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By Paula Fitzsimmons

Lots of people -- and you may be one of them -- would like a career involving animals. For one reason or another, they put their dreams aside, often in the belief that their choices are limited. Veterinarian and zookeeper are two of the animal-related professions that often come to mind. But not everyone has the desire to go through over four years of grueling veterinary training, or to compete with large numbers of overqualified applicants for the privilege of cleaning zoo poop.

So what if you are still determined to base your career around animals? Don’t despair. Here are just a handful of alternative professions that just might suit your interests and abilities.

1. Grant Writer. Many nonprofits – such as shelters, conservation and animal welfare organizations – rely heavily on outside funding to stay afloat. As a grant writer, your challenge would be to write proposals that generate income for your group.

2. Boarding Service. Offer basic services, or create a four-star resort where your clients are treated like royalty. You can even create a specialty niche, such as boarding cats, birds or horses.

3. Massage Therapist. We humans are not the only ones who can benefit from therapeutic massage. With the proper training, you might be able to find work in a variety of settings, including veterinary hospitals, pet daycare facilities and private practices.

4. Lobbyist. If you are assertive and articulate, you might want to consider becoming a lobbyist. Conservation and animal welfare groups need passionate people who can persuade lawmakers to side with their platforms.

5. Veterinary Informatics Specialist. This is a relatively new specialized computer field. You might be responsible for developing software programs used by veterinarians, educators and pharmacists.

These careers represent a tiny portion of what’s out there. So what are these other careers and where can I find them, you ask. One good way to start your search is to understand yourself and what energizes you – whether it’s writing, creating, advocating, healing, and so on. Then take it from there.

You might for instance, be a master at the art of persuasion. Where can you find a career that would let you express this talent? To start with, an animal welfare organization might need your skills to lobby on its behalf. Or a pet products manufacturer may hire you as its sales representative, to form positive relationships with clients and sell its wares.

If you have a yen to run your own business, you have a sea of choices. Some possibilities include – but are certainly not limited to – operating an animal transport service, offering pet-related items through mail order, or developing a greeting card line.

If your ambition is to work with zoo animal or to practice veterinary medicine, fabulous. But if not, there’s no need to throw away your dreams of finding work that allows you to express your love for animals.

If you open your mind to the vast number of possibilities, you might be pleasantly surprised. And you may just find work that is not only satisfying, but makes a difference in the lives of animals.

Paula Fitzsimmons has written numerous articles for animal and companion bird magazines, and is the author of the highly-praised "105 Careers for Animal Lovers." Her bachelor of science degree is from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. There is additional information about her booklet, as well as articles about animal-related careers on her website at --

Paula Fitzsimmons

"There are (at least!) 105 career paths for animal lovers. Where do you fit in?" for more info on careers with animals.

Planet Pets is not responsible for content or opinions of contributing writers


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