How Helping Others Helps You – Burnout Stories of Help

Today I would like to tell you a little story. A friend of mine inspired me to do this, and so after my Tough Times blog series I came up with a new series of blog posts, Help Others and Help Yourself. I am not claiming that you should help others with the only purpose of benefiting yourself. That is not the right reason to help at all, for then it would be self centered and not intentioned to sincerely support the one who needs it.

How Helping Others Helps You - Burnout Stories of Help

Helping others should always come from an innate desire to help and not to get publicity for your humane actions or to find approval or applause for what you did. Social media is full of genuine requests for help which often get pushed into oblivion by the attention seeking “hey, here is me doing the good deed of the day, smile for the selfie!”

taking selfies

A Little Back Story, why I Include This Topic in my Website

There are two reasons.

  1. I was a volunteer in animal rescue for twenty years. It is not easy and it is hard to get donations. I voluntarily chose to live in a rundown and poor neighborhood for nearly 10 years, so that I could save money on rent and use those savings to rescue and help animals, for those times when donations did not come in.
  2. A very close friend of mine is starting a benefit, due to his own personal experience last year. His story and the benefit will come in the next post. He and I still have to get together to discuss it and prepare the article πŸ™‚ He inspired me to include the topic of helping others and thus helping yourself.

Helping While Going Through Burnout

When I went through burnout I was still rescuing and fostering dogs and cats. It also took a toll on me, because on occasion I had to deal with deaths, abuse, and the fears of my rescues that were a consequence of the terrible experiences they had been through.


So, I decided not to rescue any more until I healed from burnout, and I would continue fostering only those animals that were already with me until they found their furever homes. One day, a colleague asked me if I could please take in two puppies who had been horribly abused. She had rescued them, but she could not keep them at her place. She knew that I rescued animals, so she came to me.

At first, I wanted to say no and refer her to one of my many contacts in the animal rescue community. I think I did call a few contacts, but no one had any room. I kept going back and forth in my mind. I knew that I did not have the mental strength to face any more fatal diseases or anything else that these puppies might come with, but I also knew that I could not abandon them to their fates … I had to help. It was nearly impossible for me to say no.

rescues and my dogs
Some of my rescues; they were wearing jackets, because it was a cold day πŸ˜‰ The two white dogs near me are mine πŸ™‚

My second thought was that perhaps I needed those puppies in my life at that moment. Puppies are sweet and loving, and maybe their love was something that would help me go through burnout too. So, I came to the conclusion that we could possibly help each other, three broken souls repairing each other.

I said yes and took in those two puppies and also a one-year-old dog my colleague had rescued. I called the one-year-old dog Teddy and the puppies were named Jenny and Prince.

Teddy’s Tree

It turned out that Teddy had distemper, which is a deadly disease. There is no cure for it. The only way to have any protection from it is through a vaccination. To prevent the spread of this disease, I immediately separated Teddy from all other dogs, and I started giving her treatment.

Teddy smileTeddy

Although there is no cure for distemper, there have been cases when dogs survived that disease, and I had hopes that Teddy could do it too, since she was in such high spirits and she was a happy girl. It was too late for her, though. One morning, I found her dead in her kennel. It broke my heart. I had fallen in love with her, she was such a sweetheart.


My colleague came and we buried her in a beautiful place under a tall tree, so her grave would always have nice shade. I picked some fruits from that tree and planted the seeds in a pot.

A year later, one of the seeds sprouted, and I had no idea that it came from that tree. I had forgotten about those seeds. Two years ago I planted the little tree on my property which I bought a long time ago, and it grew (I am now living on my property).

A few months ago, the first fruits grew from that tree, and I recognized the fruits. It suddenly dawned on me what tree it was … It was Teddy’s tree. I cried, remembering her, and at the same time grateful that I have this memory of her, this tree growing for her.

Teddy's tree

Teddy’s Tree

Jenny and Prince

Jenny and Prince were safe and healthy, but they were terrified of people. Puppies are usually playful and not easily intimidated, but these two only trusted me, and no one else. When someone came to see them, they cowered behind me, afraid to show their faces. Jenny and Prince had been through hell … and they were only two months old …

Jenny and Prince

I gave them lots of love; and slowly but surely, these little darlings opened up beautifully. They loved the toys I gave them, and they smothered me with love. They brought the light back into my life as I brought love and safety back into their lives. When I picked them up, they both covered me with kisses, always wagging their little tails.

