Like many dog pros, Madi Correa grew up with dogs. From an early age, she knew she wanted a career working with animals, and—like many people—thought that meant being a veterinarian. (For other career paths with dogs, check out FetchFind Monthly Pro.) Becoming a vet is still Madi’s ultimate career goal, and she has begun her journey by enrolling in an online veterinary assistant training program and attending PetSmart’s Grooming Academy. Recently, Madi took time out to answer a few questions about her training, work, and how all the pieces fit together to move her towards her professional goals.
Fetchy: What brought you to where you are today, as a student in PetSmart’s Grooming Academy? Did you apply to a number of programs, or just this one?
Madi: Actually, I started out studying human psychology and then criminal justice—but once I decided to pursue a career with animals, I knew I only wanted to work here, because when I asked the vet techs at my pets’ clinic for advice, they spoke so highly of this program.
Fetchy: What was your first job here?
Madi: I started as a bather. Then, after just a few months, I unexpectedly had the chance to be assessed for the grooming program. There were 17 applicants for only 6 slots. The assessment process was challenging, but I did really well, and got in!
Fetchy: On a typical day, about what percentage of your time is working with animals, and what percentage is with people?
Madi: It’s about 80% animals and 20% people. I like that balance. As long as we’re busy, it’s good!
Fetchy: Your ultimate career goal is to become a vet. How will what you’re learning here benefit you in a veterinary clinic?
Madi: One part of our training is learning to recognize the signs of stress in dogs, and learning these and [more generally] how dogs might react or behave in different situations will really help. Even if you start out as a dog bather, or just want to be a better dog owner, you’ll be better prepared knowing the critical signs of stress.
Fetchy: What’s one thing you’ve learned in this program that surprised you?
Madi: I’ve brought my own dogs to groomers [for years], but I didn’t think about all the aspects of grooming and the different considerations for different types of dogs, different ages, and so on. But now I get it!
Fetchy: What makes a person successful in this work? What advice do you have for others who want to succeed?
Madi: You have to love the work, even when it’s challenging. I enjoy it so much, and really feel like I am where I’m supposed to be!