It probably seems unbelievable to most people not living in India but believe it or not most wells are not covered! This leads to no end of animals and people falling down them.
Unless you have actually done it you can have no idea of just how dangerous it is to dangle on the end of a rope trying to rescue an animal that is traumatized, often injured and in its panic wants to lash out at anything it can reach.
The most dangerous rescues have to be that of a cow, bull or buffalo down a well. As of yet thankfully we have not been asked to rescue an elephant! The dangers involved are many. For a start you have to concentrate on not being hit by the horns which could break your leg or arm in a second. Once you have secured a rope around its neck you have a little control but because you have no firm surface to stand on the control you have is minimal. Then comes the really dangerous bit, you have to get a rope around its body. At this point there is a very real danger from the slashing horns but also the danger of being crushed by the sheer weight of the animal pinning you against the side of the well.
Dealing with dogs down a well can also be full of dangers but thankfully not as serious as that with cows. However one is at constant risk of being badly savaged as a traumatized dog will attack anything in its reach. The problem is often made far more difficult in that many of the old wells have sides that have eroded away and there are holes big enough for a dog to get in. Trying to get a dog out of these holes is full of dangers and many serious bites have been inflicted on our valiant staff who are never put off going down on another rescue mission.
Probably more dangerous than rescuing a dog from a well is trying to save a cat. The thing about a cat is that it is terrified and just wants to get out of the well and when it see a rescuer it just regards it as something else to climb up but once it reaches your head it can inflict dreadful injuries and of course one has to be aware of the dangers to ones eyes.
Snakes can be another challenge! Handling a highly dangerous snake down the bottom of a well is not for the faint hearted but our teams always rise to the challenge.
Our rescue teams face these dangers on a daily basis and it is only their devotion to helping animals that drives them to do it. With the wages we pay it certainly is not the salary!