Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Working With Dogs ~ A Career With Animals ~ Have YOU Got What It Takes?

Do You Fancy a Career with Animals? Would you like to Work with Dogs?
Have You Got What It Takes?... Find Out Here!

This a rewrite of a post I did last October plus extra material.

So, you would like to work with dogs. Good for you!
But working with dogs (or any other animal) isn't just a nice job - it's a way of life.
I worked full time in dog rescue and also as a zookeeper, so I am speaking with the voice of hands-on experience!

And this is what it takes :

  • Complete commitment and Total Dedication
  • A Compassionate and caring nature
  • Infinite Patience
  • A strong sense of responsibility
  • Physical fitness and stamina
  • Good powers of observation
  • Attention to detail
  • A willingness to learn
  • The humility to realise that you are never going to know everything about animals
  • Good communication skills and People skills
  • Courage (mental, physical, and emotional)
  • Being prepared to do unpleasant jobs
  • You may have to make difficult decisions - including life & death ones.
  • Be willing to undergo further education & training
  • Even more dedication!
You must also :

  • Know your strengths
  • More importtantly, know your weaknesses
  • Be mentally, physically and emotionally robust
The welfare of a dog comes before your needs.....If an animal's welfare is compromised you stay until it is sorted - even if you have made plans to go out!

Good observation, even of something apparently insignificant, can mean life or death to a dog!

Most work with dogs is badly paid! You won't get financially rich, but you will become rich in many better ways.

Some things like communication and people skills can be learnt, others like observation and physical fitness can be improved by practice.
Other things are down to your personality.
Knowledge comes with experience and training. You may have to take one or more courses and obtain qualifications. Learning is a lifelong activity!

Working with animals isn't an escape from working with people. You will be part of a team. You will also have contact with the authorities and the general public.

Think long and hard, do some voluntary work with animals. Appropiate work experience can be an eye-opener! It will also show a potential employer that you are dedicated.

I will give you two real examples of observation and dedication :

1) On observation. A stray female dog was brought in just as I was locking up for the night. When I got her out of his car, I noticed a tiny spot of very dark blood on the blanket she was lying on. I checked with the finder and he said it wasn't there when he put it in. ALARM BELLS! I checked her vagina for discharge by swabbing with some damp cotton wool. The result - a dark blood-like discharge. Potential pyometra ( a serious & potentially fatal womb infection). I took her straight to the vet and she underwent a life-saving operation. If I had not noticed, or had chosen to ignore the spot of blood, I would have found a dead dog in the kennels in the morning!

2) On dedication. A dog had been locked in a house on its own for 2 days. The owner had been injured and was in hospital. The local people were unable to deal with the problem. I waited at work until gone 6pm for a phone call from the police. Then, with a colleague, drove a 40 mile round trip to collect the dog. Once it was fed and settled, I locked up and then arrived back home just gone 8.30pm. The theatre tickets for that evening went in the bin!

Rewards of the job

Working with dogs gives you the chance to get close to and to understand another species. We need to reach outside of ourselves and make contact with other living things - ask anyone who has stroked a cat or patted a dog!

If you work in rescue, helping an abused dog recover and then finding it a loving home for the rest of its life is fantastically rewarding. For me that was the best part of the job.

Still want to work with dogs? Yes? Great!

If you are interested in dog training you may find this of interest - just Click Here

There are many different types of work and career opportunities with dogs

  • Work in a rescue / rehoming centre
  • Boarding kennels*
  • National charities like RSPCA and Dogs Trust
  • Police dog handler
  • Armed forces dog handler
  • Customs and excise dog handler
  • Dog Grooming*
  • Dog Training*
  • Dog Behaviour*
  • Veterinary Nurse
  • Veterinary Surgeon
  • Pet photography*
  • Pet food /pet shop*
You can also set up your own business, such as dog grooming or boarding kennels. The ones marked * in the list are all possible businesses that you could run.
If you don't want to be hands-on, you can work as an administrator, fund raiser, secretary, keep accounts or other office work.

You will need to go to veterinary college if you want to be a vet. There is a huge amount of competition for places.
You may need to obtain animal care qualifications, such as an NVQ in Animal Care.

I am going to stop writing now. I will write a longer piece on qualifications soon.

If you are interested in dog training you may find this of interest - just Click Here

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