Retreat providing animal rescuers and caretakers with tools to deal with compassion fatigue, stress and burnout

For workshop dates and registration information, click here.

Working or volunteering in animal welfare has a tendency to take an emotional toll; those involved often experience burnout. Indeed, the causes of compassion fatigue are many and varied. Best Friends Animal Society has recognized this regrettable trend and is offering an annual retreat designed to counteract the negativity that sometimes occurs and to offer the tools necessary to cope.

Animal rescuer burnout and grief workshop

Giving Heart: A Retreat to Replenish the Animal Lover's Soul was originally conceived as the Surviving Burnout session offered during the No More Homeless Pets conferences. Dr. Linda Harper, clinical psychologist, and Faith Maloney, co-founder of Best Friends, initially felt the turnout would be minimal. However, they were surprised by the number of people interested in attending the workshop. They decided to develop the topic into the three-day Giving Heart: A Retreat to Replenish the Animal Lover's Soul held annually at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

"We recognized how great the need was for people who worked with animals to have an opportunity to share, to look at burnout and grief, and all of the things that accompany working with animals," says Faith. 'It's an opportunity for people to share the emotions and experiences they have working with animals, positive and negative. It's helping to build and strengthen that network of people who are out there working with the animals. Of course, one of the reasons we want to do this workshop is to give people an opportunity to work through some of their issues, and not just leave working with the animals. That's the other alternative ... people just pack it in. They just say, 'I can't handle this, I can't take this, this is overwhelming, this is just too much,' and so this is a way of helping people find a way through that. We hope they come out of the weekend with the experience of taking care of themselves, knowing that they are not alone, having resources to tap into (i.e., other people, other thoughts, other ways of looking at things). There's a lot that really can transpire in those brief three days."

Essential coping skills

In the retreat, you'll learn to identify the symptoms of stress in both yourself and the animals in your life, and develop strategies for battling burnout and coping with grief and loss. The retreat is designed to help you find the peace of mind, purpose and fulfillment that the animal lover's exceptional journey offers. It will include group discussions and experiential activities covering the nature of burnout and its consequences, coping skills for burnout, letting go, grief, animals and stress, and much more.

In the beautiful natural setting of Angel Canyon, you will experience a one-of-a-kind retreat designed to rejuvenate your giving spirit by nurturing the whole person: body, mind and soul.

Register for animal caregiver and rescuer stress course

For more information, including class dates and registration forms, contact us at or call 435-644-2001 ext. 4317. We look forward to seeing you here!