Brought to you by Open Colleges

Caring for animals: a lifelong dream becomes a reality

by Amanda Collins

After a long career in hairdressing, raising three children and running a busy household, Sue Weeks decided it was time to pursue her lifelong dream of working with animals.

Sue (right) with her daughter

From a dream to reality

Hailing from the small rural town of Callington in the Adelaide Hills, Sue took the first step to fulfilling her ambition by enrolling in Open Colleges’ Certificate III in Companion Animal Services.

“It’s something that I wanted to do pretty much from 12 years of age, but I took a different path” Sue said.

“I’m in my 50s now, and it’s like, you know what, it’s time for me to do something that I really want to do,” she added.

Having finished work last year, Sue dived into her studies, treating the course like a full-time job.

“I get up every morning and at seven o clock I’m on the computer. My little study is my office and that works for me. And I have lunch like everyone does at work, and then I get back to it,” she said.

Sue (right) with her brother and childhood dog Tia

Building knowledge and confidence

Not used to study, Sue was initially uncertain of her abilities, but soon discovered that not only was her course fascinating, but she was wholly capable of completing the studies and getting great results.

“I found every assessment really informs you. I’m amazed at the stuff I’m learning. I just feel like I’ve got so much more knowledge,” she said.

“My very first assessment grade I got back was a high distinction. I couldn’t believe it. I thought ‘I’ll just check’. My family kept asking why I was worrying and questioning myself. And then it kept happening, I kept getting high distinctions! It really built my confidence and self-belief,” she said.

Real world experience

Excited at the prospect of her work placement, Sue is in the process of finding a position working with either cats or dogs.

“I chose dogs and cats because that’s the road I want to go down,” she said, adding that she would love to get a placement in a boarding kennel.

A furr-tastic future

Future forecasting, Sue has hopes to work full or part time in the animal care industry after she completes her course.

“I want to do something that I’ve always been passionate about and will give me joy,” she said, adding that in the long term, she is even considering opening up her very own Doggie Daycare Centre.

Life changing experiences

In addition to providing Sue with the skills and knowledge to pursue her dream, the course has boosted her confidence in a way that she didn’t expect.
“I’m really proud that I’m getting through, and my marks have been great. And I think ‘Wow, I can’t believe I did that,” she said.

Have you always wanted to work with animals?

Explore Open Colleges’ range of animal care and vet nursing courses and take the first step to making your dream a reality!

4 Responses

  1. Melissa B says:

    I too was interested in doing a course with a view to a career with Animals. Unfortunately though, I was told that I’d need to find my own placement, and after approaching countless vet practices, or kennels, etc. no-one was willing to take on a student. So, I’ve had to ditch that plan, and will try something in the human health-care industry instead. I hope Sue finds something in her area to fulfill her dreams and studies.

    • Sarah MacDiarmid says:

      Hi Melissa, thanks for getting in touch with us!
      Sorry to hear that you have been having a hard time locating a placement. Open Colleges can provide support in finding a work placement in your area and we have formal agreements with some industry partners to make things easier. The best thing to do is to contact one of our Enrolment Consultants to talk you through your potential options and process students need to undertake. You can reach them on 1300 365 137 or contact us here
      Don’t give up on your dream!
      All the best, Sarah, Open Colleges team

  2. Sherry Law says:

    it’s so inspiring to learn about Sue’s story. Everyone should have the courage to pursue his/her no matter age, skin color, social stratum, etc.

  3. Cephalothin says:

    Though there were a lot of difficulties on the way to achieve the dream, but all is away and now she is doing what she has longed for.
    What I’m inspired by the story is that only after achieving something even in the field we don’t love, can we better make our dreams come true.

Leave a Reply