Austin Pets Alive! | People Fund

People Fund

Need 2

Project Overview

For decades, the needs of animal shelter workers weren’t considered as long as animals were taken care of. Now we recognize that staff counseling, compassion fatigue training, and other critical support are needed because the well-being of our pets can’t exist without the well-being of our people.

Austin Pets Alive!’s groundbreaking social work program bridges the gap between animal sheltering and human services by helping people help pets. APA! is one of the very first animal shelters in the country to have a social worker on staff — and to work on solving the human issues at the heart of animal welfare.

Animal shelter workers have among the highest rates of suicide of any profession, in line with police and firefighters, so we’re building robust mental health support for animal welfare workers and volunteers. This includes building staff, volunteer, and foster wellness with trainings on compassion fatigue, crisis response, grief and loss, de-escalation, and other topics that make their work sustainable — as well as creating space for counseling and mentorship of staff to build resilience and decrease turnover.