The Foundation

Arthanis is a non-profit foundation under Swiss law, registered in 2021 and is based in Geneva. Its purpose is to enable individuals with physical or mental illnesses, disabilities or fragility to benefit from the close support of an assistance dog.

Thanks to your support the Arthanis Foundation trains assistance dogs and assigns them to beneficiaries and raises public awareness regarding the value of their contribution. Moreover, it advocates for government recognition of their status as auxiliary caregiving aides.

Assistance dogs: to enjoy greater autonomy and safety as well as a more fulfilling social life.

Our vision

The Arthanis foundation strives towards a society where all persons with physical or mental illnesses, disabilities or fragility can benefit from the close support of an assistance dog to enjoy greater autonomy and safety as well as a more fulfilling social life.

Our missions

As we aim to provide people with special needs with a lasting form of support,

As we believe in the power of the bond between a person and his dog,

Combining our best practices in training dogs according to the beneficiaries’ needs,

We are committed to:

Training specially adapted assistance dogs and assign them, at no cost, to persons with physical or mental illnesses, disabilities or fragility,

Raise awareness the public to the usefulness of assistance dogs for a more inclusive world and a better integration of people with disabilities in society;

Advocating for national and international government recognition of assistance dogs as auxiliary caregiving aides.

Our Values


We identify the specific needs of a vulnerable person and offer the best adapted solution. Thanks to a non-judgemental, openminded personalized approach, and demonstrating empathy, thoughtfulness, and determination in finding solutions, we can make a truly positive impact on a person’s life. non-judgemental, openminded personalized approach.


The Arthanis foundation is a collective project. Trainers, foster families, physicians, volunteers and donors unite to make the vulnerable persons’ life safer and kinder.


Dogs are the corner stone of our action. Our very raison d’être fully depends on them. It is thanks to them that vulnerable persons will regain autonomy and a good quality of life. We must therefore respect them, train them in the best possible conditions and also take their needs into account. They play a critical role in building a community spirit.


The funds raised by the foundation are entirely used for the fulfilment of its missions. As a non-profit organisation, the Arthanis foundation publishes an activity report annually.

Reason for being

Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and now occupy a very special place in our homes. More than this, they have become an integral part of the family.

Their simple presence encourages physical activity, reduces stress and enhances social ties by stimulating interactions that help bring people together. Thanks to them one feels less lonely, this is a fact. This is a fact. They are a link, a medium, an opening to the outside.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote so poetically in his renowned “Little Prince” novel, the bond between human and animal is precious. These universal, powerful and inspiring words have become a true mantra for the Arthanis foundation In everyday life they nurture our profound motivation to undertake concrete actions to enrich the relationship between a vulnerable person and its invaluable assistance dog.

A virtuous circle where each and everyone can thrive and attend to each other’s needs in their own way.

Alexandra Herbez, founder

“To me, you will be unique
in all the world.
To you, I shall be unique in all the world.”

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Our Foundation Board

Alexandra Herbez

Founder & Member of the Foundation board

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Alexandra comes from the economic investigation field. She has always had a special understanding of animals, more particularly of dogs. With the Arthanis Foundation, by leveraging her skills, she strives to make the specially trained dogs’ support accessible to most.

Create lifelong duos with partners taking care of each other and leading a fulfilling life.

Alexandre Falcao Costa Lopes

President of the Foundation board

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Alexandre is an internationally recognized contemporary architect. Driven by a passion for humans and arts, he presides the executive board of the Africana Art Foundation that promotes and supports young African artists throughout the world.

To the Arthanis Foundation he brings his unfailing commitment to serve society with a special concern for justice and sustainability.

Christopher Kirk

Member of the Foundation board

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Ex-Ceo of the leading certification organisation SGS SA, Christopher Kirk is now retired. He divides his time between his passion for sustainable agriculture and the development of real-estate projects. He has always kept providing mentoring to young people to help them on their professional path. Fairness and altruism are values Christopher shares with the Arthanis Foundation, and he is enthusiastic about devoting his skills and experience to a profoundly humane cause.

Jérôme De Montmollin

Member of the Foundation board

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After over thirty years of activity as a solicitor in one of the most prominent Swiss law firms, in Geneva and in London, and at federal judiciary roles, Jérôme now devotes part of his time to philanthropic organisations.

