Careers for the Animal-Loving Millennial

As a senior in high school, I know firsthand what it’s like to be asked every five minutes by any adults in the vicinity what it is I want to do with my life. Fortunately for me, I have always known that I wanted to go into veterinary medicine as a practicing veterinarian, but for some young animal lovers, the path to take isn’t always clear. Here are some careers for college-bound animal fans:

Artificial Insemination Technician
AI technicians use the latest in artificial insemination technology in order to safely breed cows, horses, and even dogs or cats. Technicians work with veterinarians and specialists to regulate breeding and to monitor the heat cycles of animals. More information here

Canine Nutritionist
Canine nutritionists create dietary plans for dogs and work with clients to find the best food options for their dog, whether the dog suffers from allergies or weight problems or anything in between. More information here

Animal Cruelty Investigator
Animal cruelty investigators investigate cruelty, document cases, and enforce laws against animal cruelty. This job can be heartbreaking, as investigators deal with harrowing scenes of abuse on a daily basis. More information here

Pet Adoption Counselor
Pet adoption counselors advocate for adoption and match potential owners with their perfect shelter pet. More information here

Veterinary Pathologist
Veterinary pathologists prevent and treat pathogens found in animals, domesticated or otherwise. More information here

Wildlife Rehabilitator
Wildlife rehabilitators work to rehabilitate sick or injured wildlife and educate the public on what to do if a sick or hurt wild animal is found. More information here

Octavian & Marc Antony

After my chinchilla Caesar was euthanized, I missed him and continue to miss him terribly. My room felt empty without him watching me do my homework or climbing over my pillows. While I knew I could never replace him, I started looking for a chinchilla breeder.
Caesar had been bought from a pet store, and I didn’t want to support the cruel business of mass-bred animals any longer, as I had done so unknowingly with Caesar. I loved him, and I still do, but it is always best to go through a small breeder rather than a pet store. I can’t say that what Caesar suffered from was caused by his birth in a small animal mill, but it could have contributed to it and I didn’t want to make that mistake again, or support an inhumane business.

I started looking online at shelters and breeders, and none of them had any chinchillas available. A furry friend would come along when it was the right time, I was sure, but it was still disappointing to receive emails from breeders saying that they wouldn’t have any chinchillas up for adoption for a long time.

I finally found a breeder in Keene, New Hampshire, and we sent her an email asking what she had for chins available. She got back to us and said she didn’t have any babies, but she did have two 2-3 year old chinchillas, one being a mosaic and the other a pink-white. She said that they had been housed together for a year and a half, and were adopted out, but the man who adopted them couldn’t take care of them any longer and returned them. I had been looking for a baby chinchilla, and only one of them, but I decided to go to New Hampshire and check them out.

I thoroughly cleaned out Caesar’s old cage, which, coincidentally, is the recommended size for two chinchillas, and my mom and I headed up to Keene. It was a two and a half hour drive, and when we slid up the snow-covered dirt driveway, we were greeted by an arsenal of angry geese. The breeder had an array of animals on the property, but the geese were certainly the most fearsome.

We were led inside a garage by Kitt, the breeder we had been communicating with via email. The two chinchillas were in a box, and my mom and I each held one of them while we talked to Kitt about their temperaments. She said they hadn’t been held since being returned to her, and that they were docile and shy. They seemed  to be content to just be held, and I already knew I wanted to take them home. The pink-white chinchilla had a mangled ear that Kitt said he had injured when he fought with another chinchilla he was originally housed with, and the mosaic chinchilla had a missing toe that I presumed he got from whatever cage he was housed in before.

Unsurprisingly, I adopted the chinchillas, thinking of names the whole way home. As a nod to my little pal Caesar, I named them Octavian (mosaic) and Marc Antony (pink-white) to continue the Roman name legacy I had started with Caesar. While I knew I’d never be able to replace Caesar, Marc Antony and Octavian nosed their way into my heart, and I love them very much. It’s been a little over six months since I adopted them, and they have been great from day one.

When adopting a new pet  after another one’s death, it is important to remember that you can never replace the bond or the pet you had before with a new one. It is best to wait for a little while to give yourself time to properly address the loss of a pet before hurrying into adopting another one; the bond you have with your pet is special, and it is different for every person and pet. If you are expecting to replace a beloved animal, you are going to be disappointed and miss your old companion more than ever. The best thing to do is give yourself time, and when you are ready, invite a new furry friend into your home with the expectation of a different but valuable human-animal bond.

