Why Veterinarians Are More at Risk for Foster Parent Fatigue

How Constant Foster Care Affects Vets

Chronic exposure to scenarios like these should go a long way toward explaining how I managed to bring 10 foster animals into my home in as many months. Sure, six of them included a semi-feral mama cat and her five kittens — all of whom found forever homes in six weeks flat. But four others have been really needy rescues suffering from expensive conditions and in need of serious rehabilitation.

Don't get me wrong — placing fully rehabbed pets is as joyful and self-satisfying an experience as you can imagine. But, as you might also imagine, fostering the sick is not without its immense challenges.

And given the fact that veterinarians are afforded greater opportunity to engage with the needy, while possessing the wherewithal to take on a wide range of physical and behavioral disorders, is it any wonder that more of us aren’t chronically overloaded?

Actually, I’d argue that most of us are, which predisposes vets to what we term as “compassion fatigue” because many of us have a hard time turning any pet away.

So how do veterinarians handle it?

In my experience, I’ve found that vets like me cycle in and out of offering up our homes to foster animals. But it’s not that we give up when we get stressed out, fed up and fatigued — the temporary end to our fostering careers has more to do with the fact that, at some point, our fosters find forever homes before we know it . . . with us.

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