Almost all dog lovers list veterinarian on their list of things they want to be when they grow up as children. Helping injured animals and people’s pets is a very rewarding line of work. However, all of the schooling it requires can be discouraging. Start at the front desk in the vet’s office and work your way up to tech before tackling 4 years of veterinary medicine courses.
Along the way if you find out it’s not a good fit check out these eight career options for dog lovers:
- Animal Shelter – Most shelters are staffed by volunteers, which is a good place to start a career with dogs. You may think it’s a thankless job but the animals in your care appreciate every consideration you show them. Putting in the time on doo-doo duty will help you move on up from mucking out kennels to a permanent position like manager or events coordinator.
- Dog Walker – People’s busy schedules can make outsourcing personal errands a must. Responsible pet owners who work an 8 hour day will often hire someone to stop by and take their dog out for mid day relief and exercise.
- Pet Photographer – Either at a studio or on location, pet photography can be a lucrative vocation. People love their pets and are often willing to shell out a few dollars to capture a couple of really nice photos of the family dog. Talent, patience and a pocket full of dog treats are required to succeed in this career.
- Groomer – Warm weather is coming up and dogs need to keep cool. Pet stores and doggie spas are starting to beef up their summer staff to bath, brush, clip, snip and trim a plethora of pampered pooches.
- Obedience Instructor – Train owners how to teach their dogs to behave properly by becoming an obedience instructor. Cesar Millan makes it look easy but he can’t help all the dogs in need. Effectively educating the master means they will be more likely to keep and control their dog.
- Handler – Whether it’s your own dog or you’re showing for a breeder, handlers have a special bond with the dogs in their charge. Intricate knowledge of breeding characteristics as well as kennel club rules are required but it’s all so rewarding when your dog is standing in the winner’s circle wearing the blue ribbon.
- Service Animal Trainer – More dogs are being trained for service roles than ever before. They are being used in the military, to aid people with disabilities and serve as a therapeutic resource for the elderly and terminally ill children. This is the kind of work that changes people’s lives.
- Circus Performer – Husband and wife team Dextre Tripp & Jayna Lee figured out a way to incorporate their love of dogs into their performance by casting their mix breed rescue dogs as stars in their act by founding Circus Stella. More importantly than simply entertaining audiences they strive to “raise the public's awareness of the plight of shelter dogs and encourage people to adopt rescue animals.”
Whatever route you take, if you love animals and pursue that passion into a profession you will be happy to head to work every morning.