Most people will have, at one time or another in their lives, been around a pet shop and thought it something of a magical place both to spend time and work. It’s really quite enchanting to be surrounded by so many cute little critters and smiling members of staff—who wouldn’t want to work in such an environment? Interestingly enough though, the obvious reward that come with pet store industry jobs really only scratch the surface of the whole subject. America is right now going through an all-encompassing love affair with its pets, which had led to a pet store industry boom, the likes of which we once thought we’d never see. From the biggest pet superstores to the tiniest private pet palaces on the High Street, job opening are plentiful, and the demand for quality talent is high.
If there’s one thing that puts more people off in applying for jobs in the pet store industry more than anything else, it’s the fact that they’re not convinced that they’re qualified enough. Ask the average pet store employee all the questions in the world about dogs, cats, rabbits, or hamsters, and you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be a fountain of knowledge. So you’d think they’d only be on the lookout for those who already know all there is to know on the subject of pets, but this is actually far from the case.
In reality, pet store job applications are welcomed by anyone who has a genuine passion for pets and would love to learn how to care for them. In fact, passion counts for so much more than experience and/or knowledge as while anyone can memorize a book of facts, it takes a special kind of person to genuinely adore pets and take an interest in their owners.
So while it may seem as though pet store industry careers are out of reach for first-timers and those with no prior experience, this is in fact anything but the reality of it.
Successful applicants will immediately be sucked into a whirlwind of world-class training and coaching, meaning that in a matter of weeks, they’ll go from newcomer to animal care professional. At this point, the duties they’ll be responsible for will take on a new level of diversity and go above and beyond the usual like stacking shelves, taking cash, and basic housekeeping.
You’ll be expected to know how to advise the owners of a new puppy, how to detect signs of illness in dozens of different animals, how to treat minor ailments with over-the-counter medicines, how to prevent parasites in pets, how to properly clean cages, and pretty much everything else involved with pet care.
You’ll also need to understand what it means to be compassionate and sympathetic, as it’s inevitable that customers will sometimes ask for your advice on extremely sick or injured animals. You may not be qualified to answer on the more serious matters, so you must know when the time comes to refer them to a veterinarian.
What’s important to bear in mind when looking to secure a job in the pet store industry and get ahead is how crucial it is to be massively flexible. The reason being that contrary to first impressions, there are no jobs in the pet store industry that involve playing with cute little critters all day and getting paid for it. Chances are that along with the staple duties you’d expect to be responsible for in any retail environment, you will also be called upon to work late nights and early mornings in order to get hands-on with the cleaning of pet houses and keeping tabs on their day-to-day hygiene. It’s often a dirty and demanding job but is perhaps the most important of all.
When a business invests so much time and money in training its employees up to such a high level, it’s understandable that they don’t want to let their employees go. As such, once you’re hitting your stride in an entry-level position, you’ll soon find that so many new careers in the pet store industry open up to you. In fact, you’ll be perfectly able to put your skills and experience to use in so many other industry areas, like those of professional animal care and medicine.
You must bear in mind that it would cost a small fortune to invest in even 5 percent of the training you’ll get in an entry-level pet store position—if you have a passion for pets, it really is an avenue worth exploring.