Dogs With Jobs

Meet Beacon, The Golden Retriever Who Provided Much Needed Comfort At The US Olympic Gymnastic Trials

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The gymnasts at the US Olympic trials had a very special helping paw providing them with much needed emotional support ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Meet Beacon – the four-year-old Golden Retriever and the USA Gymnastics first ever therapy dog. Beacon, together with his handler Tracey Callahan Molnar, attended the Olympics trial that ran from June 27 to 30.

Beacon takes his job very seriously. He even attended the Olympics trial wearing his very own staff ID with the official title, “Goodest Boy”.

With the 2024 Paris Olympics fast approaching, athletes can experience heightened stress and anxiety.

So, while gymnasts where competing for a spot on Team USA for the upcoming Paris Olympics, Beacon was providing much needed comfort and calm to the athletes, their coaches, and even the judges!

Beacon was as busy as the athletes at the US Olympic Gymnastic Trials. Callahan Molnar told ESPN, “He will turn on a dime without seeing who it is. He picks up on the stress and will pull to that person immediately.”

And while Beacon does a fantastic job at providing emotional support to the athletes, his handler also highlights how tiring it was for the pooch to act as “a sort of emotional sponge.”

Callahan Molnar said, “They absorb the stress of the people they’re relieving the stress off of. So even though he might be lying still for two hours, he’s wiped out afterwards.”

Beacon’s hard work didn’t go unnoticed, though. As a matter of fact, he stole the show and everyone loved him!

2020 Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee even posted a series of photos from day 1 of the trials on Instagram and even captioned it with, “thank god for beacon”.

“One of the gymnasts suggested, [Beacon] should be the CHO,” Callahan Molnar also NEXSTAR. “That would be the Chief Happiness Officer.”

ESPN reports Beacon has been with Callahan Molnar since he was a puppy. Furthermore, the “Goodest Boy” was Callahan Molnar’s service dog before she had him certified as a therapy dog through Pet Partners.

In a emotional message on Beacon’s official Instagram page, Callahan Molnar wrote, “i am proud that USA Gymnastics has brought pet therapy to the sport, and not just brought it—but truly embraced and supported it.

According to the Associated Press, the idea of having therapy dogs during major events came from Caroline Hunt, the rhythmic gymnastics vice president, who advocated for it for several years, and Li Li Leung, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics.

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