Visiting Wag Team, Evie and Bruce, visit Ros and John in Newcastle

Ros and her husband John, a retired police officer, live in Newcastle. They’ve loved dogs all their lives, they’ve had labradors and terriers and their last dog, Charlie, was a much loved Jack Russell.  Charlie died at Christmas, losing him broke their hearts and they miss him terribly.  In common with our other friends in their own homes, their health issues mean that having another dog of their own isn’t possible and getting out and about is also quite difficult now.

All our home placements are referred by professional organisations involved in social care and they help us by doing the risk assessment for people visiting the placement alone.  But if families are struggling to find a referrer, we are always able to find a way to help. 

Ros and John’s daughter Vicki lives very close to her parents and she contacted us at the end of April saying: 

“I’ve stumbled across your website this evening whilst desperately looking for a solution to help my elderly parents combat their loneliness and bereavement after losing their dog in December. 

Both of my parents are in their 70’s with various health issues and have limited mobility so they’ve been indoors most of the last 12 months. I live 5 minutes away and visit on a daily basis but aside from myself and my  husband, they don’t see anyone else. I think the service Wag and Company provide sounds amazing and I imagine such an important service to many vulnerable and lonely people. I had never heard of such a service before and I’m so pleased I came across your website.

As a family we have had dogs all our lives and their last dog, Charlie, was just 2 months short of his 14th birthday when he passed away peacefully at their home, just before Christmas, on the 18th December 2020.

The pain never goes away but seeing my parents feeling so lost without the comfort of their fur baby is just heartbreaking. 

I realise your website states visits must be referred by a professional organisation but I was just wondering if you could give me any advice on how I could look into getting a referral for Mum and Dad.Thank you. I am also proud to have just become a Friend of Wag.”

Our special home visiting service truly exists for families like Vicki’s and so, on the basis we couldn’t source a home visiting referrer in the usual way, we worked up a new Wag way to carry out our home visiting safeguarding protocols.  We worked with Vicki on our information needs behind the scenes and then selected two experienced Wag volunteers to help.

In early June, Sean Malone, who has visited for Wag for many years, accompanied Ros and John’s new Visiting Wag Team, Evie and Friendship Dog Bruce (also experienced Wag volunteers) on their first visit.

It was a huge success!  Vicki told us:

“What can I say, Mam and Dad are over the moon they got to meet beautiful Bruce and of course Evie and Sean too.  Honestly it’s so lovely to see my Mam’s face and yes she cried!  It was all happy tears though and wonderful to see.  

We had a lovely chat, mainly doggie related, and my Mam hasn’t stopped taking about it since.  I’m so grateful and actually quite lost for words what it has meant for me and my parents.  I think the only thing left for me to do now is add cocktail sausages to my shopping list for the beautiful Bruce!

Mam and Dad have hardly been out in months and now they’re looking forward to being your guests at Kielder in September!” 

We were touched to hear from Ros and John directly too:-

“We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Bruce, Evie and Sean.  Bruce is a beautiful boy and very well behaved.  He was so gentle and friendly when we gave him sausages which Evie didn’t mind.  

We think you do a fabulous job and feel so lucky and grateful that we can be part of the Wag family. We are very much looking forward to seeing Bruce and Evie every week.  We miss all of our dogs very much but Bruce has reminded us just what joy a faithful friend can bring.

We are really looking forward to meeting everyone at Kielder when we can thank you in person and enjoy a fun day out.”  

If you’re struggling to find a referrer for your family member then please do get in touch and we’ll help you find a way!