Human Wellbeing |
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How are you?
Understanding the Joys and Sorrows of Caring for Animals


"How are you? Most of the time I am well, but caring for myself is establishing healthy boundaries and small steps everyday. How about you?" - Sabrina Brando -

In 1992 Sabrina Brando started her work with animals. As recent dropout from school she worked with rays, walruses, and sealions, then moving on to working in other zoos and aquariums. Being interested in the psychological and emotional wellbeing of animals she decided in 2001 to study psychology with the application to exotic wildlife and continued working on animal wellbeing since, now in the process of completing a
PhD in animal and human wellbeing and its interconnectedness. Little did she knew then that her work today would focus on the wellbeing of humans who care for animals. With many sad, angry, joyful and beautiful experiences, and many highs and lows in an almost 30-year career caring for animals, it is a delight to be dedicated to caring for animals and the people who work for them.

Since 2013 she has organised and collaborated on seminars in which the importance of wellbeing of people who care for and work with animals was highlighted and discussed through .

Animal caregivers, curators, veterinarians, researchers, and other animal welfare staff (henceforth animal care professionals), often have high levels of compassion, empathy, and drive to care for others and effect change. Caring for and serving others gives a sense of joy and achievement, creating compassion satisfaction. Recruitment of and access to social support, working in an effective team, supervising and directing positive outcomes, gaining professional experience, and using self-care strategies promote compassion satisfaction.

Yet, these positive experiences often are combined with painful ethical dilemmas, where optimal solutions are not feasible, and decisions must be from among a variety of sub-optimal alternatives; this creates moral stress. Repeated exposure to distressing events such as neglect, inaction, and animal euthanasia, can leave zoo professionals at risk of compassion fatigue or burnout. Common symptoms of compassion fatigue can include feeling mentally and physically tired, with sadness and apathy, bottled-up emotions, and an inability to get pleasure from activities that previously were enjoyable, as well as a lack of self-care. These serious problems have been well-documented among workers in settings such as veterinary practice, laboratory animal care facilities, and animal shelters, but they have scarcely been addressed in wild animal care environments.

AnimalConcepts offers webinars, coaching, and courses on compassion awareness, including on compassion awareness: compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, and resiliency skills. Together they will help you to take care of yourself and your wellbeing. Based on science and practice these courses and activities help you - and your staff if you are responsible for a team/organisation, to continue to serve animals and people with compassion, integrity, and joy.
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Survey on Human and Animal Wellness in Environments such as Zoos, Aquariums, and Sanctuaries

Professor Lynette Hart and Sabrina Brando, are collaborating to further understand "Human and Animal Wellness in Environments such as Zoos, Aquariums, and Sanctuaries".

We would be grateful if you would be willing to help us by completing our survey anonymously by following the LINK.

We will updates on this project on this page and via our NEWSLETTER. Big thank you to those who helped us with feedback in the initial stages of development!
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Compassion Fatigue Strategies

Sabrina Brando is a psychologist who is specialised in the human-animal interaction. She graduated BSc. In Psychology in 2011 and an MSc. in Animal Studies in 2016. She is currently pursuing her PhD with the University of Stirling in Scotland

Sabrina recently completed an online certificate on Compassion Fatigue Strategies

The course was taught by Jessica Dolce, a wonderful and engaging educator, who combines science and laughter
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