Embarking Upon a Career in Animal Welfare

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If you wish to embark upon a career in animal welfare then you must be prepared for hard work and continuous dedication. This particular field of work has always been popular and certainly seems to be an attractive prospect in the sometimes gloomy job market.

This author had worked in the animal welfare sector for several years and I finished my career as an RSPCA animal collection officer. How I got there was through hard work and flexibility.

When starting out, one of the best things that you can do is to volunteer. Animal welfare hospitals or centres always need volunteers due to the financial demands that they have. From dog walking to cleaning out kennels to volunteering to drive animals to veterinary surgeons, there are a whole host of volunteering opportunities available. Do not forget the all important charity shops that fund many centres. These shops always need volunteers, and although not glamorous it is exactly how I started my career. To work in this way, without pay at first, is a good indication of your dedication. It will also allow you to see the not so glamorous sides of animal welfare.

One must be flexible as well. Even though I wanted hands on experience with the animals I was offered my first paid job in animal welfare as a charity shop manager. This allowed me to see the behind the scenes working of the charity and also put me in contact with inspectors and animal collection officers who became valuable in my further career. Always remember the ultimate goal is to serve animal welfare and being part of it in any capacity should inspire and uplift you.

As for qualifications, who you are is more important than what you know. Obviously any animal welfare qualifications or certificates that you gain will be invaluable, yet it is also important to generate “people skills” and so being able to present yourself to the public professionally and in control is a vital skill. Courses that involve conflict management are extremely useful and will show future employers how you will be able to deal with problems efficiently and calmly.

The emotional side of animal welfare is one that must be taken into consideration. Unfortunately there will be times when difficult decisions will need to be made for the ultimate welfare of the animal and exposure to this side is important early on to prepare you for the future. You could perhaps offer to volunteer in an veterinary centre or animal clinic.

Another most valuable attitude is one of positivity and expectation. Do not allow others to put you off from your goals. Ultimately it is YOU who decide your fate and it will be your dedication, enthusiasm and hard work that will pay off in the long run.