The Mira Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1981. Mira provides free guide dogs and service dogs specially trained to help people with disabilities or major handicaps such as blindness, severe physical deficiencies or Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). Mira works to help disabled individuals lead their lives independently as functioning members of society by providing dogs bred and trained to respond to their adaptation and rehabilitation needs.
The founder and CEO, Éric St-Pierre, is still at the helm of the organization after more than 30 years. In recognition of his innovation in the development of dog training, several awards and distinctions have been bestowed upon Eric. He says: “The relationship between man and dog is so natural that even a lost soul can find himself!”
At Mira, we subscribe to a principle of physical equality. Namely, we believe that anything that is accessible to the public at large should be accessible to handicapped individuals. Mira is focused on improving the functional capabilities of individuals, such as mobility and orientation so they can move freely in their environment. For Mira, deficiencies are not diseases and it is important that everyone finds his place within his own family, school or profession, as naturally as possible.
In 1991, Mira created a guide-dog program for blind children. Since that time, Mira has been the only school in the world to provide guide dogs to blind individuals under the age of 15. To date, Mira has given more than 85 guide dogs to young teenagers in Quebec, Ontario, the Maritime Provinces, France and Mexico.
In the beginning, Mira raised mostly Labradors and Bernese Mountain dogs. In 1991, a cross between the two dogs began, allowing the Foundation to create its own breed: the Labernese, created for the express purpose of providing assistance to the handicapped.
Since its founding in 1981, Mira has given away over 2,000 dogs. Each guide dog and service dog represents an investment of $30,000. In addition, approximately 180 new handicapped people are served, and follow-up services are provided to the users of over 800 dogs already in service.
Mira does not receive any government funds; its financing depends entirely on donations from the public, and from various fundraising activities.
To learn more about the Mira Foundation, please visit www.mira.ca
*Source : The Mira Foundation’s official Website.