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The environment of a pet store can help you de-stress from your work and life.

Working at a pet shop is a rewarding experience, especially if you are an animal lover (Image via Time Out)

School can be stressful. Although each student has a way of coping with their stress, it is always best to find a healthy after-school or weekend activity that can help you unwind. If you are looking for a job as a way to destress from the week and you love animals, working at a pet store might be for you.

Contrary to popular belief, working at a pet store doesn’t mean you get to play with animals all day. Instead, you need to know loads of key facts about nearly everything in the store, care for the store animals and assist customers. The upside of this job is customers tend to bring their own animals into the store, which allows you to not only get to know your customers, but also the animals.

1. The Environment

Working at a pet store, just like any other jobs, can be stressful on its own, too, because coworkers can cause drama and try to rope you into it. The small staff size can feel like a family or a group of friends, but drama is unavoidable when people of all different background and ages interact regularly with one another. Luckily, drama at such a workplace is much easier to stay out of or put an end to. The close proximity of workers at the same store doesn’t encourage drama to develop or even linger around for long. Unless you’re the one causing the drama, it will be relatively easy to stay out of.

Being around animals for eight hours a day almost guarantees you will get to interact with them. Interacting with animals can help reduce stress levels. In fact, animals can also help with your mental health, which a large number of college students are struggling with either in the form of anxiety or depression. Working in a pet store allows for you to be around cats, dogs, fish, reptiles and other small animals daily, and if the store you work at has dog training classes, you may be asked to become a dog trainer, or interact with some of the dogs in the classes as part of the dogs’ training.

2. You Learn New Things

Working at a pet store provides you with the opportunity to learn new facts about the animals you love. A lot of fish lovers don’t realize which steps to take and how to carry out those steps in order to set up a new fish tank. A new owner of a guinea pig may not know that guinea pigs can’t go in small-animal activity balls or run on training wheels. A new pet parent of a snake may not know they should feed the snake in a separate holding area other than its home or they risk the snake striking when the parent is taking it out of the home. These are all facts you will learn to better educate your customers on about their new pets.

Your knowledge on how to care for the pet will help pet owners get along with the animals and the animals themselves have a more comfortable life. Some of what you learn might scare you off, thinking, “Oh my god, I can’t believe that’s what’s in this food,” but it is important to remember this process isn’t meant to scare you. It is meant to help you learn about the products in your store and provide the best assistance possible to both pet owners and the animals.

3. You May Get the Inspiration to Educate Others

Learning new facts about the animals in your store may inspire you to educate not only your customers but also your family and friends, and maybe even look into a career in which you will be working with pet parents. Animal behavior is making a rise as a degree for those who look into careers involving interaction with animals, and a pet store may very well be the start of such a career.

It is important to keep in mind not everyone is interested in or wants to know the animal facts you are going to tell them. Many people may even resist your advice due to their reliance on personal experience and the mindset they have cared for their pets for such a long time in their own way without a problem. Don’t let their mindset discourage you from trying to educate them. When you work at a pet store during the on-floor training period, you learn different ways of discussing foods, basic care and training techniques that will appease both the pet parent and yourself. The important thing to note about educating others is that sometimes you need to compromise.

4. You May Get Over Your Fears of Certain Creatures

A big deal for a lot of people is working at a pet store that sells crickets. You will have to bag the crickets, and some customers buy large quantities. If you don’t like bugs or you’re uncomfortable with them, having to bag them may be a process, but in time you will get over your discomfort.

Snakes and spiders usually fear people as well. If you happen to be afraid of these animals, you have two choices: You can either tell your managers you are unwilling to handle these animals because of your phobia, or you can notify them about your fear and then attempt to handle them anyway. This all depends on how willing you are to try and push your fear aside. Most managers at pet stores are understanding and won’t push you to handle something you are highly afraid of. Instead, your managers may take things one step at a time with you. They may hold the snake or spider for the customer to see while you discuss basic care and nutrition.

Working at a pet store can be a lot at times, but it is a fun environment to work in. You can destress from school by interacting with animals, be on the opposite end of the learning process by being the teacher instead and participate in handling your fears in a new way.

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