Helping People
Helping Animals

Careers in Caring

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We spend $6 billion on athletic shoes a year. The National Cancer Institute spent $2.4 billion in 1997 trying to find a cure for cancer.


Hi, my name is Debby.  I work as a Veterinary Technician at a health care company in the Midwest. My job is to make sure all the animals at our facility are healthy and happy. What do I do all day? Well, I clean their cages and make sure they have good food and water. I check on their health and make sure they do not get sick. If they do get sick I take care of them and help make them healthy again. I also do something called Environmental Enhancement. What this means is I spend a good part of my day finding out what types of toys and treats will make them happy. For most of my day I work with monkeys. It can be a big challenge to keep them busy. I will offer them all sorts of toys and treats daily to give them something to play with. We try to house them with another monkey whenever possible so they have a companion to play with and groom.

What other animals to I get to work with? I get a chance to care for dogs, goats and sheep too. It is lots of fun working with the goats. They have interesting and funny personalities! 

How did I become interested in working with animals? As long as I can remember I have loved being around animals. During college I had a summer job working at a children’s zoo with their horse program. It was wonderful!  Through demonstrations at the zoo I was able to show people how to care for a horse. We also did demonstrations to show audiences what the horses could do.  This job got me interested in a career with animals. From the zoo, as luck would have it, I found myself at a medical college working in their animal facility.  My job there was working mostly with rats and mice and some dogs. I bet you did not know that rats have very friendly personalities and make great pets! They can be trained to do tricks, and are very intelligent animals. 

From there I came to the health care company that I now work at and have been here for over 10 years. I love my job and all the animals and people I work with. Everyone here cares so much about animals, you can’t help liking them.

I’m not only involved with animals at work, but at home too. Currently, I live with 2 dogs, Dirk and Monty, and a Cockatiel, Kemo (Jim in Hawaiian). I also have a horse, Risky, but he does not live at home but at a stable close by.

All my life, pets have surrounded me. My dogs, Monty and Dirk are both Registered Assisted Therapy dogs. We go into the hospitals and nursing homes to visit the patients. It is so much fun to be able to share my dogs with people. I get to come in and talk to the patients and they can play with the dogs if they want to. The patients love it and Dirk and Monty think it is great too!

I’m also involved with the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS), both at the local level and national level. AALAS is the premier forum for the exchange of information and expertise in the care and use of laboratory animals. The mission of AALAS is to advance responsible care and use of laboratory animals to benefit people and animals.  Both are educational organizations comprised of people professionally concerned with the humane production, care, and study of laboratory animals. AALAS serves as a place for the exchange of scientific information on laboratory animal care.

My involvement with both these groups is to help tell everyone what an important job animal care technicians and veterinary technicians do, and to let everyone know that we are here to take care of the animals and keep them healthy and happy. If you love animals, you might enjoy working in the field of laboratory animal science because it allows you to work with many different species of animals and play an important role in their care and well-being.

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Donít people choose careers in medical research using animals because it is an easy way to receive funding dollars and make high salaries?
No. Most researchers could make more money in other careers. People choose to go into research because they want to find answers to complicated questions. Animal research is often a vital step in finding the answers. more...