Compassion Fatigue is a well known syndrome to those who work in the medical field or social services field. More recently, it has been recognized to also affect workers in the fields of animal rescue, shelter care, veterinarians, and others in the animal industry. My first awareness of the term came when I was reading the book Cat Daddy, by Jackson Galaxy. Galaxy knew passion, and he also knew compassion fatigue.
Petfinder.com has a comprehensive list of activities for the relief of compassion fatigue among workers in animal fields.
Although those of us who are writers may not physically work in animal fields such as shelters or rescue groups, our need for relief from compassion fatigue is very real too. The same need is felt by for cat caregivers who care for senior cats and other special needs cats.
My very passion for the topics listed above leads to symptoms of compassion fatigue. I feel sadness and sympathy, then anger and frustration when I read of all the comments about cats killed in streets in this blog. Anger and frustration because I have failed to impart the message that keeping cats indoors is better all around.
It breaks my heart to read all the memorials readers post, because I know how it feels to lose a beloved cat.
It is terribly frustrating, because all I want to do is to make a difference in the world of cats. But then I remember the story about The Starfish Thrower, and I'll continue to throw starfish into the sea for as long as I am able.