Schedules are very flexible and accommodating for students. I did two shifts on different days, morning and afternoons. Morning meant opening hotel with Seniors (Supervisor), this involved feeding breakfast, cleaning cages, changing water, and checking in pets. Most of the time was spent in doggie day camp, playing with pets. As well as, cleaning up and checking on pets individual necessities. Afternoon shifts were similar, taking pets out of doggie day camp and taking them to their individual rooms. Setting up and distributing dinner and water, making sure all pets had clean beds. Finally, checking out pets and closing hotel.
Animal Care Associates are responsible for daily husbandry and care of all animals that live in the store - betta fish, tropical/non-tropical fish, crickets, zebra finches, society finches, blue parakeets, green parakeets, canaries, green anoles, Bahaman anoles, long tailed lizards, ball pythons, corn snakes, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, eyelash crested geckos, veiled chameleons, red eared slider turtles, hamsters, mice, gerbils, and cats (as well as other animals in store that were not mentioned).
Cleaning tanks/habitats, daily feeding and monitoring of health, and keeping all stations clean are a priority throughout the day.
Assisting current pet parents with questions and guiding them to the right answer/product is also a duty of an Animal Care Associate. Answering questions from curious future pet parents is also important - it's important to communicate clearly in order for the customer to be knowledgable about caring for an animal they've never had experience caring for.
Animal Care Associates may be asked or required to cross-train in other departments of the store, in order to strengthen their customer service skills and their knowledge of how the store works.
They may be responsible for cleaning the store and organizing shelves. They may be responsible for using a palette jack while stocking shelves.
They may be responsible for operating a cash register, providing customer service, and answering phone calls from customers.
The schedule is pretty much the same everyday. In the mornings, every pets room is cleaned, each pet is fed and given fresh water, and if time allows, you will start individual playtimes with the pets. Around 9 am doggy daycare starts and all the animals go into the daycare room. You will rotate in and out of daycare every hour with the other pet care specialists. When you are not in camp, you will be preparing lunch, doing more individual playtimes, and giving baths. When daycare is over, you unload camp and do dinner, water, and nighttime playtimes. You will always be wearing a headset so you can communicate with your coworkers on any issues. You have to monitor the health and well-being of every animals and let others know if you need help.
You clean the animal enclosures around 6am and they chabge every day. Recieve animals for the enclosures and make sure they get along before putting them in an enclosure together. Assist customers with any questions about the animals and animal care. Feed and clean up after the animals. Work as a cashier as needed and ensure the store looks organized.
I often worked the opening shifts in the morning, which involved getting to the store thirty minutes to an hour before doors opened. I would go around to all the habitats in the store and give food and water to all the animals. Each day of the week was devoted to cleaning a different habitat, so that would be next. When all of that was done, I would feed the fish and turn my full attention to customers and the sales floor.
Cleaning and Greeting are the two things you do the most. When opening, you make sure all the animals have food and water. Then you spend the day organizing product, talking to guests, and teaching them about the animals they have or are looking into buying. But the one thing we did most was scrub the fish tanks for algae. Each day there is a new section of fish tanks to do, but it takes a while. So don't be afraid of getting a little wet.
Other than that, just make sure the store is clean, animals are healthy, and the guests have talked to you. I tried to greet every person in the store and you should too!
Depending on if you're an opener or closer, your day is filled with lots to do. Openers have to clean out the animal habitats, a specified habitat each day Monday through Friday. Once finished, they have to feed all of the other animals and clean fish tanks as our fish tanks have to keep looking good so customers would want to buy our fish. You will keep the pet-care department clean. This is all on top of customer service and selling animals.
If you are a closer, you will come in and 'close' pet-care, meaning making sure they all have food, water, hay and whatever else is needed. You will take care of any adoption animals in store, such as cats, making sure they have food and water as well. Customer service is a big deal at night time, especially since a lot of customers come in at night. Before you leave, you change the filters in the fish tanks, clean out the cricket bin, and clean out any fish that are floating in the tanks. You will leave the department clean and ready for the opener.
A typical day, if opening, would be getting there around 6am and cleaning out a specific animal enclosure. Each enclosure has a different day it needs to be taken care for. Each pet care associate is trained on how to care for each of the animals, and essentially you take that information and pass it on to the customers or "pet parents" to help them properly take care of their pet.
For a morning shift, you arrive 2 or so hours before the store opens, giving you enough time to go through every individual animal cage for feeding, watering and cleaning. There is a complete cage clean out for each species once a week. Fish tanks are cleaned daily and cat cages are cleaned twice daily. Your job mainly consists of cleaning habitats, capturing fish for customers and answering questions in person or over the phone.
It is very customer-focused! As a pet care associate, you are responsible for helping customers with small mammals, fish, reptile, and bird-related questions and issues. Many people are unaware of the needs of certain pets! Much of my time was spent at the fish wall and cricket bins. The day usually starts with turning on daytime lights for the reptiles and distributing food to the animals - it is also an important time to check on their health as well to check if they need any veterinary care. There may also be animals that you need to provide vet-directed care to. Then, the largest portion of the day is available to address customer concerns. Most people come in for fish, but others may have questions about any other animals available in store or about food, habitats, or occasional health troubleshooting! During all of that, you are also responsible for restocking and facing shelves, general maintenance, and cleaning animal enclosures. To close, you do a kind of repeat of opening - giving animals food, providing vet-directed care, changing lights.
For a morning worker you will get there, do fish maintenence with the filters and feed the fish. All animal habitats will have their lights turned on and feed and water supplied. Animals within' the 'Quiet room' or care room for those sickly will be administered medicine. On certain days, full cleanings of the habitats will be done. After all 'openings' within pet care are done you will proceed with helping around with sales, stocking, or just helping customers in need.
Depending on the shift you work, a Pet Care Associate's tasks will change. For the most part, it involves checking on all the pets, making sure they have an appropriate amount of fresh food and water, and medicating the sick pets. When not doing that, an Associate should be on the sales' floor ready to assist pet parents if they have questions or would like to purchase a pet. Keeping the stock organized is also key.