16 Things To Do With Your Pet In 2016

2015 went fast, so fast that many of us were unable to stop and enjoy it before it was gone. To make sure you don’t miss out on spending quality time with your pets in this upcoming second half of 2016, here is a list of 16 things to do before the year slips by.


1. Grow Some Catnip
Cats love catnip, and if your cat is an outdoor cat, planting some of these perennials in your flower or vegetable garden is a good way to attract your cat and to keep rodents away. Just be wary of your cat’s behavior around the plant, because some cats like to lay on it and therefore could destroy whatever else you have growing around the catnip. If that’s the case, growing the catnip away from the rest of your garden is a good idea.
If your cat is an indoor cat, satisfy his/her catnip cravings by planting it in pots and rotate between having some outside and inside. Catnip needs a lot of light, therefore indoor pots should be rotated outside periodically.

2. Walk Your Pet
This doesn’t only apply to your dog; some cats enjoy walks on a leash as well. Before you walk your pet, it is important to make sure you invest in a collar and metal collar tags with your pet’s name and your address and phone number in case your pet escapes and is found. While you can walk a dog or a cat with just a leash and a collar, it is beneficial to invest in a harness as well. Collars can choke your pet and put unnecessary strain on their neck while a harness spreads the pressure and makes for a more comfortable, controlled walk.
Not all cats respond well to walking on a leash, however; it is wise to test out your cat’s walking preferences in your yard before taking him/her on a walk. Many cats find enjoyment in the walk just as many dogs do, and the stimulation received by the smells and sights of the outdoors get your pet’s mind thinking actively. Walking with your pet is a great tool to strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

3. Invest In Some Pet Toys
Dogs and cats alike love toys, and playing with your pet helps to form and strengthen the bond between you, whether it is playing Frisbee at the local park with your dog or using a wand toy with something dangling on the end for your cat to bat around.

4. Go Backpacking With Your Dog
Before you take your dog on a backpacking trip, make sure that both you and your dog are experienced hikers. Make sure to pack enough water and food for you and your dog, and be confident in your first aid abilities if either one of you were injured. Backpacking trips can be a fun way to become one with nature and spend time with your dog.

5. Go Hiking With Your Dog
If you don’t have the expertise or training to go backpacking with Fido, fear not; a small hike through a nearby national park or trail once in a while is just as enjoyable.

6. Make Some Homemade Treats
Dogs and cats love treats, and it is important to give your pet the best nutrition. Sometimes it is hard to tell what ingredients are really in treats for your pet, but when you make homemade ones, you can ensure that they are the best for your furry best friend. Many recipes can be accessed online, and below I have a couple links to treat recipes you can try.
Dog Treats –
Cat Treats –

7. Sign Up For Obedience Training
Spending time with your dog by teaching him/her to listen to vocal or hand cues is rewarding for you and your dog; it builds trust between you two and also helps promote safety when the training is applied to situations where your dog has escaped. If Fido has been taught to return to you on command, there is a lesser risk of him or her becoming lost. Obedience training can be basic or advanced, and whether you continue it to the level of obedience trials and contests is up to you. Either way, you and your dog will enjoy the time you spend together.

8. Build a Cat Tree
Cats love scratching and climbing, and to prevent that urge from being taken out on the wall or couch, it is beneficial to have some sort of cat tree in your home. There are plenty available at your local pet stores, but if you want to customize it, there are plenty of DIY tutorials online depicting how to build one yourself, whether you want one that is elaborate or simple.
Here is just one of many DIYs for this project online:
more elaborate ideas:

9. Bring Your Dog On A Trip
There are many hotels, restaurants, stores, and tourist attractions that are pet friendly. Next time you’re planning a getaway, check out websites like

10. Train Your Pet To Be A Therapy Pet
If your pet is patient and loves visitors, you can sign up to be certified to have your pet be a therapy pet. You can volunteer in nursing homes or hospitals and bring the joy your pet brings you to other people. Or, for a less intensive commitment, you can start a Reading With Dogs event at you local library, where you can organize to have your pet and other people’s pets sit with children while they read so they can become more comfortable with reading out loud.

