Happy August everyone!
For the month of July two (2) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. For some strange reason we are getting a massive influx of senior chinchillas that everyone keeps passing over for the younger ones. These old guys need a soft place to land and a short(er) term commitment. If you have it in your heart and home to offer some seniors a final resting place, please contact Whimsy after looking over the adoptions information.
But today I want to share with you something very personal: Compassion fatigue. It’s a thing.
Up until recently, I thought I had become a middle aged, forever single, slightly overweight, bunny hugging curmudgeon. Get off my lawn!
It wasn’t until I learned that my ever-increasing grumpiness is a direct correlation to the repeat issues I encounter with my job. Compassion fatigue (AKA Secondary Trauma) is a type of numb bitterness that comes with chronic stress. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I just sometimes don’t love the things I have to confront. For example, we operate as a rescue. Rescues do not condone breeding, particularly by those who just want to make cute babies using their family pets. Yet…we still get folks who unashamedly contact us looking for cheap breeding stock. SMH.
Compassion fatigue runs rampant in the helping professions, including the animal care community. This is the reason why many rescues fizzle out so quickly. We are the last resort. The dumping ground. The place to deposit all the unwanted/child outgrown/oops litters/moving and didn’t consider pet rules/don’t have time and feel guilty/or owner deceased pets. On rare occasion, we meet with owners who have made every possible effort to keep their beloved pet, but circumstances beyond their control simply become real. I can feel the depression washing over again. Can you?
It’s not uncommon to feel like we rescue workers are fighting a losing battle. Sometimes I feel alone in this mission. It’s like having PTSD when I hear from owners who tell me that their new chinchilla is suddenly not eating their vegetables. Or when a person's chin is lethargic after "playing in their plastic run-a-round ball". Or when someone emails asking for instructions on how to pairbond their m/f chinchillas. Or hearing from paniced owners who discover kits in the cage. Or when we see Facebook posts from those who think it’s funny to troll. Even still, the thing that keeps us going is you...well, most of you.
What is like an emotional high are the words of support and hearing from repeat (and new) customers. When I see familiar names come across my inbox, it’s like a virtual hug. Work helps keep my hands busy, which helps keep my emotions in check and my mind from wandering. And I love seeing those who adore their pets spoil them in the way they deserve. Filling your orders gives me a sense of satisfaction that there are good hearted owners who want nothing but the best for their chinchilla. And it’s my pleasure to offer my best. So, thank you all for your support. Thank you for the beautifully written emails and encouragement for our rescue efforts. Thank you for loving our Whimsy original products. And thank you for spreading the word about our store and the chinnies who need permanent homes. Our fellow chinnie friends help ease the effects of compassion fatigue and make this mission totally worth the effort.