Compassion in Balance is now a self-study course.

Start anytime! Sign up here.

Team registration options are available!

Looking for a live course with me? Check out my 8 week course at UFL. 


The skills you need to be well, while you do good!

Let’s Fill That Cup!

Imagine a place where the unique challenges of animal care work are understood, you can explore how the work is having an impact on your life, and you’ll get tons of resources and tools to help you learn how to take of yourself, while you’re making a difference in the world.

That’s what Compassion in Balance

is all about.

Almost all of us who work or volunteer with animals experience compassion fatigue at some point. Even though it’s a normal reaction to the stress of our work, we tend to think we’re the only ones who are struggling and we don’t know what to do to help ourselves.

If you feel like the work you do caring for animals is having an emotional and physical impact on you, please know that you’re not alone. The work we do affects all of us:


“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.”

– Dr. Naomi Rachel Remen


What is Compassion Fatigue?

Compassion fatigue can be described as the physical and emotional exhaustion that arises from the constant demand to be compassionate and effective in helping those in need and who are suffering. It’s the natural consequence of stress resulting from caring for traumatized people and animals. The individual symptoms of compassion fatigue are numerous and varied, but may include: anger, loss of empathy, isolation, and sadness.

Caitlin testimonial

What is Compassion In Balance?

It’s a unique online class, the first of its kind, designed specifically to help animal care workers better understand what compassion fatigue is, how to manage stress, engage in self-care practices, and increase resiliency. You’ll learn six strategies that research has shown reduces and transforms compassion fatigue-related stress.

You can participate in the class wherever you are. You can do it at home, any time of day, and you don’t even need to get out of your pajamas to join in. The course is all online and accessible 24-7.

lauren testimonial cib


What does the class include?

  • 6 unique video lessons from Jessica Dolce MS, CCFE.
  • 6 modules of activities, writing prompts, handouts, and exercises to help you integrate the lessons.
  • Three recorded calls with Jessica Dolce and a recorded interview with Ellen Dolce, LCSW.
  • Membership in a private Facebook group for support and encouragement.
  • Team discussion prompts and certificate of completion.
  • A unique compassion fatigue and self-care PDF workbook – 50 pages full of info, prompts, meditations, and more!


Please see Terms and Conditions before purchasing. 


Here’s a snapshot of each lesson:jessica dolce quote

Lesson One: Compassion Fatigue Groundwork
You’ll dive in deep to understand what Compassion Fatigue is and what the symptoms are in individuals and in organizations. You’ll get familiar with your own experiences, what factors contribute to CF, and assess your current levels of CF and burnout.

Lesson Two: Taking Stock of Stress
This is dedicated to understanding your individual signs of stress and coping methods. You’ll work to create a personalized system to help you monitor and manage your daily stress levels.

Lesson Three: Self Care Strategies
Next you’ll jump in to the importance of self-care and map out a variety of practices that can be used on the job and at home. You’ll begin to lay the framework of your own self-care plan.

Lesson Four: The Rewards of the Work
This module is dedicated to connecting to the rewards of our work and shifting your perspective to a more positive outlook in order to increase your Compassion Satisfaction.

Lesson Five: Resiliency Building
Next you’ll focus on resiliency building techniques, including mindfulness practices, which will help you bounce back from the inevitable stress of your work. You’ll also look at coping with what you can’t control.

Lesson Six: Taking Action
In the final module, you’ll be working on setting SMART goals and crafting a personal mission statement to help keep you motivated as you take your new skills into the future!


By the end of class you’ll have:

  • 6 strategies to help you manage and transform your experience with compassion fatigue
  • A personalized self-care toolkit within your workbook
  • Your personal mission statement and SMART goals to help you make lasting changes
  • A better understanding of yourself and how to engage in self-care that works for you
  • A workbook filled with info and meditation practices to help you keep going
  • A better understanding of when and how to get professional mental health help
  • A new way of relating to your work
  • A supportive online Facebook community
  • The tools you need to be well, while you continue to do good!



Who should take this class? And why?

Anyone working or volunteering with animals is welcome. Veterinarians and vet techs, dog trainers, animal shelter and rescue workers, animal protection officers, foster families – if you work or volunteer with animals and want to learn more about compassion fatigue, how to make a plan for self care, and put it into practice, then this class is for you.

This is your journey to take. It’s a personal exploration. Throughout the class, you’ll build self-awareness, so that you can take better care of yourself and transform your relationship to your work with animals.

This is work only you can do. It’s reflective, honest, and it can be emotionally challenging at times. But that edge is where change happens.

The focus of CIB is on how you feel, what you can do to make a positive impact for yourself at home and at work, and on learning how to build your internal resources. We’re taking responsibility for ourselves and throwing a self-care party in the process!

