International Animal Rescue, Goa

Founders and Staff

John Hicks, Founder of International Animal Rescue
John Hicks, Founder of International Animal Rescue

John Hicks, Founder

John has devoted over 40 years at the forefront of animal welfare worldwide. His deep knowledge, wide-ranging experience, total drive and passion have ensured the highest standards of animal care and given him the experience to handpick a team with exceptional aptitude and skill. His commitment has been recognised with his appointment and co-option onto the Animal Welfare Board of India, an official government body.

“I have never worked with a more dedicated, talented team than I have here in Goa. To say I am proud of them and their achievements would be an understatement.” - John Hicks (RIP - 27th February 2015)


Mabel Gomes, Assistant Manager Administration
Mabel Gomes, Assistant Manager Administration

Mabel Gomes, Assistant Manager Administration

Mabel is a team player to the core who has proved her mettle and grown through the ranks in the short time she has been with IAR. Her efficiency lies in soaking in the pressure and multi tasking to achieve desired goals. She has willingly accepted varied roles and challenges thereby earning the respect of her colleagues.

Mabel has cut through unnecessary tiers of work processes thereby simplifying the administrative jig saw. She is ever ready to innovate and given her inputs which the center has implemented, savings in terms of cost and timelines is now a reality for all to appreciate

Gokul Thapa - Kennel Manager
Gokul, Kennel Manager

Gokul Thapa, Kennel Manager

Gokul joined IAR back in 2005. He quickly understood the trauma that dogs go through when caught and transported for sterilisation. His concern and compassion for these dogs was soon palpable, and he discovered the importance of talking to and calming anxious animals. He learnt that spending a few moments in a kennel with a dog can relieve much of the stress and remove a lot of the fear.

He quickly excelled at handling even the most difficult dogs and constantly encouraged other members of staff to improve their handling skills. Because of dedication to the welfare of the animals in our care he was promoted to Kennel Manager.

Kindly note that former Kennel Manager Balkrishna Sawant decided he wanted to be more hands-on. Balkrishna is now one of our ambulance drivers applying his considerable skills to great benefits in catching animals for sterilisation and handling a wide range of complex situations.

Netra Bahadur Gurung - Head Veterinary Nurse
Netra, Head Veterinary Nurse

Netra Bahadur Gurung, Head Veterinary Nurse

Myla, as he is known, joined our team way back in 2000 as a member of the kennel staff. We quickly discovered his natural ability to care for sick and injured animals and we therefore moved him to the veterinary team. He has been so keen to learn every aspect of veterinary work that all the vets in the centre have the highest respect for his knowledge.

There is no doubt that we are very lucky to have Myla as part of our dedicated team.

The team at IAR Goa
The team at IAR Goa

Other staff

Additional to those mentioned above, we have a huge team of staff and volunteers. In total our paid workforce numbers 25. All too often the hard work these staff do and risks they take are often unrecognised. All our workforce - whether vets, kennel staff, drivers and office staff - contribute countless hours of unpaid overtime because of their dedication and genuine compassion for the animals that rely on us so totally.