Being Sanctuary Internship

Gay Bradshaw · January 12, 2017


Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world. ― John Muir

Animals have remarkably similar needs to our own. They also wish to live in dignity and freedom, to live healthy, loving lives that respect their values and cultures. Few, however, receive these simple needs. Countless cats, cows, chickens, turtles, guinea pigs, and other animals die from abuse and homelessness. Millions more endure the ache of loneliness. By opening our hearts and sharing our homes and communities with animals, we can make all places sanctuary.

Sanctuary is an ancient concept shared by many cultures. It embodies an essential reverence for life and the right of every individual to have peace and safety. Sanctuary is a “retreat from the ordinary world in which to experience the profound conscious changes that are occurring” (Brant Cortright, psychotherapist). In the midst of great change and stress, the call for sanctuary is even greater. We all require ways of coping that not only protect, but nurture compassion, well-being, and spirit.

Through science, spirit, and service, the overarching goal of the internship is to translate knowledge of animals as fully sentient beings into animal care, conservation, and human cultural transformation. The Internship has four main objectives, to learn how to:

  • Increase your capacity to care for animals in need.
  • Promote your well-being
  • Create an animal friendly, animal inclusive home and community that catalyzes a culture of compassion and service. We call this new culture trans-species living.
  • Discover new insights that move you beyond what you are taught and learn in the Internship. Our understanding and relationships with nature are dynamic and evolving every day.

By combining readings, lectures, and videos linked to exercises and hands-on fieldwork, the online classroom experience teaches how to translate the concept of sanctuary into everyday life. In so doing, you are able to increase your ability to help catalyze paradigmatic change to create a world where all animals live in dignity and freedom.

The course is built around the 10 Principles of Being Sanctuary, which are drawn from the fields of trauma recovery, conflict resolution, and the new field of trans-species psychology. Historically, ethology (also called animal behavior) has been used to study nonhuman animals with psychology being reserved for humans. However, the discovery of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in free-living Elephants has brought all vertebrates including some invertebrates under a single conceptual umbrella, trans-species psychology—scientific recognition that all animal including humans can be described using a common model of brain, mind, emotions, and consciousness.

You will learn how to use this new cross-species lens to explore animal cognition, emotions, and experience, associated philosophical underpinnings, points of debate, ethics, and future directions for the field as well how to translate this understanding to concrete ways of living. Your coursework is intended to lay the foundation for the design and engagement of your practicum.

Information concerning registration and enrollment fees can be found here.

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About Instructor

Gay Bradshaw

Dr. Bradshaw holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, and has published, taught, and lectured widely in these fields both in the U.S. and internationally. She is the author of Pulitzer Prize-nominated Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity, published by Yale University Press, an in-depth psychological portrait of Elephants in captivity and in the wild. Dr. Bradshaw’s work focuses on trans-species psychology, the theory and methods for the study and care of Animal psychological well-being and multi-species cultures. Her research expertise includes the effects of violence on and trauma recovery Elephants, Grizzly Bears, Chimpanzees, and Parrots, and other species in captivity.

13 Courses

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Course Includes

  • 3 Lessons