I know firsthand how painful it is for animal lovers to encounter animals that are suffering, abused, neglected, dying, etc. The only way I can maintain my sanity and still perform my Animal Chaplaincy Services, which includes accompanying people to their pets’ euthanasia appointments, and not fall prey to compassion fatigue is to focus on the positive way these beloved pets are being sent off to their next state of existence. They are typically at peace, being freed of suffering by people who love them dearly. It can be and often is a peaceful, poignant experience for everyone concerned.

Now were I to have to handle the continual flood of animals to shelters, many of whom end up being euthanized before it is their proper time simply because of overcrowding or other similar constraints on the rescuers’ resources, I’d be hard-pressed to keep going. With seemingly insurmountable problems like animal overpopulation and puppy mills, it’s easy to give way to hopelessness. This article gives some great insight into the condition known as compassion fatigue. I hope anyone who works in animal rescue will take the words to heart and make sure they find ways to care for themselves so they don’t burn out. Bless you all for your efforts!—Sid

Animal Care Givers

Do you work in the animal care field? A veterinary office, animal shelter or pet rescue? Are you burnt out or approaching burnout? You’re not alone. There is a new awareness growing among people whose work is caring for animals and it is called Compassion Fatigue.

The Cost of Caring
An insightful video of how caregivers cope, by the Humane Society is viewable on the Pet Eternity site.

Compassion Fatigue is common for anyone working in a veterinary office, an animal shelter, animal control or any type of rescue organization. The sheer volume of animals that you work with who need love, care and compassion can be overwhelming. From exposure to euthanasias to animal abuse and animal abandonment, it can all just become too much.

For a more in depth explanation and signs and symptoms of Compassion Fatigue, read this article.