PrinceJenny and Prince

They put on weight and their coats shone, they grew into beautiful puppies. When they were four months old, they found their furever homes in Canada (I live in Mexico), and so I got their paperwork and their traveling kennel ready, and sent them to their furever family in Canada. They both ended up really well. They live in amazing homes and they are loved.

Jenny in her furever home in Canada. Her name is now Xena πŸ™‚

I remember all of my rescues, but there are a few who stand out, and Jenny and Prince are some of them. We both helped each other, They helped me get through burnout with their love and playfulness. I helped them get over their fears and find forever homes.

Prince in his furever home in Canada. His name is now Merlin πŸ™‚

And this is only one example how helping others can help you. There are many more.

With this blog post, I would like to start a small series about how helping others helps you. Stay tuned for the next story, because it is an incredible tale of hardship, endurance, and never losing hope. I can’t wait to tell you that one.

I hoped you liked this story. If you have any comments, questions, or tips, let me know in the comment section below.

18 thoughts on “How Helping Others Helps You – Burnout Stories of Help”

  1. Definitely an Interesting post to read. It is always a good thing knowing that our actions have a direct influence on others and it can really make things a lot more easier fo others. Having a direct involvemnet in making others happy and laugh would always help us too In our own life. What you shared here is definitely a good one here. Thanks

    • Hi Nath,

      Thanks! It’s a very personal story, and ever since my friend talked to me about his initiative (which will come in the next post), I have thought about sharing this.

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. It’s a good thing you don’t live in Spain, Christine. The way some people treat dogs over here is absolutely horrible.
    During covid lockdown all of a sudden many people wanted a dog. And it took the kennels some time to guess the reason, by which time the kennels were empty. The reason was that dog owners were allowed on the streets, where everybody else was confined to their home.
    It’s not hard to imagine what happened as soon as the lockdown was loosened. πŸ™ In the best cases the dog was brought back to the kennel, but most dogs just got a kick and were thrown out on the street.
    I am allergic to dog and cat hair (even to my own hair) so I don’t have pet, but I am always horrified when I hear about these kind of treatment.

    • Hi Hannie,

      I signed many petitions regarding animal cruelty in Spain, I know it is bad there too … πŸ™ I think that Spain and Mexico have some things in common there when it comes to treatment of animals, but here in Mexico I see many improvements. Mexico City introduced a law that punishes anyone who is found guilty of cruelty against animals. Unfortunately, this is only in Mexico City, but it’s a start. Mexico also outlawed animal circuses, making it one step ahead of other countries that still allow animal circuses … In my hometown, the dog and cat street population – although still high – has decreased considerably. I am seeing much progress, so I am not giving up hope. Spain also gets lots of international pressure through online actions and petitions, so there will come changes too, I have faith.

  3. Wow I found reading your story very moving how much you helped those dogs and the sacrifices you made to do so. It is also so inspirational, I Used to volunteer for a Oxfam but after moving locaton I have not looked for a new role and after reading this I realise I am ready to do so!
    Thank you for sharing your incredible story, the world needs more people like yourself

  4. Hi Christine,

    I absolutely love this article. I agree with you completely, helping others help our mental health in ways we cannot imagine.
    When it comes to animals, I am a big lover. I think helping animals brings such happiness and well-being, there is no help more satisfying for me.
    I love your stories and how you rescued and helped these dogs.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Kind regards,

  5. Hi Christine,

    This is a very inspirational article and I totally agree that helping others definitely helps ourselves too. Even just seeing someone help another person gives us a great feeling in our bodies. So the more kindness we give, the better we will feel. The more kindness we give, the more kindness we will receive too.

    In leadership, it is a leader’s responsibility to help their people and serve their people. A lot of people think it is the other way around.

    Keep being so kind Christine and thank you for sharing such a beautiful article.

