Career Paths and Pets as Gifts

Dear Emma,

My teenage daughter loves animals, she has been an avid watcher of animal law enforcement and veterinary medicine t.v. shows since a young age and has so much knowledge when it comes to pets and wildlife. She will be starting college in a few years and I want to know what paths she could take to help grow her love of animals. – Shanon K.

This reminds me so much of myself growing up. Luckily for your daughter, there are many career paths that she can take that will feed her love for animals. Going into veterinary medicine is the first choice for a lot of people, myself included. The approach I took was to become a veterinary technician, I went to a 4-year accredited college and earned a B.S. in veterinary technology, first and from there to go to vet school if I still wanted to be a veterinarian, some colleges also offer pre-vet coursework/paths. There are also humane law enforcement officers, animal welfare lawyers and animal welfare organizations, which could be shelters or program-based organizations like SPCAI. The best way for your daughter to get a feel for what path she might want to take is to volunteer or get a part-time job with a shelter/nonprofit that also preforms humane law enforcement or a veterinary clinic. A career path is a hard thing to pick and can seem daunting, you may not end up doing what you set out to do. I was a vet tech for 5 years and then woke-up one day and realized I didn’t love my job anymore but I still wanted to work in the animal welfare space, that lead me here to SPCAI. Animal welfare is a labor of love, and your daughter’s love and talents will be embraced and cultivated in whichever field she chooses.

Dear Emma,

My parents lost their dog due to old age a little over a year ago. They talk about how they feel their house is “quiet” and “empty” without a dog but haven’t made any effort to get a new one. I think we should give them a puppy as a gift for my dad’s upcoming birthday but my sister thinks I’m being ridiculous! I think our parents will be happier with a new dog but my sister doesn’t agree, who is right? – Carla P.

Losing a pet is hard and everyone copes in their own time. It’s a nice gesture to want to give your parents the gift of another dog, but unless they have expressed that they are ready and willing to open their home to another dog you should not give them one as a “gift.” A pet is a financial commitment and you shouldn’t commit your parents to that if they aren’t ready. Since they haven’t made an active effort I would guess that they aren’t ready yet, and may still be coping with the loss of their beloved pet. If you’re really set on helping your parents find their next canine companion a good first step would be sitting down with your parents and discuss visiting local shelters and if that’s something they’re interested in. An alternative gift idea could be to make a donation to a local rescue group or shelter in your parent’s name.