Monday, January 5, 2009

Animal Control Officer


File this one under the childhood dreams category....I guess. It's not a vet position, it's not an animal trainer position per se, but it IS a government position and I would be working with animals. So, I figure it's not a bad choice.

A little backstory on why I'm going to apply for this position: When I was a year out of college, I was working as a residence director at a small liberal arts college in NY. One of the best things about that job was my dog, Cleo. She was an elderly yellow lab who was completely neurotic but blossomed once she had a job. During the week, we walked to my office where she would sleep next to the couch and occasionally greet students. If a student was upset, she'd sit by them. If a student was bugging me, she'd moan and groan until they left. On the weekends, we watched animal planet together. Say what you will, but I truly believe that some dogs are riveted by tv. My dog Xander loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer (hence his name). For Cleo, it was Animal Cops on Animal Planet.

I too, was fascinated by the show. I thought it was amazing to see these men and women go to such great lengths to save these animals. I was also on a cop kick at the time and was thinking thought that this would be the perfect job. I could bust sleazebags and help animals. Perfect...or not. I told my parents about my interest. My father, a stockbroker with a stiff blue collar background he had worked hard to shake, lost it. He couldn't see why I would throw away a perfectly good college education to become a "dog catcher." "Why can't you be a veterinarian instead?" he asked. Well, to be honest I wasn't that keen on the idea of taking all of the science classes I had avoided during college only to go to grad school and take MORE science classes before I could get to the animal classes I wanted to take. But, because I couldn't stand to disappoint my father, I put the idea on the back burner.

Fast forward to last March. I went out to visit my father who was extremely ill at the time. In one of our last conversations, he told me he wanted me to be happy. When I said I didn't know if I wanted to be a lawyer (despite the fact that I was two months shy of graduating), he told me it didn't matter what I did as long as I was a) making enough money to pay bills and b) happy. Right now, I'm none of the above. So, I'm applying for a job I wanted to apply for five years ago.

I can picture myself responding to calls, getting cats out of trees and drainpipes, scaring bats out of attics, and rescuing abused and neglected dogs. I can also see myself nursing a few scratches and bites and attempting to put one of those long collars on some sewer alligator. How did an alligator get in the sewers in Western Michigan you may ask? Well, I have no idea...but if I get the job, I promise to ask around and report back. I also promise to tell the story if I ever catch or see an alligator in the sewers in Western Michigan.

No comments:

Post a Comment