Do you bring home stray dogs? Do you nurse injured birds back to health? Do you climb up to get a cat that won't come down from the tree, even though you're afraid of heights?
Have you thought of becoming a veterinarian or vet nurse when you grow up?
Vets also prescribe medication, vaccinate against animal diseases, perform surgery and advise owners on proper pet care.
But it's not just pets they look after. Vets and vet nurses can also look after zoo animals, livestock, working animals and animals in sport.
Veterinary nurses help in the examination, treatment and rehabilitation of sick and injured animals.
- Volunteer at your local SPCA or animal shelter.
- Help out at a local dairy, sheep or cattle farm.
- Work with horses. Volunteer at places like Riding for the Disabled.
- Read as much as you can about all kinds of animals – not just the cute fluffy ones either. Vets also need to learn about other animals, like turtles, frogs and rats.
- Ask at your local pet shop, cattery or dog kennels if you can help out after school – cleaning cages and running errands.
- When you get to high school, study science subjects (biology is important), computing and English.
- After high school, you need to complete a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Massey University to become a vet.
- To become a vet nurse, you can complete a local polytechnic course in Animal Studies and Vet Nursing. You can also do a Certificate in Rural Animal Technology (Otago Polytechnic) and the Bachelor of Veterinary Technology (Massey University).
“To become a vet nurse, I studied at the Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec) for one year. Half of the course is Animal Studies and the second half of the course is Vet Nursing.
“Prior to studying vet nursing, I worked at the SPCA adopting cats and kittens to new homes.
“A typical day at the NZ Police Dog Training Centre involves working (cleaning up after!) puppies and dogs.
“Most of the puppies are born here and they need to be weighed, fed, wormed and have their room cleaned every day. I also need to make sure that Mum and the puppies are healthy.
“For the first three weeks they are inside a nice warm heated room with their mum.
“Once they are older, they can start eating biscuits soaked in water and they get to play outside all day, learning and discovering new things with their brothers and sisters.
“The older dogs stay in the kennels. Every morning I let them out (one at a time) to have a run around and stretch their legs. I then need to clean all of the dirty kennels.
“Once all of the cleaning has been done, the rest of the day is spent weighing the dogs, grooming or bathing them and exercising the dogs. They like to play retrieve and they enjoy going for walks too.”
– SIMONE BOTTERILL
Simone is pictured holding one of the newest German Shepherd puppies born at the NZ Police Dog Training Centre.