Feel Good

How this adorable dog is helping isolated elderly people this Christmas

We catch up with Elsie Main, an 85-year-old widow, who shares how her Wag & Company friendship dog has become a lifeline to her.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 08.12.2022

Christmas is a time when we’re surrounded by all our friends and family, but many elderly people are faced with spending the festive period alone.

More than a million older people say they go over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member, according to Age UK’s research – which is just heartbreaking, right?

This is where Wag & Company comes in. The Hexham-based charity is a unique befriending service that provides thousands of isolated older dog lovers across the North East with the chance to have a furry friend again in the safety of their own home or care home.

But these visits are more than just about having cuddles. They give elderly people a chance to have a regular chat with the owner and build a fulfilling relationship with a fellow dog lover as well as form a special bond with the dog itself.

That brings us to the heartwarming companionship between 85-year-old Elsie Main and her Wag & Company friendship pooch, Pringle the Golden Retriever.

After being widowed Elsie began to feel very lonely and missed the company of a dog after owning one for many years. But thanks to Wag & Company now Elsie says she now has something to look forward to this Christmas.

How would you describe your life before Wag & Company?

I was feeling lonely because of being housebound and not having a dog to talk to, this will seem strange to anyone who is not a dog lover, but I really missed the company that a dog provides.


How have Pringle and the charity helped you?

I’m not nearly as lonely because of the conversation, company and support I get from Emma and the furry cuddles I get from Pringle. The charity helped me by giving me something to think about – a lovely friend in my volunteer Emma and a best friend in my friendship dog Pringle.

How would you describe your four-legged companion?

Pringle is just gorgeous. Lovely, softly furry, and cuddly with eyes that seem to talk to you.


How would you describe your bond with Pringle?

On the first visit, Pringle walked in quietly and did her job politely. She soon changed and now I get a gentle “woof” at the door, her way of saying “hello”. Straight away Pringle and I were best of friends. She sits at my feet waiting for our cuddles and we have bonded as though she has been my dog for a long time. It’s wonderful.


What would you say to anyone who is feeling isolated or lonely?

I recommend contacting Wag & Company as soon as possible. I was a little apprehensive when we first met but Emma was very friendly and kind. The experience will massively change your outlook on life. It gives you something to think about and look forward to having a dog to cuddle with again.

If would like to donate or if you or you know someone who would benefit from this support, visit Wag & Company’s website.

Other stories by Rachael Nichol
Start Fitness

How to start running, according to the experts at Start Fitness

Rachael Nichol
Wellness Space Sunderland

Inside the new Wellness Space in Sunderland offering yoga classes and wellbeing retreats

Rachael Nichol
Seaham Hall Serenity Spa

Escape to tranquillity at Seaham Hall – Serenity Spa – with exclusive discount for HLN readers

Rachael Nichol

4 free meditation apps to give you a sense of calm

Rachael Nichol
The Bespoke Clinic Jesmond

What vitamins should I take? A Newcastle healthcare expert reveals all

Rachael Nichol
Tribal Cycle Jesmond

Where fitness meets fun: Inside Newcastle’s first state-of-the-art spin studio

Rachael Nichol