Click here to watch the video on staff wellbeing in the workplace


Animal shelters and veterinary clinics are high stress, trauma-exposed workplaces. Staff are at increased risk for empathic distress (also known as compassion fatigue), stress injury, and burnout. These occupational hazards reduce staff effectiveness and impede the organization’s capacity to achieve their mission.

Our educational resources are designed to help leaders and staff better understand the impact of trauma exposure and build resiliency into the workforce. Through a combination of live webinars and on-demand courses, participants will learn new skills and approaches to developing healthier workplaces at the individual, team, and leadership levels.

“Tackling compassion fatigue and complex stress isn’t easy, but organizations can’t afford to ignore this issue.”

Trauma-exposed work creates a unique environment with an increased risk for distress and burnout. This can lead to increased sick time, low morale, lack of team cohesion, and high turnover, all of which will limit a team’s ability to work effectively and efficiently. This reduces the organization’s ability to achieve their mission.

Does any of this sound familiar? Symptoms of organizational compassion fatigue include:
• Reluctance to change
• Rampant rumors and gossip
• Aggression and increased conflict among staff members
• Apathy and reduced engagement
• Reactivity and inappropriate outbursts

Animal welfare professionals are particularly susceptible to secondary traumatic stress because of the vulnerable nature of the animals they care for, the high volume and unpredictable nature of their jobs, and their relative lack of psychological protection.

Developing resilience through professional training can buffer workers from emotional exhaustion and improve their overall wellbeing, helping them to succeed in their important work.

“The first step is to better understand the impact of stress and trauma exposure on staff and then to intentionally build resiliency into the workforce through preventive and ongoing support at the individual, team, and organizational levels.”

A collaboration of UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at UF, Open Door Veterinary Collective, and Team Shelter USA.

Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge is creating transformative “communities of practice” that deliver access to care through humane, community-centric programming—inside and outside of the shelter—to achieve the right outcome for every pet. Our consultative mentoring services are holistic, deep and practical, and delivered by the proven team who brought you the Million Cat Challenge, in expanded partnership with Open Door Veterinary Collective. This program is made available at no cost to participants, #ThanksToMaddie