Sometimes I feel like I need a break

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Changing one- mind at a time - APBT style
Barked: Sat Dec 22, '12 5:09pm PST 
I know I started doing rescue and still do to help the least adoptable animals. But it's becoming really emotionally distressing when I get dogs that have a lot of serious issues. Eventually they improve but it takes years and a lot of energy. Sometimes I just want to take a break, or just for once get a dog that has already been properly socialized with people/other animals and if nothing else recall, leash, and house trained. Just once.

I would love to be able to raise a puppy, raise one right. I'm not saying going out and buying one even, but getting one from another rescue that knows the temperament of the mother at least if not the father too. Some days I do want a dog from a reputable breeder, but I can't bring myself to do it when there are so many dogs needing homes in shelters, rescues, being given away by their owners.

Have any of you dealt with this? I think it's called compassion fatigue. I just feel really burnt out sometimes.
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Sat Dec 22, '12 5:23pm PST 
It's called compassion fatigue, it's called burnout, and yes, it happens. It's better to take a break, do something easier, do what you need to do to keep yourself emotionally healthy, because, even looking at it solely from the welfare of the dogs and not you, you really can't help them if you're not taking care of yourself, too.

Take a break, whether that's a complete break, or taking a well-socialized dog, or a puppy from another rescue. It's not forever. It's just for now, while you need some recovery time.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Sat Dec 22, '12 5:54pm PST 
Daddy, I recently took on an elderly dog after all my "project" ones. I found it EXTREMELY rewarding and uplifting.
My guy was, fortunately, able to return to his elderly owner but I had him several months, did some major weight reduction and exercise programs and returned him a reborn dog.
It was much more relaxing and yet the feel good experience was still there. You might want to try that on for a change???


Changing one- mind at a time - APBT style
Barked: Mon Dec 24, '12 2:49pm PST 
Thank you both for commenting. I did not consider the elderly dog thing, probably because in part, part of my fatigue I think comes from specializing in elderly and special needs animals. It breaks my heart when they pass, even though I know I've given them a good life, and I feel so overwhelmed with emotion I feel like I want to stop doing rescue (I of course come to my senses, but at first it is really difficult to manage).

But you do raise a good point. I think if I found the right senior dog, that did not come to me with a lot of behavioral issues, that might help too. And some behaviors are more stressful to me, naturally; things like counter surfing, rooting through the garbage, digging holes are not as stressful to me as behaviors like animal aggression or high prey drive, and regularly urinating/defecating inside, extreme leash pulling combined with reactivity. It's not that I am unwilling to work with these behaviors, it's just that I have been with every do that has lived with me/my family and it's gotten to really make me feel worn down.
Natasha - 美花- ~Beautiful- Flower~

Let's play tag!- You're it!
Barked: Tue Dec 25, '12 3:07am PST 
I think taking on an elderly dog would be a good break for you. Not all of them have serious health issues, just minor aches and pains that come with age. The calmness could be what you need. They are a part of the hard to adopt group, so you'd still be filling in that niche. hug

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sat Dec 29, '12 12:29am PST 
I can so sympathize. But take heart, I recently grabbed a dog that I thought would have major issues. She's a dream, an absolute piece of cake. So much so that she really may be a foster fail.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 10:40pm PST 
I completely understand what you're trying to say, Daddy. Dogs can be handful most of the time, which is why it is important that you also have time and patience to deal with them. In your case of having the compassion fatigue, you might want to look for a senior dog who wouldn't be much of a trouble to you. If you've got friends who know dog owners who need someone else to care for their senior dogs, then you might want to talk to those owners.

Although I've never had a chance to adopt a senior dog, I did get one of the most obedient pups. Unfortunately, she died early.

Mischief is my- middle name
Barked: Sat Jan 26, '13 7:52pm PST 
In addition or instead of senior dogs, maybe you can put more focus on breeds that don't tend to have the more distressing issues to you.

For examples, huskies may dig but they don't tend to be dog/people aggressive (though they do have a prey drive). I'm not a "dog person" and am as happy with my mutt as I am with my new husky, but if you find the less aggressive breeds, perhaps that would help a little.

Abuse and neglect can obviously affect the stability of any dog of any breed, but work with the more resilient breeds might be a way to go for a bit.

But thank YOU for the work you do. It is appreciated.

Hoss the Boss
Barked: Fri Mar 1, '13 6:41am PST 
Senior dogs rock.