    All the best,


  6. Christine,

    First, it breaks my heart when people are cruel to animals. It’s hard to express in words how monstrous a person has to be to even be able to do the things they do to animals. I’m actually writing a post today that I’m thinking of titling – “Dogs have feelings”, or something along those lines.

    Second – there are a lot of people out there that are selfish and only do good deeds to either make themselves feel better, or to get some sort of hype or publicity from it by spreading it on social media.

    My husband and I are firm believers in Karma. See, in the winter in Alaska, we always see people on the side of the road either in a ditch, or just stuck. We help them, not because we blast it on FB or want something, we help them because it’s the right thing to do.

    True Story:
    A few years back, we were driving to the store to get just a few things and when we came to the stop light to turn right, we saw to the left a car that was way up on a hill, close to the houses that looked pretty stuck. It was very cold that night when we were driving, and we always worry about people getting cold. My husband was already in the middle of the turn, so he had to continue up the road and then turn around. We pulled in behind the car, a Dodge Journey, and as we’re getting out, we see that she’s really stuck. Buried up in the snow about 30 feet from the road, the snow is up to her door.
    My husband, who thinking we’re just running to the store really fast, is wearing only flip flops, shorts and a tank top (he’s a hot body, so he’s always in shorts, vs me, I’m always cold so I’m always bundled up), gets out, walks up the hill and knocks on the window. I see a hand that holds up a phone and kinda waves at him. He yells, “Are you sure you’re okay? I can help.”
    She rolls the window down like 1/2 an inch and says her husband is on the way. Mike (my hubby), sees from her age that her husband is most likely elderly as well and asks if she’s sure she doesn’t need help.
    During this exchange, I had rolled my window down to listen and I can tell that the woman is most likely thinking Mike is a grizzly guy there to rob her and do bad things to her. He looks like an old biker, so I will admit, he’s kind of scary looking, so I get it. Bald, super stocky and built, big arms with terrible tattoos, and a very long beard. He’s scary looking.
    So, I get out and stand in front of our truck.
    As he’s asking again if she’s sure she doesn’t need help, he gestures to the truck and says he can pull her out easily with our large Tahoe. She sees me standing down there, the opposite of my husband. Tiny girl, long hair, looks innocent all bundled up and looking like I’m about to go skiing.
    She smiles and waves at me, so I climb the hill to assess the situation better. She feels better instantly and rolls the window down all the way. She said she spun out, and wasn’t sure what to do, she just called her husband who was still 20 minutes away, but the ice that night was bad.
    I let her know that we had tow straps, and could pull her out. Just give us a moment to grab them. A look of happiness came over her face and she lit up at the thought that people were going to help her.

    We grabbed the straps and Mike started looking for the frame to her car, but all he found was plastic. Plastic breaks in cold weather and you definitely can’t pull someone out that way. The straps have to be hooked to the frame or they can snap back and really hurt someone and your car.
    Try as he might, all he found was plastic both in the front and back. Now, let’s remember, Mike’s in flip flops. So, I start getting in the snow to help him find something, but he doesn’t let me do anything that can hurt me, so he says, “No, Babe, you’re going to get cold, get up. I’ll handle this.” I’m looking back at him in his summer attire, like, seriously….I said pretty much the same thing. His response is always, he’s fine.

    Now, he’s having a hard time with this car, so asks me to find a flashlight. I go digging and found a stupid little red one that barely lights up like 10 watt bulb for a nightlight. He looks at this and is like, “This is it? I don’t have a flashlight?”
    I told him I searched everywhere, so I grab my phone instead and try using that. He asked the woman if she had a flashlight and she didn’t either. So here we are, in 4 feet of snow, under this woman’s car, well, Mike is, and I’m trying to hold this flashlight to help him out and find something to tie to.

    Finally, after 25 minutes of him being in the snow, digging under this woman’s car, he finds the frame. I’d like to remind you, he’s been in the snow this entire time. In summer clothing, helping this poor woman trapped. He dug in the snow with his hands the whole time looking for a frame to attach to, and when he finally found it, it only took us reversing the truck and pulling her out. The whole ordeal was getting under her car in this deep snow to find frame.

