OCCUPATION THESAURUS

ANIMAL RESCUE WORKER



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HELPFUL TIP:

How your character makes a living is an important decision. After all, there’s probably a good reason why they chose this career. Think about how they pull on certain talents and skills, have positive or negative traits, and adhere to a specific work ethic to excel. Sometimes characters choose an occupation because of how they were raised, something they experienced, or even an emotional wound, so consider how all of these things will show readers who they are deep down, and why they do what they do.
OVERVIEW:
There are many different jobs under the umbrella of animal rescue workers: owners and managers of shelters, veterinarians and technicians, trainers, deployment workers, animal control officers, and even wildlife rehabilitation workers, just to name a few. This entry will focus on rescue deployment workers, who are called out to assess, and if needed, rescue domestic animals in distress. The animals may be at risk due to hoarding situations (on farms as well as pet owners), abandoned animals, dog-fighting rings, puppy mills, factory farms, or disaster relief when animals are displaced.

NECESSARY TRAINING:
To join a rescue group, often a person only needs a high school diploma, as they will receive training by the organization on assessments (determining the condition of an animal, their age, possible risk factors, if abuse has occurred, injuries or diseases, etc.), the safe handling of animals, different risk scenarios, basic care, and rehabilitation. If a person wishes to move up the chain, especially to work their way into a management role, they may need a business diploma. Some rescue workers will come into the job with a psychology background or take courses in handling people, learning how to de-escalate situations with owners.

If a rescue worker frequently works in animal rescue and re-homing in disaster situations (forest fires, flooding, etc.) then specialized training for working in these environments would also be needed, such as setting up a base of operations, adhering to safety protocols, gathering and managing volunteers, working in tandem with other aid-based groups, collecting food, kennels, bedding, or securing transporting as needed, getting animals medical care, reuniting animals with owners in the aftermath, etc.

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES:

HELPFUL POSITIVE TRAITS:

HELPFUL NEGATIVE TRAITS:

EMOTIONAL WOUNDS THAT MAY HAVE FACTORED INTO THIS OCCUPATION CHOICE:
Negative past experiences can come into play in the pursuit of a career. Based on the type of trauma a character has suffered, they may (consciously or subconsciously) choose a job for the following reasons:
  • To avoid situations that might lead to more wounding events
  • Because they're believing a lie
  • Because past trauma forced them to acquire traits or skills that allow for success in this field
  • Due to a need to face past wounds
  • The desire to prove worthiness to themselves or others
  • As punishment for a perceived unworthiness or a past failing

Whether you'd like to show the character coping well with the past in this career field or you want to increase tension through workplace triggers, the following emotional wounds might tie in to this occupation:
ABANDONMENT OVER AN UNEXPECTED PREGNANCY, A CHILD DYING ON ONE’S WATCH, AN ABUSE OF POWER, A NATURAL OR MAN-MADE DISASTER, A PARENT’S ABANDONMENT OR REJECTION, BATTLING A MENTAL DISORDER, BECOMING A CAREGIVER AT AN EARLY AGE, BEING DISOWNED OR SHUNNED, BEING LET DOWN BY A TRUSTED ORGANIZATION OR SOCIAL SYSTEM, BEING RAISED BY NEGLECTFUL PARENTS, BEING REJECTED BY ONE’S PEERS, BEING TREATED AS PROPERTY, EXPERIENCING POVERTY, FAILING TO DO THE RIGHT THING, FINDING OUT ONE WAS ADOPTED, GIVING A CHILD UP FOR ADOPTION, GROWING UP IN FOSTER CARE, LIVING WITH AN ABUSIVE CAREGIVER

SOURCES OF FRICTION:
Owners who do not want to give up their animals
Knowing abuse is occurring but not being able to prove it
Finding animals so bad off the humane thing is to put them down
Discovering acts of cruelty but being unable to find the person responsible
Having to go to the same home or farm multiple times because the person is a repeat offender (such as a hoarder or puppy mill owner)
Always struggling with funding issues
Having too many animals to rescue and not enough shelter space

PEOPLE THEY MIGHT INTERACT WITH:
Animal rescue workers, pet owners, ranchers and farmers, police officers, people from other aid organizations, veterinarian, shelter workers, dog groomers, rehabilitation specialists, animal foster families, advocacy (animal rights) groups

HOW THIS OCCUPATION MIGHT IMPACT ONE'S BASIC NEEDS:
Self-Actualization: A character in this occupation could suffer a crisis of faith at seeing the cruelty people are capable of
Esteem and Recognition: A rescue worker who is unable to rescue animals in time may internalize the weight of the pain that animal suffered and feel they have failed, questioning their own self-worth and abilities.
Love and Belonging: Having to travel, and the long hours of rescue work may not leave a lot of time for other people, especially if the rescue worker is caring for animals themselves, being part of the rehabilitation chain.
Safety and Security: someone in this profession may be in danger if stepping into a situation unaware, both from people (violent owners, criminals using animals for profit, etc.) and the animals themselves (who may have rabies, or be violent due to mistreatment.

COMMON WORK-RELATED SETTINGS:

REASONS THE CHARACTER MAY HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO THIS PROFESSION:
To become an advocate for those who cannot do so themselves
Being raised in a home that included neglect and abuse and choosing a different path for oneself
Having a love of animals
To make up for a past wrong (say, growing up in a family that hoarded and mistreated animals)
Because animals are safer than people (a belief coming from being exposed to violence that created mistrust and fear of other people)
To make up for a past failure (being unable to help another in their time of need and feeling responsible for what happened to them after)
Deep-seated moral beliefs that all life is sacred and must be protected