We enjoy when customers visit PARC, and we get to witness their enthusiasm and excitement for the Center. It reflects our feelings and passion about our work, and is affirmation of the importance of the work we are doing to help our customers develop nutritious food pets want to eat.



Working at PARC has not only helped us find rewarding careers, but also discover a greater life purpose of supporting and advancing the quality of life for the cats and dogs that make their homes here.

For more information on AFB’s PARC resource center or career opportunities as an animal care or animal health technician, contact Stacey Schlanker at

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