The Best Animal Jobs of All Time

Dog detective is on the case

Dolphin Tale
AP
Remember when you were a kid, and somebody asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? You probably said an astronaut, or the president, or something similarly ambitious and highly selective. But what if, now that you're an adult, someone asked you the same question? Would you say the same thing, or would you simply point to the dog sitting quietly at your feet and say, "I want to work with him."

Animal jobs--vets, trainers, technicians--may have a high cute factor, but the reality is that they're as demanding as any job behind a desk. Nevertheless, they're incredibly rewarding for the true animal lover--the kind that doesn't mind staring down a crazed chihuahua every now and then. Let's take a look at some of the finest, fluffiest animal jobs you can get.

How to Become a Zookeeper

1. Animal Behavior Trainer
Being a behavior trainer is one of those seemingly cuddly jobs that goes to show that simply loving animals isn't enough. It requires long and atypical hours, since people usually have time for pet issues on nights or weekends, and a session spent dealing with frayed human-pet dynamics can verge on group therapy. Still, it's one of the most rewarding jobs in the world--including the ones that don't involve border collies named Flossy.

2. Marine Mammal Program
Using dolphins to hunt underwater bombs might sound like something out of science fiction, but it's actually a real thing--and you can get college credit training them to do it! In the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, you'll work with dolphins, orcas, and pilot whales as they're prepared for a life of service. It's a great opportunity for veterinary students or budding marine biologists, but be prepared: at 16 weeks, 40 hours a week, it's rigorous.

> Find a job as a dog trainer

3. Amateur Animal Trainer
Actually, make that amateur animal trainer...to the stars. While most on-set trainers in the film industry supply their own animals (the ones you see "acting" in movies like Cats and Dogs), house pets are still occasionally used in commercials, TV shows, and independent films. Just be ready to find Fido an agent.

4. Veterinary Nurse
With more people seeking specialized care for their pets, the demand for veterinary nurses is expected to grow by more than 38 percent through 2018. In addition to working with animals, you'll receive great benefits and opportunities for advancement. That's nothing to bark at, even if the starting salary can be low.

> Find a job as a veterinary technician

5. Pet Industry
Whether you're a dog lover or fish fan, the pet industry, which grosses more than $45 billion annually, is rife with opportunity for creative job hunters. It's a business that welcomes innovation--groomers who set up in your driveway are the latest craze--and the earning opportunities are almost infinite. All you need is a love of animals and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit. Retail experience doesn't hurt, either.

6. Duck Master
Orlando's Peabody Hotel began its tradition of having ducks march through the lobby in 1932. Today they're still going strong with the help of the hotel's in-house duck master, who trains them to walk the red carpet in style. What, you thought they just did that on their own? The duck master is a showman who knows how to hook an audience, and develops a tight bond with his animals. "The ducks really love their master," says managing director Alan Villaverde. "You feed and care for them. They look at you as a parent." The hotel occasionally hires new duck masters, so get quackin'!

7. Dog Detective
If you live in New York City, hiring a dog-walker is risky business. What if they short you on time, or fob your pooch off on one of their friends? Enter the dog detective, who checks up on shady activity via surveillance camera (or simply trailing the walker under suspicion). So far, it's an industry of one--New Yorker Brock Schwartz serves as the city's sole pooch P.I.--but it serves as an intriguing sidebar of animal issues, a fast-growing legal specialty concerning pet custody and estate planning.

Barking for more? Check out 10 fascinating animal jobs here.
Filed under: Job Descriptions, Lists
Mack Gelber

Mack Gelber

Associate Programming Manager

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jimbob2u

You can scratch #6 from this list, at least in Orlando ... The Peabody Hotel here was recently sold and is now a Hyatt Regency. The ducks were retired and taken to a farm.

February 18 2014 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
K

I might also add...anyone that is fueling the SEA MAMMAL BUSINESS in any manner is causing grave danger and suffering too all of these wonderful creatures....captive or wild. Educate yourself!
Oh...1 more thing! LOL
Now you cant comment on HUFF POST unless you have a facebook account!
FREE SPEECH is getting more and more difficult. From now on I will not use Huffpost as a news source or my home page on AOL any longer.

February 17 2014 at 5:46 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to K's comment
Ceil

I agree on Huffpost. If you want to comment on an article, you cannot do so any longer unless you belong to facebook or twitter. Many of us have belonged before but find that it is too easy to hack both of those type of accounts so we no longer do so. HuffPost should not be curtailing a person's right to free speech, but I guess that has not meaning to that type of news agency.

February 17 2014 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wb7ptr

Huffington Post uses several social networks to comment which include both Facebook and Twitter. I use AOL when I'm making my comments. I'm not sure on this but Huffington has a close relationship or may actually be owned by AOL.

March 21 2014 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
K

Technicians in the Veterinary field are NOT allowed to be called NURSES. Nurses are in the Human Field ONLY.
A very big deal was made about this by the American Nursing Association...It surprises me to see the term used now. It also makes me think the reporter doesnt know what they are talking about...really damages the author's credentials. Of course this proves...again...a lot of what is on the internet is BS!

February 17 2014 at 5:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to K's comment
hellyon3too

It would appear that the times they are a'changing, because they do, indeed, qualify veterinary nurses in the U.K and Australia. Give it time. I expect we'll see the same thing in the U.S.

February 17 2014 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kolarcritters

To those that are curious, when a military marine mammal is retired from service it is also retired from life. That's correct... euthanized.

February 16 2014 at 3:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PRAISE GOD!

Snowden was right we aren't the only ones that spy."Watch out for your head".Snowden is comming home to join ranks with the rest!

February 16 2014 at 3:40 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
rivers360

Who cares. What I care more about is that AOL and Huffington Post have now made it impossible to comment on AOL - Huffigton Post articles. Nice job. My right leaning view will never be heard again. Slam dunk for you to remain broadcasting only your left view. 140,000 dead in Syria now, and some of them children (separate article this 2/15/14 day), and no mention that Obama doesn't care because dead Syrians don't vote democratic in the good old USA? Goodness!

February 16 2014 at 2:57 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rivers360's comment
hellyon3too

I think you need to look up the meaning of the word "impossible." And the stop dragging your politics into things that are NOT political.

February 17 2014 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
navalphoto

The U S Navy was working with dolphins 50 years ago. Most of the people posting here are as ignorant as the day is long. Dolphins are used to locate objects and to assist in rescue operations. They are far more intelligent that the idiots that post on this subject. One of the first that we worked with was named Tuffy. He loved having his photo ken and seemed to know what a camera was for. For the enlightenment of some of you fools, Dolphins are mammals not fish. Their young are born alive and the nurse from their mother. RLB USN (ret) Photographer.

February 16 2014 at 12:19 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to navalphoto's comment
lunarstruck

I don't think using animals for war purposes or hunting for bombs is ethical AT ALL, anything that puts their lives in danger is just plain EVIL.

February 16 2014 at 12:17 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lunarstruck's comment
wb7ptr

I'm not comfortable with that either. We should be fighting our own wars … if we have to do that at all. I vote for peace personally.

March 21 2014 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ronald1216

the navy strap bombs on dolphies and blowup ships killing them instantly

February 16 2014 at 12:04 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ronald1216's comment
hellyon3too

That's a lie, troll. Get back under your bridge and be quiet.

February 16 2014 at 12:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hellyon3too's comment
Alexis Elizabeth

It's not a lie but you are a liar!!

February 16 2014 at 2:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
rx901tn

they taste like tuna but with less fat

February 15 2014 at 10:48 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

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