A Career Choice Paw-Fect For Furry Friends

Career as a animal rescue worker

Always believed that your love for animals couldn’t get more professional than volunteering with NGOs? Think again. Palak Kapadia demystifies a career as an animal rescue worker

“Give a person negativity and you’ll get negativity right back. Try scolding a puppy, all you’ll get back is love,” says Shruti Khanolkar, a 19-year-old animal lover and dog foster parent. If you are a likeminded individual who goes rushing with a first-aid kit every time you spot an injured animal on the street or have been given the official designation of rescuing stranded birds on Makar Sankranti, then you can find your calling in a career as an animal rescue worker.

Scope Of Profession

“There is plenty of scopes. There are also currently too many dogs and cats as compared to good homes. There are so many animals in need of help, and rescue and animal protection groups are often looking for staff, but are also always looking for volunteers,” says Neha Singh, Youth Outreach Advisor at PETA India.

What Qualifies You

Animal rescue jobs don’t require a professional degree per se. However, certificate courses in medical care and first-aid for injured animals are beneficial. Besides, on-the-job training is enough to get you hired. Individuals who are interested in pursuing animal rescue and welfare career paths may benefit from volunteer work with shelters. Completion of formal internships may also be of particular value. “Training in crisis management, first-aid, animal protection laws and animal rescue can help. Much of this training can be gotten by volunteering for your local animal protection group and helping them with rescues. You can also volunteer to help at a local veterinary clinic if there is no animal protection NGO in your area,” Neha adds.

On The Upside

For an animal lover, this career is an opportunity to turn their passion into a profession. Animal rescuers work with wildlife or domesticated pets to heal injuries or find them new homes. The opportunity to save animals from danger or cruelty is immensely gratifying. “The happiness and satisfaction of saving lives! Not many professions can boast of that,” Neha says.

Animal Rescue Worker
Image Credits: Free Volunteering

On The Downside

“Communicating with people who call the rescuer can be a challenge. If they are panicked, the rescuer has to calm them down first in order to get all the information he/she needs,” says Neha. The field has other stresses, such as having to witness the results of animal abuse and abandonment. Besides, the working hours are not very defined. This profession finds its very root in emergency situations. The work can be both physically and emotionally difficult.

Animal Rescue In India

  • The government body Animal Welfare Board of India (www.awbi.org) has an identity card scheme for people who feed stray dogs and cats. If anyone bothers such good samaritans, they have an ID card to show.
  • It is illegal for anyone to displace strays, that is, to move them from one environment to another which is unfamiliar to them, such as where they cannot find food or water.
  • The penalty for cruelty to animals is very weak. Currently, the penalty for cruelty to animals is between Rs. 10 and Rs. 50 for the first offence, which may go up to Rs. 100 for a subsequent offence or up to three months in prison.
  • College students may join organisations such as PETA Youth and become animal rights advocates in their colleges and neighbourhoods.
Animal Rescue
Image Credits: Global Giving

Animal NGOs In India

• People for Animals (PFA)
• Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
• PETA India
• Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO)
• Youth Organization in Defence of Animals (YODA)

“Across India, stray dogs and cats struggle to survive on the streets. Many of them starve to death or are injured, abused or hit by vehicles. Countless others are left to languish in animal shelters because there aren’t enough good homes for them.” – Neha Singh, Youth Outreach Advisor, PETA India

Image Credits: Animal Aid Unlimited

Career Facts: Animal Rescue Worker

Job profile: On any given day, you could be crawling through a sewer, climbing a tree, or digging through a junkyard to rescue a terrified animal; or travelling to an impoverished neighborhood to deliver doghouses, bedding, food, and toys to animals that have been left outdoors.

Income: At an entry-level, you would start with a salary of Rs. 10000 to Rs. 15000 per month. Like any other profession, the remuneration depends upon the skill set and experience of an individual candidate.

Skills set: Love for animals and an inherent desire to care for them and protect them, physical fitness (most organisations insist on the ability to lift 50 pounds at any moment without any external help), strong problem solving and crisis management skills, a readiness to be available 24×7 whenever an emergency rescue operation arises.


  • Animal first aid training, Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, New Delhi
  • Various animal welfare programmes, National Institute of Animal Welfare (NIAW), Ballabhgarh
  • Diploma in Animal Care, The College of Animal Welfare, UK
  • Animal Welfare/Animal Research Training, University of California, San Diego, USA

The career of an animal rescue career is a very unique one not many know about. This a career especially for those who are true animal lovers. If you are one of them, you must definitely consider this as a career option.


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