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Intermountain Therapy Animals Staff

Kathy Klotz (with Tristan & Skye)

Executive Director

I joined ITA as a volunteer right at its inception in 1993, and was a Pet Partner with my Australian Shepherd, Foster, for eight years until he died in 2002. (I regret that despite four other dogs and six cats in my household since that time, none of them has wanted to be anything but my personal therapist.) I became Assistant Director in 1996 and Executive Director in 1997. After 25 years in academic (UCLA) and corporate environments, where I worked mostly in public opinion research, I had finally found what I wanted to be when I grew up. Putting people and animals together, for the happiness and healing of both, is among the most joyful and rewarding "work" on earth.

Melissa Byrd (with Oliver, the ITA Office Cat) Administrative Assistant

I have always loved animals and, though I didn't fully understand it until I came to ITA, it's because of the love they give so willingly to anyone who will accept it. Being able to "witness" the great works and small victories that our amazing volunteers and programs and their clients achieve on a daily basis never ceases to send chills up my spine and bring tears to my eyes. I have been lucky enough to be on the staff of ITA for 12 years, and feel sincerely privileged to work for the organization and with my fellow staff members. I have had many beloved pets but, as we say in the office, they only enjoyed being my personal therapist and wouldn't have enjoyed being in the AAT settings. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not big on group gatherings, but I do enjoy speaking with people and assisting when I can. I also like to camp, hike and spend time with my family.

Nancy Rosen (with KC & Eli)

ITA Montana Chapter Coordinator

I started volunteering w/ITA in 1998 with my first Bichon, Maggie, and then added KC  (aka Killer Cottonball) a year later. Both Maggie & KC were wonderful therapy dogs and had distinctly different visiting styles and preferences. Maggie was a social butterfly, a schmoozer, loved everyone for a short period and then she was ready to move on. KC was more of a snuggler, and had more staying power than Maggie. She was also one of the original 14 R.E.A.D. dogs. Right after joining ITA, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I worked part-time in the SLC office in various capacities and became a workshop instructor and an evaluator. In 2001, I moved to Bozeman, Montana and started the ITA chapter here. Fortunately, I did not need to reinvent the wheel and was able to implement what I learned in SLC. We now have over 70 ITA teams in Montana. I lost Maggie in 2006, and KC in 2014. Eli, who is 10-1/2, has been a therapy dog for eight years. He is doing a wonderful job, and following in his sisters' footsteps. He loves the children at the elementary school where he is a R.E.A.D. dog. Lily is just one years old right now, and I am hoping she will also become a therapy dog. She is sweet, loves to meet people, but definitely needs to mature and settle. 

Brett Beasley (with Rachael, Jett & Jaro)

Utah County Coordinator

Rachael and I joined ITA in 2003 with our pet partner, Jaro, inspired by a public service piece about ITA on a noon news show. Jaro was a natural, and he is by now the "elder statesman" animal therapist in Utah County. A new puppy, Jett, joined the clan in 2005. He proved himself to be equally adept at therapy work, and has been serving alongside his Uncle Jaro since 2007. I have been the Utah County Coordinator since 2004, and really enjoy helping new teams establish themselves in animal-assisted therapy work. I am also a Team Evaluator, and enjoy seeing both halves of the pet partner teams, and the clients they serve in the community, lifted by the human-animal bond. Rachael and I love the quality time we are able to spend giving back to the community, and the chance to spend enjoyable time with our "boys," at the same time is more than we could ever have hoped for.

Connie Sharkey (with Buddy & Chase)

ITA Idaho Chapter Coordinator

Connie Sharkey became a Pet Partner with the Delta Society in 1992, even before ITA was founded, and has been participating in therapy volunteering non-stop ever since. She joined ITA in November of 2001 and is our chapter leader for the entire state of Idaho, so she does a lot of traveling. She was inducted into ITA's Hall of Fame in 2005, and her partner Buddy was ITA Dog of the Year in 2010. Connie, along with her husband Jim and Buddy and Chase, spend the darkest, coldest days of winter in Arizona.

Cindy Harris (with Bumper & Bailey)

Office Manager

I joined ITA in May 2011. I have had dogs in my life for as long as I can remember. I think I must have been born with paw prints on my heart. I like all animals, but dogs just hold a special place.

When I learned there might be a place I could work and be with dogs I just had to get in on it! I am hoping to learn all aspects of ITA from the ground up. My husband and I have two grown daughters whose company we enjoy as often as possible. I also like to read in my spare time.

