Does Your Bug Guy Like What He Does?

How Does One Get Into This Kind Of Business?

Being in the pest control, wildlife & animal rescue field, I often get asked how I got started.

As a little kid I spent my days in the woods and creeks, always looking for something to catch.

I was a high school All American soccer player and had very little interest in school. I attended Northern Illinois University on a soccer scholarship where I was coached by U.S. Soccer Hall Of Fame Coach, Willy Roy.

In my first year of college I began collecting things…mostly exotic fish and lizards. I had two basilisk lizards, they ran on their back legs. We would race “Al and Peg The Lizards” down the halls of the dorm.

Going into my sophomore year I had a Savannah monitor, a rather large dinosaur looking lizard. Of course I didn’t have a cage for her in my dorm so I kept it in the closet. We moved into the dorms for pre-season soccer training.

I was at soccer practice when my new roommate was moving in. After practice, I was told my new roommate had already moved out. As he was moving in, the large lizard ran across the floor, his mother was on the bed yelling “There’s a dinosaur!”

I had already gained a reputation for enjoying partying (a bit too much)…coupled with my love of animals, NIU had politely asked that I move off campus.

Dusty Showers in college with his snakes and lizards
Dusty Showers in college with his snakes and lizards

The move off campus allowed a much larger collection of animals.  I had many iguanas, I bred pythons and had all sorts of other things including a ferret that was blind in one eye.

As you would guess, my parties were awesome. People would argue over who got to hold what animal…fortunately, some of the pythons could be held by 3-5 people at one time. I even had a caiman (like a crocodile). My best friend Dave still has the scars.

After my third year it was becoming apparent I was not going to be setting any academic awards and I definitely had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life. While I was neglecting my college education, I had immersed myself in learning everything I could about animals, especially animals. I had notebooks full of notes on my animal’s behaviors.

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Going into that Summer, my mom found an ad in the Chicago Tribune for a job as a humane wildlife trapper. I practically begged for the job, I would have considered doing it for free if I could…which I basically did…

I was paid $6.25 an hour. I would get sprayed by skunks, stung by yellow jackets and p**** on by raccoons when getting them out of chimneys…and I loved it and quickly dropped out of college to start my new career. But there is also a dark side of this business that I’ll discuss later.

30 years and countless stories later, here I am…and I humbly ask you to give a shot when it comes to your pest control.

Dusty helps rescue a bald eagle in East Lake, Florida

Palm Harbor Bald Eagle Rescue
Palm Harbor Bald Eagle Rescue


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