11. Host a Pet Party
Whether it’s your pet’s adoption anniversary, birthday, or simply just for fun, a pet party is a great way to socialize with your friends, and your pet’s (often new-found) friends. For ideas on themes for the perfect dog party, click here.

12. Organize A Dog Walk For Charity
Get your community involved in a cause by organizing a dog walk for charity! Advertise it through fliers and local media outlets, and have the proceeds go to a local shelter or your favorite animal organization.

13. Have A Photo Shoot With Your Pet
Feeling photogenic? Get professional photos of you and your pet, or invite a friend and do an informal shoot at your house or a park.

14. Make Social Media Accounts For Your Pet
Social media is a fun way to share your pet’s antics with the world, as I and my family know firsthand with our Instagram account for our mutt Watson (@watsonthemutt). Make a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account for your pet and invite your friends to follow it so they never miss the next cutest thing your pet does.

15. Play Piano With Your Cat
My cat Shadow loves to step on my keyboard while I’m practicing, and sometimes it can be a lot of fun. You can even record what your cat plays and mix it into a song!

16. Spend Quality Time With Your Pet
If we’re being honest, it doesn’t matter what activity you do with your pet – whether you throw an extravagant pet party or simply go for a walk with your pet, they are going to love the quality time you spend together. Pets make any occasion a better one, so no matter what you do, make sure to spend quality time with your pet.

Dog Days Of Summer


   It may be the middle of August already, but summer still has some warm life left in it before we are thrown into the chill and sweater-strewn days of autumn. Below, you will find some great activity ideas you can do with your dog before the dreary days of winter, as well as some helpful tips to ensure Fido’s health and safety.

Take Your Dog For A Walk
The days are starting to feel a little less blistering than they did in July, so why not take advantage of some of the cooler days by taking Fido for a walk? It’s a great way to get exercise, both for you and your pup. If your dog has a habit of being destructive and chewing up things (s)he shouldn’t, try taking him/her on walks to get rid of some of that energy. Taking walks with your dog is a good way to bond, relieve stress, and enjoy the outdoors. Make sure you have a secure leash and harness/collar (although harnesses are the best for walking) and a firm grip on the leash while walking your pet. It is also important for your pet to have a collar with an identification tag and license. Before taking a walk with your dog, make sure it isn’t too hot to walk him/her by using this effective trick: put the back of your hand to the pavement and if it is too hot for you to keep your hand there for five seconds, it is too hot to walk your pet. (link)

Take Your Dog Somewhere New
There are many restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, beaches, and other attractions that allow dogs, and if you’re looking to get away for a few days, or maybe just go on a day trip or outing, is a valuable resource to find pet-friendly attractions near you or your intended destination. The website even has an “Events” tab where you can find dog events worldwide for you and Fido to visit. 

…Or Somewhere Close
You don’t need to go far to have a great time with your pet. Teach Fido a new trick in the backyard, or maybe play a game of fetch or Frisbee. Call up some of your friends who also have dogs and schedule a day where you meet up at the local dog park or someone’s yard for some puppy socializing and people socializing too. Run around in sprinklers, make pet friendly ice pops (recipes can be found at, or just enjoy the sunshine —  whatever it is, Fido will be happy to spend the time with you.

Helpful Tips/Reminders
– Remember to never leave Fido in the car for an extended period of time. When the temperature is in the 60’s (Fahrenheit) or higher, especially on a sunny day, it is recommended to not leave your dog in the car. Temperatures rise drastically in a car, even more than people realize. If you have any doubts at all about the temperature being too hot, do not chance leaving Fido in the car.
– Mosquitoes and other bugs too much to bear? You can find many bug repellents and do-it-yourself bug repellent recipes online that use essential oils and are safe to use on and around your pet. Don’t let pests get in the way!
– Always be on the alert for fleas and ticks by using products such as Frontline and bathe your pet in anti-flea and tick shampoos. Check your dogs regularly and thoroughly for ticks, especially if you or Fido have been in an area with tall grass/brush. Keep your dog up to date on all preventative medicines and vaccines, such as heart worm pills and rabies vaccines to ensure their health and safety as well as the health and safety of other dogs they may come in contact with.
– It may not seem to be too hot, but always be sure to have water available for your pet, especially when they are outside. Take the appropriate safety measures for your pet to ensure that overheating and dehydration doesn’t occur.
– Spend time with your pet, and have a safe and fun rest of the summer, both for you and Fido.

