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Growing up partially on a farm I have always been around animals and they been a key part of my childhood and upbringing. From having a variety of different animals, including ferrets, goat, a Colombian boa constrictor, and dogs. In middle school I wanted to be a professional lacrosse player, or any player just wanted to get to the big leagues, but when high school rolled around I changed focus and wanted to go into sport analytics and into front offices of sport teams. After one and half years into college and a grueling 8 AM to 5 PM summer internship, I realized that being in an office all day for work wasn’t for me. I ‘m a very active and hands on type of person, so being cooped up in an office all day wasn’t my cup of tea. This is when, I decide to focus on becoming a wildlife specialist or rehabilitator.
The women I interviewed was Judy Smith owner of Cats N Dogs place. Even though her current business isn’t a wildlife center she regularly volunteers at the local animal shelter and she got her start has in the wildlife field has a wildlife specialist, specializing in stray felines which then has grown into a business. She explained to me the importance of field work and that there is nothing better than hand on experience. Judy then went on to tell me that she had to go to veterinary school just because being a women in the 1970s no jobs would have considered her without a degree. And that the lessons she learned from schooling were irreplaceable but also linear. Taking a written test is completely different then experiencing it first-hand. She gave me an example of a bobcat being hit by a car, in a test you can take time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it, when you’re there and that cat is on the table, there is blood, panic, trying to find out where the injuries are, is there internal bleeding? A lot of factors come into play that are not normally on a test. It’s just a different experience that you can’t be prepared for until it happens. She did mention that the risk of going to school is worth the reward but it is tough. She claims that veterinary school is tougher then some medical schools due to different animals all having different functions. I then asked her, “What are some traits that a wildlife specialist should have”. She explained to me that patience and awareness is key, that these are wild animals and no matter how cute or sweet they may seem to be in one moment, everything can change in the blink of an eye. So when you’re handling them make sure to be cautious, and aware, a lot of these animals have rabies or diseases so contact can be very dangerous.
As a wildlife...