This is something that should never have happened, not here and not anywhere, but unfortunately it has. The question of whether it could have been prevented is redundant at this point – a man’s best friend died on the streets of Montreal in his arms, because he had nowhere to go during last Thursday night’s record breaking temperature of -16C, with a wind chill of -26C.
According to a Montreal Gazette report, at 2:30am that night Christian who is homeless, wrapped his dog Buddy, a Doberman, with two blankets and held him in his arms – but Buddy still continued to shiver badly. The Maison du Père, Old Brewery Mission and the Acceuil Bonneau shelters were all full – and the only shelter in Montreal that even accepts dogs, SOS Itinérance, had already closed. In a panic, Christian went to a nearby Metro station and ‘rapped on the glass as hard as he could’ – but when two inspectors arrived, they refused to let him in as it was well past closing time. Having nowhere to turn to, he returned to the streets. Not long after – Buddy froze to death in his arms.
Under specific circumstances, the STM does open its doors to the homeless, letting them in only during operating hours to warm up when it is cold outside. In collaboration with the Société de développement social (SDS), the STM has set up ‘service points’ in five metro stations to help the homeless find the services they need, they also provide a shuttle service to the Old Brewery Mission from the Bonaventure metro station – available only in the winter starting on December 1st.
There are no further details yet on what transpired and questions still need to be answered – including the possibility of whether Christian might have been intoxicated and acting agitated. In the meantime, a man just lost his warmest connection the world – and a dog lost his life, in a most horrible way.