Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Hitting the pause button

    Posted 05-03-2023 07:42 AM

    How many of you have felt the need to take a step back from your organization/work? Did you take it? Why or why not? I ask bc I am doing just that. As a small organization MOST everything falls in my lap and it's easy to get overwhelmed. So many of us get burned out by the constant nature of this work bc  we
    forget t


    Elizabeth Worthy
    The Kitty n Pittie

  • 2.  RE: Hitting the pause button

    Posted 05-03-2023 07:53 AM
      |   view attached

    Hi Elizabeth- sounds like you are going through a rough time right now. I, like probably most people in this forum, can relate to burnout in this field.

    I think it's important to remember that you do the most for animals when you are at your best, so taking time to prioritize work/life balance, really evaluating what is truly urgent versus what can wait until tomorrow, and giving yourself that grace makes you better at what you do.

    The old adage about putting your own oxygen mask on first before helping others comes to mind.  Take time to fill up your own tank so you can come back ready to go to save more lives.

    And remember, there are things in your control and things outside of your control- see attachment. I try to keep this in mind every day so I can stay focused on the things in my control, because that is where I can use my skills to make a difference.

    Alexis Pugh
    Director, Memphis Animal Services

    Organizational Management
    & Pet Support Services Specialist


  • 3.  RE: Hitting the pause button

    Posted 05-04-2023 06:13 AM

    Hi Elizabeth! It is always okay to hit the pause button!

    I too lead a smaller shelter in which most roles fall on my shoulders. It has helped me to have a strong board and specifically board president. The ability to rely on them and know they can step into my role when needed has been so helpful.

    Fight (and I mean fight) for balance. Set good boundaries and don't be afraid to schedule around your capacity for care! When things get overwhelming drill down into one moment or task at a time. Thinking of all we have to do doesn't help step at a time until you can recharge and look at the big picture again.

    Make room for planning for succession. It is comforting to know that realistically you can't make all the changes you want to but can and are making it better for the next person to come along.  Preparing for that gives you a different perspective and releases you of the burden of feeling like you have to solve all of the problems. 

    Get lost in the cat room for a couple hours and reconnect to your why! I find this extremely helpful for me. 

    Finally, trust your gut and give yourself permission to pause, it is how we reboot. Hugs from The Humane Society of Hobart! You got this!

    Jennifer Webber
    The Humane Society of Hobart, Inc.

  • 4.  RE: Hitting the pause button

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 05-04-2023 09:04 AM
    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous

    Hi Elizabeth. You are definitely not alone. I have been working through degrees of burnout for a few years now. The degree waxes and wanes and it took a while to admit that is where I am at. Finding a healthy outlet was crucial in helping, but if I'm honest it most certainly wasn't a cure. I'm finding that I am needing to set better boundaries and learn to walk away from the day knowing another minute, hour or hours will not be the solution.  My next consideration is therapy as I'm leaning more and more towards leaving the field. We are a small facility, city-funded (translate underfunded, understaffed) and it does not appear the resources will improve, but the community is growing and so is the need for more services. Maybe not the most helpful answer, but know many of us are going through this with you.