Sometimes, being with our animal friends or working as an animal-care professional is the most joyful part of our life. And sometimes, it’s heartbreaking.


Compassion is the innate love that flows through animal lovers. Compassion makes it possible for us to give animals happy homes, advocate for them and work with them.


But when animals are a big part of our lives, we can experience multiple and frequent losses—we may have to say goodbye to a pet, find a new home for a foster or rescue dog, care for animals who have been abused or make decisions about euthanasia. When this happens, it’s actually healthy—though painful—to feel grief. It’s how you know your heart is working.


As animal lovers, we may also struggle to get along with people (animals can seem so much less complicated!) and try to take on more work than is humanly possible. Sometimes in our zealous desires to help animals, we become disappointed in people and make negative judgments about them.  We unintentionally create an unwelcoming atmosphere that turns people away from joining our lifesaving efforts.


When the pain of loss and stress add up, sometimes we block that flow of compassion. When our flow of compassion is blocked, we get depleted. That feeling of depletion is called compassion fatigue, burnout, secondary trauma or ongoing grief. It affects your whole health, your relationships and your enjoyment of life.


But while grief is unavoidable for folks who work with animals, compassion fatigue is not. In fact, compassion is your golden ticket: In my private and group workshops, you’ll learn how to keep compassion flowing through your heart so you can continue to do the lifesaving work you love.


Grief is more than something to get through. It’s an invitation to experience life fully and deeply. It enhances your capacity to love, strengthens your ability to face challenges and gives you confidence in your resilience.

Like our animal friends, we understand each other best when we observe each other’s body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and energy levels. While online resources offer much-needed support, nothing compares to the replenishing power of connecting in person as we navigate together through each unique situation and set of challenges.

If you'd like to schedule a private or group workshop to refresh your compassionate heart, contact me!

Dr. Linda Harper

Consultants in Applied Psychology

11900 Southwest Hwy., Ste. 201

Palos Park, Il 60464

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