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Beacon The Golden Retriever Had A Very Impawtent Job At The U.S. Olympic Trials

A golden retriever getting pet by four gymnasts.

Olympic hopefuls battling nerves during the U.S. Olympic Trials found themselves in good hands — er, paws — with Beacon the golden retriever. This trained therapy dog offered his services while athletes vied for a chance to join USA Gymnastics in Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games! Competitors could hang out with the pooch in a wellness room when they weren’t demonstrating their skills. Athletes loved being able to wind down with this friendly pup!

Tracey Callahan Molnar, Beacon’s handler, is very proud of how the golden retriever helped these stressed gymnasts calm down. According to KXAN, some athletes joked that the dog should be promoted to “CHO.”

“That would be the Chief Happiness Officer,” Tracey explained. “Just to listen to some of the gymnasts talk about it, it’s a healthy distraction. It gets their mind off of the intensity of the stress of their competition.”

An I.D. card for Beacon the golden retriever, a therapy dog.
Screengrab from Instagram

During the U.S. Olympic Trials, injured athletes were particularly drawn to Beacon the golden retriever for comfort.

“Since these injuries have occurred, they’re reaching out to Beacon more than they did before,” the handler recounted.

Beacon’s handler has worked with other therapy dogs before the golden retriever — in fact, she’s been in the business for 40 years! Specifically, she and her pups have been focusing on helping gymnasts. Tracey is extremely passionate about her work!

“It is a great privilege for Beacon and I to spend time with, and support these amazing gymnasts and their coaches — each and every one of them,” the handler wrote in an Instagram post. “We have a front row seat to witnessing their commitment to excellence and collaborative efforts to get there.”

She added, “I am proud that USA Gymnastics has brought pet therapy to the sport, and not just brought it — but truly embraced and supported it.”

A golden retriever getting pet by four gymnasts.
Screengrab from Instagram

There are some absolutely adorable photos on Instagram of Beacon the golden retriever getting lots of hugs, head scratches, and belly rubs from gymnasts. Everyone who interacted with him looked so happy and worry-free!

Commenters on social media were anxious to know if the therapy dog would be traveling to Paris for the 2024 Olympics. Sadly, KXAN tells us this won’t be the case. However, there are plenty of people who still need Beacon’s help throughout the U.S.!

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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