Helping animals while avoiding burnout

For shelter volunteers and workers, exposure to animal cruelty is unavoidable, but the “The Power of Joy in Giving to Animals” outlines how to focus on the positive aspects of animal advocacy.

Longtime animal rights advocates Linda R. Harper, Ph.D., and Faith Maloney, know the joy that you feel when a rescue goes right. They also understand how hard burnout can be. That is why they collaborated on the book, The Power of Joy in Giving to Animals (CAP Publishing).

Harper, has spent the majority of her professional career counseling groups and individuals on how they can fully embrace and experience all that life has to offer. She also hosts workshops on loving and caring for animals — specifically for people who work for and on behalf of animals.

She and Maloney, who is one of the co-founders of Best Friends Animal Society, lead the Giving Heart Retreat at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Maloney is also a consultant for all aspects of animal care at the Sanctuary’s clinic and adoption programs.

Their goal is a lofty one. They both want to “Save them All,” a campaign that Best Friends Animal Society launched to rescue animals. Their sights are also set on helping people. The two met back in 2001 at a No More Homeless Pets conference. “Linda showed me her book, Give to Your Heart’s Content: Without Giving Yourself Away. ‘This is it!’ I exclaimed. I knew that this was the knowledge I wanted to bring to the animal welfare movement,” said Maloney.

Their enthusiasm is felt with such statements from the book as, “I just wish we could get more people to feel more compassion for the other lives we share this earth with” and “I dream of a kinder world for all living beings.”

What makes this book work is the realism. Both Harper and Maloney share their wisdom and the experiences of their colleagues in the animal rights movement on how to create a plan, how to put it into action, how all actions — both large and small — can bring about positive change, and how to stay involved.

So many people who do rescue often let the abuse they see get to them. It’s hard not to be crushed by the cruelty. It’s also essential to focus on the positive. The work that so many are doing to help change the negatives can be inspiring.

The Power of Joy in Giving to Animalsreally inspires, offers helpful advice, and is packed with examples of how easy it is to live a balanced and even enlightened life while helping others.

The Power of Joy in Giving to Animalsretails for $14.95.

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