Wag and Company North East Friendship Dogs was incorporated in August 2015 and became a registered charity in March 2016.
We enable professionally assessed volunteers and their dogs to visit older dog lovers in their own homes or in care and medical establishments across the North East of England.
The organisation was founded by local business people and is supported by some key businesses in the North East. Having visited the elderly with dogs in nursing homes as part of corporate volunteering programmes, we have seen first hand the positive benefits of new friends and the special bond between dogs and people.
The scale of the loneliness issue amongst pensioners is significant. There are more than 51,000 pensioners in the North East who describe themselves as lonely all or most of the time. We are also a region of dog lovers, having, at 36%, the highest percentage of dog owning households in the UK.
Until now, no visiting dog organisation in the North East enabled volunteers with dogs to visit people in their own homes, only in care or medical establishments. Wag & Company reaches older dog lovers who miss the friendship of a dog wherever they are in our region.
Wag & Company launched in May 2016 having first run a number of pilots earlier in the year. Our first visiting dog team started visiting a Durham nursing home in February 2016 and the first “at home” visit, in partnership with Age UK Newcastle, took place in March 2016.