Why bother? Because when your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met, it allows you to engage in more ethical, effective, and sustainable work. And did I mention, it’ll help you feel less stressed? That’s pretty great too.


metis testimonial


What this course is NOT:

  • A quick fix. If you want a “6 Steps to a Stress-Free Job”, this class won’t be your jam.
  • A place to endlessly complain and blame. The purpose of this class isn’t to swap war stories or to vent non-stop about how awful things are at work.
  • An interactive course with discussion boards and support. This is a self-study. You’re taking this class solo.


This class is NOT a substitution for professional mental health care. If you’re suffering from clinical depression, anxiety, or are having suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help.


How much does it cost?

Team Option

Would you like to enroll your staff or volunteers in the course?

Discounted rates are available:

Register up to 5 team members: $225.

Or up to 10 team members: $450.

Visit the shop for group registration details and options.

p.s. there is a quiz + certificate at the end of the course to document engagement.

Coaching + Class Option

Would you like some extra support? Add one 60 minute individual coaching session with Jessica to your class experience.

You can use the coaching session to ask Jessica questions, clarify your goals, and create meaningful actions steps to help you increase your self-care and build resilience.

The total for the course, plus one hour of individualized coaching is: $189. 

Purchase the course and your coaching session right here.

When does it start?

Whenever you want. Jump on it!

You will have access to the materials for one year after enrollment. 


Here’s what more people are saying:

jen testimonial

amber testimonial

laura testimonial
melissa testimonial


Who created and teaches the class?

jessica dolce headshotI’m Jessica Dolce, MS CCFE a certified compassion fatigue educator, dog walker, writer, coach, and the creator of DINOS. I’ve spent my entire career caring for companion animals as a dog walker, animal shelter volunteer and employee, and animal welfare advocate.

And I’ve experienced compassion fatigue and burnout firsthand! I built this class because I want to make sure others have access to the tools and information that I wish I’d known about. If you’re working to make the world a better place for animals then you’re my heroes and I want to support you. That’s why this class exists! You can learn more about me here.


Guest Teacher:

ellen dolce headshotEllen Dolce LCSW
 joins us for a (recorded) call about seeking mental health. Ellen has decades of experience working as a licensed clinical social worker and as a life coach as well. She’s also my mom and I think she’s too awesome to keep all to myself!



Frequently Asked Questions


What does Compassion In Balance mean?

Through this course, we’ll be working to restore some balance in our lives by learning to give to ourselves with as much enthusiasm and compassion as we give to others. We’re learning to be good to ourselves, while we do good in the world. As John Wilson says, “It’s important to counterbalance the intensity of the work you do.”

What do I need to take this class?

A computer and the internet. If you’d like to be a part of the (optional) Facebook group, then an account there is needed. Plus, a journal and pen would be cool too.

Do I need to download anything?

No. The class is offered in an online classroom called Ruzuku. All you need to do is sign up for the class and create an account on Ruzuku (it’s free). And yes. There are PDFs to download.

How will the class be delivered?

When you enroll, you’ll get access to all six lessons right away. You’ll get a welcome email that contains links to all the content and you can access that in the Ruzuku classroom.

Can I take this class anonymously? 

Sort of. I’ll know who you are through the registration process (and will keep that information private). This is important because I can’t approve you to join our private Facebook group (which is optional) unless I know your name. Otherwise, no one will know. It’s our secret.

I’m so busy. How much time will the class take?

You have a full year to explore the lessons. You can do it all in 4-8 weeks or take your time and do a little each month. So if life gets in the way, you’ll have plenty of time to return to the class.

Do I have to be in class at certain times?


Do you offer refunds or a guarantee?

No, I do not offer refunds. I offer a fun and challenging learning experience, but I do not guarantee specific results, as participants will come to this course in all different phases of life, types of businesses, and varying levels of self-awareness. You are responsible for integrating and implementing the course materials in whatever way works best for you at this time.

Can I purchase this class for my staff or as a gift for someone else?

Yes! That’s very nice of you to do! Ruzuku explains how to pay for a class as a gift for someone else here. 

When you purchase the class, a form email will automatically be generated welcoming the new student into the class. So when you pay, they’ll know they’ve been enrolled in the class without any delay. Then they can access the class and change their login information.

Organizations enrolling multiple staff members can purchase team registrations in the online store.

After I hit purchase, what happens?

Watch your inbox for a confirmation email with links to get started!

I think I’m experiencing compassion fatigue because I’m the owner and caregiver of a pet with medical or behavioral issues. Is this the right class for me?

No, but I have an online class for that too! Check out Living with DINOS.

Can I take this class if I don’t work or volunteer with animals, but experience compassion fatigue because of my work in a different helping profession? 

Yes, you sure can. But be warned: this class in 100% animal-focused, meaning all the examples I use and some of the handouts are specific to working in animal-related professions. However all of the compassion fatigue strategies are helpful, no matter where you work, so anyone will benefit.


If you have any further questions, please contact me: