A two-year old Labernese is helping Montreal’s homeless

A two-year old Labernese is helping Montreal’s homeless

The Mira Foundation has debuted Argon, the first dog to be assigned to a homeless shelter full-time. His job is to provide some comfort to the transients.

A Dog Helping Montreal’s Homeless 

Argon is the first dog bred and trained by the Mira Foundation that has been assigned to a homeless shelter in Quebec full-time. 

Argon is Able to Offer Unreserved Affection

There are two men sitting hunched over on the shelter’s chairs, talking quietly to one another and looking rather the worse for wear. Suddenly, a two-year old Labernese approaches the pair, and sits down in front of them.

Immediately there are smiles from the men, then, when Argon extends his right paw to one, unprompted, the men share a glance and erupt into laughter.

Yvan Lafleur, 52-years old, and one of the two men chatting to each other before states that the dog impresses him no end.

Lafleur says that, the first time he met Argon, the dog had approached him without hesitation, sitting down between his feet and putting his head straight up, asking Lafleur to pet him.

It was the kind of unconditional tenderness that Lafleur knows very little of. Raised by an abusive, alcoholic father, he has spent many years drifting in and out of homelessness in Montreal. Lafleur says that he thinks he is a little borderline, stating that he sometimes gets very depressed, and other times is very happy.

But, no matter what his mood, Argon always manages to strike the right tone. It could be compared to the rest of us enjoying the online gambling Canada has to offer, perhaps: whether we are feeling isolated, talkative, angry, or joyous, simply sitting down to relax and play for a little while will keep us from getting overwhelmed by our problems.

Argon is a Soothing Presence

Lafleur speaks of the dog’s simply being present being comforting, and he goes on to say that is is easier to talk to the animal. Lafleur states that the dog simply listens, never arguing back or cutting you off, and that, sometimes, this was really all you needed. Whilst it can be certain Argo also enjoys outdoor activities like any other dog, he seems content to be inside and offering comfort too.

Argon is Learning As Well

A dog trainer with the Mira Foundation, Gilles Gingras, steps into the Maison du Père, bracing himself.

When Gingras was there three weeks before, Argon raced up to him and circled excitedly, swinging his hips into Gingras’ legs in order to get some attention. He was pacing nervously, and groaning, tangling his leash on everything.

But now Argon calmly walks down the staircase near the main entrance for the centre, heeling alongside Jennyfer Gosselin, the special-care counsellor.

Argon is aware of Gingras, and is visibly excited, but there is none of the chaos of the last time. He now sits calmly alongside Gingras, tilting his head upwards. Gingras happily acknowledges the progress the dog has made, saying proudly that Argon understands what his role is.

Argon is Spreading the Joy

Argon’s workplace is the Maison du Père, situated on the René-Lévesque Blvd. E. It is a mixed complex that operates as not simply a shelter, but a long-term place to stay for homeless men getting on in years, a wing which deals with matters of social-reintegration, emergency units, and four palliative care rooms.

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