Wag and Company North East Friendship Dogs was incorporated in August 2015, became a registered charity in March 2016 and launched operationally in May 2016.
We enable professionally assessed volunteers and their special dogs – Visiting Wag Teams – to regularly and safely visit and befriend older dog lovers in their own homes or in care and medical establishments across the 12 unitary authorities of the North East of England.
We are the only visiting dog charity to visit people in their own homes and we do so on referral from professional agencies such as NHS Trusts, Adult Social Services, Dementia Services, GP practices, the Hospice Movement or the British Red Cross etc.
The organisation was founded by Diane & Doug Morton with support from some key businesses in the North East. Having visited the elderly with dogs in nursing homes initially as part of corporate volunteering programmes and subsequently within their own family, they experienced first hand the very positive impact of new friends and the special bond between dogs and people. Enabling visiting dogs in people's own homes became Diane's mission.
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.
Our aim is to reduce loneliness in older dog lovers in our region and to ensure that no older person misses friendship and the company of a dog.