021 · Rescue Animals in Distress

Today, I’m proposing a rather original idea, but one which will not suit everyone: rescuing stray animals in bad shape to take care of them and find them a new owner. But how is it possible to earn money by doing this? Let’s find out.

This idea is especially for those who love animals and want to get involved in animal care. But be careful because this is not an activity within the reach of just anyone as it requires both special skills and material resources as well as a significant investment of time.

The Concept

The concept is the following: First, you go around your city or your region looking for stray animals. Be careful, I am not talking about wild animals like those leopards that walk around the streets of Bombay at night to devour dogs. No, I’m talking about domestic animals such as dogs and cats (but mostly dogs because cats have an easier time fending for themselves, I think) abandoned by their owners or born out of “captivity”. Your task will be to spot those in obvious distress, rescue them, care for them, help them regain their strength, and then find them a new owner… all while filming the whole process.

Yep, because capturing it all on film will allow you to show the world what you are doing and why it is important to do it. Some people are already doing this with some success, such as the YouTube channel Howl of a dog.

You can see it very well on the video. Each step of the rescue is cut in sequences that aren’t too long, but they are enough to captivate and move the viewer. And it works very well if we look at the number of views of this video (41 million at the time of writing). You can imagine that some of the viewers regularly make donations to help them continue their actions (not to mention the money generated by the channel).

But Howl of a dog is a special case, of course. Don’t expect to have such success (at least, not right away). But you might be able to make a living from it or at least cover some of your costs at first. I’ll give you some tips on how to do that, but before you get too excited, there are a few things you should know.

Beware! Things to Know Before You Start.

First of all, you must absolutely talk to your doctor, who will give you precious advice in case of problems (bites, parasites…), perhaps do some tests, but above all inform you about the necessary vaccines to protect you against certain potentially fatal diseases linked to animals (like rabies, for example).

Second, be aware that interacting with animals that have returned to a semi-wild state is not without risk. Most of the time, they are unpredictable, and you will have to be very careful and patient (sometimes you will even have to come back several times). Knowing and understanding animals can be learned, notably by watching how others do it (on YouTube for example, but be careful because some do it very badly), but especially by learning from specialists in animal behavior (by reading books on the subject or even by following a complete training). But if you’ve never had a dog, you’ll have to learn everything from scratch.

Finally, there is the legal aspect of this activity. It varies greatly depending on the country where you live, but you may need an authorization or even a license to practice but also subscribe to a specific insurance, meet certain hygiene standards, etc. So, don’t forget to get all the administrative information you need before you start.

And last but not least, it would be better to have two people when you go looking for animals in distress. It would be more prudent because in case of a problem, the other person could call for help or act directly, but they could also film you, which would allow you to have two shots of the same scene.

What is the starting budget?

First, you will need space. You need a house with a large and fenced garden, cages, a space inside where you can quarantine the animals if necessary, possibly a treatment room when the vet comes to visit you (even if most of the time it is you who will go to your vet), etc. In short, if you live in an apartment, it could be very complicated.

You will also need a vehicle to drive around your city and transport the animals you rescue to your home. No need for a truck here a car with enough space is fine.

As far as equipment is concerned, your smartphone can be enough to shoot the different videos, but I still advise you to buy a small camera such as a GoPro or something similar. The advantage here is that you will easily find accessories to hang it on yourself and thus have your hands free (you will need it). You may also want to consider using a lavalier microphone as the on-board microphone on these small “action cams” is often of poor quality. And then you need a computer to edit the videos…

Not to mention the costs for food, veterinary care, etc.

As you can see, the budget varies depending on what you already have or not. If you don’t have any of the above, it will cost you more than an arm and a leg. So think carefully before you start because there is no guarantee that you will get any donations, even if your videos are perfect.

A Few Tips to Make Your Videos Successful

First, pay attention to each sequence you shoot. You’ll have to take care of the framing, the lighting, the focus, and above all, avoid making the audience seasick with shots that look like they were shot during a magnitude 9 earthquake (fortunately, some cameras are equipped with an optical stabilizer). I invite you to watch some tutorials on YouTube to learn more. And then there is the other aspect, probably even more important: the storytelling.

