The Path Ahead Animal Shelter Consulting

The official blog of The Path Ahead Animal Shelter Consulting

Infrastructure building, Lifesaving programs, Management team support

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's resolutions for animal shelter professionals.

You've heard them all before, and probably made a few yourself. Among the top ten most common New Year's resolutions are: lose weight, quit smoking, save money. While these are all great ideas, they are soon tossed aside, but why? Lifestyle. One doesn't overeat, smoke, and spend money for no reason; if that were true, these habits would be easy to break. Instead of resolving to change symptoms, take a look at your life.

Burnout is huge in our industry. HUGE. In no other profession do people spend every waking moment working or thinking about their work. So many of us spend all day at an animal shelter with all its stressors: the endless rows of barking dogs, the cats reaching out of the cage bars crying, the emotional members of the public, the euthanasia, the impossible decisions that must be made every day. But it doesn't end there. Many shelter professionals go home and continue on the phone, email, and social media, networking animals in need of rescue into the wee hours of the morning. Days off? Those are spent transporting animals to rescue and spending personal funds paying for vet bills or buying supplies that the shelter can't afford. Day, week, month, year after year this continues without a break ... or, until you break. Depression, addiction, and suicide are dis-proportionally high in animal shelter professionals (including volunteers and rescue workers). Please, stop and take an honest look at yourself, reach out to those you trust -- because your family and friends will probably say you are neglecting them -- ask for help before it's too late.

Make a New Year's resolution to take care of you. Go to the movies, visit friends, take a bike ride, do anything not involving animal rescue for a day. Do it for yourself, but also for the animals. See, the best people are the ones who burn out, and we don't want to lose you.

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