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Pets

Q: I love your column. I'm about to enter college and am thinking of becoming a veterinarian. Any advice? Also, where do you think I can go to learn more about animal behavior?

-- D.C., San Diego, Calif.

A: Chicago veterinarian Dr. Sheldon Rubin was in practice for 46 years and now speaks to veterinary students about the profession whenever asked, as a sort of veterinary ambassador. "Near your location, the closest veterinary school is at the University of California-Davis. I bet they offer an open house; most schools do," Rubin says. "Talk to professors and students."

"With summer break around the corner, try to find a job working with animals, particularly at a veterinary clinic," Rubin adds. "Not only will the experience be meaningful to you, but the experience will also be very helpful in the competitive task of getting into veterinary school."

Leadership and communication skills also impress those who determine who gets into vet school.

As for your interest in behavior, veterinarians have lots of opportunities to become boarded specialists in everything from neurology to cardiology and behavior.

Consider reading both popular and more scientific books on animal behavior. I've just published two ebooks ("Good Dog!" and "Good Cat!"), both compilations of behavior questions posed in this column, available wherever ebooks are sold.

Learn more about becoming at veterinarian on this page (and others) produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association: www.avma.org/careers/VetSchoolAdmission101.asp. Check the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges website at www.aavmc.org.