“Animal care professionals are some of the most pain-saturated people I have ever worked with. The very thing that makes them great at their work, their empathy and dedication and love for animals, makes them vulnerable.”
“Success stories are not always possible. This is often due to medical reasons, behavioral issues, or most tragically for rescue workers, a lack of space”
Both are quotes from Regina Lizik’s excellent blog about compassion fatigue “The Fatal Epidemic Of Animal Care Workers That No One Is Talking About” . That post really resonated with me because my inbox is full daily from people crying out for help and I am not alone. The situation in animal welfare here in Sri Lanka and especially around the rescue / rehoming groups is at a crisis point. More and more people here in Sri Lanka have internet and can reach out for help , often to the same few people / groups , the groups with space to take in dogs are full , the private boarding kennels they use are full , the vets kennels they use are full, the foster homes are full.
What these groups need is practical help , they need foster homes , and potential adoptors , what they don’t need is guilt trips or being told dogs are dying because they can’t respond
Lets get this straight now
Dogs are not dying because the groups are not responding , they are dying due to poor / no ownership / guardianship , they are dying because people don’t sterilise their dogs and unwanted dump puppies , they are dying because hotels and councils move unwanted dogs to new areas as part of “beatification schemes” they are dying because people value imported “pedigree” dogs over Sri Lanka dogs , because people don’t want to adopt a less than perfect puppy thats the “right” colour , they are dying because we have a chronic shortage of good quality ethical vets here which has been made worse by 150 vets leaving to government service desk jobs in the last 6 months.
I know it hurts to see an animal suffering on the roadside/ or a photo on the internet , so do all my animal welfare colleagues here in Sri Lanka most of whom like me work totally unpaid. What I am asking is please , when you see an animal suffering ask your self what you can do to help the groups you ask for help , can you adopt , can you foster , can you transport , can you help find a safe home , can you find a local vet that a group might be unaware of and contact them directly to help, can you take the dog food and medication daily , can you donate , can you fundraise ?. Can you please remember that the people you talk to online are people like you with emotions and feelings and those people are already facing daily a huge amount of incoming message about animals in distress
Lets not forget to look after each other , compassion fatigue is real and it can have devastating consequences.