Compassion Fatigue & Self Care

The pandemic caused a great deal of stress. It stretched us and forced us to pivot quickly and change certain areas of our lives. As our communities transition through the pandemic, I hope that everyone stays safe and we reach the other side quickly. 

Before the pandemic, I had the pleasure of meeting today’s guest, Paige Lynch, for coffee. We spoke about many fascinating and relevant topics, including her work with animal rescue and her private therapy practice.   

Paige is the Compassion Fatigue Program Coordinator at Tenth Life, a cat shelter in St. Louis, Missouri. They are a rescue organization with a mission to give cats the lives they deserve, despite their limitations. In her private practice, Paige assists people in the helping profession with self-care and setting boundaries. She also leads seminars and offers resources to help those in the helping profession build resilience.

In this episode, Paige explains what goes on at Tenth Life. She also discusses the work she does as a therapist and talks about compassion fatigue. Stay tuned for more!

Paige Lynch, LPC

Paige Lynch is a licensed professional counselor in St. Louis City in Missouri. She earned her Masters in Counseling from Webster University in 2012 and has worked in a variety of settings. She now owns and operates her private practice, Lynch Counseling, LLC. Paige has developed her practice to include work with those in the helping professions, including animal rescue. Proper self-care, boundary setting, and self-compassion are primary components of her work with others. She has been a volunteer with local cat rescue, Tenth Life, for several years, where she has extended her practice as a therapist as their Compassion Fatigue Program Coordinator. She leads seminars on the topic and offers resources to the fosters and volunteers of Tenth Life, hoping to generate resilience and eliminate compassion fatigue so that everyone can continue the amazing work they do.

While sharing my life with animals, I have depended on the support of the veterinary professionals who have always been there for emergencies, routine visits, and providing education. They have also helped me make difficult medical decisions regarding the care of my pets and worked tirelessly to assist in taking care of their needs.

I was shocked to learn about the high incidences of depression, anxiety, and suicide among veterinary professionals. Even though it must be wonderful to be part of that profession, do something you love, and work with animals all day, many other factors make the everyday work in that field extremely challenging.

In this episode, I will be speaking with Dr. Carrie Jurney. Besides having worked as a veterinarian for more than twenty years, Carrie is also board-certified in neurology and is the President of NOMV (Not One More Vet), one of the world’s largest charities with a focus on veterinary well-being. Be sure to stay tuned today to hear Carrie’s story and find out about the day-to-day challenges that veterinary professionals face.

Carrie Jurney, DVM: 

Dr. Carrie Jurney has worked in veterinary medicine for well over 20 years, filling every role in the clinic from kennel attendant to practice owner. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 and was boarded in neurology in 2009 after completing a residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Since that time, she has been based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently the practice owner at Jurney Veterinary Neurology.

Her journey to working on veterinary wellness began in 2015 after helping a coworker through a mental health crisis. Shortly thereafter she joined the admin team at NOMV and began taking extensive continuing education courses in crisis intervention and compassion fatigue. She currently has over 400 hours of training and is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional. She is also a member of the inaugural class of the Veterinary Human Support Certificate Program out of the University of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work Program. She has pioneered multiple programs for mental wellness in the veterinary field, including online educational materials, and an anonymous support program for veterinary professionals in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is the current president of NOMV and a founding board member of the 501c3. While Carrie has worked at NOMV, it has grown to be the largest wellness-focused charity for veterinary well-being in the world, with over 25,000 global members.

As a passionate speaker about mental health and wellness in veterinary medicine, Carrie brings her extensive education and experience doing peer-to-peer crisis interventions to her lectures. When she is not working at NOMV or in practice, Carrie is the wife of Chris, a sculptor, amateur blacksmith, and zookeeper to two cats and an oversized dog named Max.

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I was bothered when I heard about the high rate of depression and suicide among veterinary professionals. When speaking to others about that devastating fact, they have sometimes asked me why that happens because those people are working with animals. The truth is that working with animals led them into their chosen field, but many other factors form part of their daily work that impacts them and could lead to compassion fatigue and burnout.  

Dr. Ginger Templeton is my guest for this episode. I met her through the University of Tennessee’s Veterinary Social Work program. She is a veterinarian who has a small animal practice and does post-doctoral research. She is also the host of a podcast and coaches other veterinarians to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue.

Join me today to hear Dr. Ginger’s story, and find out what she has to share about compassion fatigue and burnout.

Ginger Templeton, DVM: 

Dr. Ginger Templeton received her master’s in microbiology and DVM from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She has been practicing small animal medicine for almost 15 years. Currently, she divides her time between general practice and post-doctoral research in neuroaging and the microbiome. Dr. Templeton is also passionate about working with veterinarians and their teams to prevent and reverse burnout through personal and professional coaching. She is lucky to have a husband who is incredibly supportive of all of her interests and two fabulous teenagers, Michael and Lindsay, who definitely do NOT want to become veterinarians.

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Hello everyone. I decided to share this solo Podcast episode to reflect upon my own human experience during this recent health crisis instead of my normal content as host of the Animal Academy Podcast or solely upon my experience as a licensed clinical social worker.

