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TACT Caregivers Fatigue Counseling Services

Anne Lindsay

By Anne Lindsay, M.A. Counseling Psychology

A few years ago Julie Robitaille had attended one of my compassion fatigue workshops for animal welfare professionals. After the workshop Julie approached me and told me that all the information that I presented was exactly what she was feeling many years earlier when she was at the most turbulent time with her own reactive dog AJ. She told me about the work she was doing with TACT and asked if I would be willing to work with her to create a TACT Caregivers Fatigue Program for her students.

Thinking this was a worthwhile program I happily agreed to start carving out a program specifically for reactive dog owners. When Julie approached me about working with TACT clients who have caregivers fatigue it felt like a natural extension of the work I have already been doing.

I came into the world of animals in 1988. I am a "rescuer." For 12 years I was Director of Special Projects for a large shelter in Massachusetts. I have been on many boards of directors of animal-related organizations. Over the years I have witnessed the emotional suffering of animal professionals and volunteers. In 2000 I founded Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC) as away for "animal people" to connect and find kindred spirits.

In 2003 I participated in a workshop offered by Humane Society of the United States, where I earned a diploma as an "Animal Care Compassion Fatigue Specialist." The workshop provided the tools and research necessary to better understand and help people in the animal welfare field who often experience severe compassion fatigue and need support and guidance.

Over the years I have offered my consulting services for compassion fatigue workshops, team building, and coalition building to animal shelters, humane societies, local and statewide communities, and boards of directors. I am eternally fascinated by the people who love and help animals.

Because I wanted to help even more, I earned a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology (with a specialty in Trauma) from Lesley University in May of 2010. I continue to offer my consulting services. I am also a Clinical Instructor in Pet Loss and Euthanasia for the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School Veterinary Medicine at Tufts.

The fact is that caregivers, no matter who they are, can struggle with their emotions when it comes to dealing with animals. Veterinarians, vet techs, shelter workers, animal control officers - and people like you - people with challenging dogs. People like you may be tired, embarrassed, frustrated and desperate. And they often don't know where to get help and support.

I, too, have been through hell and back with some of my own dogs. I have lived every inch of what you are experiencing. It's lonely and isolating and hard for others to understand.

Dog trainers sometimes don't often know how to deal with a client who is emotional over his challenging dog. A veterinarian may not know what to say to a client who is struggling with her dog's behavior. Animal shelters normally don't have resources to help the humans with their emotions associated with their challenging dogs.

That's why I am offering workshops, one-on-one sessions, and webinars to try to help. There is a community of people like you who are struggling as much as you are. Join them as I work with you through the process of discovery and healing.

Please feel free to contact me directly.