Honoring Animal Lives. Healing Human Hearts
I am a longtime animal welfare advocate with extensive experience working in an open-intake shelter, helping animals recover from injury, trauma, and abandonment. I have seen firsthand both how rescue services transformed the lives of countless animals in severe need as well as the trauma, grief, and compassion fatigue that come with working in such an environment. The number of intakes is almost always higher than the number of adoptions, return to owners, and transfers to rescues combined. Even though shelter/rescue work is extremely rewarding, compassion fatigue and grief are staples in our lives. Many animals arrive too far gone, and no matter how hard we try, they cannot be saved. The losses are devastating.
Through my experiential shelter and 501c3 work, I have encountered many animal guardians suffering deep grief along with compassion fatigue. Anticipating the loss of their beloved pet is not just painful, but often devastating. I have learned that many shelter/rescue workers and animal guardians don’t always have a safe and open environment where they can share their feelings of grief, pain, and empathetic distress while feeling truly nurtured and supported. This is why I became an Animal Chaplain, dedicated to helping "Honor Animal Lives and Heal Human Hearts."
Why an animal chaplain?
Humans have questions about what to do when animals are scared, acting "off," injured, sick, or lost, as well as how to deal with when they die. The stress and grief we humans experience during these moments are real. Yet it is often denied because the being is "not human."
Animal chaplains provide support for both animals and humans by using the tools of deep listening and caring companionship. We help you create habits that help your animal thrive. Then, we can integrate your secular or spiritual views about death when that heartbreaking moment arrives. Chaplains can also help you create a sacred memorial to honor your beloved animal companion with a "sacred sendoff."
Animal chaplains can help you:
- Support newly-adopted animals so they can thrive
- Encourage stronger human-animal bonds with easy activities you can do right at home
- Discern end-of-life decisions
- Create funerals or memorials
- Process grief after an animal loss
- Advocate for animals in your community when human wants and wildlife needs conflict
- Develop resiliency by teaching you tools to tackle compassion fatigue and empathetic distress (see workshop description)
Self-Care for Animal Caretakers
Designed for Shelter employees, Rescues, Wildlife rehabbers, Animal Control Officers, Veterinarians and Vet Techs; suffering from compassion fatigue and empathetic distress.
Although working on behalf of the animal community brings countless rewards, many of the devoted people in our field find themselves suffering from compassion fatigue, an emotional condition brought on when the physical exhaustion and heartbreak become too overwhelming. Many healing and service professionals recognizes compassion fatigue, but even though we can recognize someone who is "burnt out" or coming close to burn-out, how many people know how to help that person, or even help themselves when compassion fatigue comes on? Fortunately, there are things you can do to bring yourself back into balance, help heal your heart, and renew your (com)passion. In this workshop, you will learn simple (but powerful) techniques, practices, and tools that will help you do just that. Each is designed to support and sustain you, whether you are home or at work.
You will learn how to:
- Recognize the indicators of compassion fatigue
- How to speak about compassion fatigue
- Safely decompress and relieve stress
- Restore your sense of wellbeing and purpose
Arrange for Session Here
Sessions are 50 minutes and pricing is based on a sliding scale. If you can afford more, please consider the higher amounts to pay it forward and assist another person in need.
If you cannot afford to pay for a session, please email me directly email@example.com.
I am local to the Chicago metropolitan area and am available by phone, zoom, in person. I look forward to meeting you.