Animal Career Seeker Encounters the Dark Side

In the fifth installment of the introduction article in the Animal Career Secrets readers get the dark side of the story of one person seeking an animal career. All content copyrighted 2007 by Diana L Guerrero. Some rights reserved.

So now that I was on my way, what could be so dark about working your way into an animal career? I’ll leave it for you to decide.

Let me start with some of the great aspects. For instance, I was working with the signing chimpanzees (chimpanzees that communicate with sign language) and each day began by taking my tiger cub for a walk and training session. Very cool.

My friends and family were often frustrated because they couldn’t tell when I was talking about my animal pals or my human friends!

Every day was filled with meeting and greeting a variety of animals and the weekends were spent doing educational tours. In between college courses, I was a training assistant with elephants and other animal. In addition I was able to go out on various jobs that included studio work with animal actors, fairs, and other special events.

Early in my career I decided it was best to keep most relationships on a professional level…which was a shame because if you want to date someone it would be nice for them to have the same interests.

Anyway, this decision proved to be one that I was glad I made because my status didn’t change because of it. True, I often had to work harder and sometimes missed out because the dark side of the story was that cute little starlets (really, Hollywood beauties and Playboy® playmates were always out at the ranch) often got to go on jobs with the trainers.

In the end, I was still around, still working, AND the one the animals responded to. I won’t say it wasn’t frustrating because it was. Then, there was a real prejudice toward female trainers. This was partially because many of the guys didn’t think women should handle big animals and the other was that there was danger—protectiveness maybe.

Believe it or not, some animals do react adversely when women cycle or are pregnant and that is an old school reason some trainers don’t want females in those conditions working with them.

In those days we actually did the stunt work with the live animals and not the computer generated imaging you see on the screen these days.

The other dark side was that the overhead at the ranch was horrendous. Animals didn’t always get the best food and sometimes we had to head out for donations. There was also abuse from some of the trainers and just before I left one of the apes was “found dead.”

By the time the year was winding down, I more than ready to head out to the college– because I got accepted. I headed out and never looked back except when I was contacted for an investigation into animal abuse.

Diana L Guerrero is an animal career specialist and has extensive experience in many areas of the animal world. A well known animal expert, she has worked professionally with animals for over thirty years. Guerrero is the author of several books and the host of the syndicated, Ark Animal Answers.

About Ark Lady

+ArkLady Enhances the Lives of Animals & Empowers the People Who Love Them! Join the armchair safari or connect via ARKlady website.