Are You Suffering from Compassion Fatigue?

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Compassion Fatigue is something that will eventually affect all animal care professionals. The level of compassion and love put out everyday, often getting nothing in return, can leave one feeling empty and drained. That’s why Animals at Heart developed the Compassion Fatigue Support Program, to give something back to the people that make a difference in animals’ lives everyday.

There are many things that often contribute to or cause compassion fatigue, such as:

animal abuse trauma (witnessing the trauma or seeing the results of it)
having to perform unnecessary euthanizations
daily job stress
inconsiderate public/irresponsible pet owners
common shelter stereotyping (“you work at that place that kills the animals!”)
personal stress
inadequate shelter funds/resources

Many of these items can leave the pet care professional feeling inadequate, like they should have been able to do more. This is not true! The important thing to remember is that you give your best every day, and the best you can do is ALL you can do. Focus on the small things – stop trying to make a difference in the world and focus on trying to make a difference in the life of one animal. If you take your day one animal at a time, you will help to reduce your stress. If you have to perform an unnecessary euthanization, shift your focus away from feeling bad about something you have no control over to feeling positive about something you do. For example, instead of making yourself suffer because you had to put down a healthy animal, take comfort in knowing that you at least provided that animal with a painless, dignified exit from this world rather than it starving to death, getting run over in the streets, or suffering from a deadly disease.

You as a pet care professional make a positive difference in an animal’s life everyday. This is more than enough for the animal, why shouldn’t it be enough for you?

The staff at Animals at Heart thanks you for your compassion, your care,  and your never-ending efforts to improve the lives of animals everyday. We hope we can give something back to you for all you give everyday.