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Old 04-21-03, 09:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Animal related careers

Hey everyone, I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and I am considering pursuing some sort of animal related career. Not sure exactly what but I want to make a difference in the lives of animals if there is some way that I can. Unfortunately, my Bachelors degree is in Arts Administration so i may have to start completely from scratch.

Anyway, my question is for those of you who make a living working with animals in some way.
What is your job?
What was the extent or training/education that got you there?

What are the best and worst things about your job?

Thanks in advance!

-Meg

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Old 04-21-03, 09:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I dunno about you, but I want to get a herpelogical degree and work in the herp section at the San Degio Zoo!
 
Old 04-21-03, 12:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Did you sue that jerk for everything he has? Or can you not do stuff like that in the UK? I would have beat him up when he left for home atleast.
 
Old 04-21-03, 12:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Come on guys, I know there are more of you out there who can answer my questions!
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Old 04-21-03, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, I fell into working with animals by chance. I was an ophthalmic surgical technician for human beings when my cat had 3 severely abscessed teeth and needed some pretty expensive oral surgery. I was a fairly recent graduate and had no money, so my vet agreed to do the surgery at the Humane Society Clinic where he volunteers his services in return for me working off the bill as a surgical tech there.

I got hooked, went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine for the animal-specific courses I needed to be certified in the vet community as well as the human community and worked as a surgical tech with people M-F and with animals on Saturdays and 1 night per week.

I was lucky enough to form good working relationships with the folks in the Exotics clinic and so spent most of my time working with reptiles and birds.
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Old 04-21-03, 12:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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To Alicewave - I guess it's going to depend on where you want to start in your career. Like anything else, I think that you can start at the bottom and work up (for low pay!), but at least you get involved, or go for the education route and take a second degree - or whatever else you feel you need first - in a more appropriate subject.

Difficult one that! I'm in a career I don't care much for, and would also love to get into working with animals, too. My aim is to make enough money in my job to then pack it in and follow my dream (rescue centre for giant snakes and anything else which needs TLC). Do let us all know what you decide to do... it's really interesting!!!

To Vic:
Mucho sympathy on the vet and the snakes and the bills!!! I agree that I think I'd kill him! If it's anything like the one I go to, they make you sign a disclaimer before they do anything, because most of the drugs and equipment hasn't be approved for reptile use (even though it is actually ok to use), so they will automatically be doing things 'off-label'.
Gotta say though, we have a superb vet, but they are in Leeds. In fact there is another in Leeds who specialises in exotics, as he is a zoo vet. Ours is not as expensive as yours, either - we had a boa with RI at christmas - 147 for antibiotics, xrays (including anaesthetic), tracheal wash, fecal, 5 days in hospital under observation, and a lot of long phone conversations. Bit of a long way for you to travel, tho!
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Old 04-21-03, 01:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Brig: That's the way I'm leaning at this point. The plan all along was to get my Masters of Business Administration which is useful no matter what I decide to do. At the very least, with one I could save up some money and buy a big enough house for animal erscue or something. But I still don't know. I'm really interested in biology and chemistry. As an undergrad I found myself wandering the halls of the Center for Natural Sciences building and peering in all the classrooms. Maybe it's the grass is greener thing...I don't know.
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Old 04-21-03, 02:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Alice: I too am in a job I hate (tech support), and while I've always enjoyed working with animals until recently I've never considered it a career. I've thought about doing the rescue thing but though it would be rewarding I think I would have to work a second job to pay for the care of the rescues. I think working as a breeder or food supplier is probably more likely to be viable.

Although with business admin you could probably work for a vet or zoo or the like....
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Old 04-21-03, 08:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Personally I plan to get my sheet metal ticket welding ticket and gas ticket these all fairly good paying trades and are easy to get hired for. I plan to breed reptiles along with this untill someday if it evercomes i will be able to support myself with just breeding reptiles
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Old 04-22-03, 08:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You absolutely need another job in order to fund a rescue. I've run one exclusively for going on 3 years now, but I'm putting my own money into it. Donations and adoption fees don't even cover the cost of feeders, let alone caging, meds and vet care. Lots of people talk about how they want to help abused and neglected animals but the sad fact is that most are just looking to get a new herp cheaper than they can at a pet shop.