Adoption Tips: Dogs

So, after months of prodding from your children or a move out of that pet-free apartment or even a sudden desire for a furry friend, you’ve decided that your home would be more complete with a dog. That’s wonderful; dogs, or any pet really, have been proven to raise morale (source: and even keep you healthier. Before you go and bring Fido home, however, there are a few things you have to make sure of.

Are you prepared for a new pet?
Before you go looking for your new best friend, make sure it isn’t just a decision you’re making on a whim; dogs are a lot of work, and are worth all of that work, but only if you’re in it for the long run. If you have other pets, make sure that they’ll be alright with a new addition to the family. A few things you’ll need for Fido before you bring him home are:
– a collar (fitted with license and identification tags as soon as you can)
– a leash
– food and water bowls
– food (dry kibble is a good start)
– a crate
– baby gates (if you have spaces you want to keep your new friend out of)
– toys
– dog bed (optional, depending on if you want Fido in your bed or not)

What type of dog are you looking for?
This is a very important question, because there are a lot of factors to look into if you’re looking for a specific breed, such as temperament around children if you have any, allergen risks, etc. If you don’t have a lot of space, such as if you live in an apartment, a big, active Great Dane probably isn’t the right choice for you. Some key factors to look into when deciding on a specific breed are as follows:
– temperament, such as energy level, protectiveness, and intelligence
– size
– cost (such as grooming)
– allergies that would prevent you from certain dog fur exposure
– health problems associated with specific breeds (such as hip dysplasia in golden retrievers)
– compatibility with children and/or other pets (based on your individual situation)

How can you adopt safely?
Shelters are always the best and first choice for pet adoptions, and many shelters have specific breeds rescued from puppy mills or otherwise unclaimed that would be perfect for your family. If you aren’t looking for a specific breed, shelters always have plenty of mutts or breeds you may just fall in love with. If you’ve gone to local shelters and just haven’t found the right dog to take home yet, you can always wait and check back at another time, or you can look into finding a reputable local breeder. Looking into is also a good option, but stay away from websites like Craig’s List and pet stores, where more often than not the dogs are coming from cruel puppy mills that you don’t want to help fund.

How To Fix Fido’s Separation Anxiety

Separation-Anxiety-in-Dogs-600x399With our puppy Watson, leaving him home while we were out was always a problem; he’d tear up bedding, destroy everything in his wake, and eat things that should never pass his mouth. This was a huge issue; it was too hot to bring him everywhere in the summer, and too cold in the winter (leaving dogs in a too hot or cold car is never an option). My dad could no longer bring him to work during the day, and there was no way either one of my parents could leave their jobs just for Watson to never have to be left alone during the work week. Doggy day care was an option, except for the fact that it was a very expensive one.
On a side note, before you assume it’s separation anxiety bothering Fido, make sure there’s nothing wrong with him physically; his peeing on the floor may be a urinary tract infection, not an anxiety problem. Also be sure that there aren’t any behavioral problems that may be making your dog act this way; it can’t be fixed if you mistake it as anxiety over you leaving.
Our method, we eventually figured out, was pretty simple. To ease this separation anxiety, the exit from your home must be calm, just like the entrance when you return home to your dog. Watson, being as high strung as he is, needed something other than a nice goodbye to calm him down, so when we leave him, we give him a little treat that has natural sedatives to make him relax and lay down while he’s home. Make sure that your dog has no allergies before you use a sedative, and it’s also a good idea to check with your trusted veterinarian that it is okay for your dog to have sedatives as well.
Another good idea is to give your dog a Kong or other fun toy filled with a treat or tasty Kong gel. This keeps your dog entertained with something other than tearing up your couch or bed, and also lets the dog associate your leaving with a positive reward.
Another way to tire your dog out is to take him/her for a walk or run to the dog park before leaving him/her home. We do this with Watson so when he’s home he’ll sleep, and it’s usually as effective as the sedative, depending on how long the exercise session is.
While my dad is at work, he keeps Skype up on his computer to monitor Watson when he’s home alone during the work week. This monitoring isn’t accessible by everyone, but if it’s possible for you, I highly recommend it; plus, it also works when you go out and want to check on your dog with the Skype app. This way, if your dog is misbehaving, you can go home and prevent any real damage to your things or injury to your dog before it happens.
We have three dogs, so when Watson is home alone, we put him in a room with Daisy, one of our three, and he enjoys laying with her. Abbie, our other dog, goes in another room because she’s older and doesn’t like to play with young Watson even though he really wants to play with her. If you have more than one dog, your dog with separation anxiety may enjoy being with his/her brother/sister as it may give him/her a bit of comfort.
When you return home, make sure the greeting is just as calm as the goodbye. Greet your dog, but then wait until he/her calms down before paying attention to him/her. This establishes the calm environment your dog will eventually associate with your comings and goings, making for less stress and tension on both sides.

