The organization Les Chiens d’Anakim, which trains assistance dogs for people with special needs such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress, is coming to Trois-Rivières.
The needs here are great, like everywhere else since the start of the pandemic.
Audrey Caron is one of the people who need this support. TVA Nouvelles also witnessed the work of her service dog when she collapsed on the ground during a meeting on the premises of the organization.
Living with several problems, including severe anxiety, he often loses consciousness in stressful situations.
“Baska is my freedom. This is my second service dog that I have. Without it, I can’t drive, work, sleep, I go to the hospital, I have concussions,” said Ms. Caron.
For the past two years, his service dog has been helping him control his seizures. This is the role of the animals trained by the organization Les Chiens d’Anakim, which has just arrived in Trois-Rivières. She was also able to join the company and, in this way, work with her companion.
“As soon as she sees that her beneficiary is not well, she will sit directly on it and if she is standing, she will alert her and she will jump on her. An assistance dog is not allowed to jump, but she is her alert. This is what he said to him: “ok, you have to sit down, you have to put yourself in a safer place”, explained the owner and founder of the organization, Sonia Baillargeon. .
Generalized anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, borderline personality disorder; the needs are many and different.
For Cédric Gauthier, another beneficiary, it is a post-traumatic disorder.
“Having him always with me changed my life greatly because I couldn’t go out to the shops at all, I couldn’t sleep anymore, I couldn’t make any decisions anymore,” he explained.
A student at the grooming salon where the organization takes place, he too can now work with his dog in complete confidence.
For the owner of the Lave-Canins grooming salon, renting a room from the organization is a way to lend a hand to all those who are impatiently waiting for their service dog.
“I learned with Cédric, one of my students who already has an assistance dog, how the dog behaves when he has a seizure. I love dogs, even more these dogs when they work with anxious people, it comes to me even more, “said Lise Gauvin.
For the moment, eight dogs are certified for assistance and more than 50 others are in training.
When Les Chiens d’Anakim was created in 2019, the requests were there, but much less than today.
The pandemic has created a lot of stress and anxiety and people need support now more than ever. The organization receives about fifteen requests every day, but unfortunately cannot meet the demand for the moment.
Training a dog for particular tasks can take up to two years.
The organization is also looking for foster families to be able to train more dogs. Trois-Rivières and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu are currently the two anchor points for Les Chiens d’Anakim. Another branch could open in Laval, but people from all over Quebec are counting on the services.