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Best Friends

Channel your passion for animals and the planet into a caring and supportive vocation

Animal chaplains provide support for both animals and humans by using ritual, ceremony, and the tools of spiritual companionship. Our training program helps you fulfill your heart’s call to honor and celebrate the lives of all species, including how to companion them through joys and challenges. 

Our program is non-denominational and does not require students to have a specific religious or spiritual outlook. It will, though, prepare you to work with a diverse set of belief systems, so that you can support people regardless of their own outlook.

Program is offered annually starting in September. Our next cohort begins September 2024. Contact us with any questions or schedule a consult with our program director by clicking below.

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OVERVIEW


Animal Chaplaincy Training is available in 3-month, 6-month,
and 9-month program durations
. Choose the option that best fits your desired commitment and learning outcomes. All programs begin each September and student learn together in a supportive cohort.


Training includes live classes (available from anywhere in the world via Zoom) with our faculty and guest expert speakers. The program also features curated reading and reflection, film discussions, peer-supported practice groups, 1-on-1 mentoring, and community-based experiential sessions. A year-end optional in-person retreat is offered.

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WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

Our curriculum combines chaplaincy fundamentals and bereavement basics with best practices from the innovative fields of interspirituality, humane education, animal theology, nature spirituality, and human-animal studies.

 

We offer a flexible program that develops the professional skills you need to:


 

  • Expand your healing business to include conscious and compassionate life transitions for animals and the humans who love them

  • Know what to do and say to help people navigate grief and loss in a meaningful way

  • Lead individuals and groups in interspecies practices designed to increase well-being and compassion

  • Develop creative rituals to support individuals, animal sanctuaries, nonprofits, veterinary practices, meditation centers, yoga programs, or religious communities

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WHO YOU'LL LEARN FROM

Animal Chaplain Sarah Bowen oversees the program and teaches core curriculum, weaving connections between your life experiences and our unique collection of expert knowledge facilitators, which includes:

 

  • Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder

  • Dr Clair Linzey, Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics

  • The Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, PhD, DD, HonDD, animal theologian and member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford

  • Victoria Moran, certified life coach, certified holistic health coach, graduate of the T. Colin Campbell/e-Cornell program in plant-based nutrition, and a registered yoga instructor

  • Jessica Dolce, a Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator (CCFE)

  • Janel Griffieth, CARE Centers Senior Director, Southeast Tier

  • Dr. Betz King, an existential-humanistic psychologist,  priestess of the Western Mystery Tradition, faculty member of Saybrook University’s humanistic clinical psychology program

  • Reverend Debbie Philp, a wildlife rehabilitator, interfaith minister, and shamanic reiki master teacher

  • Michael Skaggs, PhD, Director of Programs of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab

  • Susan Shannon, M. Div., BCC, dharma lover, earth and animal steward, interfaith minister and chaplain

  • And more...

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications are now open for our Fall 2024 Cohort. Classes begin September 2024.

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