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"Rescuers Need Rescue, too." > > By Chandra Moira Beal > > Animal rescue is deeply rewarding yet extremely difficult work. To > survive in this realm, one must find healthy ways to cope with the > emotional challenges. Here are 10 points to ponder. > > 1. You can't save them all. Even if you spent every hour of every day > working to save animals, you still wouldn't be able to save them all. > Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your efforts. > > 2. Work smarter, not harder. Manage your rescue efforts like a business. > Organize tasks to make the best use of time. For example, time spent > recruiting more volunteers may make more sense in the long run than > trying to do more yourself. If you find yourself pulled in many > directions, you might be more effective if you focus on one rescue > facility, one geographic locale, or one species or breed. > > 3. Just say no. Many people feel guilty when they can't take care of > everything that comes up. Be realistic about how much you can handle! If > you're feeling overwhelmed, it's okay to say, "I can't right now." > Delegate to others when possible, and ask for help when you need it. > > 4. You are making a difference. Whenever you question whether you're > helping very much, remember the old parable about the man walking on the > beach, picking up starfish who have washed ashore and tossing them > gently, one by one, back into the ocean. Another man approaches, notices > that there are starfish on the beach for as far as the eye can see, and > asks, "What difference can you possibly make when there are so many?" > Looking at the creature in his had, the first man replies, "I can make > all the difference in the world to THIS starfish." > > 5. Celebrate victories. There are happy endings to many rescue stories. > Rejoice in what is working. Of course, seeing an animal go home with a > loving family is the greatest reward of all. > > 6. Small kindnesses do count. It's common to think that small efforts > don't mean as much as large victories, but stopping to pet an animal, > even for just one minute is worth doing. Your touch may be the only > friendly attention he or she receives that day. Grooming, holding and > comforting,or intoning softly that you care, are activities that many > shelters don't have time for. > 7. Find outlets for emotional release. Rescue work can be physically > exhausting, emotionally draining and spiritually challenging. Don't > dismiss your feelings or think you're a wimp for being affected by it > all. Talk to someone you trust about what you're experiencing. Cry when > you need to. Write your feelings in a journal. Channel your emotions > into action by writing to the editor of your newspaper or your local > representatives about the need for animal protection legislation. > > 8. Take care of yourself. Make time to do whatever makes you feel good. > Take a relaxing bath, or go out to dinner and let someone else do the > cooking. You need to recharge your batteries in order to maintain mental > and physical health. > > 9. Don't downplay your compassion. When people ask me why I rescue > animals, often I'm tempted to say, "Oh, it's not big deal" or > "Somebody's got to do it," when in reality I rescue animals because I > care so deeply about them. Compassion is healthy, normal and necessary > for this work. Let people know how important this cause is to you. You > just might inspire others to become involved. > > 10. Never give up. When you get discouraged, it is tempting to throw in > the towel. Despite all your hard work, you may not see real change in > your lifetime. Still, giving up won't make it any better. Take a break, > and come back fighting. And remember the man and the starfish. > -------------------------------------------- > > The author is a writer who lives here in Austin. She has done alot of > rescue, including rabbits. > > > Laura Walker - LMWALKER@prodigy.net > Border Collie Rescue Texas, Inc. - BCResTX@bigfoot.com > http://www.bcrescuetexas.org > > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Get a NextCard Visa, in 30 seconds! > 1. Fill in the brief application > 2. Receive approval decision within 30 seconds > 3. Get rates as low as 2.9% Intro or 9.9% Fixed APR > http://click.egroups.com/1/5197/14/_/231261/_/961990472/ > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > > Border Collie Rescue Texas, Inc. is dedicated to saving, rehabilitating, and rehoming unwanted, abused, neglected Border Collies. By cooperating together we will save more of the Breed we love. >

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