Vicky Howell gets to deal with Heathrow’s cutest passengers – animals! As an Animal Welfare Officer at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre Vicky has one of the best jobs at the airport so we caught up with her to see what it’s really like! Enjoy!
How long have you worked at Heathrow Animal Reception Centre?
Vicky: Two years and eight months. I’m still a newbie relative to many people who have worked here – some since it opened!
What’s a day in the life of your job really like?
It really depends on the day as it’s so varied here! You can be doing anything from picking up animals at the airport, to checking animal welfare, ensuring paperwork is all up to scratch, or animal husbandry for some of our permanent reptile residents.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
When you have to inform owners that their animals have to go to quarantine. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often but often people aren’t prepared and understandably get upset.
What’s the best part of the job?
Reuniting people with their pets! Seeing happy people and animals. I also really like the variety, there’s not many places where you can see so many different species of animals in one place. Even with the more common animals like dogs, you see so many different breeds.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Heathrow?
It’s interesting to see and get close to so many different planes, and not many people get to drive around an airport either!
Your favourite moment whilst working at HARC?
It’s really hard to pick just one moment, probably more generally it’s the fact that there’s so many different aspects of the job. For example, going to see a lady who was carrying caterpillars through!
What was it like being filmed for Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport Series Two?
IT is a bit strange because you don’t necessarily feel like you’re being filmed, but it just adds something extra to the day!
Do you have any pets of your own?
No, because I’ve just bought a new house, so as much as at HARC I can work with lots of animals, I wouldn’t want to be getting home and having to clean up after more. One day in the future I would like a pet, but at the minute I definitely get my fill of animals from work.
What sort of hobbies / interests do you have outside work?
Well, now that we have a new house I think it will be decorating and DIY! Although I do like to watch anything with David Attenborough in.
Find out more about the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre, including the fun facts behind it all, here.