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Goldie Love joins Amberly's staff
Golden retriever to be therapy dog
Named by the second-grade students at Alice Byrne Elementary School, Goldie Love was recently announced as the newest staff member at Amberly's Place.
A 3-year-old golden retriever, Goldie Love is about to begin her training courses to become a certified therapy dog to help provide extra comfort for abuse victims in Yuma.
Amberly's Place executive director Diane Umphress said that after seeing how well therapy dogs worked in other advocacy centers, she approached the Humane Society of Yuma to see if it had any dogs that would fit the bill.
“It's therapeutic to be able to hug and hold on to something, something that doesn't expect anything of you,” she said. “You don't have to tell them why you're sad, you can just hug them.”
In a month's time, HSOY director of operations Annette Lagunas said that a family of golden retrievers were turned in to the shelter and when Umphress and Goldie Love were introduced, they immediately clicked.
“It was definitely a project that we wanted to take on,” Lagunas said. “Diane helps the human victims and we help the four-legged victims, so it was a match made in heaven.”
HSOY volunteer manager Misty Cicala will be helping Umphress and Goldie Love train before they attend the Pet Partners workshop and evaluation. It will take about six months before Goldie Love is officially trained and ready to work with victims.
To help offset the cost of training, the Fort Yuma Rotary Club has agreed to pay for Umphress and her new four-legged friend to become licensed through Pet Partners, a nonprofit organization that certifies both therapy and service dogs.
“We're just happy that they invited us to help,” said Clayton Hasty, Fort Yuma Rotary president. “It's such a great cause and I can't think of a better way to utilize the money that we earn from our fundraisers.”
Goldie Love had the opportunity to meet the students at Alice Byrne for the first time on Thursday, and thank them — or more appropriately lick them — for choosing her name.
Umphress said that every year, the students and their parents raise money from their lemonade sales during recess after reading the story, “Lemonade For Sale,” to donate to Amberly's Place. This year they donated $200 to help offset the cost of finding a dog to help victims of all ages.
“This year when I went to the school, I wanted the second-graders to know that they really are partners with us,” said Umphress.
“The nice thing about it is, the more collaboration and the more partners that you have, that's a stronger message that we're sending to all the victims in Yuma that people really do support you and care about you.”
Kylee Brothers, 7, said that the second-grade classes voted on a name for the therapy dog, and the two winning names from both classes were combined to make Goldie Love. In response to why that particular name was chosen, Brothers said, “She's a golden retriever and she's going to give love to all the kids and help them.”
Mikala Morgan, 8, said that some of the other names chosen were Rosebud and Sweetie.
Kaiya Jessen, 8, said she came up with the name Sweetie. She explained that therapy dogs are important because they help other kids feel safe and have something to feel good about.
Sarai Arellano, 8, said, “I felt great to be a part of this project. It's because we all worked together to make a dog's name that's going to bring love to the kids.”
Kenzie Nakasawa, 8, added, “We tried to name the dog when we looked at the picture and we noticed it was a golden retriever and we noticed how much love it could bring for the children, and we said that maybe it has a lot of love and it will help the children get rid of their bad memories.”
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.