June 18, 2018

Why Being an Animal Scientist is Awesome

Why Being an Animal Scientist is Awesome!

By: Jackie Walling

Life as an animal scientist definitely has its perks.  One proclaims it could be thee most coveted position on Earth.  Why?  Simple reasons.  Animals 24/7…and another that will be addressed momentarily.  More likely than not, researchers own personal animals serving as their pride and joy, holding a special place in the wallet where pictures reside at the ready to share…or in this modern era, pictures consuming about 7.93 repeating GB (of eight) on their smartphones.

Researcher Joe finds it heartbreaking having to leave pets, Fido and Duchess, home while gallivanting off to the research labs each day.  Unless, of course, Fido chewed his favorite shoe into oblivion and Duchess woke him up three hours prior to feeding time by a production of “Last night’s Fancy Feast Dinner Hack-Up Extravaganza”.  She warned him last time to stick with the paté, NEVER the shredded.  And don’t dare try to sneak in that off brand canned food unless a present on the pillow is anticipated.  She wonders sometimes if researchers really do read those Journal articles they’re so eager to publish.  Especially the ones indicating the faulty ingredients threatening her cat-ish figure.

Cats? What royal pains in the….research labs.

And so Fido and Duchess watch as Joe rolls down the road to embark on the day’s latest scientific discoveries.  One wondering why he could not tag along and the other plotting which area of the bed to bless with an imitation of that morning’s breakfast.

“Pift…Shredded Ocean Whitefish…stupid human…” Hwah Splat!

Unbeknownst to Joe, concerning the fate his bed comforter just endured, he looks forward to seeing Fido and Duchess later, but is eager to see his other “pets.”  As a highly skilled animal researcher, not only does he work with animals around the clock, but every day he walks into work is technically a “Take Your Pet to Work Day”! Some companies boast a dedicated day for the occasion, but life in the animal industry dedicates every day!

Joe doesn’t have to worry about propping up a baby gate to contain his creatures in an office.  He simply steps into the hen house full of broilers and illuminates the room at 7:31 AM (on the dot!) to fulfill their 12-hour requirement of light exposure ending at 7:31 PM.  Oh, how he loves his chickens!  They squawk and cackle showing their agitation for such an abrupt entrance while he scrawls his observations of his favorite, Caroline, exhibiting signs of increased sitting behavior. He furrows his brow in concern.

He moves on to examine a wall full of the beady red-eyed rat colony home to his beloved Heuy, Dewey , and Louie…also known as R12, R13, and R14, respectively.  A quick slip of the pipe for a little AM oral gavage and their tummies are satisfied for the day.  Some are filled with placebo and others potential superpowers.  When the boss isn’t looking, there they go tumbling about in their borrowed hamster balls.  A happy lab rat is a healthy lab rat!

He sidles on down to his pig pens to ensure Porky, Brisket, and Bacon consumed adequate feed intake levels and met their average daily gain of 1.03 kg per day.  If numbers come up short, it’s nothing a little Jet-Puffed love can’t fix.  America’s favorite marshmallow has a way of adding a few pounds when needed.  USDA approved of course!

Around the corner, into the meat lab, he opens the freezer to check on his cows, Bessie and Bell, chilling quietly in the rafters.  Giving a quick pat to each makes him realize the skin temperature feels a bit warm.  Not wanting them to overheat, he adjusts the dial to proper cooling conditions as it would certainly be distressing to hear them start mooing again.  Such good-natured bovines they are.

Before heading home, he slips out to finish his work with both dogs and cats undergoing intestinal and digestive development studies.  Instead of a pain scale from 1 to 5, he spends his time marking a chart of fecal density from 1 to 5 realizing 75% of conversations related to animal research and welfare revolve around what kind of product that animal produces. 

A typical “Take Your Pet to Work Day” is surely exhausting in the non-animal job setting, but an animal researcher knows no different.  He or she thrives in a constant world of animals.

Though maybe not the traditional idea of a Corporate version of “Take Your Pet to Work Day” (where baby gate is required), researchers such as Joe revel in their animal research positions treating every animal as one of their own.  Joe knows bringing Fido and Duchess to the lab would be the equivalent of attempting to harness and tame aboriginal chimpanzees so he finds he has the best of both worlds.  He enjoys the companionship of his own pets and takes part in the community of animal research where every day as an Animal Science Researcher is really, “Take Your Pet to Work Day!”