Why I Picked a Career in Animal Welfare

By Marcy Franks –

I was raised on a cow/calf and meat goat farm in Eastern Kentucky.  All of my favorite memories growing up involved working with animals.  I knew ever since I could remember I wanted to spend the rest of my life working with and helping animals.  If you asked me when I was a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you a veterinarian, because that was the one occupation I knew of that helped animals.

I was 6 years old playing dress up with my first bottle baby goat, Billy.  Raising Billy is one of my first memories working with animals and began my soft spot for goats. 

After I graduated high school I started volunteering at a vet clinic to gain experience and to see if I liked working in a vet’s office.  As summer ended I was about to start college, I was hired on and I worked in vet clinics until I went to grad school.  I loved working as a Vet Tech, but I didn’t realize the moral stress that comes with the job.  Being an animal lover you want to be able to do everything in your power to help an animal and sometimes in the veterinary world there are limits to what you can do based on the will of the pet owner.  Time grew on I couldn’t shake the feeling being a veterinarian was not a good fit for me.

Temple and I at my graduation from CSU.  

Halfway through my undergraduate career the HBO movie Temple Grandin aired and I found the direction I had been looking for, another career that helps animals, animal welfare.  I shifted my studies to reflect this epiphany.  As graduation approached I made many potential plans for the future just in case my number one plan of applying for a Master’s at Colorado State University studying under Temple Grandin did not pan out.  Just a couple weeks after applying I got a call from Dr. Grandin and that started the next chapter in my life.

My first year showing goats in 4-H.  I showed goats for 11 years with 4-H and FFA, during this time I learned a lot about working with animals, mainly that I wanted to keep doing it.  

At times it still does not feel real I got to study under my career idol and I am so grateful that I had this opportunity.  Fate interceded and led me down a different path, I have now been working in the field of Livestock Animal Welfare for over two years and I still love it.  With my work in animal welfare I feel more empowered to make positive changes to help animals, which brings me less stress and more satisfaction in my job than I had before as a Vet Tech.  However, being a veterinarian doesn’t mean you have to work in a vet clinic, you can do numerous things even have a career focused in animal welfare.  Knowing this, I decided against vet school, because I am very happy doing what I am doing now.  Ultimately, I did not get the degree or job title I dreamed of having, but I dreamed of helping animals and I am able to do that with animal welfare.

My last year showing at the state fair.  

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