Quincy, an 11-year-old golden retriever, collie and German shepherd mix, is a member of Akron Children’s Doggie Brigade. For more than four years, he has visited the hospital with his owner, Amanda Ennis, bringing smiles to patients, families and staff.
Quincy was just 7 months old when Amanda adopted him from the Portage Animal Protective League in Ravenna.
“He was actually skittish and shy at first,” Amanda said, “so I took him up to campus [at Kent State] every day and had students feed him treats. Within two weeks, he started to blossom into the social, sunny dog he is today!”
Quincy excelled at dog agility, a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. They traveled to Nova Scotia, Massachusetts, Michigan and many other places, acquiring titles and championships before Quincy partially tore his ACL.
The doctor said he could keep going, but more injuries were likely, so Amanda decided it was time to retire.
A dog agility friend suggested Quincy should try out for the Doggie Brigade. Quincy, a people-lover with a nice personality, passed on his first attempt.
“He loves coming here. When I get the blue shirt out of the closet, he knows we are going to the hospital,” Amanda said. “He whines, dances and wags his tail.”
Amanda’s favorite moments are when Quincy can make patients smile or distract the children from day-to-day life at the hospital. Even adults from the burn unit can’t resist his charms.
“It makes the hospital experience pleasant for just about everyone. Kids can be more like kids and less like sick kids,” she said. “He never demands anything of them, except maybe a cookie.”
But Quincy’s treats are special ever since his vet discovered and removed a gastrointestinal tumor. An endoscopy revealed possible food allergies, so Quincy is now an involuntary vegetarian and cancer survivor.
Besides his therapy stint, Quincy recently started his acting career. He will be starring as Sandy in nine performances of the musical “Annie,” which runs from July 27—Aug. 12 at Akron’s Weathervane Playhouse.
“It’s been a learning experience. I don’t think he understands what singing is, so when it’s loud, he gets nervous, but he’s doing really well. We just nailed our big scene in rehearsal,” Amanda said.
For a $65 throw-away shelter dog, Amanda said it’s amazing to see how much Quincy has accomplished and how special the Doggie Brigade is to their lives.
“I’m really proud that the Doggie Brigade is celebrating its 20th Anniversary,” she said. “I think it shows how forward-thinking Akron Children’s was and continues to be. They were one of the first places in the country to do this when it wasn’t encouraged, but they paved the way.”
Have you been touched by our Doggie Brigade? We’d love to hear your story, or you can comment on this post.