Careers with Animals: Jobs that Work for You

Careers with Animals: Jobs that Work for You
28 Dec 2016

Do you dream of working with animals?

As a small child my favorite toys were the cardboard animals from a Noah’s ark set. I was very young, but even then I wanted to be an animal doctor. As the years passed my determination to become a vet (I learnt later there was a special name!) grew stronger despite my parents’ warnings about the long hours, lack of sleep, being bitten or kicked, and having to put down animals.

Through studying hard, grit, and the sheer refusal to give up, I made my dream come true.

Career with Animal 3

How about you?  Do you feel a drive to work with animals?

The trouble is, too many people give up on their dream because they mistakenly believe the veterinary sector is the be-all and end-all of working with animals. This just isn’t true. If you know where to look there are many excellent opportunities out there that are right for a multitude of different skills and aptitudes.

There are numerous reasons why people relinquish their dream of becoming a vet: Perhaps the huge level of student debt puts them off, or the rigorous academic demands, or the extreme competition for places. It’s good to be realistic, but just because one sector isn’t right for you that shouldn’t mean closing the door on a career with animals.

That is like saying I want to work with children but I don’t want to be a doctor, so I’ll abandon any hope of working with young people and study computing instead. It doesn’t make sense.

The knack is knowing where to find the jobs. We live in interesting times, more people work now than at any other time and pet-keeping is also at a record high. But when you think about it, there’s a mismatch in the latter. People who are out at work can’t satisfy their pet’s need for company and exercise. Which is where the pet sitter or dog walker comes in.

In recently years looking out for other people’s pets has become a growth industry, and a lucrative one at that.  A trustworthy and empathetic dog walker can make a good living; doing what they enjoy and being out in the fresh air, rather than stuck behind a desk.

But don’t limit your imagination. You too can find your dream job if you go looking. The first step is to identify what interests you, and I mean really interests you. What is it that you can’t wait to do or you would spend hard earned cash on? Answer that question and you have a vital puzzle piece in place.

Career with Animal 2


Write a list without thinking; just let your hand skip down the page as your scribble away. Don’t worry if these aren’t animal related because you’ll marry the two things together later. Now read the list over.

Let’s take the example that you are a keen amateur photographer, who adores dogs. Well there’s huge potential right there. People love having pictures of their pets (how many have you on your phone?) If you have a sympathetic way with animals and can engage their attention and co-operation then you’re going to have a head start when it comes to taking engaging shots. Consider a career as a photographer specializing in our four-legged friends. Then think of ways to get started. How about taking awesome shots which make shelter pets look their best, in order to help get them adopted? Not only are you gaining experience, but your advertising your skills, and who knows…could get publicity in the process.

So now it’s over to you. What are you waiting for? Go grab a pen and paper, and take the first step on the path to a new career.



Pippa Elliott

Pippa Elliott, BVMS MRCVS, is a veterinarian with 27-years' experience in companion animal practice. Pippa's first job was in a practice by the sea, where she acquired her first (of many) waif-and-stray, a Dockyard Cat Rescue kitten, called Skate. She then worked for the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) which is a national charity that provides veterinary care for the animals of owners with limited finance. Currently Pippa works in a Veterinary Clinic in UK.