Spay & Neuter: Why It Helps

Many dog and cat owners feel that spaying or neutering their pet is unnecessary; according to some studies, some pet owners believe that neutering a male cat/dog “removes his masculinity” and can be “demeaning” to the dog or cat’s sense of being a male. In all honesty, this is purely an excuse for not getting the procedure done. Male cats and dogs, once neutered, do not feel or exhibit themselves as being anything less than “manly”. Neutering your pet has many benefits, both for him and for you.
When a dog/cat has been neutered, it reduces destructive behavior due to the angst of wanting a mate. The scratching, chewing, marking of territory (urinating where they shouldn’t) or overall destruction of furniture, shoes, walls, etcetera can be reduced or even eliminated just from the procedure. Your pet will be more content, have no chance of testicular tumors,will be less likely to have prostate gland problems, will reduce the urge to roam and get lost, as well as reduce urges to fight. All of these prevent injuries and make for a happier, longer pet life.

Spaying your female dog/cat has benefits as well; if you have more than one cat (being of opposite sexes), or if you allow your cat/dog to roam (not recommended, ever), there will never be the fear of coming home to a pregnant cat/dog. This lowers the level of unwanted kittens/puppies put into shelters, being euthanized, or left on the streets. There are also uncertain complications that can arise in your pet’s health from the prospect of pregnancy and delivery; just like a human birth, not everything can be 100% certain. Spaying your female pet also eliminates the heat cycle: that uncomfortable time when your cat or dog tries to find a mate. Female dogs that aren’t spayed can menstruate just like humans, which can cause a mess in your home (cats do not menstruate; if your cat is bleeding, contact emergency veterinary help right away).

Just like with male pets, spaying your female pet reduces the urge to roam, reduces the chance of reproductive diseases, and provides a happier temperament, making your pet (male or female)  lead a healthier, happier life, and not having to deal with the symptoms of not being fixed makes you happier, too.

Disease Detectors: Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, can happen due to many viruses and bacteria. Bordetella is a main bacterial cause of kennel cough, which can also be paired with a virus; so not only does the dog have Bordetella, it may also have another virus, such as canine herpes, canine distemper, or the parainfluenza virus.
While kennel cough can seem bad, what with the terrible hacking coughing and choking it can cause, it usually isn’t serious, and many dogs can get themselves better without treatment.


Dogs can get kennel cough by being exposed to infected particles of viruses or bacteria that are in the air. Once inhaled, the particles can coat the respiratory tract.
Usually, this tract has a layer of mucus that protects the tract from infection and diseases, but this lining can be weakened by cold temperatures, cigarette smoke, crowded shelter/kennel conditions, and stress because of travel. Once weakened, the mucus cannot combat the particles, and the dog can get sick.


Kennel cough can be categorized by a few symptoms listed here:

*Excessive coughing
*Sneezing/runny nose
*Eye discharge
*Loss of appetite
*Low energy


Kennel cough is contagious, so if you have more than one dog and suspect one of them has kennel cough, immediately separate the sick dog from the other(s).
Contact your veterinarian if you think your dog has kennel cough, or is having any abnormal symptoms similar to those above, as these can also sometimes indicate other more serious problems.
Dogs can usually fight off kennel cough on their own, but you may want to get medication from your veterinarian.
Use a harness when the sick dog is on a leash to minimize coughing and discomfort.
Avoid leaving your dog in kennels that seem overcrowded, unsanitary, or poorly ventilated.
Dogs with kennel cough will usually bounce back within three weeks, but if not, contact your veterinarian. Prolonged kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.

