A North East charity that works to combat loneliness for older dog lovers has turned to its volunteers and army of four-legged friends to come up with a way to raise much-needed funds, while providing a special gift to elderly people at the same time.

Wag & Company is launching its very own 2021 calendar that can be sent out as a heartfelt ‘thinking of you’ gesture to its elderly friends whilst Covid-19 restrictions prevent physical visiting.

The calendar is a showcase of some of the fabulous ‘Friendship Dogs’ who showed off their personalities for inclusion in the calendar.

Diane Morton, Founding Director of Wag & Company, said: “We invited our volunteers to submit photos of their special Friendship Dogs and I must say we had some fantastic entries. Choosing one for each month plus a front and back cover, so 14 images in total, was very difficult indeed.

“This calendar, along with some other new products and activities, is such an important initiative for the charity, our volunteers and all the elderly people who have come to rely on our visits. The impact of Covid-19 means our visiting activities were suspended in March. Our recruitment activities have slowed down, dog assessments aren’t possible, and our fundraising income has pretty much dried up.

“The calendar is now available to buy online from our new e-shop on our website and we’re offering people the opportunity to buy one for themselves and also to donate one to be sent to one of our elderly friends. Over 2,500 calendars are being posted to our friends in their own homes and in the residential care settings that our volunteers would usually visit across the region. It’s so important they know they’re not forgotten, that everyone’s thinking of them and we’ll be back just as soon as we possibly can.”

Wag & Company was set up five years ago to tackle loneliness and isolation among older and vulnerable dog lovers in the North East. In ordinary times, its network of 407 volunteers and their dogs (Visiting Wag Teams) visit people on a 1:1 in their own homes and also 245 regional care and nursing homes. Volunteers and their dogs are currently not able to safely visit their elderly friends in their own homes and residential care environments due to social distancing and health and safety guidelines.

Since late March, Wag and Company has looked to innovative ways to engage with the vulnerable people they help – around 3,000 across the North East – while also raising money.

Diane said: “It has been inspiring to see so many of our volunteers regularly keeping in touch with their friends during these difficult times.

“Some are doing shopping, dogs are FaceTiming, there’s regular phoning, sending cards, books, photos, and cakes. This special gift is just another way to make them smile.

“We hope people inside and outside of our volunteer network will support the charity and add the Wag Calendar to their Christmas gift list. It’s a great stocking filler or even a gift for clients; every dog has a story to tell.”

The calendars retail at £6.50 each and is on sale in the charity’s new e-shop now. You can purchase a calendar here: https://www.wagandcompany.co.uk/product-tag/calendars/ 


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