I have yet to meet anyone involved in rescue that doesn't say the same thing but keep hoping things will change. Unfortunately, right now it's getting harder rather than easier in the US. In order to keep your non-profit status you cannot breed reptiles anymore and sell them in order to support the rescue. Now that I don't have that source of revenue I've had to turn most of the potential rescues away.
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Old 04-22-03, 09:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I do reptile shows for schools, birthdays, Boy scouts, Girl scouts, and evan business parties. the worst part of my job is when people come up to me and say,"i saw a snake at my cottage and i killed it". i hear that ALL the time! it bugs me SO much! i feel like saying," i saw a bird in my back yard and it was buggin me so i just shot it!"... i have not done that, but i just like to compare things. thats about all i do.

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Old 04-22-03, 10:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Meg,

First I would recommend narrowing down your career choices to a particular field of specialization. Ask yourself some not-so-hypothetical questions:

Which of the following areas appeals to you most?
- Captive propagation
- Husbandry
- Veterinary medicine
- Public education
- Animal rescue
- ??????????

Do you want to be self-employed or do you mind working for someone else as long as it's animal-related?

What sacrifices are you willing to make to meet your goal of working with animals, and how confident are you that the ends will justify the means?

How do you view your current collection of animals & your involvement with them:
A) An enjoyable hobby & an opportunity for some "downtime" away from everyday job/lifestyle stress.
B) A consuming passion that nothing can dent, even when things aren't always going your way - i.e. animals get sick or die; you lose an expected clutch; you come across the person that is out to kill every snake they meet, no matter what you tell them; you find that local habitat for endangered species is being developed for some condominiums and Fish & Wildlife is perfectly content to look the other way, etc. etc. etc.

How will working with animals as a career affect your personal collection? What happens when you spend all day looking after animals only to come home & have more to deal with...in other words, will it turn "fun" into "just more work?"

What are your salary requirements? I know this may sound funny, but based on which direction you choose compensation for an animal-related career can range from minimum wage to a pretty decent living, depending on what you need to maintain a quality of life with which you're happy/content/comfortable.

This is all just food for thought to help you in your decision. 7 months ago I went from a professional career in print media to working with animals full-time and my life has changed radically because of it. If I can be of any help to you let me know!!!

K
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Old 04-22-03, 11:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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KLG: Thanks for your thoughful response. most of those things are questions I have asked myself already and haven't quite finished answering them myself. I'd say in order what appeals to me most is Husbandry, Public Education, and Animal rescue but I'm not entirely sure which order. As for my own collection I'm definitely B.

Quote:
How will working with animals as a career affect your personal collection? What happens when you spend all day looking after animals only to come home & have more to deal with...in other words, will it turn "fun" into "just more work?"
This is my biggest fear thus far. It's the reason I dropped my major in Music Education freshman year, Music wasn't fun anymore. I don't know that this would happen with animals because seeing the direct results of my work when an animal gets to live a happy healthy life, or knowing I helped someone understand a species better would as satisfying as a job and with my personal collection as well. If I did decide to take on an animal-related career, in most cases I would need to spend at least another year in school or some sort of training program, so money is a big issue. I have a lot of student loans to pay off from undergrad and I would likely accumulate more when I went back to school. The beauty of getting an MBA is that it's free where I work and most schools let you take courses at night on a part-time basis. I'm still very torn. I could continue as I planned and get the MBA and get some job where I can make/save enough money to go back to school and study zoology or something, or I could take a huge pay cut and dive into something now.

I would love to know more aboutyour career change. what did you change to, how did you go about it, are you satisfied, etc. If you're not comfortable discussing it in forums, you can always email me at megraboin@hotmail.com.
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Old 04-22-03, 04:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by eyespy
Unfortunately, right now it's getting harder rather than easier in the US. In order to keep your non-profit status you cannot breed reptiles anymore and sell them in order to support the rescue. Now that I don't have that source of revenue I've had to turn most of the potential rescues away.

Couldn't you register the breeding as a seperate business? then the breeding business can "donate" funds to the rescue business and receive a tax break as well.
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Old 04-22-03, 04:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Not easily. The breeding must be done at a separate facility and that's just not cost effective. Having 2 separate locations, 2 separate sets of food and medical supplies, etc. Breeding doesn't generate enough profit to fund all that unless you are a huge name already, which I certainly am not.
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