Growing up, just about every kid I knew (myself included!) had career aspirations at some point to be a veterinarian. To young children, it seems like the obvious career path for animal lovers, no matter what creature you feel the strongest connection to.
Although I never actually became a vet, I did find a way to turn my passion for animals into a full-time career by opening a doggie daycare center. It’s one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had! I so enjoyed connecting with dogs and their people, and providing cute canines with a clean, safe and fun environment to spend time in every day.
I’m not the only one who found a way to make a living by working with animals in a unique way. In fact, there are many career opportunities available that can blend your passion for animals with your other interests. Here are a few you might want to consider:
A marine biologist. This is actually a broad field relating to the study and advocacy of marine ecosystems, but many of these scientists study or even work with animals directly. In fact, many marine biologists work in aquariums and other rescue facilities and help rehabilitate marine life; have an “offshore” office in a boat or other vessel for weeks or months at a time to study marine habitats and their inhabitants; or even participate in deep-sea dives to learn about the creatures under the water’s surface.
A pet sitter. Watching over someone’s beloved pet is an expanding career people are taking on full-time or as a way to earn some extra money (and fuzzy cuddles!) in addition to a day job. As a pet sitter, you are responsible for knowing how to address the individual needs of every critter you watch – this may involve a feeding timetable, walking routine, and even medication schedule – and keeping the pet parents up-to-date on the awesome time you two are having.
An animal cruelty investigator. If you love the idea of being a detective focused on the wellbeing of animals, this might be an ideal career for you. This is by no means an emotionally easy job, as you will likely encounter some difficult situations responding to claims of animal abuse and neglect in private residences, puppy mills and on farms. The highlight of this type of job is being able to rescue animals from dangerous conditions and work with agencies who will take legal action against those mistreating creatures great and small. You are an instrument of justice for the creatures that don’t speak the same language we do, but that still have the right to live safe, healthy lives.
A guide dog trainer. These days, there are all kinds of service dogs besides those educated on being a set of eyes for those who can’t see, and they all need specialized training. To be a service dog trainer takes a very special kind of individual – one who is patient yet firm with the “student” dogs, and one who is able to connect emotionally with the animal during training while still being able to let her go when she is matched with her forever companion. This career is extremely rewarding for those who wish to help both humans and animals thrive.
It’s never too late to pursue your dream job, especially if you are unhappy with the field you’re working in currently. And if you have always dreamed of working with animals, you have no shortage of options on how you can put that passion to good use. And rest assured, when you’re working with animals, you’ll love the work you do every day!
Maple C. has made a career out of encouraging others to follow their dreams in all aspects of life. Her experience in the business world encouraged her to start her own blog, an inspiration hub for readers everywhere