Confiture unleashed

A day with McGill’s resident floof

By: Ava Zwolinski

Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017

Confiture with students (left: Jonah, Max, Marie)

‘Confiture’ means ‘jam’ in French. At McGill, however the word has a different meaning: Confiture is a 40-kilogram Great Pyrenees dog, born in Japan, with a Facebook group that counts over 1,000 members. He loves walking into bushes and barks whenever his walker pauses for more than a few seconds. Since the Winter 2016 semester, he has kept a jam-packed  schedule of walks by McGill student volunteers.

Confiture with water bottle

Jonah Levin, U2 Science, has a Great Pyrenees at home. When he first noticed Confiture on campus, he approached his owners and arranged to begin walking the dog on a weekly basis. Confiture has an inscrutable demeanor, and is walked by many different students every day, however, Levin noticed an evolution in their relationship over time.

“After [walking him a few times] I noticed something a little different,” Levin said. “He was a little more obedient. Like, occasionally he would stop and want me to pat his chin. Or he’d drool on me, or something like that.

Confiture on leash

In an email to The McGill Tribune, one of Confiture’s owners, Jean Snow, explained that the Facebook walking group began in 2016. At the time, Snow’s wife, Yuko, began handing out fliers around campus to find students to walk their dog, so that she would have more time to work on her PhD. Confiture suffers from separation anxiety disorder, which means that if he is left alone, he may experience distress and act out. Common symptoms of dog separation anxiety include barking, chewing, and attempting to escape.


Tiffany Liu, U3 Science, commented on Confiture’s owners’ attention to his needs.

“What I heard about [him] is that he has separation anxiety [...],” Liu said. “Because his owners are busy during the day, they made this whole Facebook page [...] so that he doesn’t feel anxious when he is home alone. I think his owners are actually very responsible in that way, thinking about his emotional and mental health.”  

Confiture with Layan

Layan Elchaar, U2 Arts, has known of Confiture for a while and has been trying to walk him for quite some time. She says that every time she tries, all the spots have been taken.

“If you go on Facebook, there’s a schedule up every week to walk this dog, and within hours it is completely full,” Elchaar said.  

The McGill community has embraced Confiture, making him a popular figure on campus. Students all have their own unique anecdotes about him, and many have walked him more than once. Max Chow, U3 Management, finds that walking the Great Pyrenees can be taxing, but fun.

“It’s very hard to control Confiture on walks, and it sometimes makes you wonder if you’re walking Confiture or if Confiture is walking you,” Chow said.

Ayal Bark, U3 Arts, thinks his size explains the Confiture craze among students.

“He’s half polar bear,” Bark said. “That’s probably why His stature, it’s his stature.”

Elchaar believes that the dog’s character also contributes to his popularity on campus; she personally finds his soft-heartedness appeasing.

“He’s eccentric,” Elchaar said. “He’s not your average dog. He’s huge and he’s friendly. He loves people. [Seeing him today] is the perfect way to de-stress right before [an] exam.”

David and Sarah

During the Tribune’s meetup with Confiture and his walkers, Sarah White, U3 Education, and David de Santis, U3 Education, approached the group. White said she recognized him from his page and her friends photos of him. De Santis didn’t know Confiture beforehand, but after meeting him for only a few short minutes he was completely won over

“He’s the coolest dog around,” de Santis said.


McGill students all have different reasons for walking Confiture. Liu likes cuddling with him because he is so big and she has “always wanted a big dog.” Christian Pacis, U3 Science, walks him because it is both relaxing and therapeutic. Roscoe Wasserburg, U3 Science, calls Confiture a “beautiful, bear-like creature,” and Emma Hignett, U3 Science, says he is a “McGill icon,” who has even met the Principal of McGill University, Suzanne Fortier, on one of his walks with Emma last spring.

His bark is harder than his bite. Confiture is a gentle, at times apathetic, extraordinarily large and fluffy creature who has quickly risen to fame at McGill. He brings comfort, happiness, and serenity to those around him, despite his barking at passing cars or frequent pee breaks on every tree he sees. He’s an inherently lovable creature. Given the McGill community’s innate capacity to love, the two make the perfect match.