HomeAnimal Rescuecat rescuerCompassion fatigue: Animal rescuers can’t save them all and the stress is taking its toll


Compassion fatigue: Animal rescuers can’t save them all and the stress is taking its toll — 10 Comments

  1. I had a woman pull the political, race and religion card on me in one encounter. I would not give in to her request. I was going by the instructions we were given by the Board and the Director of our center. I have had people threaten to leave the animals in a kennel after hours or just dump them in the street because we could not take them due to the fact we were almost over the alloted number of animals we were allowed to take in. Sad to say , I gave my notice and left shortly thereafter. I do miss it but I could not handle the stress. I have since adopted 2 more so I now have three.

  2. It is so important for rescuers to realize that they are important, too, and to set boundaries. It was hard but I did it.

  3. Rescue fatigue, compassion fatigue, whatever you call it, is brought on by humans, not the animals intended to be saving. Every time an animal is failed, humans are to blame on one or more levels. It will literally take all of us to save them all. If we took out the human emotions of greed, anxiety, envy, jealousy, and the pure rage, our rescue circle would shine brighter. When rescuers talk about the general public and what they lack in helping us to help the animals, all that really is lacking is education.

    I often think of compassion fatigue and how much it wears at me. Everyone I lose gets a piece of my heart. Everyone I save, gives a piece back. We all need balance. We need clear minds. Most of us run around like ADHD is a rescue thing only. If all of us feel we don’t have the time to mentor someone, make that time. When we educate, they educate. Not one voice can be heard alone, but together our voices sound like we’re screaming, and yes, we are in pain.

  4. What we see everday will tear you to pieces. It will tear you down physically and emotionally but we do what we do for the love we have. Keep fighting the fight my fellow rescuers because they need us.

  5. Interesting that today I had a short conversation with the AC of another county and some other people in line about the mental burden of not being able to take all of the home and save their lives.
    The first rule of animal rescue is that no animal in your care should be given less to take on more. It’s a hard line to take but I remind myself at least once a day that no there is no way I can take in another cat. And it hurts but our first duty is always to those already in our care. People are morons in my opinion they get a kitten or puppy from some one and fail to use free S/N programs and then when the inevitable happens of unwanted litters or behavior issues they want a no kill rescue to take their self made problem. Companion animals are a responsibility they are not the source of endless feel good emotions and love. They are dirty messy little beasts that will eat into your house hold budget and destroy something priceless at some point they require daily care usually on multiple levels. They are supposed to be the recipients of your unconditional love not the other way around.

  6. It’s really hard to have to say no to people in the first place. As rescuers it’s our passion, our goal to save lives. We have no number that once we reach we stop. We never stop. But sometimes “we’re at capacity and cannot accept cats at this time” is met with veiled or blatant threats/guilt trips such as “guess they’ll just die at the shelter” or “well I hope nothing gets them cuz I can’t bring them in” like it’s EXPECTED that a rescue take in every request. Or they want to throw money in your face like that makes a space magically appear. I find a lot of folks who end up emotionally fatigued quickly that some don’t often think about (if you’re in or ever been in a rescue you probably do get this) the volunteers who handle the messages. The requests that come in by the handful or more, everyday, that have to be told no. We cannot help them all. But we can do all we can for those we do save.

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