Meet Quinn, the 3-year-old yellow English lab trained as a facility dog and supported by the Western PA Conference. Quinn was trained by Susan Wagner from Perfect Fit Canines alongside his facilitator Hannah Empfield, a member of the Kiski Charge in Vandergrift.
Facility dogs work in schools, counseling offices, rehabilitation facilities, court houses and ministries. They like to be petted and touched. They are able to remain calm in a variety of distracting situations and are proven to reduce stress.
Hannah works at an emergency vet hospital and decided to become a facilitator because she loves animals and wanted a way to help people. Hannah had worked at Jumonville and saw an opportunity to continue her relationship with the Conference by creating this unique ministry.
Quinn lives with Hannah full time and began training when he was eight weeks old. Training typically takes approximately two years and dogs must pass a test before they are considered fully qualified.
During a visit to Wesley Woods, Hannah and Quinn demonstrated some of his skills. He fetched, centered himself, rolled over, found objects, shook hands, and played dead. Despite his ability to perform, Hannah told the group that what he does best is "make people happy."
Quinn also appeared at Annual Conference and aboard the JoAnn M on Lake Erie. Hannah hopes to partner further with At the Lake Ministries and the Conference Disabilities Committee. One of her main goals is to educate people about the benefits of service animals in churches. She plans to take Quinn to camps, youth programs, and other events around the Conference.