Our Mission Enabling and supporting people to live full and independent lives

Meet Doug the Pug Therapy Dog

By Annie Veenman

Published 23rd April 2018



“If one is invested in the love of the Human Animal Bond, it is said that blood pressure is lowered, and the production of the stress hormone Cortisol is reduced, when with a companion animal.  In addition to this, the feel good factor hormone Oxytocin then kicks in and goes on to further suppress the ongoing production of Cortisol.  Stress is so bad for us.  It creates a real barrier to learning, affecting recall and the processing of information.  These are essential tools for our everyday life.”

It’s National Pet Month!! Recognising amazing pets, pet owners and animal charities. Fortunately for us we were honoured to have Doug the Pug Therapy Dog visit our User Led Groups at Imagine Croydon and clients at Imagine Redbridge, with his lovely owner Cate.

I asked Cate to tell us a bit more about the adorable Doug and the fantastic work they’re doing and this is what she said:-

How was your experience with the ULG group and our clients?

“Doug and I very much enjoyed our time with you all in Croydon and made new friends in Redbridge – we had a lovely relaxed chatty time. I love Doug rekindling memories that they then all share!  Paws crossed we get to see you in Merton and Sutton sometime too!  Celebrating National Pet Month with you is proving to be a lot of fun.

It is very special to us that your values tally so well with ours and we loved sharing time with those you support who have mental health conditions. Encouraging us all to live full and independent lives, with a respected place in society; a life as we see it that should be for everyone.”

What made you decide to have Doug as a Therapy Dog?

“Doug came into our lives as an unofficial therapy dog. A very much-loved family member was chronically ill for many years. It was thought that a kind gentle dog might be of comfort to this dear person and help reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation that often come with long term illness.

After recovery, we were so grateful to Doug for the comfort and companionship that he had brought.  He offered perfect comfort particularly at times when no conversation was needed or wanted but being alone wasn’t wanted either.

We knew that Doug had much love to share and decided to become volunteers with the UK charity Pets As Therapy.  We have been part of their UK voluntary team of over 6,500 dogs for seven years now and have loved each and every working day.”

How have you found the journey so far?

“Over the seven years that Doug and I have worked together, we have supported many adults (and children) living with ongoing physical and learning difficulties as well as emotional and mental health challenges. Many of the friends we see, on an ongoing basis, suffer from debilitating invisible illnesses like those you support at Imagine Independence – and I hope the time with us both proved to bring comfort and companionship to their day.

Doug never shows any judgement or holds any stigma – he’s a really, great listener, forever trusted in his discretion with his kind sympathetic ears and has a very warm and comforting nature. We wish all people could ‘think like a dog’ and feel that the world would then be a happier place to share if this was so. We wish you all well and happy times and thank you for welcoming us so warmly to share time with you.”

…….and the reaction from the groups who met the lovely Doug?

John. M drew an incredible portrait of him in a matter of minutes. “I used my iPad to sketch Doug by taking a photo of him. He is so warm and friendly, I am so happy he’s with us today.”

Doug also used his furry charm on Brian, a cat owner no less, who told us  “I feel like we have a special bond. I’ve had bad experiences with dogs, but this is different.”


Twitter: @PetsAsTherapyUK

Twitter: @DougPugTherapy

Instagram: @DougThePugTherapyDog