If you love animals, want to stand up for animal rights and need to make a living, then you may want to explore the possibilities of working in an animal sanctuary or for an animal rights organization. This is a great option for people who cannot afford to start their own sanctuary, or simply need more experience with animals and the running of a shelter.
Are You Suited to Working in an Animal Sanctuary?
To work in an animal sanctuary you need to have a huge love of animals. The work can be hard and somewhat draining, so a true desire to help animals will make this so much easier. As well as loving spending time with animals, it is important to be compassionate. Rescued animals have sometimes been through hard times. They may be traumatized and have behavioral problems. They could be skittish or even aggressive. Patience and empathy are needed to help these animals.
Working for an animal rights organization is suited to both practical (hands on) people and people who are more academic. There are jobs available working with the animals and others where you can work in the office and on animal rights campaigns.
You may want to look into the kind of animal shelter/organization you are applying for a job at. Some may be no-kill shelters, but others may take in so many cats and dogs etc that they have little option but to euthanize some of these animals. This can be very hard to deal with, especially if you are very sensitive (like me). If you find this hard to deal with you may want to apply at no kill shelters or an office job involving animal rights.
You must try and remember that euthanasia is sometimes the kindest option, especially for very sick animals. This is why it is essential to spread the message to spay and neuter pets, so that less animals are euthanized in shelters.
You have more chance of getting a job in animal rights if you have shown a true commitment to the cause. Gain experience by volunteering at a shelter, or perhaps organize protests and leafleting campaigns in your local area.
Many animal sanctuaries advocate vegetarianism and veganism. Out of respect for the animals you work with/for you should consider changing your diet to a more compassionate one.
A qualification in animal care may help you get a job and if you are a qualified vet or veterinary nurse even better!
What Kind of Jobs Are Available in an Animal Sanctuary?
Many sanctuaries do not have the funds to employ anyone and rely heavily on volunteers, but larger (better funded) sanctuaries and organizations employ people in many different roles. You could be a shelter manager, animal carer, driver, receptionist, administrator, accountant, campaign organizer, fund raising manager, vet, vet nurse, animal behaviorist, education organizer, school speaker, employee trainer. There are other jobs you may not even have thought of.
How Much Money Can You Make?
Generally jobs in not for profit organizations such as animal sanctuaries and animal rights organizations are low paid. People who work in this field, do not do it for the money. They do it for the love of the animals and a desire to bring about change. Of course you will be paid a liveable wage and this will vary from place to place. Your compensation will be huge in that you will have a very rewarding job and will be making a difference in the world. You will also be gaining valuable experience if one day you plan to start your own sanctuary or non profit organization.
How Will You Be Able to Help Animals?
Working as part of an animal rights organization or a sanctuary is a great way to help animals. You may already volunteer, write letters and take part in protests and you will know how great it feels to be proactive and part of bringing about change. Imagine how great you would feel if that was part of your 9-5 job.
You can make a difference to individual animals lives as well as progressing the movement as a whole. Working with animals really is a wonderful way to spend your life.
There are limited paid jobs available in the sanctuary and animal rights movement. A great way to get your foot in the door is to volunteer or become an intern. You can gain loads of knowledge and hands on experience.
Even if it does not lead to a job volunteering is a wonderful thing to do in your spare time and can make a huge difference to the organization. It also looks good on your resume when you apply for other jobs.