This current health crisis has forced me to use my own skills and to practice what I preach as I meet with clients to help ease their anxiety and fear. But, I have to say, it’s stretching my own limits and it’s just plain hard some days. We were all hit with major lifestyle changes and it seems like it happened overnight…

The Animal Academy Self-Care Kit Checklist:

1. Keep a schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time.

2. Try and keep a routine or schedule even when working from home.

3. Plan in advance for what you need from the grocery store to avoid too many trips.

4. Find healthy recipes that you’ve always wanted to try.

5. Practice mindfulness. Watch your pets and kids and see how they enjoy even the little things.

6. Be child-like when playing. Smell the play doh, dig in the dirt, ride your bike.

7. Learn a hobby-crafts, music, gardening, grooming your animals.

8. Make fun masks to do your community activities safely in style.

9. Appreciate the small things in life.

10. When walking, just walk without thinking about anything other than what you’re seeing as you walk-green plants, smell of flowers, neighbor’s houses and decorations, etc.

11. Show compassion for others by offering help when needed. Send positive messages and keep in contact. Thank others for their help.

12. Be easy on yourself and learn to unwind.

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One of THE most important people in your pet’s life is their veterinarian. Establishing a positive and ongoing relationship with a veterinarian is so important. Just as we should follow up with our own health care, our animals require the same kind of care and monitoring. Besides taking care of my pets over the years, my dog’s veterinarians have helped me identify potential issues, provided treatment when my pets were ill, had to step in for emergency care and also provided support when faced with difficult decisions. I’m excited to have Dr. Wayne Boillat on this episode since he has provided excellent care to my pets for many, many years.

Wayne Boillat, DVM: 

Dr. Boillat graduated with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Missouri Columbia in 1990.  He is currently the Managing Veterinarian at the Veterinary Group of Chesterfield.  He is in his sixth year as a Board Member of DUO.  His professional likes include surgery, reproduction and sport medicine.  Non professional interests include playing in a band, playing with and training his three goldens and any outdoor activities.

Welcome to another episode of the Animal Academy Podcast. Taking care of another living being requires us to give a part of ourselves including our hearts. When in a caregiver role over time, it’s common for people to lose themselves in their role and not always take care of their own needs. This may result in a condition known as Compassion Fatigue.

In this episode, I will be speaking with Patricia Smith who is a certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, author of many books on this subject, presenter and the founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project.

Patricia Smith: 

Patricia Smith is a certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist with 20 years of training experience. As founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project©️ (www.compassionfatigue.org), she writes, speaks and facilities workshops nationally and internationally in service of those who care for others. She presented a TEDx talk entitled: Navigating the Path to Wellness: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving, and has authored several books including the award-winning To Weep for a Stranger: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving. Her latest book Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout Handling in Veterinary Practice is now available on Amazon.com.

I’ve had the privilege to have known many veterinary professionals, from veterinarians, veterinary nurses and veterinary technicians over the years who have provided quality care to my pets. These professionals have challenges that most people are unaware of. Besides taking care of our animals, they also have to help their human clients deal with issues such as pet loss and bereavement. There’s also a high rate of compassion fatigue and suicide among veterinary professionals, which is tragic.

During this episode of the Animal Academy Podcast, I am honored to speak with Dr. Lori Kogan and Dr. Sheri Berger so they can discuss the services they offer to the veterinary community as well as resources for pet owners.

Lori Kogan, Ph.D: 

Lori Kogan is a Professor of Clinical Sciences for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University and a licensed psychologist. She is the Chair of the Human-Animal Interaction section of the American Psychological Association and Editor of the Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, an open-access, online publication supported by Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. She is also the creator of fidofortcollins.org/, a website devoted to the dissemination of unbiased pet information. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters, and co-edited books including ‘Pet Loss, Grief, and Therapeutic Interventions: Practitioners Navigating the Human-Animal Bond’, ‘Clinician’s Guide to Treating Companion Animal Issues: Addressing Human-Animal Interaction’ and given invited presentations on topics related to human animal interactions in both psychology and veterinary medicine venues (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lori_Kogan). She is currently engaged in several research projects pertaining to the intersection of the human animal bond and veterinary medicine.

Sheri L. Berger, DVM, DACVO: 

After over­ 18 years ­of private­ practice ­experience­, includin­g serving ­as Medical­ Director ­of a speci­alty and r­eferral ce­nter in Ne­w York Cit­y, Dr. Ber­ger founde­d PetsVetS­pace, LLC (DBA VetVine) ­in 2007 an­d currentl­y serves a­s CEO and ­Chief Visi­onary Offi­cer of the­ Company. During her­ practice ­career Dr­. Berger w­orked in v­eterinary ­specialty ­centers in­ which her­ duties in­cluded the­ supervisi­on and tra­ining of o­ver 300 ve­terinary i­nterns and­ residents­ as well a­s providin­g continui­ng educati­on to vete­rinarians ­around the­ country. ­ In Februa­ry 2002, N­ew York Ma­gazine rec­ognized Dr­. Berger a­s one of N­ew York Ci­ty’s Best ­Vets in Op­hthalmolog­y! Dr. Berger­ currently lives in ­New York C­ity where she oversees operations of VetVine.

Welcome to the Animal Academy Podcast hosted by me, Allison White, a licensed clinical social worker and longtime animal enthusiast. During this 101 podcast episode, I would like to share my background story so you have a better understanding why I’ve chosen the featured guests on upcoming episodes and the services available for our animals. All that and more inside this instalment of the Animal Academy Podcast!

Allison White, ACSW, LCSW, CCDP-D:

Allison is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the field of mental health for over 27 years. She has been involved in programs that value the human-animal connection including therapy dog work, obedience, agility, conformation, herding and field work. When her dogs encountered sports-related injuries, she was introduced to the field of canine rehabilitation and sport’s medicine. Her passion has been to recognize this human-animal bond and what we can learn from animals, which improves our own quality of life by allowing us to experience their unconditional love, devotion and intelligence.

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