Therapy Animals of Utah
When TAU volunteer and Board member Maureen Kilgour read about a proposal to name the Golden Retriever as the Utah state domestic animal, she saw it as a golden opportunity to advocate for three things close to her heart –
One: Golden Retrievers have been a staple in Maureen’s and her husband’s home for several years, and their current Golden Retriever, six-year old Gus, occupies a special role in their lives.
Two: Therapy Animals of Utah – Gus became a registered therapy dog with Therapy Animals of Utah in 2013. Since then, Gus and Maureen have been volunteering at a mental health facility where (as shown in some of these photos) you’ll often find Gus snuggling with those who need a comforting, loving friend.
Three: Animal Rescue – Thanks to Companion Golden Retriever Rescue and Maureen, Gus was rescued in 2010.
So, it was as obvious as 1-2-3 for Maureen to contact Ms. Meyer who teaches a fourth-grade class at Daybreak Elementary in South Jordan. Ms. Meyer and her class came up with the idea of proposing a state domestic animal as a fun way to learn about the legislative process.
Gus and Maureen were invited for an in-person visit with the 4th graders at Daybreak Elementary on January 23, 2015. Both Gus and Maureen were in top form as they shared information about Gus, Golden Retrievers, therapy dogs, rescues and dogs in general. TAU Executive Director Deborah Carr, a retired school teacher herself, was on hand to help answer questions. The 70+ students were actively engaged in the presentation and were eager to interact with Gus, especially when he demonstrated some of his skills, such as shaking hands.
This is not the first time that TAU members have been active in legislation. Previously, therapy pitbull Captain Cowpants and his handler and TAU board member Melissa Lipani advocated for House Bill 97. HB 97, which prohibits Utah localities from enforcing or enacting breed-specific legislation, became effective as of January 1, 2015.
Although Therapy Animals of Utah members collectively have a variety of dog breeds, cats, a bird and a miniature horse, we are delighted that Gus and Maureen are able to seize this golden opportunity to be ambassadors.