How To Pet Proof Your Home

Before you take home a new (hopefully rescued) puppy or kitten, you have to prepare your house for the little bundle of joy; making sure to keep hazards away from your pet and prevent accidents.

Living Room/Entry Room

* Put away games and toys when not in use
* Keep dangling wires up and out of reach
* Put knick-knacks and plants out of reach
* Vacuum to clear away any stray strings, dust, or other small things that could provide a hazard
* Keep outside doors closed so pets don’t escape
* Put shoes in closets when not in use to avoid chewing


* Store chemicals on high shelves or in closets to avoid spills
* Possibly child-lock cabinets
* Keep trash bins and toilet lids closed
* Keep foods out of reach


* Keep clothes in closets and drawers (to avoid damage and swallowing of cloth/string)
* Keep lotions/makeup items out of reach
* Keep wires out of reach
* Get a pet bed if you don’t want your new friend in your bed


* If you let your pet outside, be sure to have a fenced-in yard or some other way to keep your pet from getting lost/wandering
* Clean any antifreeze/oil spills as soon as they happen
* Keep tools out of reach
* Microchip your new pet so if they get lost they can be safely returned

Source: American Humane Association

Top Dogs of Instagram

It seems everyone is on some sort of social media nowadays; from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Pinterest and Tumblr, most poeple have at least one, if not all.
On Instagram especially, there are accounts for everything. By surfing hashtags, a person can find themselves from looking at stunning National Geographic photos of manatees to crudely made, albeit funny, memes on all subjects.
So, it’s no surprise that there are accounts for man’s best friend, and there are a lot of them. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites here.

Mutts of Instagram

Followers: 11k
Bio: Mutts are Rescued, Unique & Thankful Friends.
They All Have a Story to Tell.

This account features an array of shelter mutts, highlighting their individual stories and promoting shelter dogs as being just as lovable as any other dog.

Candice and Champ

Followers: 22k
Bio: SoCal, 21 years old, photographing the true happiness of my 11 yr old golden retriever Champ! #thingsonstrings

This account is probably one of my absolute favorites; Champ is a beautiful dog with a patient photographer owner, and together they make stunning photos. Champ has amazing discipline; allowing his owner to balance things (like live butterflies!) on his nose without him moving in time for a snapshot. She is amazing with making props, and he is a great model with them!


Winston the Boston

Followers: 5363
Bio: I’m a Boston with a heart for social media

Winston is a cute Boston terrier puppy with a face for the camera! With adorable photos of him paired with funny captions, this account will definitely make you go “aw”!


The Dog Benny

Followers: 1033
Bio: Hi I’m a collie! I’m 4 years old and a boy ^^
My real name is banjamin but my dog couples call me benny 🙂

Benny the collie is a beautiful, happy-go-lucky collie who is definitely photogenic!


Cooper The Frenchie

Followers: 101k
Bio: I LOVE FRIENDS! Don’t let my markings fool you. I’m 100% FRENCHIE! 🙂

Cooper is an adorable French bull dog with a humorous account of videos, dress-up pictures, and a whole lot of cute!


Rescue Dogs of Instagram

Followers: 3366
Bio: Don’t Shop – Adopt!
Rescued is my favorite breed
Want your dog featured? Follow me & use #rescuenation to tell your story!

This is a great account supporting dog adoption instead of buying from puppy mills. Featured are wonderful success stories about rescue dogs and the compromising situations they came from.


Hope is for the Hopeless

Followers: 253
Bio: My name is Hope. I’m a 1yr old Red Boston Terrier living in Vancouver, Canada. I have Corneal Endothelial and I’m a little bit deaf, but I don’t care!

Hope is a beautiful Boston, and, despite her disabilities, manages to be a happy pup, providing followers with cute photos of her on her doggie adventures!

Our own Watson the mutt has an Instagram!

Watson the Mutt

On this account are pictures of our mutt Watson, as he meets new friends from the dog park, causes chaos at home, and poses for the cutest pictures.