Winston Churchill frequently referred to his depression as a "black dog" that followed him around. Archie Brindleton, a local French bulldog, is a black dog who counters the effect of that old black dog.
Archie posts regularly on Facebook, usually twice a day. Kaila and Jordan, Archie's "mum and pop," say that he has not received any negative comments on his posts, and it's easy to see why. His voice is a happy, naive, childish combination of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes and Winnie the Pooh, and he's 26 pounds of adorable. His posts feature his baby sister, Mirabelle, who brings the sass to the dynamic duo.
Archie's voice in his posts is very distinct and people all over the world have responded positively.
"People just started falling in love with him and his relentless positivity and his childlike outlook on life," Archie's pop, Jordan said. "People who were struggling or going through a tough time would read about Archie and the good he sees in the world, and that made their day a little bit better."
Archie's parents have felt the impact depression can have, so when they got the French bulldog and as his following grew, they started to realize just how much Archie could help others. The letters started flooding in and people were telling the doggie dream team about how their positivity and consistent posts helped them overcome negative thoughts and feelings, giving followers something to look forward to each day.
After Archie starred in a production of Gypsy at the Palace Theatre in 2014, he realized he was bulletproof — nothing phased him. Archie became a St. John's Ambulance Therapy Dog and even came to Western to help stressed out students. While Archie is currently on hiatus from being a therapy dog — his schedule is too busy — his photo is still on the promotional material and people always ask if they can meet him.
Every Monday, fans can expect a column called "Ask Archie." People ask all different types of self-help questions, but the all-time favourite came from a woman who was struggling to help her husband receive immigration papers to the United States. After spending the day doing research, the canine columnist told the woman what to do. She followed the advice and was able to get her husband the papers he needed.
Archie has a number of projects going on at once, but the first big project Archie took on is his park project. Since acquiring a list of all public parks in London, Archie's goal is to visit all 433 parks in the city. As of last count, he has just over 400 under his collar. The goal is to visit all of the parks this year so that he can be declared "London's Park Master General."
Archie is also a Goodwill ambassador for London and has plans to work with the Canadian Mental Health Society in order to keep helping others and bring smiles to more faces.
"There really is so much love out there, we just have to connect the dots to improve the world a little bit," Archie's pop says.
Archie also helps out his fans in a more personal way. He received a message from a man named James Rice. Rice had been diagnosed with kidney failure and he was in desperate need of financial support, so he decided to reach out to his favourite four-legged friend and asked Archie to share a GoFundMe page.
When Archie and his parents read Rice's story, they were so moved that they decided to go beyond just promoting his GoFundMe. They decided to go on what they call a "Happy Heart Mission" and drive all the way to West Virginia to meet Rice, stopping along the way to meet their online friends and raise money for Rice. Currently, they are selling T-shirts with Archie's face on them to help Rice.
"The more people that know about Archie, the more people he will be able to help, he will be able to do more 'Happy Heart Missions,' which is really all that matters- who we can help."