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.
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