What is your Occu-PET-ion?

Pet Tales
by Barry B. Burtis D.V.M.


Can a veterinarian predict a client's occupation from the type of pet they bring for an examination? Should career councillors ask students their preference in pets in helping them to choose their career? If you are unhappy in your job, should you be considering alternatives based on the kind of pet you have? The answer to these and similar questions is yes, if you believe the results of a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, the largest online employment website in the United States. This survey, to my knowledge, did not determine whether a person's pet was the cause or the effect of the nature of their work. However, it did reveal some interesting insights into pet ownership and a person's profession.


Are these findings about people and their pets confirmed in the case of your family and friends?

Dog owners are more likely to be professors, nurses, information technology professionals, military professionals, and entertainers. There are no details regarding breed preferences for such occupations. However, in the example of entertainers, it is likely most often they conjure up an image of owning a dog that is small, cute, cuddly and very photogenic. Surely such a dog would be an asset in their line of work.

Cat owners are more likely to be physicians, real estate agents, science/medical laboratory technicians, machine operators and personal caretakers. The cat stereotype says they will be more independent, by nature, and therefore require less social interaction with their owners compared to dogs. Does that fit with the busy lives of persons in the aforementioned professions?

Fish owners are more likely to be human resources professionals, financial professionals, farming/fishing/forestry professionals and transportation professionals. Isn't there something about water features, in general, and aquariums, in particular being able to create very calming and relaxing environments? Do you think there is any more need for that benefit amongst the careers listed here?


Bird owners are more likely to be advertising professionals, sales representatives, construction workers and administrative professionals. Avian species kept as pets tend to have some the longest life expectancies of any animal. Do you suppose people working in these fields of activity desire the establishment of long term relationships in their choice of a pet?

Snake/reptile owners are more likely to be engineers, social workers, marketing/ public relations professionals, editors, writers and police officers. Well, I wonder if people in these professions are more likely to identify with others who are thought of as unusual or out of the ordinary? Perhaps a desire to help the downtrodden or improve their public image, influences the choice of these animals as pets.

If nothing more, perhaps this topic can be the inspiration for your next party game. Have people identify the pet they live with or most admire and see if you can determine their line of work. Call it guessing a person's Occu-PET-ion. Barry Burtis is a local companion animal veterinarian. Past Pet Tales can be found at www.baycitiesanimalhospital.ca