Post # 1
I’m going to school right now for paralegal studies. I work as a legal secretary at a small law office. The pay is not ideal, but I love my co-workers. It’s always entertaining because our office specializes in family law, so we hear a lot of crazy stories. I’m about halfway from finishing with school to get my paralegal certificate. The thing is…it’s not my passion.
I would much rather do something like working with animals, perhaps as a vet assistant. I’m a huge animal lover and have been a vegetarian for 8 years because of this. I think it would be a really rewarding job for someone like me.
The only problem is I’m allergic to cats. Like, REALLY allergic. Not too long ago my fiance and I visited my aunt who happens to have a cat. Within 10 minutes I was wheezing, sneezing, my eyes were itching, and I found it really hard to take a full breath. When I was a kid I had to be taken multiple times to the hospital because I would sneakily pet my neighbors cat.
My fiance has seen first-hand what happens to me around cats and is very discouraging of my possible career change and possible pursuit in this career field.
I’ve heard many vets/vet assistants have animal allergies like mine and take medications for it, or just deal with it.
Do you think it’s worth it? Should I just stick with what I’m doing since it’s not something I dislike either?
Post # 3
I know that, in order to get into a veterinary program, you have to have stellar grades and usually an extensive background of animal care and/or husbandry, such as many years in a 4H club, solid animal shelter experience, and strong science/biology background in high school and college.
I knew a girl in high school whose parents owned a huge exotic animal rescue, she had been active in every imaginable job and volunteer opportunity relating to animals since she was old enough to participate, but had average science grades (B+/-) and she didn’t get into a vet school.
I also think that your severe allergies to cats would put you at a great disadvantage. You would constantly have to either be drugged, or avoid cats, which really wouldn’t be beneficial to your employer or you (for experience and quality of life purposes)!
In short, jobs for vets and vet assistants are highly, ridiculously competitive, and you’d probably spend years making way less than you do now checking in patients and cleaning up poop at Banfield before you’d be able to really care for and interact with the animals in a meaningful way. I think you should keep your current profession.
Why don’t you look into a local shelter and see if they need help? I know lots of dog rescues need people to drive dogs to and from foster homes, write grants, daily care, walks, feedings and the like. That way you could play with animals, but also avoid cats.
Post # 4
Your allergies sound very severe and potentially life threatening. you’d have to be constantly on medication (and all meds have side effects), and even then there’s no guarantee e you wouldn’t have a reaction. The only way a vet would have no cats in their surgery would be if it were a large animal practice only and I don’t know if that’s what you’re interested in. Even if it were, it would be difficult to train without having any contact with cats.
@GoldfishPie: I think that volunteering at a dog shelter is a great idea, you get the joy of looking after the dogs, the warm fuzzies of doing a good deed, and you look after your own health.
Post # 5
For a lot of these type jobs, I recommend volunteering first to see what it’s like and to find out what sort of requirements you need to work with these animals.
If you like working with animals and have allergies, you could look into volunteering as an aquarist at a local aquarium (Somewhere like Monterey Bay or the Shedd aquarium). Fish and water probably won’t trigger allergies, and it’s a job that’s physically active. It’s a bit competitive to find jobs, as an aquarium will probably only have a few positions available, but at the very least you could volunteer and still take care of animals. If you’re a great volunteer, it increases your chances of getting hired.
If you don’t have bird allergies, you could also look into bird rehabilitation, or if you live by the ocean there’s marine mammal rescue centers.