To a true animal lover, it is not how much we love our animal friends, but how we show love for those animals that counts. At a young age we form exceptional bonds with the animals we choose to love, and feel deeply when they leave us. It’s easy to notice this connection in passing, but it’s hard to realize that for some of us, that bond to animals resonates more deeply than we knew. You begin to not only want to work to love and protect your pets, but every animal out there who doesn’t receive such love and affection.
Maybe you want to be a veterinarian. Or perhaps you’d like to be a lifelong volunteer at an animal shelter. Even if you don’t want your career to revolve around animals directly, you may also want to help animals in other ways.
If any of those sounds like you, here are five ways you can get a leg up if you are thinking involving animals in your future:
1. Remember that all animals are special to someone.
Being a dog or cat person simply won’t cut it for those of you looking to work with animals for the rest of your life. Love all animals and know that their owners love them just as much as you love your pets. Understanding this will make you more open to the various animals that others choose to love.
2. Volunteer with rescue animals.
Volunteering is not only important to those who want to work hands-on with animals, but for those who want to ensure the health, safety, and long-term success of injured or sick animals. Working with rescued and or relinquished animals can be especially difficult, as their rough pasts may lead to unexpected actions. Volunteering is the perfect way to learn how to handle the more difficult breeds and types of animals in a safe manner.
3. Volunteer with animals outside your traditional pets.
Study up. If you truly want to work with animals, there is going to be information you need to know that doesn’t come first-hand from the animals. This is particularly true once you move beyond dogs, cats, and birds. Do you know when an elephant is behaving normally? How about when a tortoise has eaten something that’s not part of its natural diet? Having a better grasp on the inner workings of an animal’s head and body will allow you to better understand them.
4. Wait to adopt if you’re uncertain about what’s next.
As contradictory as it may seem, having your own personal sidekick can be a little bit too much work for those making the transition from high school to college. If you adopt your sidekick at the wrong time, you are sure to make your life and his/hers a whole lot more hectic, and you may not be able to provide a safe and loving environment for your new best friend. If you feel that you fall in this category, save up all of that love for the animals you are studying and helping, and pick your own personal sidekick when the time is right.
5. Broaden your horizons.
Opportunities to work with animals are everywhere. If you are looking to work with exotic and large animals, you may think it’s impossible, but then again, there’s a specialist out there for just about every major species. Regardless of whether mice, giraffes, or humpback whales are your cup of tea, there’s a way for you to work with them if you follow the right path. If you know what you need to do, for the sake of the species’ well-being you can play a part too.
Original article contributed by Joshua Schwartz