He looks very much forward to using his legal expertise and his enthusiasm to help the Arthanis Foundation fulfil its mission.

Jean-Pierre Diserens

Member of the Foundation board

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Jean-Pierre Diserens has more than 50 years of experience in private banking and in 1976 cofounded the Fidurhône SA securities firm that is still in operation today. He has held several positions on company boards as well as foundation boards. He is also Secretary-General of the CIFA (Convention of Independent Financial Advisors) Foundation, a general consultative status NGO which, as Permanent Delegate, he represents at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in New York.

Our Advisory Board

Dr Méd. Alain Michaud

Médecin généraliste

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FMH Medical doctor specialized in internal medicine, retired in July 2021 after 38 years of activity in a medical practice in Nyon. I have been practicing family medicine in the widest sense of the term, all disciplines included. Also, for over 20 years I was lecturer at the family medicine department of the ‘UniSanté’ medicine faculty of the University of Lausanne.

I have joined the Arthanis foundation as medical advisor, attracted by the prospect of starting a unique and promising venture, that of providing individuals in serious health conditions with specific, personalized help.

Dr Méd. Marine Jequier Gygax

Neuropédiatre FMH, Ancien médecin cadre au service des TSA du CHUV

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Former senior physician at the Autism Spectrum Disorders Service, CHUV

Marine Jequier Gygax studied medicine in Lausanne, specialized in pediatrics and then in pediatric neurology. She conducted basic and clinical research projects in the field of neurodevelopment during a fellowship in the United States and then in Switzerland in Lausanne. She has developed clinical expertise in cognitive and autism spectrum neurology, and opened a developmental neurology practice in January 2022. She continues to teach in university hospitals and at the IA.

Dr Méd. Elena Gamarra

Cheffe du service d'endocrinologie-diabétologie

Hôpital régional de Lugano

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Dr. Elena Gamarra, specialist in Endocrinology and Diabetology, graduated in Medicine from the University of Turin, where she continued her specialization and doctorate in medical pathophysiology.
She has developed a special interest in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy and the management of the child/adult transition in diabetes.
She also has a special interest in technology and therapeutic education. Since 2020 she has been living in Switzerland and is currently working as a Diabetologist-Endocrinologist at the Clinique – Centre Médical & Thérapeutique La Lignière in Gland.

Dr PD méd. José HABA-RUBIO

Neurologue FMH

Capacité en Médecine du sommeil SSSSC

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Dr. José Haba-Rubio is a neurologist and sleep disorders specialist, privat-docent (PD) and Master of Teaching and Clinical Research (MER-clin) at the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of Lausanne, registered physician at the Center for Investigation and Research on Sleep (CIRS) of the CHUV and co-medical director of the Sleep Center of Florimont.

Dr Méd. Noëlle Mercier

Neurologue, Médecin cheffe épileptologie, Fondation Lavigny

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Dr. Noëlle Mercier studied medicine at the University of Lausanne where she specialised in neurology In August 2018 she joined the Lavigny Institution where she took over the position of Head of the medical department for Epileptology and Disability Care.

Dr. méd. Veterinary Jérôme Föllmi


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Passionate about veterinary medicine in general and after graduating from the Bern University in 2003, Jérôme decided to focus on small animal medicine. As he chose to emphasize close interaction and communication with animals, he specialised in veterinary osteopathy and later-on physiotherapy. His typical approach is to optimize the well-being of animals by involving their owners in the treatment procedures. Hence it was only natural for Jérôme to join the Arthanis foundation the values of which are dear to him, in particular the community spirit, the well-being of all and the special bond that develops between animals and owners.

Teo Mariscal

Comportementaliste animalier & formateur canin

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Teo is the founder of the Bocalán assistance dog training school in Madrid. For over 20 years he has trained an entire generation of professionals from the animal world.
He is a Royal Canine Society instructor and trainer, an Ethology Master class teacher at the Madrid Universidad Autonoma, and an expert in animal behaviour. Also, for about 10 years he was a member of the board of the reference body ADI (Assistance Dogs International). There he trained numerous trainers and collaborated to establish and constantly improve the assistance dog training standards.

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