For those of you who live in Utah, and have a dog, you’ve more than likely heard of Brandy. And if not Brandy, most definitely her dog, Scout. They’re the dynamic duo behind the IG page @DogFriendlySLC and website Dog Friendly SLC where you can learn about all things Dog Friendly in Utah. From the best dog-friendly bars to dog-friendly pumpkin patches, she covers it all!

I don’t know if it was because I had already been following them for some time on social media, but when I finally met them IRL (in real life, for people my age) it felt like I was meeting up with an old friend. Brandy is warm and friendly and so easy to talk to. Naturally, I was instantly smitten with her boy, Scout.

We shot Scout’s photos for the Salty Dogs Book where he debuted as a private eye (you can snag your copy here) and then headed outside where my little human proceeded to fall in love with Scout himself and they played fetch together.

We had a chance to talk while they played and it came up that she was involved with the non-profit organization Make-A-Wish. I’d heard of it but realized I really didn’t know much about it at all. So I had a question…or 7 for Brandy. She was gracious enough to meet me at Utah’s location and tell me more about it.

What is Make a Wish?
Make-A-Wish is an international non-profit focused on granting life changing wishes for children affected by critical illness. We work with the children to determine their one heartfelt wish, which usually falls in one of four categories:
  • I wish to go
  • I wish to have
  • I wish to be
  • I wish to meet
Make-A-Wish Utah, located in Murray, is the Utah chapter of this awesome organization. 
How did you become involved with the organization?
I started volunteering with Make-A-Wish Georgia in 2016 when seeking a flexible volunteer opportunity. I had a former roommate who was a volunteer with Make-A-Wish and I loved the idea of helping plan wishes for kids and families. At the time I was working a highly stressful job and needed something to focus on that would bring some perspective back to my life. It reminded me that there are bigger problems in life than the ones we stress about in our 9 to 5 (or more) jobs, as well as provided me with a significant creative outlet.
What is your role?
I am a volunteer wish granter! We work with a partner to be liaisons between the official Make-A-Wish organization and the family which means helping the child determine his or her one true wish, filling out paperwork, providing updates for the family, and keeping the magic alive while the child waits for the wish to be granted. Wish granters also ensure that each wish is customized for each child. As you can imagine, many children have similar wishes and go through similar processes, so the little things we can do to help make the child understand and feel that this is THEIR wish. That might mean making sure they have their favorite snacks for the airplane or that they have a themed shirt or outfit to wear.
Are there requirements to do what you do or get involved?
Make-A-Wish requires that wish granters be over 21 years old, provide 2 references, and pass a background check. People who are creative, self-motivated, good communicators, and reliable would be great wish granters, but there are other opportunities to volunteer if those aren’t your strengths! Make-A-Wish Utah specifically can always use more volunteers around the entire state of Utah, as well as Spanish speaking volunteers. Visit to learn more!
What has been your most memorable experience?
Every wish is a memorable experience. I’ve been lucky to be part of some great wishes, including military member for a day, shopping sprees, room and backyard makeovers, zookeeper for a day, and countless travel wishes. Many wishes we grant are for kids on their way back to living a normal life but, as you can imagine, some wishes truly serve as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Those are what I remember most. Two years ago I worked with a 3 year old boy who had wished to go to Disney and was unfortunately deemed too sick to travel just days prior to departure. We immediately pivoted to plan a local memory making wish that included time at the zoo, his favorite restaurant, Build A Bear, and a handprint keepsake while riding around in his favorite vehicle- a school bus! When the day arrived, though, we were crushed to find out he was too sick for the adventure we planned. His parents graciously thanked us for our time but said they were catching a flight the next day to return to their home country to spend his remaining days with family. Not to be deterred, we arranged for his family to be transported to the airport. I’ll never forget the smile on his face as he got to ride on a school bus for the first time.
What do you love the most about being a part of it?
I love so many things about being a wish granter. Obviously it’s rewarding work overall, but my favorite thing is surprising the wish kids and families. There are so few true surprises in life that I try really hard to create magical moments that they don’t see come- even for the parents! You also never get tired of watching a kid experience their wish coming true.
Are they doing anything special for Christmas?
Make-A-Wish Utah holds a variety of events for current and former wish families throughout the entire year. We do benefit each year from a holiday fundraising campaign with Macys. As part of the Macys Believe campaign, Macys will donate a dollar to Make-A-Wish for each letter to Santa they receive. Luckily for all of us, Santa accepts emails now so you can write your letter online here.
What do you wish people knew about it or what would you like people to know?
I wish people knew that it’s not as sad as they think it might be. In fact, wishes bring so much joy! And most wish kids have a great long term prognosis. It’s also one of the most flexible opportunities to volunteer that I’ve encountered. Most wish granters working on 2-3 wishes will spend only 5 to 10 hours working on their wishes per month. All interactions with the family can be done around your schedule and you can take on as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. 

More information about the organization or how to get involved can be found HERE.

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