10 Principles of Being Sanctuary



Our design and practice of sanctuary are grounded in the 10 Principles of Being Sanctuary (see table below).


These principles, upon which our Being Sanctuary learning-in-service program is based, draw from the fields of trans-species psychology and trauma recovery which recognize that all animals possess capacities to think, feel, and experience consciousness as humans do.


Being Sanctuary also represents the core philosophy by which we operate The Tortoise and The Hare Sanctuary. Its principles are built on a range of scientific and ethical consideration as outlined in these publications:


Other sources can be found on The Science of Being Sanctuary page.


Sanctuary Principle ANIMALS HUMANS
Quality Provided Description Quality Cultivated Description
1. KNOWING Healthy environment Resources to support well-being Understanding Learn and enact ways of living that promote your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being
2. SAFETY Safe space Provide your animal a safe space, a personal space of complete physical, psychological security. Safety Design a home and way of living that makes you feel comfortable, secure, at ease, and at peace.
3. ASSURANCE Hope and future Assure lifelong
care and support for your animal.
Responsibility Be accountable
for your actions
4. BELONGING Inclusion Be loving and
receptive to your animal’s emotions and create ways that show the animal that
she/he is part of the family.
Inclusion Cultivate a
home and way of being where you and others feel a sense of belonging and
5. PARITY Social support Ensure that
your expectations of
your animal are appropriate to what they can do and be.
Fairness Treat yourself
as you would treat your animal, with care, sensitivity, and understanding.
6. BEING HEARD Recognition Respect and
listen to the needs and values of your animal and validate by responding
Acknowledgment Recognize your
own capacities and limits, cultivate self-care and stand up for your needs.
7. SELF-DETERMINATION Agency Encourage your
animal to develop a sense of independence, authority, and feeling of control
in his/her life.
Independence Cultivate
self-confidence, belief in yourself and your abilities to succeed in your
8. ACCEPTANCE Individuality Promote your
animal’s dignity and freedom in safety to express his/herself without fear of
judgment or punishment.
Acceptance of
acceptance, dignity, and integrity for yourself and for others.
9. SUPPORT Empowerment Empower your
animal by providing opportunities so that they are able to put into action
their needs and aspirations.
Recognition Show
appreciation for your own accomplishments and be generous in showing praise
with others.
10. TRUST Absence of
Maintain an
absence of threat or domination with your animals and trust them.
Benefit of the
Learn to trust
yourself and extend the benefit of the doubt to others.