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Borrow ME AND my doggy

'Borrow Me and My Doggy’ helps to bring purposeful and meaningful physical activity into the lives of people living with dementia, through providing them with two-to-one companionship with pet owners and their pets.

How does it work?

  • ‘Borrow Me and My Doggy’ will help increase physical activity levels of people living with dementia, without them necessarily associating it with increased activity. At the same time, it will help to reduce loneliness and increase social connection and purpose through companionship with a pet owner and their pet.
  • This would be aimed at people with a diagnosis of dementia, but also could connect people who are not yet diagnosed and may be on a waiting list – they could benefit from a fun, engaging, purposeful and more active hobby in their life whilst they wait for medical support.
  • Existing systems that are already out there, for example, applications like ‘Borrow my Doggy’, would be utilised but instead, people would be matched to pet owners as well as their pets. Pet owners may also have a role in supporting and recording interactions.
  • Guidance on types of activities can be provided to show that either walking the dog, walking around the home with the dog, or sat down throwing a dog a ball, are all ways of moving the body that can provide many benefits for all mobility levels.
  • Future opportunity: For people able to get out into the community, we could encourage local partnerships, with organisations such as Dog’s Trust, to allow people to benefit from this in a group setting, and volunteering to provide a purpose.

How does it benefit people affected by dementia?

  • Provides a positive option for people that can improve cognitive and physical functions, as well as wider wellbeing benefits.
  • For those who aren’t as comfortable in group settings, ‘Borrow Me and My Doggy’ provides that more one-to-one (or two-to-one!) support.
  • As well as increasing people’s activity levels, it’ll help to improve overall wellbeing by reducing social isolation and increasing connectivity to the community around people and animals.

Questions for you (don't worry if you can't answer them all)

  • How much do you like this idea (from 1-10, 10 being high)? ·      
  • Is there anything that exists like this already?      
  • Are there other organisations you think could be useful to link in with (such as ‘Borrow my  Doggy’, Dog’s Trust, Pets as Therapy)? 
  • What format do you think  the ‘matching’ element should take, between a person with dementia and the pet  owner and their pet?
  • Who do you see signposting or referring into ‘Borrow Me and My Doggy’ (e.g. which type of health and social care professional, or social prescribing?)
  • Do you prefer the  two-to-one companionship, or the future build of the group activity, or see them both as equally important? 
  • How do you see weekly activity levels being recorded? How could we incentivise pet owners to support with this?
  • Are there any risks or cultural considerations? How might we overcome these? ·      
  • What do you think of the name – any other ideas for the name? ·      
  • Any additional thoughts or comments?
edited on Apr 4, 2022 by Natasha Howard-Murray
Public (3)
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Penny Giles 2 months ago

Contact with a dog plus owner has numerous physical and psychological benefits and would be particularly good for people who prefer not to be in a group. I think anyone who has a signposting role would signpost to a service such as this. There are a lot of people who aren't drawn to dogs but clearly you would find this out before signposting. Personally I think doggy in infantilising, the word dog is more appropriate.

Kirsty Irving 2 months ago

Great idea! think it would be really beneficial, exercise and fun. may be worth trying to see if major pet stores like Pets At Home as they have list of clients and could maybe advertise it on their VIP list/email

Patrick O'Halloran 2 months ago

I feel this is a very good idea for those who like or are not afraid of pets. I would be concerned about the vetting (no pun intended) of volunteers to ensure that there are not safeguarding issues with this kind of 1-2-1 service that would occur in informal settings.