Joyce Tegtmeier, Social Media Specialist, Project Management Professional
Where did you grow up? I grew up in rural South Dakota. My earliest childhood years were spent on a farm, where my first friendships were with the animals, including the family dog, lambs, and a goat. I’ve lived in Utah since December 1988.
Where did you go to school?Any degrees? I attended technical school and studied one year of business management curriculum at the University of Phoenix.
How did you develop a passion for the healing power of animals? In 1989 my husband and I managed a small group home for intellectually challenged adults. It was there that we realized the residents found it rewarding and calming to come into our apartment and pet our Persian cat. So, we incorporated one-on-one time with our cat as a reward they could choose after completing their lessons. In 1999 I read a local newspaper article about therapy animals and Utah Animal Assisted Therapy Association (UAATA). The article inspired me and I still have it! In 2001, while volunteering at a fund-raising walk, I met some dear volunteers from UAATA who explained more to me about the healing, comfort, and joy that therapy animals provide to people in the community.
What do you do for Utah Pet Partners? I became a volunteer for Utah Pet Partners in 2002 when it was called Utah Animal Assisted Therapy Association (UAATA). My cat Jet, who was a rescue, and I volunteered at a senior assisted living facility for 2 years. When Jet’s health declined, we ceased volunteering together and I started volunteering in an “unleashed” capacity by managing Utah Pet Partners’ website blog and social media. I also currently serve as a Director on the Board of Directors.
What’s your day job? After managing a group home, I worked in tech support for a software development company for 7 years, and then at a financial institution for nearly 18 years where I was a Vice President and project manager. After the financial office closed, I worked as a project manager in a transportation company for 4 and ½ years. Right now, I am not employed and am enjoying my time at home with my husband.
Tell briefly about your family and hobbies. My husband and I met while we were both serving in the US Air Force. We enjoy our time together with our 5 rescued cats. Unfortunately none of our current cats are social enough to be therapy cats. I enjoy taking walks, exercising, Dugway geodes, watching movies, Sudoku and other puzzles, reading, and writing. I contribute a weekly “Paws for Thought” column to my hometown South Dakota newspaper in which I share life lessons inspired by my cats. I also dabble a bit with art and sewing.