Ending Compassion Fatigue & Strengthening Compassion Resilience with Kirsti Clarida & Angie Arora


Today, I am happy to have the privilege of talking to Angie Arora and Kirsti Clarida, two professionals who I got introduced to through the Veterinary Social Work Program. Angie is a registered social worker from Toronto, Canada. She gears much of her practice around pet loss bereavement and building compassion resilience in animal care professionals. Kirsti is a registered veterinary technician in Ontario, Canada, and she has done a lot of advocacy work to increase awareness around the importance of the roles of Registered Veterinary Technicians in veterinary medicine. Kristi and Angie got together, and they have been doing a lot of research and putting some hard work into compiling a veterinary training manual to help people deal with any challenges related to their relationship with animals. 

Although working with animals can be fulfilling and rewarding, it can also be physically and emotionally exhausting. Angie and Kirsti are joining me today to discuss the work they are doing in the field, which includes pet loss and bereavement, compassion fatigue, and strengthening compassion resilience. Be sure to stay tuned today to hear what Angie and Kirsti have to share about reinforcing how people relate to animals.

Show highlights:

  • The two life experiences that came together for Angie, that started her journey.
  • Angie explains what a veterinary social worker does.
  • Angie discusses the role she plays as a Pet Loss Support Group Facilitator with VetVine.
  • Kirsti talks about the work she’s been doing to increase awareness of the challenges of veterinary technicians.
  • How Angie and Kirsti were brought together, their relationship, and the kind of work they are doing together.
  • About the research that they did through Seneca College, their goal, and the result that ensued.
  • Kirsti shares some profound statistics from their research.
  • Pet loss with species other than dogs and cats, and the euthanasia process.
  • What dysthanasia is, and how to deal with it.
  • What they learned about hospice and palliative care during their study.
  • The importance of addressing caregiver fatigue and burnout.
  • Supporting children in their grief.
  • What veterinary practices can do with the guidelines that Kirsti and Angie have made available.

Angie and Kirsti’s Bios:

Angie Arora is a registered Social Worker from Toronto, Canada, with over 15 years of experience in the areas of pet loss and veterinary compassion resilience. She has worked as a hospital Veterinary Social Worker, facilitated community-based pet loss support groups, and engaged in media campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with pet loss. She is on the inaugural Board of the International Association of Veterinary Social Work and serves as a Pet Loss Support Group Facilitator with VetVine. Angie is a Professor with Seneca College’s Social Service Worker Program. Her social work practice has also focused on issues of gender-based violence with a specific focus on immigrant and refugee communities. Also, she is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist with the Traumatology Institute and works with the veterinary industry to build wellness through strengthening compassion resilience. Angie obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and Masters of Social Work from York University.  

Kirsti Clarida has been a proud Registered Veterinary Technician since graduating from Seneca College in 1999. With service in small animal, emergency, and locum veterinary practice, she brings a wealth of experience to her current role as Coordinator of the Veterinary Technician Program at Seneca College. She is also the former Communications Manager of the Ontario Association of the Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) creating campaigns to increase awareness of the important roles RVTs play in veterinary medicine in Ontario. Kirsti continues to advocate for RVTs in her roles as Vice-President of the OAVT and President of the Ontario Veterinary Technician Educators.

Links and resources:

Project Documents: 

Final Report


Pet Loss Best Practice Guidelines for Veterinary Teams:


Book mentioned:

When Friendship Lives Beyond the Stars by Dr. Amy Sugar