Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password. We don’t always do this on purpose, but sometimes when we do not understand a situation we are quick to throw stones. The euthanasia of animals is particularly distressing with many reporting sadness, anger, depression, and traumatic stress symptoms in response to participating in the procedure (Rohlf & Bennett, 2005). It’s sleepless nights, exhaustion, acute sadness, depression, isolation from friends, a life that feels out of balance, rides on emotional roller-coasters, and anger towards people in general for the terrible ways in which they treat animals. It is never our right to judge their efforts, because we only see what exists at surface level. Accessibility Statement, Privacy Further, for those who work in open-admission animal shelters, who are both on the receiving end of great numbers of 'cast off' animals as well as the happy circumstance of finding many animals homes, the ones that don't make it out of the system alive weigh heavily on their hearts and minds. This takes perseverance, dedication and, most of all, thick skin. You’ve dedicated your life to making a positive difference for animals. Copyright © 1995-2020 Psych Central. Required fields are marked *. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the problem of compassion fatigue in the helping professions, including animal welfare. This asynchronous course begins on September 28, 2020. And while that point of view does have validity, it risks suggesting that shelter life is either/or...you can either suck it up and deal or maybe you should leave. What is my problem? Outstanding Council Animal Shelter 2020 Winner, Community Education and Outreach Program 2020 Winner, Refuel Digital Technology Award 2020 Winner, Advocate® People’s Rescue Story Finalists 2020, Drontal® Foster Carer Story Finalists 2020, Outstanding Council Animal Shelter 2019 Winner, Community Education and Outreach Program 2019 Winner, Advocate® People’s Rescue Story 2019 Winner, Advocate® People’s Rescue Story Finalists 2019, Advocate People's Rescue Story finalists 2020, Advocate® People's Rescue Story Finalists 2019, Drontal Foster Carer Story finalists 2020, JETPETS COMPANION ANIMAL RESCUE AWARDS WINNERS 2020 REVEALED, Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2020 FINALISTS revealed, Rescue Awards is back to encourage and inspire rescue when needed most. Everyone responds differently to these stresses and everyone has different coping skills available to them. But what about the next animal, and the animal after that? Will this course really make a difference? Their essential lack of power, as studies on internal vs. external locus of control would suggest, could mean that for some volunteers (particularly the seasoned folks who are privy to the inner workings of the shelter), the experience of stress may even be higher. Founded by Patricia Smith, its mission is “to promote an awareness and understanding of Compassion Fatigue and its effect on caregivers.“. After all, when people are in trouble, so are their animals. And sadly, brushing that off at the end of the day is no easy task. However, if you don’t learn to manage the stress associated with helping others, your compassion satisfaction can slowly fade, leaving you feeling angry, depressed, anxious, physically exhausted, and emotionally drained. It's not that folks in animal welfare don't recognize stress in each other (although sometimes they might attribute the effects of stress to someone's temperament, not realizing that they are not normally so snarky, cold or cranky), it's that they don't necessarily know what to do with it once they see it. The condition has been increasingly identified as a threat to the well-being, health, and even lives of people who work with animals. I jumped in the deep end as a shelter volunteer a while back and now I'm a pet sitter with quite a cast of canine characters in my life on a daily basis. Trust may not come easily. People who rescue animals from hoarding situations know the horrors of animal abuse all too well. There are those saints who seem to fall into lives of service naturally, with just the right perspective and requisite spiritual fortitude, but for the rest of us ordinary saps, we need to grow into our humanity. Regardless of whether our roles carry an official status or are 'merely' voluntary, we all need the opportunity to cultivate our resilience, and we need permission to sit, supported, as we contemplate the actions of our fellow humans, for good or for ill, as we each find our way to answering the essential question of how much we can bear. You can feel depressed and want to quit your job, feeling stuck in depression. (Tiesman, et al., 2015) In fact, recent research revealed that an alarming one in six veterinarians has considered suicide (Larkin, 2015). One minute feeling angry, the next minute numb, the next minute sad, the next minute depressed. Compassion fatigue and burn out are serious issues in charities, perhaps none more so than in animal rescue organisations. After all, when people are in trouble, so are their animals. Employees of animal-related charities, such as shelters that euthanize unwanted pets, can also be hit hard by compassion fatigue -- and contribute to high annual turnover rates at some shelters. Animal shelter workers in the Sacramento area are learning how to cope with “compassion fatigue,” a condition associated with the emotionally draining … Most recent post: Sundae — Petraits Rescue, Most recent post: Not all heroes wear capes: The Anti-Cruelty Society Fosters, Most recent post: Foster the Possibilities: Learn How Fostering Pets Saves Lives, Chicago Cubs news and comprehensive blog, featuring old school baseball writing combined with the latest statistical trends, Pets available for adoption in the Chicago area. All these things let, them work with others in a more productive way, and not repeat the cycle of burnout by taking all the responsibility for everything on their own shoulders.”, The course has also allowed those in leadership roles to take what they learn back to their workplaces and improve communications and well-being for everyone on their team. Remember, people enter this field primarily to take care of animals, not necessarily to take care of each other. It sounds like an easy choice. I’ve worn both the boots and the sandals — that’s jargon for working on the law enforcement side and the shelter side — and I’ve seen my fair share of trauma. Unlike physicians for humans, or psychologists or counselors, people in the animal care field, specifically in shelters and rescues, can be caring for up to 500 animals a day in some cases. May be having nightmares or flashbacks (where you repeatedly see images of suffering animals from the past). May notice your usual high productivity is now low, or you are frequently late to work, or accident prone. It’s important to note that compassion fatigue is neither an illness nor a mental disorder. Compassion Fatigue in the Animal-Care Community is a must-read for animal shelter employees, volunteers, and board members veterinarians, and veterinary practice and veterinary hospital staffs wildlife rehabilitators breed-rescue or equine-rescue volunteers. https://www.wellbeingintlstudiesrepository.org/ebooks/5, Animal Studies Commons, He believes that it is the sheer volume of animals, of beings, that animal care workers deal with on a daily basis. That’s why the Maddie’s ® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida is once again offering its Compassion Fatigue Strategies online course with certified compassion fatigue educator Jessica Dolce. COVID-19: How shelters can open safely for staff and the public, This page uses Google Analytics (Google Privacy Policy). You may have problems relating to your co-workers or the public. For someone that dedicates their life or a large portion of their life to rescuing and rehabilitating animals, it is no easy feat. When I'm not cleaning dog nose prints off my trifocals, I'm also working on a series of memoir essays and sharing photography and waxing philosophic over at Small Graces. You cannot imagine the fear that strikes in the heart of many a volunteer. About Shit... (insert quick eye dabbing here)...if they see me crying...God, what if they tell me I can't do this anymore? Most importantly, if anyone recognises CF signs and symptoms, please remember that you are not alone and support is available. “Those things don’t fix compassion fatigue.”. advice, diagnosis or treatment. You may start abusing alcohol, food, drugs (or doing other destructive behavior) to suppress your feelings.