    As soon as we had her pulled out and in the street, her husband pulled up. He looked to be in his 70’s and she wasn’t much younger. Poor woman. Her husband got out and hugged her right away, and then hugged Mike and was so thankful we helped her out.

    The woman grabbed her wallet and tried to give Mike money, which we kindly refused but thanked her. She asked what we needed or wanted, and we said nothing, thank you again. We just wanted her safe was all.

    I’d like to note really fast, that this entire time, cars were still driving by and no one stopped, fyi. Lots of vehicles. We were on a main street for Anchorage, so it was busy.

    Then the woman asked for our address. She simply wanted to send us a Christmas, Thank You card, that was all. No money. So we gave her our address.

    Not long after, we were shoveling the driveway and we saw a vehicle pulling up on the street and stopped in front of our house. The woman and man got out and both came up and gave us hugs and wished us Happy Holidays. They said they simply wanted to say Thank You.

    The woman handed my husband a gift and said she wouldn’t take No for an answer, so he graciously took the gift. She handed me a card, and said, “Please take this.” I smiled and said, “Of course.” They drove to our home, so we weren’t going to be rude. They hugged us both again, said Thank You, looking almost teary eyed, and drove off.

    Mike opened the present and it was a very nice flashlight pack which we keep in the truck still (we still help people out of the ditches every winter).
    The Christmas Card was lovely and said something along the lines of they had lost hope for all humanity in recent years. They hadn’t seen anyone give kind gestures, or help people without a hidden agenda in a very long time, and we had brought hope back to them by our simple kindness of helping her out of the ditch.

    We see people stuck every year and every time, we stop to help. Rarely, does anyone stop to help us. Usually, as I’m attempting to deter traffic so we can pull people out (I always have to stand in the road for this), I get honked at and angry gestures. I’m not one to return the angry gestures, I usually walk right up to your window and explain we’re helping someone out of the ditch, please go around. Or, I just point if the person looks scary (in Alaska, we get scary people up here).

    But, I know your story well, and I see it all the time. We don’t do it for any other reason but to simply help people that are helpless. I don’t post it on social media, I don’t brag, we just help them and go on about our day.

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Love your story!


    • Hi Katrina,

      That is a beautiful story! Throughout the story I kept on imagining your husband in shorts and flip flops in the snow in Alaska!! Oh my, I would have frozen …
      It is terrible to get stuck, it happened to me once after a hurricane, and my car was stuck in mud. A nearby rancher brought his tractor and pulled me out. The feeling of finding help in such a situation is incomparable … I can just imagine the woman’s relief when you and your husband helped her. It’s wonderful that you do that for people. Nowadays, many just drive by, it is sadly true. I have seen it on several occasions as well.
      It was very sweet that the couple gave your husband a new set of flashlights, now you are better equipped to help more people in the Alaskan winters πŸ™‚

  7. Hi, Christine,

    What an inspiring story! I can relate to it. I used to become too attached to people and pets, so I had to learn how to stop doing that, but that’s a different story.

    As human beings, we’re different and the same at the same time. We may come from different countries, speak different languages, have different political and religious beliefs, but in the end, we’re all human beings.

    As you mentioned, we should help others because it comes from the heart, not because we’re looking for recognition or some other benefit. When we help others, we get satisfaction, and that’s something hard to describe but definitely valuable.

    However, there are times when I don’t feel able to help. We cannot give what we don’t have. If we’re not doing well, it can be hard or even impossible to help others.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to reading the next post.

    • Hi Enrique,

      I can certainly relate. There are times when you may not be in a position to help. That probably happens to many of us. When it is possible, though, providing help from the bottom of your heart to someone who needs it is indeed invaluable for the one receiving help and also for the one who is helping. You feel good about yourself, and sometimes the one you helped ends up helping you with something important too. There are so many beautiful stories I read about πŸ™‚
      Thank you for your comment!

  8. Oh Christine, you are a wonderful person and looking at how you have helped these dogs is just something that I reckon is wonderful. I like it and I like your story. I am really touched by you. The fact that you had to take a lifestyle change because you wanted to rescue animals. You’re a true example of helping without wanting anything in return. Good stuff


Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)