Open Wide and Say ‘Arf’

Sure they're cute, but the cats and dogs in LaGuardia Community College's veterinary technology program are there for serious business. The animal patients help students as they learn to spay and neuter, give physical exams and take X-rays. It's the only fully accredited veterinary technology program in the city. It's extremely competitive: Only 48 of 120 students are accepted into the second, clinical phase of the curriculum, according to director Dr. Robin Sturtz.

According to the U.S Department of Labor, veterinary technology is one of the top "recession-proof" professions.

"We have jobs for every one of our students when they graduate, and most of them get more than one offer," says Sturtz.

One student, Angela Tagarello, worked for 20 years in the garment industry until she lost her job in 2008. A longtime volunteer at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, she enrolled at LaGuardia the same year. "I'd heard nothing but phenomenal things about the program so it was an easy decision to make," she says.