Phone: 801.272.3439 | Fax: 801.272.3470 | | 4050 South 2700 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84124

Karen Burns (with Chloe)
Assistant Director and ITA R.E.A.D. Coordinator

I joined ITA In 1996 and volunteered with my pet partner Maggie, a Harlequin Great Dane, for eight years in a variety of settings. We enjoyed working with kids at a residential treatment center, visiting brain-injured clients at a group home, and going to hospitals and assisted living facilities. The R.E.A.D. program was a fabulous way for Maggie, as a senior dog, to keep on volunteering and one of my favorite settings. I began working for ITA in 1999, leaving the corporate environment for the rewarding world of animal-assisted interactions. As Assistant Director, I manage the financial system, conduct new volunteer training and orientation classes, and coordinate our ITA R.E.A.D. program here in Utah. Maggie passed in 2004. I soon found myself with a Dutch Bunny named Clair as my therapy partner. What fun I had going from large to little! Reading with kids continued as a favorite for us. Clair also had special requests from clients at the Burn Trauma Unit at the University of Utah Hospital. We said good-bye to Clair in 2008. I now work with Chloe, our Miniature Dachshund who came to our family in 2008. Chloe is registered with my daughter, Jessie and myself. We visit children at The Sharing Place, a grief-counseling center. My free time is spent with my family, husband Rob, kids Jessie and Zack, three cats and a horse in addition to Chloe.

Brutus and I started our quest to participate in animal-assisted interactions in October of 2008, here in St. George, Utah.  I started working with him right at 8 weeks of age, training and socializing with anyone and everyone, and on his first birthday we became a Pet Partner team - August 2009. Tytus soon joined us, and in the past six years we have enjoyed visiting several facilities including the hospital, assisted living, and school classrooms, and helping others to become therapy teams under other organizations.

As of February 2015, we landed where we feel is home as members of ITA. We are looking forward to building a strong team here in Southern Utah. With Dozer, our bunny, joining us, along with five other wonderful teams, ITA Southern Utah was born. So, watch for us - we are coming on STRONG.

Patti Gilbert (with Brutus and Tytus)

ITA Southern Utah Coordinator

Sabrina Walker(with Charlie, Molly, and Roxie)

Volunteer & Facility Coordinator.

I joined ITA in June of 2016. I have a handsome German Shepherd named Charlie and two sweet Dachshunds named Molly and Roxy. I was graduated from Westminster College in 2015. Previous to ITA, I have had a lot of experience working with animals, first working at a vet clinic and later a dog behavioral training facility. However, the opportunity to bring animals closer to people in such a positive way seems like the most rewarding job to me. I am looking forward to the future of working hands-on with all the amazing ITA team volunteers and helping them do what they do best, as well as learning more about animal-assisted therapy. I am hopeful that one of my four-legged best friends will be interested in being my partner as an ITA team.

Kari Dunn (with Scout)

Volunteer & Facility Services Manager

I am so excited to join the ITA team as the new Volunteer & Facility Services Manager. This role allows me to marry two of my favorite things: people and animals! Another passion of mine is the Great Outdoors, and after spending 26 years in the Outdoor Industry, I am happy to be starting a new chapter with ITA. My husband, Jeff, and I hail from California, but have called Salt Lake City 'home' since 1992. Along with our teenage son, Nate, and our beloved canine, Scout, our fun days are filled with mountain sports, restoring our old home, enjoying the vibrant SLC culture and just loving the great state of Utah. Being able to work with the passionate therapy teams, the ITA staff and the larger community to share the mission of ITA is an honor and I am looking forward to meeting everyone.

Sue Lee (with Tule & Bea)

National/International R.E.A.D. Coordinator

I am honored to become a member of the ITA and R.E.A.D. families as the National/International R.E.A.D. Coordinator. After many years in the corporate world, I found myself wanting to work in a place where I could be part of a team that is passionate about giving time and love to local, national, and global communities (and of course doing anything with dogs is a bonus). I was raised in a cat-loving family but, as an adult, expanded my horizons and have also been a fish mom, bird mom, guinea pig mom, hamster mom, and dog mom. I live in Utah with my husband, Brian, Weki the cat, and dogs Bea (Labrador retriever) and Tule (Labrador mix who is not interested in retrieving). I enjoy reading (of course!) and love to camp, hike, trail run, and cross-country ski with Brian and the dogs. I look forward to being part of the continued worldwide success of the R.E.A.D. program.