Although they share much with their human health counterparts, animal workers face different challenges because their charges, the animals, are governed by different laws, attitudes, and behaviors than those for humans. Animals are marginalized and, as a result, so are their supporters. Financial, social, psychological, emotional, legal, and practical factors severely undermine animal worker well-being. Caring for the Caregiver provides concepts and methods to support individuals working in animal rescue, sanctuary, advocacy, and activism with the goal of increasing their sense of well-being, resilience, and efficacy.
Course Structure and Process
Before the course begins, you will meet with the instructor to review your goals and interests as well as the course format and content. After registering, you will receive via email instructions on how to access course materials.
The course is divided into eight lessons:
Lesson 1: Beginnings
Lesson 2: Creating a Base of Well-being
Lesson 3: Effects of Stress and Trauma
Lesson 4: Moving from Old to New Patterns
Lesson 5: Living with Grief, Inevitables, and an Insane World
Lesson 6: Navigating Differences
Lesson 7: Living with Uncertainty
Lesson 8: Creating Your Toolkit
Each lesson is comprised of a video lecture with a companion workbook chapter, exercises, readings, and links. We recommend that you start by watching the video lecture, then continue to complete the readings, other videos, and supplemental material. Afterwards, read through the companion workbook lesson, do the exercises, and answer study questions. When all assignments are completed, send them as Word documents to the instructor via the Upload Assignments section at the end of each lesson. After receipt, the instructor will send comments to you for discussion in a followup meeting together.
We also suggest that you make a set schedule and fixed meeting day and time with the instructor. For example, study and complete one lesson every two weeks and meet with instructor on intervening day. As questions or new articles, videos, or other links are encountered, jot them down to discuss.
Approach, Philosophy, and Goals
The overarching goals of the course are to: (1) teach the learner about issues and concepts that pertain to individual well-being; and (2) introduce practices and methods that support self-awareness and self-care. A number of sources and ideas will be presented, but it is up to the learner to study, evaluate, and decide what methods and approaches are best suited to her or him. At the course completion, the learner should be able to:
- Identify key factors that challenge well-being.
- Develop a personal definition of well-being, resilience and efficacy.
- Describe types and sources of stress and trauma.
- Develop a set of objectives and methods to cultivate and maintain personal well-being.
- Acquire sets of skills, practices, and resources that support well-being.