When you have made the decision to live for animals, there are a few lifestyle changes you will have to undertake as well as conditions that you have to be prepared to face. It definitely sounds appealing to have a job working with animals, but are you really up for the task? I give you a peek into the daily job of a Rehabilitator.
Come sunshine or rain, you need to work. Animals live in nature and as such you have to work in nature most of the time. I myself, do not mind the heat and the sun beating down on you while you fight fatigue trying to get your tasks done, but the rain and the cold can upset me sometimes. You have to be willing to work in any condition, and quite often either freeze to death or burn to a crisp. It’s not an easy feat to overcome your desire for a stable climate, but it is necessary. You will be physically uncomfortable for most of your day, hopefully adapting to some degree.
You only physically work with the animals 20 – 40% of the day. Being an animal handler is only part of the job. The real work comes when you have to do animal husbandry. Cleaning cages, washing bowls, providing clean water, prepping food, clearing areas, cleaning kitchens, etc. is all in a day’s work and takes up most of your daily routine.
Be prepared to work during public holidays and weekends. Animals, unlike humans, don’t take a vacation. Their needs need to be met 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Centres usually have worked out schedules to attribute off days and make sure you rotate shifts with your colleagues to ensure you have a break. Your off days don’t always fall on weekends when your family or friends are off, and is usually spread out or put together, meaning you can have one off day per week or have to work three consecutive weeks before having a week to yourself. Public holidays are usually the busiest time for a rehab, which would require all hands on deck. You will probably have to work over Christmas and other popular holidays, taking compensation provided by the company.
Saving animals requires killing animals. This sounds extremely contradicting, but what did you expect when working with carnivores? All jobs have their pro’s and con’s, and as an animal lover, I struggle daily with this task. It never gets easier to kill a chicken, rabbit, or game to feed to the meat eaters and requires a strong mind.
Do you think your up for the task? A job in the animal industry can be a tough one, but as long as there is passion and drive, every day is filled with happiness.