When applied to video, this technique consists of editing several sequences according to a narrative structure that will captivate the viewers. It’s a bit like telling a story, with a beginning, a plot, and then a happy ending (preferably). It has been used for a long time, not only in the movie industry, but also in the advertising one. I’m not going to give you a course on this because I don’t have the time or the skills to do so, but again, YouTube and Google will help you learn more about it (how beautiful is the Internet, right?).

Learning how to use your equipment and the techniques of shooting and storytelling will help you produce videos, not perfectly, but well enough to build a community of people who will follow you regularly on YouTube and social networks.

A young dog that has just been rescued


Obviously, it’s not possible to apply this idea everywhere. For example, in Brussels, where I currently live, there are very few stray dogs (I don’t think I’ve ever even seen one). I even think that it will be rather difficult in the so-called “rich” countries such as those in Western Europe. But well, I could be wrong. In any case, it’s up to you depending on where you live. If you see stray dogs around your neighborhood, it means that there is a possibility.

Not Just Dogs and Cats

I focused on dogs (and cats) in this article, but there are other animals that deserve to be taken care of. In fact, when you see how much biodiversity is collapsing all over the planet (more than 60% of wild animals have disappeared since 1970), you realize how useful it would be. And now, as I write these lines, I even wonder if I won’t write another article just to talk about it because it seems so important.

The list is long, but we can mention birds, insects, some primates, felines, reptiles, and many other species. If you are interested, find out which species are endangered in your area. And if you can do something, don’t hesitate (even part-time, even without a budget). Remember that every species that disappears is gone forever…

How to Collect Donations

There are several ways to collect money. The simplest and most practical is to use specialized platforms such as Patreon, Tipeee, Utip or PayPal. But remember to include a physical address as well because some people (especially older ones) might send you cash or a check directly. Also include your bank account number in the description, so that you can receive any transfers.

Be careful, as you will have understood, this idea is one of those that is launched not for the sake of gain but above all, out of conviction. And even if you manage to collect a lot of money, never forget that you are doing this for a cause in which you believe and not to enrich yourself personally (well, that’s my opinion). Your supporters will be keeping a close eye on your actions anyway.


At first it will be difficult. You will have to invest your time and money with no guarantee that it will work. But there is no reason why you can’t make it if you do it right. Later on, when you have gained some notoriety, people will even think of calling you when they spot an animal in distress.

Many people say they love animals more than humans. Maybe because they feel more comfortable with them? In any case, they all have their reasons. And it is mainly to them that you will have to address yourself because they will be the first ones moved by your adventures.

So again, this idea is not for everyone. But, if you think you have the skills and qualities required, then go for it.


Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

The idea is not inherently bad for the planet, but I admit that it is so broad that I have a hard time knowing where to intervene to reduce its environmental impact. It’s up to you to see what you can do, but here are the things I think you should keep an eye on.

  • The car: If you already have one, don’t bother buying another. And if it’s too old, get a more fuel-efficient one or even an electric vehicle if you can.
  • The house: Choose a green energy provider if one is available in your country. As for the rest of the house, I refer you to this article which will explain all the points on which you can act concretely to reduce your impact.
  • The computer: Choose preferably a laptop. It consumes less energy than a tower. You can easily find good second-hand models on online sales sites or in a store near you.


  • You are working for a cause that is close to your heart.
  • Contact with animals.


  • It is sometimes very hard (animals that die, those you are attached to and that leave because they have been adopted, those that you may have to put down because they are too aggressive…).
  • The budget can be quite high if you start from scratch.
Disclaimer, please read this

Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local adminitration before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.

Please also note that there are currently NO affiliate links on Sweekr! This means that NO commission is charged when you make a purchase from any of the sites recommended here. Some links are optimized for performance testing only, and each recommendation reflects the opinions or evaluations of the writer of this article. And be sure you'll be notified if (and when) this situation ever changes.

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments


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