The greatness of this work

The greatness of animal welfare work is an accumulation of small gestures: food for the hungry. Warmth for the cold. An embrace for the lonely. Safety for the fearful.

Humane Society staff and the concerned public often come up against a phenomenon called "compassion fatigue." It can be emotionally draining to see another frightened creature come in the door moments after a rehabilitated one goes out with his or her new family, and it can be challenging to think beyond the 100+ animals in this building to the billions worldwide who need care.

I've been on the staff of the Humane Society of Skagit Valley since May and I can tell you that what I've learned has transformed my view of the animal welfare industry. I've learned that the small moments—walks, pats, positive reinforcement of good manners—have a HUGE effect on each and every pet. That volunteers make a real, measurable difference in animal's quality of life. That the Pacific Northwest is full of great organizations striving to give every animal a real chance at happiness. That longterm matchmaking—fitting the right pet with the right family—is more important than getting animals out the door rapidly.

As a compassionate person with a great deal of concern for each and every animal within and outside of our facility, I was afraid this work would be emotionally taxing. What I didn't count on was the emotional recharge I get each time an abused animal comes out of his shell and gives me a lick of thanks and each time a favorite dog or cat goes home with a new, loving family.

This work matters to the dogs and cats that are here today, to the dogs and cats that have gone out the door to their new lives, and to the dogs and cats that will wind up here soon.

Each act of compassion contributes to a better, kinder future.

I hope this work matters to YOU.

You can share in this work by becoming a member, making a cash or goods donation, or becoming a volunteer. Call or email to learn more.

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