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Nightingale Dogs

                Games and Tricks

 So what do we actually DO?! 

A very good question and one that is much easier answered in witnessing a session than ever trying to describe it! 

Nightingale Dogs

A little clip from this mornings visit of Nightingale Dogs !

Posted by Groveland Park on Wednesday, 8 February 2017

 We are a human team of two - myself and my (long suffering!) husband Tim - and our eight 'bomb proof' dogs make up the full team. We have worked with people with dementia since 2011 and, with our dogs, are able to bring out sometimes unexpected and always positive reactions from the least likely person. The dogs presence enables the start of gentle conversation, which we can then build on. Residents are fascinating, they have always led the most interesting of lives and have a wicked sense of humour!

We bring at least six dogs with us for each session (and up to the full eight, depending on what we are doing), so that there is always a mixture of activities and therapy going on at the same time. The dogs also work their magic in the one to one visits in the residents rooms, with the room bound or harder to reach people. Our dogs have assisted many residents and pupils with many different needs and they certainly have unique skills that reach into peoples hearts. They can 'see' things in people that we humans cannot and that is what makes them so wonderful.

Due to the sensitive nature of some of the residents and young people we work with, it is not always possible to photograph or video the dogs at work.

Take a look at our Videos page to see some of our interactive games, activities and therapy


 We bring equipment for the dogs….

…which is the interactive and entertaining part of the session.

The dog's games make their opponents move their bodies and their minds!  

Many of our activities are competitive participation or speed games - resident v. dog, such as Bobbin spinning, Hankie Grab and Socks on a line! Some are a more simple interaction, for example - Xavi collecting stacking cups, one by one, from a resident and stacking them back in order.  The dogs also like to show off their own skills - such as playing a mini piano or the castanets, indoor mini agility, or a wagon train with Breeze being the train driver of mini carriages holding each small dog.

The dogs perform over 50 different activities/tricks - most of which are our own weird and wonderful creations!

The dogs bring their own equipment… 

…in the form of therapy. Our dogs all have the most wonderful loving, happy, temperaments. They are able to bring out golden moments that witnessing staff have been happily shocked at - non communicative residents/pupils verbalising, physical conditions seeming to melt away as residents/pupils reach for the dogs and moods are lifted as they cuddle, stroke and chat to the little dog on their lap.



We have visited over 120 local establishments - care homes, day centres, dementia cafes, schools and work places - and are pleased to have ongoing weekly, twice monthly, or monthly bookings with many of them. Therefore we are able to build on these special relationships each time we visit. The residents and pupils love to hear about the dogs latest adventures and there has always been some comedy moment to recount since the last visit. Some residents have their 'favourite' dog and keep photos of them in their rooms. Sometimes the best times are when a well rehearsed and practised activity goes completely awry and the ensuing chaos turns out to be more enjoyable than the planned activity!


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