You don’t have to be a veterinarian to have a career with dogs—the list of career fields outside of animal care that use the friendly faces of sweet pups or their super senses is ever-growing. So, if your interests are in medicine, law, security, or even engineering you could be bringing your dog to work every day!
The Medical Field:
1. Therapy Dog Trainer
Sometimes a dog is all you want when you’re feeling your worst. Not only do they offer sweet comfort, but also their presence is therapeutic. In a 2005 study by the American Heart Association, researchers found that a 12-minute therapy dog visit with heart failure patients lowered their blood pressure and stress-hormone levels, and eased anxiety. Therapy dogs have been shown to improve the focus and memory of patients with Alzheimer’s as well as encourage speech and simple physical activities among stroke victims and individuals with impaired mobility.
2. Medical Researcher
Dogs can sniff out just about anything, even cancer! Scientists with the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University in Tallahassee found that trained dogs could detect certain cancers including melanoma, bladder cancer, and prostate cancer. Doggie kisses could help, too. In 2006, researchers at the Pine Street Foundation in Northern California taught dogs to pinpoint patients with lung cancer simply by sniffing the patient’s breath, getting it right 97% of the time! The dogs also detected breast cancer with 88% percent accuracy and are working to detect ovarian cancer.
3. K9 Police Dog Handler
The classic K9 is a well-known staple in police and security work—but it’s the dog’s nose that many agencies use most! Dogs have 225 million scent receptors in their noses while humans only have 5 million. It’s those same cancer-sensing sniffers that also fight crime. You may already know the right dog can sniff out various drugs and explosives, but they can even find fire accelerants when investigators are seeking the cause of a fire! Many military dogs are trained to detect landmines and other explosives, giving a warning to handlers to protect units in the field.
4. Search and Rescue Handler
When people go missing, Police K9s are often the first call. Bloodhounds in particular can follow the scent of not just people, but also specific individuals! If a child goes missing at the fair, a trained bloodhound can track through the crowd, ignoring all other scents, following the lost child’s exact path. They’ve been able to follow scents of over 130 miles and hold onto scent trails for 300 hours! A dog’s ability to climb, jump, and burrow through rubble in places humans can’t easily go can be another key driver in finding someone quickly. Whether an explosion or earthquake, a dog can cover many more miles of rough terrain. They can even locate drowned victims underwater in oceans and lakes.
Animal law is a relatively new field of practice, helping shape both animal welfare laws and animal rights. Protecting dogs across all industries is an important step to ensure our furry friends are safe and happy in their workplaces. Animal law also has played a key part in human welfare, as these companions become protected members of the family, and service dogs are allowed in public places. Envision by WorldStrides recently interviewed Professor of Animal Law Alan Nemeth in the Behind the Biography podcast, where he shares how choosing law school didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion for animals.
Tech & Engineering
6. Computer Software Engineer
Dogs are so smart—they can build computers! Okay, maybe there are limits to what canines can do, but the tech industry is known to be among the most dog-friendly work environments. In fact, half of the 10 most dog-friendly companies of 2019 by Rover Magazine were in tech. While not all companies allow office dogs, many tech company perks include pet insurance and even paw-ternity leave, time off to adjust to a new four-legged family member.
7. Computer Software Engineer
This time, we’re serious. The role technology plays in pet ownership is on the rise. This growing industry has evolved from chipped tracking devices and remote-controlled trainers to automated dog doors that can sense the microchip and open and close just for your pet. Of course, there’s Spot, the robot dog now, too—but that’s for another time.
Calling all dog lovers: We have a variety of summer programs for you! Check out the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Engineering, NYLF Law & CSI, NYLF Medicine, and NYLF National Security.
DOGS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: THE RISE OF THE DOG: Medical Dogs, September 17, 2010, PBS.Org
What Do Police Dogs Do, American Kennel Club
The 10 most dog-friendly companies of 2019, CNBC