Cool Careers

» Take a walk on the wild side!

Do you like animals? Do you have pets in your home? Have you ever considered volunteering at an animal shelter? If you like animals there are lots of different jobs you might want to check out. Working with animals takes a special kind of commitment due to the challenges involved. There is often interaction with animals that are injured, ill, or very frightened; they can even be dangerous. In spite of the challenges, there are also great rewards. And, as animals don't really keep a schedule based on the regular '9-5 routine', the hours may sometimes be a bit unusual.

Be sure to read our interviews with Staff Veterinarian Dr. Doug Whiteside, DVM, DVSc, Dipl. ACZM and Zoo Keeper Mr. Brent Van Hooft who both work at the Calgary Zoo. There is some great information about what it is like to work with animals, especially an elephant calf, named Malti, and her family.

We have listed some of the different areas of animal care that you might want to look into. Be sure to check out our listings of the different animal health technician and veterinary science programs that are available.

Animal Medicine is a varied field that includes not only small animals like dogs, cats, and birds, but also large animals like horses, cows, and pigs. Some jobs are more specialised and require additional university education such as those found in zoos and animal parks.

  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Veterinary Assistant

Animal Care Services are specialised offerings that are in demand. Some of these require special training. With the number of household pets at an all-time high and families that are busier than ever, there is a need for animal care services such as:

  • Dog walker
  • Dog groomer
  • Doggy day care operator
  • Obedience trainer
  • Specialised animal trainer (hearing ear dogs, guides dogs, search and rescue dogs, police dogs)
  • Pet sitter
  • Pet photographer
  • Boarding/kennel operator
  • Horse trainer
  • Stable/boarding operator

Science-Related Animal Professions are another option. These areas of specialty are generally studied at the university level and can provide an interesting curriculum with the chance to work in some unusual environments. There is also the possibility to move into research or teaching.

  • Biologist
  • Marine biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Zoologist

Animal Welfare is an area of animal health that is focused on the overall wellbeing and treatment of animals. The range of opportunities runs from working directly with the animals to providing educational talks to interested members of the public.

  • Animal care worker
  • Animal control officer
  • Cruelty investigator
  • Fundraising
  • Humane education
  • Animal Shelter Management

Wildlife Specialist offers an opportunity to work with the rehabilitation of wild animals that have been injured. It may also include some speaking to the public for education and advocacy for the animals and their habitat. Some of the types of jobs in this area of animal care would be:

  • Animal rehabilitator
  • Animal refuge manager
  • Wildlife conservation

Be sure to read our interviews with Elephant Keeper Brent Van Hooft and Staff Veterinarian Dr. Doug Whiteside who both work at the Calgary Zoo!

» Links
Interview Introduction
Part I: Interview with a Zoo Veterinarian

We had the opportunity to sit down and interview Dr. Doug Whiteside, DVM, DVSc. Dipl. ACZM.

Part II: Elephant Talk

Learn about the elephants he cares for, especially the youngest one named Malti!

Part III: Interview with a Zoo Keeper

Caring for all of the animals takes a tremendous amount of work from some very dedicated people. One of those people is Mr. Brent Van Hooft.

Animal Health and Veterinary Schools
Recommended Elephant Books
Other Careers