For many children, a deep love of animals begins early on in life. As a parent, you know it’s important to teach your children to love and respect both their pets and the wildlife around them. It’s an excellent outlook to have in general, but can also foster skills that will help your little one to succeed in an animal sciences career down the road. If, “Mum, I’m going to be a veterinarian when I grow up” is something you hear all the time, this post is for you! These six helpful tips will provide you with ways to foster those skills throughout childhood and beyond.
Encourage Good Grades
This may not seem like a very fun way to encourage your child–especially if you tell them how important it is to stay on top of boring homework before going out to play. Good grades from very early on is one of the best ways to guarantee success when applying for a veterinary programme down the road.
Most are extremely competitive, taking only applications that can show an ability to maintain scores from the early grades on. After year 10, this becomes even more important. With major universities like Edinburgh limiting slots in order to gain more foreign students, your child really needs to be the full package.
While you’ll probably have to tag along if your child is fairly young, volunteering is an excellent way to prepare for a veterinary career path. PBS has an excellent blog post that details how other children offer their help.
Volunteering instills the idea that service toward the community–and the beings within it–is important. Offering your time at a local shelter, pet shop or animal clinic is a fantastic way for your little one to get their feet wet while still providing a much-needed service.
That being said, volunteering can have some drawbacks. Very young children may have difficulty understanding that, sometimes, sad things happen in these environments. While that’s no reason to avoid jumping in altogether, consider your child’s personality before signing them up. If you think seeing sick animals or learning of an animal being euthanised will discourage them or upset them a great deal, it may be best to wait a couple of years and try again.
Walking dogs or petting cats at your local RSPCA is an excellent place to start. These animals need love, too!
Adopt a Pet
Dogs are synonymous with childhood. If you had a pet dog as a child, then you undoubtedly know the sense of loyalty and responsibility it can foster. If you haven’t already, adopting or rescuing your own dog can be an excellent way to further that love of animals.
According to the RSPCA, owning a dog can encourage the development of social skills and teach little ones about the value of clear communication.
But it’s not enough to just adopt a puppy–make your little one an active part of the process right from the beginning. That means choosing a good breed, learning about feeding the pet a healthy diet, and attending vet visits. Grooming, walking and training are all valuable learning experiences, too.
When You Can’t Adopt
Can’t adopt your own pet? There’s still plenty of opportunity to play with the pets of others. Help your child to create a pet-related business by walking local dogs for a small donation to the RSPCA. Or, just visit local dog parks. You can also find scheduled dog walks in your area using the My Pawson Dog Friendly website, and other similar sites.
Being the Mum or Dad of a budding veterinarian won’t always be easy. You’ll undoubtedly run into some difficult situations along the way. But the joy and excitement of seeing your little one unfold their wings over time is absolutely worth it.