A quick Q&A with Wildlife Rehabilitation alumnus, Peter Gau ’14

October 13, 2017

Every day, Lees-McRae College alumni take their degrees and put them to work in new and amazing ways. Take some time to get to know alumnus Peter Gau ’14. A Newark, Ohio, native, Gau studied Wildlife Biology and Wildlife Rehabilitation at Lees-McRae and now works at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio.

Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity. 

What do you enjoy most about your current career position?

Taking care of the animals and being able to see them whenever I want. There is something to be said about going into “work” and being surrounded by animals.

How did you become interested in wildlife rehabilitation?

I have always loved animals ever since I can remember and once I saw that Lees-McRae College offered Wildlife Rehabilitation, well, it was a no-brainer!

In what ways have the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Lees-McRae College impacted your career?

Lees-McRae and the Wildlife Rehabilitation program gave me a deeper and richer understanding of what it is to take care and love animals. I always loved animals growing up, but once I entered Lees-McRae I really started to understand what it meant to care for animals. Lees-McRae really kick started my passion for animal care by letting me get hands-on with injured wildlife.

What advice do you give to current students preparing for a career in this field?

This field is not a glamourous one in the traditional sense. You won’t get rich doing it, you will work long hours, holidays and weekends. You will be covered in water, hay, food and anything else you can think of. You will be tired every day you work and wake up the next day sore. It’s for those reasons that animal care is an elite group of dedicated professionals that know this isn’t for the faint of heart. If you can handle the stresses of animal care, then my advice is simple. One, always think of/put the animal first in all decision-makings and thoughts. Two, show up to work each day ready to work hard and get dirty regardless of your position or title. Lastly, if you always put the animal first and honestly work hard, animal care will reward you to no end.

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