Loyola home to service pup in training


Gabrielle Korein

Parleaux sits in a grassy field. The dog is training to be Loyola’s on-campus therapy dog.

Whether she’s entertaining others in the Peace Quad or giving them comfort through her fluffy fur, Parleaux always greets new friends with a wagging tail and a tiny tongue ready to give out puppy kisses. This excitable 7-month-old cockapoo is Loyola’s therapy dog in training.
The Rev. Justin Daffron, the vice president of mission and identity and Parleaux’s main caretaker, started a service dog training program while working at Loyola Chicago and has since brought the program to New Orleans. Parleaux, named for the New Orleans brewery, was gifted to Daffron and the university by Rachel Garrett, an employee of Ruffle Butt Pups.
Since coming to Loyola as a puppy in May 2021, Parleaux has been training to become a fully certified therapy dog. Her calendar has been packed with commitments like walking through campus while lifting up spirits and attending various on-campus events. No matter where she goes, Daffron said that Parleaux is always delighted to make a new friend or two, dogs and humans alike.
Daffron said that as a part of her training to become a certified therapy dog through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, she has visited many areas of the city to meet people of all ages, ethnicities, lifestyles, and backgrounds.
Parleaux’s role as a soon-to-be therapy dog is not tied to one person on campus. Rather, as Daffron put it, she serves the greater good of Loyola. To prepare Parleaux to better serve a campus of Loyola’s size, she was required to meet 100 people in the community before turning four months old. Daffron said that this requirement was no easy task, but that there has been a community of caretakers who have stepped in to help with Parleaux’s training. That community helped to not only meet that number, but exceed it substantially, according to on-campus Jesuit regent Joshua Hinchie.
Hinchie serves as the Catholic Studies Coordinator for Loyola and as another caretaker for Parleaux. He said that one of his favorite parts of bringing Parleaux around students is “seeing her brighten people up.” Now that Parleaux is better known on campus, Hinchie said that people seem excited just from the mention of her name.
This semester, Hinchie began taking Parleaux to Catholic Studies events, and students at these events have grown to like her.
While both Hinchie and Daffron admitted to not being dog people, Parleaux is an exception for both of them.
Daffron said that having a dog is “a stretch (for him), but it is important to stretch ourselves to do things for others.”
Parleaux is a friend to non-dog lovers and dog lovers alike.
“I’ve noticed that if I have an interaction with someone while walking Parleaux, they immediately perk up,” Hinchie said.
Parleaux has helped many students through all the normal stress of this school year and additional stressors like COVID-19, Hurricane Ida, and the passing of Loyola’s competitive cheer and dance teams’ coach Rickey Hill.
Lily Donegan, a member of the dance team, said that having Parleaux around after hearing about the passing of Coach Hill was good for the teams, and, “extra special since Coach Rickey was always comforted by his own two dogs.”
Donegan was thankful that Parleaux was around as the cheer and dance team found out about Hill’s passing.
“Puppies and dogs make everything better,” said Donegan. “(It) didn’t make it all better, but definitely made it more manageable.”
Daffron said having Parleaux around on campus has done a lot for students.
He said “creating joy and a stronger community is what helps to build a better Loyola,” and that he sees Parleaux do just that every time she goes out.
Students that wish to spend time with Parleaux should contact Jessica Brasseur in the Office of Mission and Identity to schedule a visit to your student organization or event.