Hey kids! I'm Florence Barrau, one of the hosts of NEW YORK KIDS. Every month I talk to someone with a different job. So, read on for an up close and personal look at the world of work.

Meet Cathryn Long. She's an Animal Handler.

What does an animal handler do?

An animal handler provides professional animal talent; it could be to TV, to print, or to film. And it's when people call and they have a special request for an animal talent to do a special event a special scene in one of those things and they come to one of the professionals like us.

So when people see a dog in a commercial it isn't just any old dog?

No not at all and a lot of people think that my dog Buster or my dog Max could do that, but really a lot of training goes into that scene, and that dog, and the handler.

And this is your real job?

This is my real job, and I love it, and it's very special.

How long have you had this job?

I've been doing this since I was a very young child. My Mom is a zoologist. And she worked at the Bronx Zoo. And I had all sorts of animals as a child growing up, we raised lion cubs and gorillas in our house, and they didn't break anything! I've been doing this for a very long time.

What kind of animals do you handle?

Virtually every animal! We can get special animals that are trained for anything.

What was your greatest challenge and easiest challenge when training an animal?

I actually get asked that question a lot, and people expect me to say something like a lion or a tiger. But in reality, it's the crazier the concept that makes the job more difficult. So some of the difficult scenes are ones with butterflies, snakes, and insects.

If someone needs a cockroach do they come to you?

Yes. We handle them. We raise them all. And with an insect you can't train them, but you can influence their behavior with temperature, light, and air. Like butterflies always fly to light, so if you want them to fly in a certain direction they will fly from a dark place to a light place.

Do you have to wear protective clothing?

It depends upon what the animal is. I did a shoot last year where we worked with bees, thousands and thousands of bees. So we had special bee gear with hats and nets. And not a single person got stung!

How do you identify the animals that you find?

My partner is a zoologist and because I've had years and years of training and experience myself you learn like you learn in school, by books and the Internet, you get to know the animals. Because you love it and it's fun to learn.

Is there any animal you don't like, that really gives you the creeps?

No there really isn't. I genuinely try to appreciate each animal for what it is. Even if it's something that could be slimy, like a little octopus.

Thanks Cathryn!

Want to know about another job? Send me an e-mail at nykids@wnyc.org

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