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Argus Center Name Pays Homage to the Human-Animal Bond
​It was the memory of one dog, sparked by the story of another dog, which gave the Argus Institute its distinctive name. Formerly known as Changes: The Support for People and Pets Program, in the late 1990s the program was undergoing an expansion of mission and services to build on an already established reputation. Staff members wanted a name change that would fit their objective – to promote the human-animal bond in the practice of veterinary medicine.
John Monahan, a freelance writer and Changes client, was intimately familiar with the program. One of the program's counselors had helped him through his dog's illness and eventual
​euthanasia. Monahan volunteered to serve on an advisory committee that helped to craft a new mission statement, goals and objectives, and even a new name -- the Argus Center – named for Monahan's beloved yellow Labrador who had died in 1994 at the age of 15 after a struggle with lymphoma and other ailments.
Monahan's Argus was named for the perhaps better-known mythical Argus of Homer's Odyssey fame. Argus is Ulysses' dog, left behind to wait when his master is called to war with the Trojans. Twenty years pass before Ulysses returns. Seeing the disguised Ulysses upon his return, the old and ailing Argus recognizes his master. "My dear Argus," whispers Ulysses, tears in his eyes. The bond now restored, his faithful waiting rewarded, Argus dies in peace at the comforting sound of his master's voice.
"The Penelope in my story was Carolyn Butler, a perceptive researcher and writer with a beautifully sympathetic heart" wrote Monahan in an essay about his dog Argus and the Argus Institute." It was she, as one of the directors of Changes, the vet school's client-support program at the time, who helped me accept that it was time to help Argus die."
Monahan suggested to the advisory committee, which also included Argus co-founder Laurel Lagoni, the name Argus as one that implied the deepness of the human-animal bond. He told the story about why he'd named his Argus after the dog that never gave up hope. In 1999, the name change became official. In 2000, the Argus Center for Families and Veterinary Medicine slightly changed its name one more time to the Argus Institute and remains the Argus Institute today.
Girl kissing yellow lab


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