Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Community Conversations - 11/21/22 - Low Impact Debriefing 101: Sharing Our Stories Safely

    Posted 11-17-2022 04:50 PM
    Updated 11/21/22 at 3:32 pm: Recording now available to watch on-demand! After watching, enter for your chance to win a grant:

    Not all views expressed on Community Conversations are endorsed by Maddie’s Fund.

    Research shows that regular, structured debriefing conversations significantly reduces the risk of secondary traumatic stress symptoms for helping professionals working in complex-stress, trauma-exposed environments. Venting about the difficult things we experience at work is natural, but debriefing isn't what we do in the parking lot after our shift ends. To benefit from debriefing (and reduce the risk of spreading secondary trauma to our peers), we need to be intentional about how and what we share with each other. In this brief talk, we'll learn a few simple tips to help us debrief more effectively, so that we can safely reflect on and process our work experiences.

    After a short presentation by @Jessica Dolce, attendees will be randomly assigned into small groups to put her tips into practice. You'll be asked to briefly answer the following questions within your small group:
    • Introduce yourself by sharing your name, location, how many years you've been working with animals?
    • What's one thing you like to do to de-stress after work?
    • What's one of the most meaningful experiences you've had working in animal welfare?

    As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we hope you will join us in taking time to reflect on our journey and why we do what we do. Breakout room sessions will NOT be recorded and are only visible to your small group. If you can, please be prepared to be on camera during the breakout rooms. It helps to know who we're talking with in order to feel safe enough to share our stories. Breakout rooms are completely voluntary. If you're feeling emotionally vulnerable, you do not have to participate in this exercise.

    Register here for our Monday Community Conversations:

    This is our last call for November, there will not be a call on November 28 as we hope you will use the extra time for some self-care!

    If you are unable to make it live on Monday, this thread will be updated with the recording, resources and presentation slides so you can watch and share whenever you'd like. And if you're catching up on any previous calls this month, be sure to complete this entry form to enter to win a grant. You can enter to win each time you watch a recording in the month of November or when you join us live:

    About the Presenter: Jessica Dolce, MS CCFE, is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator, receiving her training from TEND Academy. She brings 20 years of experience working with and for companion animals to The Compassion in Balance ® Program, her online education platform for animal shelters. She is an instructor with The Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida where she teaches wellbeing courses for veterinary students and animal welfare professionals. Jessica has worked with organizations such as the ASPCA, HSUS, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, Best Friends Animal Society, and Animals Asia.

    Jessica holds a Master of Science in Adult and Higher Education degree, is a Certified 3 Vital Questions ® Trainer, and certified in Mental Health First Aid. She lives in Maine and can be found online at: and


    Maddie's Pet Forum Admin
    Maddie's Fund

  • 2.  RE: Community Conversations - 11/21/22 - Low Impact Debriefing 101: Sharing Our Stories Safely

    Posted 11-21-2022 12:10 PM
      |   view attached
    Thanks for having me today! I've attached a PDF with additional info on debriefing, if you'd like to learn more.

    Jessica Dolce



    Debriefing 101.pdf   544 KB 1 version

  • 3.  RE: Community Conversations - 11/21/22 - Low Impact Debriefing 101: Sharing Our Stories Safely

    Posted 11-23-2022 12:37 PM
    Thanks, Jessica!

    We appreciate all the information you've shared with us, and hope there will be opportunities for follow-ups!


    Irene Chansawang
    Grants Specialist
    Maddie's Fund

  • 4.  RE: Community Conversations - 11/21/22 - Low Impact Debriefing 101: Sharing Our Stories Safely

    Posted 11-21-2022 04:46 PM
      |   view attached
    Thanks to everyone who joined our call today and participated in our first ever breakout room sessions! We hope you were able to connect with folks you may not have connected with before and share your stories. If you missed today's call, you can watch the recording here but keep in mind that the breakout rooms were not recorded so you'll notice a much shorter recording than usual. 

    • Welcome from hosts
    • Acknowledgement about the shooting in Colorado Springs and the fear, horror and sadness that the LGBTQIA community is feeling today. We also acknowledge that many on the call, in our organizations and in animal welfare, may be feeling scared, alone and unsafe. We acknowledge that we share their sadness and horror and together we can continue to work to create safe and protected spaces. Everyone has the right to go about wherever they live feeling safe and secure.

      While many look forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we need to recognize that this is a day of mourning for Native Americans due to the centuries of racism, oppression, and violence experienced as a result of European colonization.

    • Question of the Day: What brings you comfort during difficult times?
      • "Love of family" -Mary Ellen Houghtaling 
      • "Quality time with loved ones" -Harrison Porter
      • "My fur babies!" -Yael Oppenheimer
      • "My dog and cats give me comfort" -Jeanne Wu 
      • "really bad dad jokes" -Bobby Mann
      • "Music, always music." -Dylan Moore
      • "My strong community of friends!" -Cecilia Oliveros 
      • "The love from animals. They know exactly when I need them. My own, my fosters, and shelter fur babies." -Tasha Haug
      • "Being outside with nature" -Glenda Davis

    National Updates

    Presentation: Low Impact Debriefing 101: Sharing Our Stories Safely

    Highlights from the chat:
    • "enjoyed the breakout rooms. Was nice to make the call feel more conversational" -Harrison Porter
    • "I had a great chat in my breakout room!" -Tasha Haug
    • "Grateful for this practice and tools, it is so very important!" -Beth Caffrey
    • "Breakout was a great idea! Thanks for the opportunity!" -Jessica Hendrickson 
    • "That was a really great breakout session. Thank you for doing it! I got great info to look into for my team and I really appreciate it" -Lynae Umlor
    • "Encouraged and inspired!" -Denise Nestel 
    • "So fun getting to know someone on the other side of the country!" -Jeanne Wu 
    • "So lovely <3 Really appreciate the authenticity shared! If you work in leadership- Please consider formalized Employee Assistance Programs (ESA's) with staff being given regular access to counseling professionals with anonymity" -Jenn Toussaint 
    • "One of my board members told me that it is important to take time to celebrate your successes rather than diving into the next impending issue. It's great to take a step back and voice your successes out loud." -Liam Montgomery

    Charlotte Otero
    Community Strategist at Maddie's Fund


  • 5.  RE: Community Conversations - 11/21/22 - Low Impact Debriefing 101: Sharing Our Stories Safely

    Posted 11-22-2022 09:00 AM
    I wasn't sure if a volunteer of a rescue would be the right fit for these however I have picked up a little info on both calls so far.  Very interesting.

    geri golonka
    TinynTall Rescue