Love for animals is one of the noblest passions that can be experienced. It must be borne in mind, however, that this passion, if put to good use, could also turn into a job . In fact, there are several job opportunities that – with or without university training behind them – can help you to follow your animal rights vocation.
When it comes to working with animals , more traditional and common figures may come to mind, such as that of the veterinarian or dog sitter ; yet, there are many other professional figures to be taken into consideration, even if sometimes their existence is not even considered.
A university course to work with animals
Some of these jobs necessarily require a degree. This is certainly the case with the veterinarian, who must have a degree in veterinary medicine in order to practice. After a course of study of at least five years, the veterinarian – regularly enrolled in the register – will be able to practice as a freelancer (therefore in private) or at public health institutions. The figure of the veterinarian is supported by that of a valid assistant. Thanks to a veterinary assistant course , it will be possible to learn the main knowledge in terms of pre-operative preparation, surgery and anatomy to be able to work alongside veterinarians in their clinics or in various outpatient clinics.
A short degree course in agriculture (three years), on the other hand, can give you the right skills in terms of livestock farming and animal feed . In this case, the love for animals is combined with that for nature, which leads to the development of specific knowledge in botany and horticulture. A university course of study in biology, on the other hand, will allow you to deepen the main knowledge of zoology on the one hand and plant biology on the other: once again, therefore, the animal and plant world will be the object of further study.
How to work in contact with animals
However, there are many other work solutions that do not necessarily include a university course behind them. Among these, the most classic figure: that of the dog sitter . The qualities required here are patience, punctuality and a lot of unconditional love for any dog (or cat) who is entrusted to their care. Feeding the animal at the right time, taking care of its needs in the absence of the owner, thinking about daily walks: these – and others, depending on the case – are the commitments that are up to the dog sitter, who usually goes to a owner who – for work or other duties – cannot take care of his pet at the right time.
The care of your pet also involves cleaning, hygiene and the right aesthetic appearance: in this branch, another professional figure suitable for animal lovers is inserted, the groomer . There are preparation courses suitable for this job outlet, at the end of which you can devote yourself to the free profession in your own salon. Here, the pet groomer can devote himself to the care of four-legged friends, from thinning the hair to paying attention to any reactions or skin irritations, even if there are also those who do it themselves .
A figure with specific skills and experience, not to be underestimated if you have both, is that of the animal trainer . You can go from the figure of the horse trainer – who could very well find employment in a riding school – to that of the dog trainer , who is dedicated primarily to dogs. Even in this case, however, preparation through specific courses is necessary, especially since registration with the ENCI (Italian National Dog-loving Body) is required . The experience of the trainer, in this case, will serve to educate the puppy dog or to improve the relationship between the animal and its owner.
All these figures can often find their own occupation or place within animal welfare associations: these, in fact, need veterinarians, dog sitters and trainers to better cover, with their services, the territory they deal with. .
Treat others with animals
Working with animals does not only mean taking care of them: in fact, it is extremely possible that it is the animals that help others, if presented in the right way. In this sense, there are various professional figures related, for example, to pet therapy . With this expression we mean that therapy that provides the company of animals to alleviate the suffering of those patients suffering from physical or mental disorders. The pet therapist , in this context, is a key figure in the management of the relationship between animal and patient (which must be balanced, emotional, and never dangerous). Also in this case, there are special training courses to prepare for this profession.
If the basic idea is always to encourage and establish contact between humans and animals, the ideal could be to open an educational farm or look for work in one of these structures. The task, in this case, is to organize tours of the farm, sensitizing visitors to the issues related to the animals present, thanks to anecdotes and data collected in this regard. Alternatively, one could look for work in an animal boarding house , organizing activities for the guests and taking care of them from all points of view (however, strong doses of empathy, patience and knowledge of animal behavior will be needed).