Compassion In Fashion

by Houndstooth on

At work, my colleagues and I have been learning about compassion fatigue this past week.  If you are unfamiliar with the term, it has to do with people who come into contact with those in trauma with great frequency.  People in the medical profession often experience it, as well as those in my profession, which is teaching.  Basically, it means that after you’ve seen a certain level of pain and suffering in other people, you become hardened to it.  It’s one of the main reasons that many people leave the teaching profession, especially in their first years on the job.  In a profession where most people go into it because they care about people and want to help them, compassion is in fashion all the time.  Sometimes, you just can’t turn it off when you need to.

Paw In Hand -- Tales and Tails

Paw In Hand

You might be wondering where this is going on a dog blog, and I’ll tell you.  As social media brings us closer together, it also makes it easier to share things that are near and dear to us.  My guess is that many of the people reading this have known someone online who constantly posts dogs needing help, either to find a home or for medical bills.  You may have even unfriended or stopped following some people who constantly flooded you with posts that made you cringe or lose sleep because they feel that everyone needs to see and share each animal that needs help.  There are even shelters and animal welfare agencies that do the same thing, running commercials that make you feel like you need an entire box of tissue before it’s over.  It feels like the need is everywhere and that we will never be able to help everyone.

After a couple of really tough weeks at work and in my personal life, I saw one of those commercials and it made me feel like the life was being sucked right out of me.  There has to be a better way to get people to pledge help, time, money and dedication than running ads like this.  A commercial that showed someone having the best Saturday of their life out with their newly adopted dog would motivate me a lot more.  If it were cleverly done and engaging, I’d be a lot more likely to share it, too.

The Visitor -- Tales and Tails

The Visitor

I’m thinking that maybe we need to take a page from our dogs’ books, too.  My dogs don’t suffer from compassion fatigue.  They aren’t worried about all the ills of the world that they can’t fix.  They care about cheering me up after a long day, but they aren’t losing any sleep if other people in the world are down.  Suffering in others doesn’t make them feel stressed or anxious.  They may not look at the bigger picture, but they see the part of it that matters to them.  I love them for the unique way that they do see the world, and oftentimes, I think they have the right idea.

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posted in dogs | 4 Comments

  • Sue Dyer

    Totally agree with you. The Greyhound kennels where I got Honey from is small and whilst she can take 12, she tries to keep it to six. She has a few volunteers, but at times it’s just her, so six is enough. She never tries the sympathy vote for getting the dogs homed. Instead she tells you what fantastic pets they can make. She tells people about each dogs characteristics and does a great job getting the right dog with the right person.

    Sending you heaps of positive thoughts and hugs. Sue, Polly & Honey

  • Cindy Gingrich

    I understand and agree with you completely! I do feel that Facebook tends to see a comment on a post meaning that you want more of the same — so offering a comment on a sad or horrible post brings you more sad and horrible posts. Ugh. Oh, to be a dog — it’s today and now for them. And if sadness strikes, they find a way to be happy. Maybe that’s why humans are so attracted to them ~

  • Vicky

    I hope you are able to relax with Flattery and Bunny this weekend and rejuvenate before going back to work next week. I think dogs do have the right idea – make a positivie difference in your little part of the world. If everyone would do that, the “world” would be taken care of.

  • Cindy Grant

    That’s where canine’s strenght prospect! Their greatest power is the way they can sympathize us while wishing to cheer us up all the time. They’re happy if we’re happy, and if we’re sad, well, they wouldn’t let us to keep being sad. In all, I couldn’t agree more with you. I wish there would be the right dog for the right person for everyone of us!
    Cheer!!