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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on November 11, 2013

Question

I am a retired high school biology teacher, and I do student career counseling now. I am a longtime reader of your column, and if you think it appropriate, please share what motivated you to take the career path you have taken to help animals.

Y.S., Washington, DC Nov 11, 2013

Answer

I think many readers will already guess my reasons, but I''m happy to answer. It may help young people find a path for their lives if they are inspired by passion, directed by reason and enriched by their education and life experiences. I started "seeing practice" in my early teens, helping out at a veterinary hospital and later doing farm work. Young people can also gain experience as animal shelter and wildlife rehabilitation volunteers.

My childhood curiosity, love of nature and animals and concern for the harms and suffering caused by my own kind became my lifetime''s avocation. I always questioned consensus values and attitudes, as well as the conventions of what I was told were of a "civilized" society, but that I saw as barbaric when it came to accepted cruel treatments of animals. These include wild animals trapped for their fur, purebred dogs kept in small cages by puppy mill breeders and the billions of animals raised for human consumption on factory farms.

I am heartened by the fact that humane and environmental education courses are available, and animal rights and environmental ethics have become mainstream in college curriculums. Infusing the next generation with the sensitivities of reason and compassion will help restore civilization!

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