At WALTHAM, our pets live in seven 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 Unit, which is the only one at the pet centre that has dog kennels and cat rooms. She has been at the pet centre 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”.

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 the pets across the globe! This brings real variety to the role, from rushing a dog’s fresh faecal sample to the laboratory or making sure the cats are confident with what they need to do for a new research study starting next week.

Debi practising mouth work with Minnie

David Wrigglesworth updating Debi on the Smart Pill project


Debi joined WALTHAM with no qualifications* under her belt. 'I was a blank canvas and for that I'm truly grateful for the opportunity that Mars gave me.' Her passion, determination and willingness to learn were all clear success factors. And through the supportive personal development programmes at Mars, Debi's learnings are broad “from teaching a puppy to sit, learning how to analyse a urine sample through to learning about my personality type and how best to use my strengths in different situations”.

* In the years since Debi's started, the Unit Specialist role has changed, along with the essential qualifications (more information on jobs at WALTHAM can be found here).

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

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