If you have always loved animals and would love to work with and care for them as a career, you will need to have some extensive experience. The best way to do that is to take a look into the world of veterinary volunteering. There is a wide range of options available to aspiring veterinarians of all ages.
It can be frustrating to know that you want to work with animals in the veterinary sciences, and yet too young to get real hands-on experience. At Vet Set Go, we can help you get started with volunteering opportunities to work with and around veterinary professionals.
Volunteering Opportunities for Future Veterinarians of All Ages
Your Family Pet
The best way, and really the only way, to become a veterinarian is to have contact with and take care of animals as early in your life as possible. That will often start in the home by being entrusted with the care of a family pet. Learning to be caring, responsible, observant, and make smart decisions for the well-being of your pet is the first step to a lifetime of caring for animals.
As animal care skills develop by feeding pets, grooming them, and taking them for walks, the experience can expand to tending to neighbors’ pets as you feel more comfortable being responsible for them.
Animal Shelter Foster
Volunteering at the Humane Society or an animal shelter often comes with age limits that may delay you or your child from working there. Fostering shelter animals is a way to take care of kittens and puppies that are too young to adopt in your own home. Older dogs and cats also need foster homes to recover from illnesses or injuries. When your family takes over the responsibility of a vulnerable animal, you will learn how to connect and care for animals that often cannot take care of themselves.
Fostering also provides opportunities to work with a variety of ages, types, breeds, and personalities of different kinds of animals. In fostering an animal from a shelter you are also making a significant impact in the life of each of the animals you bring into your home. You show them love, feed them, and help them prepare for a healthy and happy life when they are adopted by a loving, caring family.
Zoo, Vet Camps
Enrolling in a camp at a zoo or veterinary facility provides a structured, safe environment to interact and learn to care for animals outside of your home. Future veterinarians are provided an inside look into how a zoo operates, get unique access to a wide range of animals in their habitats, and learn about the animals’ life, behavior, and diet, from zookeepers and veterinarians.
For those kids who have been dreaming of being veterinarians since before they can remember, a zoo or veterinary camp is literally a dream come true. Camps allow aspiring veterinarians the chance to see and experience what it is really like. You will learn the basics of veterinary medicine and science. Suit up in a gown and gloves for surgery, be taught how to suture, and perform physical exams on a wide range of patient types and conditions.
Vet Hospital Volunteer
Perhaps the best way to see what it is like to be a veterinarian is to volunteer at a vet hospital and follow, or “shadow,” a practicing veterinarian for a day. Go into the exam room, hear the doctor consult with the animals’ owners. It is an invaluable experience to learn first-hand what a veterinarian does on a daily basis.
Every facility has its own rules regarding age limits for volunteers, so if you are rejected by one, try another. Find a vet hospital that specializes in your particular area or areas of interest.
Get Started on Veterinary Volunteering at Vet Set Go Today
Vet Set Go is a valuable resource for aspiring veterinarians looking to gain valuable experience by volunteering at a shelter, vet office, hospital, or zoo. Take the Become a Veterinarian Quiz to get suggestions, ideas, and guidance for your veterinarian career, or contact Vet Set Go today for complete information and to have all of your questions answered.
Mandy Lee is a dog mom, avid veterinary volunteer, and co-author of Saved By The Bark blog. She enjoys sharing tips and tricks for dog owners of all breeds.