Debi Samuels

What do pet Unit Specialists do?

At Waltham, our pets live in housing blocks, or units. Each unit has a dedicated team of Associates that ensure the animals are cared for to our high standard. Our Unit Specialists are a large part of that team. They have an important role in ensuring our pets receive their basic life skills training, but also support our research studies by collecting samples or data.

"My job is fun, varied and very furry!"- Debi

Debi Samuels is one of our Unit Specialists on the Appollo pet unit, which is the only one at the pet centre that has dog kennels and cat rooms. She has been at the Institute for almost 9 years, so she has worked with a number of our cats and dogs, and made some favourites along the way. “Every day is different, every animal is different. They all have their little personalities and ways that they do things- that makes each day great” commented Debi. Each pet has its likes and dislikes, but as we work with them daily we understand these so can build strong bonds. “The best parts (of the job) are the relationships - I'm surrounded by an awesome team of people and an even more awesome team of dogs and cats”.

debi samuels smiling with cat V2


debi samuels walking dog V2


The Unit Specialists ensure our pets receive all their recreation time, such as playing in off lead areas with other pets or people, having a fuss in the office or sniffing out the newest scents around site. They also keep building life skills, which can range from walking calmly on a lead to confidence for their regular health checks like having their mouths handled. The research is also dependent on the team of Associates that are Unit Specialists as they also make sure that the measurements or data are recorded accurately and samples are collected. Without this, we wouldn’t be able be to generate the insights that help pets across the globe! This brings real variety to the role, from rushing a dog’s fresh faecal sample to the laboratory or helping our pet trainers in making sure the cats are confident with what they need to do for a new research study starting next week.

debi samuels and dog V2

          Debi practising mouth work with Minnie

debi samuels talking with dog V2

                          David Wrigglesworth updating Debi on the Smart Pill project

Applicants for our unit specialist role should have GSCEs or equivalent (science preferable) and experience working without supervision as part of a team. There is no need to be a dog or cat handler extraordinaire as we will provide all necessary training when you start.

Unit Specialist opportunities, as well as other WALTHAM vacancies, can be found on the Careers page.

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