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Compassion fatigue

Compassion fatigue is real, and the stress of animal welfare work can negatively affect morale and job performance and ultimately lead to high staff turnover. Here you'll find resources to help you support your team and strengthen your compassion resilience.

  • Got compassion fatigue?

    Before coming to The HSUS over five years ago, I spent about 11 years working in two different shelters in Washington state, where I live. I wore about fifty different hats, managing volunteer programs, foster care, outreach and education programs, and doing just about every shelter task there is, from intakes to adoptions, and from cleaning cages to euthanasia. Being a “shelter person” wasn’t just a job for me; it was my identity. It was hard, it was often frustrating and even heartbreaking, but it was all I wanted to do.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Compassion fatigue

  • Magazine Article

    Handle with care

    Compassion fatigue expert offers advice for animal welfare workers

    When Jennifer Blough first felt compassion fatigue, she had never heard the term. She was a lifelong animal advocate—she became a vegetarian at a young age, followed her grandmother to animal rights protests and got a job as an animal control officer—but she had never heard anyone mention the issue. So when she burned out from her job in 2012, she had no idea what was wrong with her.

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  • Magazine Article

    The high cost of caring

    How can we combat drug and alcohol abuse in the animal welfare field?

    Those who work in caring fields are especially susceptible to alcohol and substance abuse, and the animal welfare field, where emotions can run high and staffers often put animals’ well-being before their own, is no exception. How can you recognize and combat flawed coping strategies in your co-workers—and how can you take better care of yourself?

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  • Magazine Article

    When love isn’t enough

    Rescue isn’t all heartwarming success stories, and sometimes hard cases call for tough decisions

    With his wagging tail and happy demeanor, the golden retriever-spaniel mix looks like a friendly, approachable dog. And for a brief moment, he is.

    “You can pet him for about two seconds, and then he’ll nail you,” says Karen Deeds, a trainer and certified dog behavior consultant in Fort Worth, Texas.

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