In the last session of Teacher’s Pet at the JJC, one of the kids announced that watching the Dogtown:Saving the Michael Vick Dogs DVD had really inspired him to seek a career working with dogs. Hearing him say that made me really look forward to the next class which would talk about different job opportunities working with animals.
Along with all the other beneficial experiences that the kids get by training the dogs, many of them start thinking and talking about their future. We always field questions about how to become a neighborhood dog walker, a groomer, a shelter worker, etc. We spend one day near the end of the ten weeks discussing all these questions starting with the video clip below:
Because the kids have had ten weeks of classroom instruction and hands on training, they already feel confident in the presence of many different dogs. A career path involving working with dogs or other animals can be highly appealing to some of them. We try to show them that becoming a veterinarian is not the only path to working with animals.
Another topic we discuss is finding the pathway to where you would like to be in the future. For instance, if you would like to become a groomer, you can’t just walk into Petco and get hired as one. We talk about getting your foot in the door and taking any job that is available- stocking shelves, cashier, kennel assistant, etc. From there, you can build your relationship with the store by being punctual, coming in on your day off if they need you and being friendly and attentive to the customers. If you do all that and also let them know that you are interested in a grooming career, chances are really good that they will promote you to an assistant groomer when the position opens up.
The kids also know that we are all more than happy to be references for them as they fill out job applications. We see them at their very best when they are working with and caring for the dogs.
Hearing the kids talk about their future careers is one of many of my favorite things about this program- it gives me hope!