Working With Animals

Some people procrastinate, others act - and the majority fall somewhere in the middle.

It is obviously a poor decision to enter any profession which you are totally unsuited to; but it is better to enter a profession that you are a little unsure of, than to spend your whole life considering your options, and never seriously attempting to develop a career in anything.

1st – Make sure you are reasonably suited to this type of work.

2nd  - Develop your knowledge of animals, through experience, study, or both.

3rd – Capitalize on complimentary skills (ie.  Skills that could be of use in any type of job; such as communication skill, IT, managerial, etc.).


What Type of Person Are You?

One way of looking at your work choices is to consider who or what you might want to work with. Some people are more suited to working with animals than others.

There are in some respects, three types of jobs:

Type 1
There are jobs that focus on interacting with inanimate things. Examples might be a writer or computer programmer who is interacting mostly with computers;  a factory worker or truck driver who is focused on interacting with machinery; a bookkeeper who is focused on interacting with  a set of accounts; or perhaps a builder or artist who focuses on  something they are building or creating.

Type 2
These are jobs that involve lots of interacting with other people. Examples might be a teacher who stands in front of a class teaching; a retailer who is selling to people, a doctor or health practitioner who is interacting with clients; or a tour guide who is leading a group of tourists.

Type 3
These are jobs that involve a lot of interaction with animals. Examples might be a veterinarian; farmer, a zoo keeper, an animal trainer, groomer or breeder.

Obviously jobs do not fall cleanly into just one group or another; but before pursuing any type of career, it is wise to understand your own innate nature, and the category that is more comfortable for you .


Jobs Are Rarely What they Seem?

The old saying “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence” applies very much to the workplace!

Looking at any job from the outside is more often than not, very different to actually experiencing the job. Most jobs involve a multitude of tasks; some can be easy and others difficult, some pleasant and others unpleasant. It’s almost always a mixed bag. When you consider a career, it is natural to pay extra attention to the positive aspects of a job, and overlook the negative, particularly if it is dealing with something you are passionate about. If someone offers you work that you are disinclined towards, you are likely to exaggerate the negative and overlook the positive. In reality though, every job will have positive and negative features; and it is important to see both in an impartial and balanced way.

For example, Evie loves animals and has since early childhood. She has a wide variety of pets and decides she wants to be a veterinarian when she leaves school. She does some work experience in a vet’s surgery and becomes extremely upset when the vet has to euthanize a dog. She then decides that working as a vet is not for her. She looks at alternative jobs working with pets before deciding she wishes to work at a dog re-homing centre for dogs that have been abused or abandoned. If Evie had not had the work experience in the vets, she may have spent years training to be a vet only to find that it is not a suitable career for her.

Evie is obviously working with animals, but the same applies for working with people. Before starting any career, it is important to determine where your skills lie. If you are good at talking to people, encouraging them to do things, then sales and marketing may be for you, but if you are good at talking, but not so good at encouraging them to buy, then other areas of working with people may be better for you. 

So before deciding if you want to work in a particular job, you should consider:

  • Are you more comfortable being with people, with animals, or alone (perhaps with a computer)?
  • Are you good with live animals?
  • Do you like physical activity?
  • Do you prefer being outside or inside?
  • Are you good with biological science?
  • Do you enjoy being with animals?
  • Do you enjoy being with people who like animals?
  • Are you uncomfortable standing in front of a group of people?
  • Are you able to talk to strangers or do you prefer working with people you know?
  • Do you prefer working one to one with people?
  • Do you like working in a group situation?
  • Do you like helping other people to learn and change?
  • Do you like giving people knowledge? 
  • Do you like helping people to solve problems?

Think about all these questions. They may not all be relevant, but think carefully about where your skills and challenges lie, and where you feel you are likely to feel happiest.
For example, if you do not like talking to groups of people, then maybe some types of animal based jobs are not for you. BUT saying that, people can change and develop, so can develop the skills they require to work in different roles.

It is essential to think about what you are good at, what you are not good at and what you could improve at.

Be realistic – about both your abilities and the actual job role. Being realistic about your abilities will help you to highlight areas that you may need to improve on. It is good to be aware of this from the beginning so you can make improvements and work towards where you need to be. Also, be realistic about the job you are aiming for. It is easy to romanticise about the things you would love about your dream job, but don’t ignore the aspects that may not be as enjoyable. For example, if you want to run your own business you may only consider how nice it would be to be your own boss, without considering what it will be like to have the responsibility of a business, pay taxes, and so on. Don’t be put off by the challenges, but make sure you do consider them so you can decide whether the less pleasant aspects are acceptable to you.


Certificate in Companion Animal Studies

Animal Health Care

Animal Behaviour