Back when dirt was new and I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Considering my affection for animals, except those that come under my definition of vermin, that ambition surprised no one. What did surprise me--and possibly those around me--was that I was squeamish.
Detect lameness? Got it. Treat an infected wound? Piece of cake. Give a shot? No way. Stitch a laceration? Nope, not gonna happen. Make a incision? You have got to be kidding.
A veterinarian who can't stand the sight of blood can't do the job.
Therefore, hopes dashed, I considered other career options that might involve animals. While working at a shop that sold bridal gowns and formal wear, I met a dog handler looking for a dress to wear at the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Gardens. For a brief while, I imagined myself pursuing a career as a dog handler. I liked dogs. I'd shown dogs in dog obedience in 4-H.
Like many such ephemeral ambitions, that one faded quickly.
Early in married life, my husband and I attempted to purchase a boarding stable. I had ambitions of turning my passion for all things equine into a business. Perhaps I'd even set myself up as a horse trainer. Years later after having utterly failed at training my own two young geldings, I gave up on that dream.
Training takes more patience and courage than I have. Besides, cleaning stalls in sub-zero weather ain't fun. Ever.
I even flirted with the idea of serving as a park ranger, imagining myself patrolling the park on horseback rather than in a vehicle. While the idea seemed awfully romantic in concept, the reality was I had no background in law enforcement or forestry and I don't enjoy riding in inclement weather.
Much later when the younger son was of an age to join 4-H, we jumped on the alpaca bandwagon. Surely, this would be the exciting, animal-based opportunity that would launch me from the doldrums of office drudgery! Not so much. Within a year after we acquired our first four alpaca geldings, the market for these animals crashed. Ordinary breeding stock females that once sold for $10,000 each now went for under $1,000. Fiber geldings like we had could be had for free. Fiber cooperatives charged more to process the fiber than fiber producers ever earned from sales. Private processing of alpaca fiber was expensive--and still is.
We enjoyed the alpacas and llamas for the years we had them; but, frankly, I don't miss them now that they're gone.
Another ambition gone up in smoke.
A career based on animals didn't appear feasible, although in I envy those who manage to make such a thing work. My four-legged companions remain avocational rather than vocational.
Come to think of it, it's a good thing I stuck with writing.
This is my first article in the MFRW 52-week blog challenge. I hope you find it interesting and, perhaps, entertaining. Each week participating authors will write on the same topic.
1/26/2018 10:22:55 am
It is interesting how our plans for ourselves don't always work out. We had sheep, a goat, chickens, and a series of bulls. Many people don't realize how much work animals can be. And you're right. Mucking out stalls isn't fun--at any time of year.
1/26/2018 12:23:33 pm
I admit to envying those who actually can and do pursue their dreams before they hit middle age.
1/26/2018 10:30:48 am
LOL....when I was seven, I wanted to be a nurse like my mom....until I learned you had to give shots AND in nursing school, the students practiced on each other. Since I hate needles, being a nurse was OUT!
1/26/2018 12:24:27 pm
I think I was in the second grade when I switched from nurse (like my mother had been) to veterinarian.
1/26/2018 11:03:53 am
I love how all your dreams were centered around animals. I too am squeamish so no way could I handle any sort of medical field whether it's human or animal.
1/26/2018 12:24:59 pm
Oh, I still surround myself with critters. In my house, cat hair is a condiment.
1/26/2018 07:38:22 pm
Yes, a good thing you stuck to writing. I never seriously thought about being a vet because I was a squeamish child, too. Just as well since I developed a cat allergy in my teens. Bummer about the alpaca market crashing.
1/27/2018 12:51:43 pm
Well, no one ever did accuse me of financial savvy.
1/29/2018 08:10:01 am
Sometimes there's joy in the journey, sometimes there's pain. But it's seldom dull.
1/28/2018 07:38:31 am
I fell in love with animals when I was little and for a long time I wanted to be a veterinarian. Sadly, I have the same squeamish issues. Blood, no way! When I was a teenager, I volunteered for an Animal Rehabilitation Center. I helped feed the animals, clean their cages and my favorite part...going to festivals and other events to talk about the animals and our work to raise money. I enjoyed working there!
1/29/2018 08:10:48 am
Sounds like a wonderful experience!
1/28/2018 04:59:51 pm
Our neighbors had alpacas when we lived in Colorado. I always thought it would be cool to have some. Like you, my daughter wanted to be a vet - until she found out that vets sometimes have to put an animal down!
1/29/2018 08:11:58 am
I've had to make that hard decision many times, to make the humane choice to end an animal's suffering. It never gets any easier.
2/3/2018 10:11:25 pm
Veterinarian is a career I thought about once, for the same reason, I adore animals. I'm not too sqeamish, but I couldn't face the thought of killing animals just because people didn't want them anymore. So I went into a career in marketing ... not so different ...
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