How to land an animal care job

When I was a child, all of my fantasy role-playing games weren’t of “mommy, daddy, baby playing house.” Instead my games were of running an animal sanctuary for unwanted animals, taking in dogs and cats that were unloved, unwanted, and alone. Now as an adult, my goal of working with dogs and other animals is on the horizon. I’m not certain yet how it will be fulfilled, but I have worked towards that goal for the last several years.

As with any job, hands-on experience is often the most valuable. Volunteer at your veterinarian’s clinic to help out with kennel care or back office work that can be done with or without a vet technician’s supervision. Clayton College of Natural Health offers an excellent program for Holistic Care for Companion Animals. http://www.ccnh.edu/about/pro grams/holistic_care_for_compan ion_animals.aspx It isn’t a course that will provide you with a career since it will not replace a veterinarian, however, it will give you information on dog and cat anatomy, holistic feeding options, conditions and diseases animals may suffer from, and valuable information on massage techniques to help you calm and comfort a companion animal in fear or pain.

Spend time at the local doggy day care as a volunteer, or see if you can get hired on for part-time or full-time work. Volunteer at the local animal shelter. Often volunteers are made aware of personnel needs even before positions are made public and with existing knowledge and experience in how the shelter operates you will be one step ahead of any outside competition.

Consider starting your own in-home pet sitting business, or dog-walking business. As pet populations age, and as the economy becomes even tighter, it is not always practical for pets to be boarded at a kennel. For some pets the experience of staying at a strange kennel can be so traumatic on them, that it would be a detriment to their health. More and more pet owners are preferring to keep their pets at home, in familiar surroundings, rather than subject them to kennel boarding. Start small with friends and neighbors and then use them for references. Post business cards at veterinarian offices, pet stores, and at the animal shelters.

Learn how to be a dog groomer and either work for a grooming business, or become a mobile groomer. If you are a pet owner, consider the services you use yourself, or services you would like to use. With pet care becoming one of the fastest growing businesses the options are endless.

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