Over the years I have held many jobs. When I was a teenager I cleaned for a friend of my mothers. The woman lived down the street from us and suffered from arthritis, she needed the help and I needed the cash, it worked out well for both of us.
As I got older I found myself working in many different and somewhat unusual positions such as, a warehouse worker, a fur stringer, a dishwasher, a greens keeper, and an office clerk.
All of these jobs paid little, enough to survive on I suppose but they did offer something more than just a paycheck. They gave me a glimpse into different worlds. Worlds where your co-workers were not your average paper jockeys. The people I worked with and for were of a slightly different ilk. Their personalities didn’t necessarily fit inside the box. Knowing and working with all of these cast of characters helped to build my character. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to have worked in so many odd and wonderful places over the years.
My good friend Al is another person who never really thrived in an average office job. I have known her since we were kids. She is a person who has had many different and somewhat non-conformist jobs. She has waitressed, worked in an office and on a dare got her license in Calgary to operate a half-ton truck. A slim, blue-eyed blonde she ruled the road in that tuck and gave the men in the trade a run for their money, and she won the bet!
Al has never been one to conform. Always living on the edge even today she finds herself with another particularly interesting job. She works for a company called Eternal Companions a pet memorial Center. In their brochure they state that “ they will pick up your faithful friend within 24 hours of death. Their transportation service and the handling of your loved one are unsurpassed in pet after life care.” The company offers several packages much like you would get at a human funeral home. A memorial service and celebration of life is one of their packages. There is also the “One More Good bye “ package for a private visitation before your beloved pet is cremated.
Al is also a dog groomer, which I suppose is a benefit with this job. She picks up deceased pets from owners who want to immortalize their furry friends. It’s a job that for her gives her the freedom of the open road as she does a lot of traveling and it makes for some interesting conversation.
Her task when working for Eternal Companions who are based in Rigaud, Montreal is to pick up the clients pet and bring it back to the company’s home base. There the person’s pet is kept – on ice – until a service can be arranged for the pet’s family. Al takes great care in grooming the animal for the service. She places the deceased pet in a particular fashion on a pillow or cushion. When everything is ready the family of the pet enter the viewing area and say their last good bye to their beloved friend.
So while some jobs can be utterly boring and monotonous Al’s job I would say is ranked up there with the bizarre and unusual. Picking up dead animals and grooming them for the last good bye makes me feel somewhat queasy. Apart from hearing all the stories from all of these pet owners Al gets to meet some interesting folks who have a bond with their pets, a part of their lives and families for so many years. I can’t imagine what it would be like to help someone deal with the death of his or her animal. I recall Al telling me about a man who called her to pick up his turtle. He was a man in his thirties but he wanted to give his loyal companion a proper burial since he had this pet forever, or so it seemed like it was forever.
When we work at whatever it is we do we spend copious amounts of time at it. It just makes sense that if your not happy at it then change your job. As I said earlier working and spending hours with people we work with does mold our character. Working in these kinds of jobs that are somewhat different certainly builds character as I can attest to my friend Al’s character.
It would take a certain kind of person to tackle this kind of job and Al is in my opinion just the right match. She has the compassion for the animals, she loves to drive and she gets to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life. No, this is not your average job; this job is one that offers a whole other outlook on life. We so often take our pets for granted not thinking that one day they too will die, and do we know how we will react to that death? If you are lucky Al will be there to comfort and console you and to make sure your friend and companion for so many years gets the proper burial he or she deserves.
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