Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Managing our mental health

    Posted 10-07-2022 09:00 AM

    Managing our mental health

    Compassion fatigue and burnout are common within the animal welfare industry, and both are conditions that staff can learn to manage to ensure they are taking care of themselves. The Best Friends Network team has recently highlighted this topic to share ways staff can learn to incorporate self care alongside animal care:


    raya greenbaum
    Best Friends Animal Society

  • 2.  RE: Managing our mental health

    Posted 12-22-2022 11:54 PM

    Today's animal welfare and veterinary medical professionals are pushing the boundaries of what's possible for animals, people, and the organizations that heal, connect, and protect them. If that's you, it's easy to feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. The work feels never-ending. Taking care of your own needs might seem impossible.

    Transforming empathic distress (aka compassion fatigue) is absolutely possible for you and your staff. That's why the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida is once again offering its Compassion Fatigue Strategies online course with certified compassion fatigue educator Jessica Dolce.

    Register your staff or yourself for this 8-week online course by 12/31/22 to save $99 off the regular fee of $299. The course starts 2/6/23. Learn more at 

    This course will help you recognize signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue, burnout, and vicarious trauma, learn how to reduce stress injury, increase your self-care and team-care practices, build compassion satisfaction, restore resiliency, and make successful changes in your life and in your organization.

    Julie Levy, DVM
    Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida
    Maddie's Million Pet Challenge

  • 3.  RE: Managing our mental health

    Posted 12-27-2022 02:49 PM
    This is a really important topic and one that has become even more front and center with the added stress of the pandemic.  One of the best presentation I've seen recently was from the Maddie's Fund Community Conversation withe Not One More Vet.  It felt like a very unique take from a specific animal care perspective with a lot more of the harsh realities that some of the fluffy, care for yourself, presentations tend to ignore.

    I've been trying to find local resources for this but that has been tough.  The online presentations are ok, but don't have nearly the impact of being able to sit in person and vent about these problems while getting resources from people who have been on the front lines and know exactly what they're going through.  Way too many of these presentations are 101 level "how to deal with stress" "how to meditate and do deep breathing" and "how to take time for yourself" crap that our staff has and would eye roll over and ignore.  It would be nice to have something that provides more practical, real world value.

    If anyone has more resources here, I'd love to find something that we can use for our staff.  I reached out to NOMV, but unfortunately they're based in California, focus specifically on veterinarians, and don't have resources out in the Midwest.

    Jeff Okazaki
    Humane Society of Jefferson County

  • 4.  RE: Managing our mental health

    Posted 12-29-2022 09:11 AM
    Hi Jeff,

    We're so glad that the Maddie's Fund Community Conversation with Not One More Vet was helpful. This is a very important topic, so thank you for sharing your additional concerns.

    I'm wondering if the University of Wisconsin-Madison might have programs closer to you, as I found this resource from their Integrative Health, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health: 

    Also, as a lifelong practitioner of meditation, I would recommend Dr. Jyothi Robertson's meditation offerings, albeit they are online experiences:

    Thanks for all you and your staff do to help people and pets. Wishing you all the best!


    Irene Chansawang
    Grants Specialist
    Maddie's Fund

  • 5.  RE: Managing our mental health

    Posted 12-30-2022 08:49 AM
    Thanks Irene.

    Jeff Okazaki
    Humane Society of Jefferson County

  • 6.  RE: Managing our mental health

    Posted 01-02-2023 06:55 PM
    It's need to see others in the same pickle. I had a fire when I first started 8 years ago thinking yeah I can do it. There arent that many cats. Then I saw the whole picture.  It took everything within me but I ended up being angry, sad and just spiraling because I couldn't help them all. I live in tx and it is absolute chaos. 

    Alycia 🐈‍⬛️

    Alycia Lee