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Climbing the Ladder

Advancing your career in the humane field

Advancing your career in the humane field

Carter Luke, now the president of the Massachusetts SPCA in Boston, started his sheltering management career back in the 1970s, a world away, at a rural Wisconsin animal shelter. An elementary school teacher at the time, he was drafted in as a shelter manager because he lived on a farm and "knew a little bit about a lot of different kinds of animals."

"I got my feet wet and my hands dirty fast. Very wet, very dirty, and very fast," he laughs. "That dedicated, hardworking group of people taught me a lot about shelter management that’s still useful decades later … as the leader of an organization with 500 employees and a $60 million budget."

Luke went on to become a leader in the animal welfare field, an inspiration to many. But his experience of being recruited into the field because of hands-on animal experience on a farm was unusual even back then, and virtually impossible to envision now. Animal shelters have come a long way, largely due to the everincreasing experience and qualifications of the folks who run them. If you want to make a lifelong career of sheltering, if you plan to climb the ladder from scooping poop and walking dogs to guiding the direction of an agency or organization, it's not enough to simply love animals.

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