Book Excerpt: The Everything Guide to Working with Animals

Do you love animals? Do you want to work with animals but don’t know where to start? The Everything Guide to Careers with Animals (Adams Media) features personal stories from experts in the field, including a large-animal surgeon, a professional dog trainer, an animal behaviorist, and the former president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Following is an excerpt from the book, written by Michele C. Hollow, writer, editor, and animal lover, and William P. Rives, VMD and director of Six Flags’ Great Adventure Wild Safari in Ocean County, NJ, the world’s largest drive-thru safari outside of Africa.

Pet Relocator

When a zoo wants to find a suitable mate for an animal, it checks with other zoos. Animals in one exhibit at a zoo may all be from the same family, so mating them is out of the question. Once a potential mate is found, the question of how it travels from one zoo to another comes up. In addition, private individuals moving from one part of the country to another for work want to know how to relocate their animals.

One thing is certain–whether you transport a gorilla for a zoo or a poodle for a family–the field brings many surprises and adventures. Imagine seeing Kevin O’Brien’s face when he was asked to move 3,000 mosquitoes from a research facility in California to one in Texas. He had to find the quickest and safest route possible. He also had to make sure that these 3,000 mosquitoes were well packed and would arrive alive and buzzing. “We found the quickest flight available,” he says.

As head of, he knows which airlines are animal friendly and open to transporting animals. Depending on where the animal is going, it might be easiest to drive. In other cases, air travel is the only option.

In this do-it-yourself era, it is possible to go online and read the “traveling with pets” column on each airline’s website. However, companies like know how to cut through the red tape. “We are all so busy, and at the same time, quite concerned about transporting our pets safely from one place to another,” says O’Brien. “Our customers call us and only speak to one person-all hours of the day.”

If a family is moving overseas for work, pet relocation services will make sure all the necessary pet papers are in order. “Some countries quarantine pets for a few months before they are allowed into the country,” says O’Brien. “That’s so hard on the pets and the families.”

By working several months ahead of time, O’Brien and his employees make sure the animals have all the necessary shots and papers. Pet movers have employees in several parts of the country, and some overseas. “I have connections everywhere,” says O’Brien. “Many of my staff specializes in certain countries. They know the laws, which save my clients time and grief. If a document is wrong a pet may be denied entry into a country or may be quarantined for a long time. Having all of the right papers ensures a smooth process.”

Working for a pet relocation service requires someone who likes flexible hours. Workers are on call, and regulars are kept busy. Pet transporters must be well versed on all of the rules and regulations concerning air travel, security, and entry into a foreign country.

To become a pet relocation worker, start by contacting the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association. IPATA, founded in 1979, has grown from six U.S. pet shippers to more than 200 offices in thirty countries.

Visit to purchase The Everything Guide to Working with Animals.

Excerpt from The Everything Guide to Working with Animals, copyright 2009 F+W Media, Inc.

For more information on Michele C. Hollow, visit