We have amazing volunteers at Sammy's Hope! Check out this volunteer spotlight on Anita Quinn!
Back in 2005, Anita Quinn a stay-at-home mom, her husband and two sons said goodbye to their 11 year old Dingo named Brandy. Brandy was a "second mother" to her boys until the day she was unable to stand up and it was time to say goodbye. Devastated by Brandy's death, Anita promised herself that any dog she would take into her home would be far more than just a pet. Along came a rambunctious Puggle puppy named Roxy, and Anita and Roxy began their journey into the dog training world. In fact, Anita and Roxy trained for three years in competitive agility.
Anita didn't stop there. She adopted a poodle name Buster and trained him to be a therapy dog. Buster and Anita worked to bring comfort and happiness to senior citizens with dementia, hospice patients and their families, adults and children suffering with eating disorders, and spent many years raising awareness of good mental health and suicide prevention. Anita has also trained and placed dogs with people with mental illnesses to be their emotional support animals, and work with autistic children. Buster participated in a study at Rutgers University that proved that dogs can help children with autism become more social. Anita has also visited classrooms teaching children about dog safety!
This, remarkably, hasn't been enough for Anita, who has enrolled at Catch Canine Trainer Academy and is in the process of becoming a Certified Dog Trainer. Anita says "a dog trainer doesn't just teach a dog to sit or lie down, but educate the public that dogs are capable of learning so much more." She adds "to truly understand dog behavior and be the best dog trainer that you can be, you have to do the difficult work, too...you have to understand where behavior comes from and how to help that dog become well-behaved, lovable pet." She is also now training Sammy's Hope volunteers to use our new agility equipment to teach and train our wonderful dogs.
As for joining Sammy's Hope as a volunteer, Anita says "I've volunteered at a few shelters, but Sammy's Hope is the only one that gave me the freedom to truly learn where these dogs come from, how to manage and care for them and how to train them. I am really grateful for this opportunity and hopefully in the future I will have enough experience to help dogs and their people live better lives together."
What could be better than that?