Always committed to giving back to its community, the Montreal Canadiens are teaming up with the Mira Foundation to become a foster family to a Saint-Pierre Labernese puppy for one year. The organization will be responsible to socializing the puppy under Mira’s standards to become a future guide dog or service dog.
Mira pursues the goal of increasing the autonomy and social inclusion of people with visual impairments, physical disabilities and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by providing, free of charge, dogs trained to meet their needs for adaptation and rehabilitation. Since its creation in 1981, Mira allowed more than 3,000 people to have a better life, by giving them a perfectly trained dog to palliate their disabilities.
For the next 12 months, the puppy will undergo basic obedience training, as well as social and environmental stimulation to help it develop into a secure, self-confident, working dog for his future role of service dog. As a foster family, the Canadiens will welcome the puppy into the organization’s offices and to the Bell Centre during games, which will help in its socialization. When training in the office is over, the puppy will continue his daily learning at the home of a dedicated Canadiens front office employee.
“Everyone in the organization is happy and excited to participate in this initiative,” said Geneviève Paquette, vice president of community engagement for the Montreal Canadiens. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to raise awareness and educate our colleagues and the public on the challenges of independence, accessibility and social integration of people with disabilities. The work that Mira does is remarkable and we welcome the chance to contribute in our own way.”
“We consider it a privilege to count on the support of the Montreal Canadiens organization and are thrilled to witness the great enthusiasm generated by this team project,” mentioned Nicolas St-Pierre, general manager of the Mira Foundation. “This puppy will have the opportunity to grow in an extremely stimulating and diverse environment. During his first year of life, he will have been exposed to many situations and I am sure it will greatly contribute to making him a good service dog.”
After staying one year with its foster family, the puppy will return to Mira for evaluation to identify the program that best suits him. Then, it will undergo training for three to six months, depending on the selected program, after which it will be matched with his beneficiary.
As the Canadiens are making the final arrangements before the puppy’s arrival, fans who wish to may submit their recommendations for the puppy’s name. Now through Nov. 30, submit your recommendation at https://www.nhl.com/canadiens/community/habs-puppy.