Volunteer profile : Hazel Brown with Hank and Yogi!

Hazel has been a Wag volunteer for several years now and as a carer herself explains how her Pugs have not only brought happiness and friendship to those she visits but have also had a positive impact on her own health.

It was Hazel’s lovely rescue Pug Rupert that brought her to volunteering. “He loved getting stroked by all the pensioners in the 9.30am bus queue and wouldn’t pass till he’d been stroked!”

“My daughter commented that he would make a perfect therapy dog, so I investigated further and found Wag & Company had just been launched.  Rupert was assessed and I received my first placement at Age UK’s Essence Service in Sunderland. Rupert was loved by everyone who met him, and I really enjoyed the social aspect of sharing dog cuddles, a cup of tea and a biscuit on a weekly basis.”

Unfortunately, Rupert had to retire on grounds of ill health, but this didn’t stop Hazel!

She borrowed her daughter’s pug Hank, who took over where Rupert left off, with a weekly trip also to the Essence Service. “Unfortunately, too many biscuits and cakes headed in Hank’s direction and as he has tummy issues, regrettably he had to stop.”

Hazel was determined to continue her volunteering with Hank though and began visiting Morag, an elderly lady who lived in her own home. “On entering the house Morag said she knew me; it turned out we used to do Scottish Country Dancing together when we were both younger!”

“It was so nice.  Hank just loved it, tea and biscuits for the human and a comfy lap for Hank, what more could any dog want? I also really loved my weekly chat and a trip to the seaside, a change from my caring role at home.  Morag is now a care home but Hank still loves going to visit her weekly and sometimes he gets extra cuddles from other residents too.”

After she lost Rupert Hazel took on Yogi Pug. “From the outset he took over where Rupert left off, including his love of the 9.30am bus queue and a stroke from anyone prepared to offer one! Hank often joins in too!”

Following his Wag assessment at 18 months old, Yogi went on his first assignment with the Essence Service where he joined in the carpet bowls session and generously handing out cuddles between rounds.”

Yogi now also visits Morag and he recently enjoyed an open day with all the residents at her care home, he loved it.  Although he’s not working at the moment, Yogi “keeps a paw in” and visits local elderly residents who can’t have dogs any more in their block of flats at home.

“Having the boys and volunteering is great for everyone.  It’s beneficial to my own health as it gets me out of the house, and it cheers up the people we meet.”

Perfect combination!