Can dogs make a difference to dementia care?
What we are doing...

The Dementia Dog Project builds services for people with dementia that brings dogs back into their lives or supports them to continue their relationship with dogs.


It aims to prove that dogs can help people with dementia maintain their waking, sleeping and eating routine, remind them to take medication, improve confidence, keep them active and engaged with their local community, as well as providing a constant companion who will reassure when facing new and unfamiliar situations.


For more information have a look through our site or get in contact if you would like to get involved.

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Exciting new collaboration unveiled with the Scottish Prison Service and Paws for Progress May 2017

Today at HMP Castle Huntly, together with partners the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and Paws for Progress CIC, we are excited to jointly launch Scotland's first prison-based assistance dog training programme.


Through this innovative collaboration, Paws for Progress, aided by their fantastic trained rescue 'Ambassadogs', will offer an introductory dog training and care programme for men in custody.


Upon completion of the introductory course, participating students have the opportunity to advance their dog knowledge and handling skills through a variety of ways, including working with the Dementia Dog Project on site to help equip dogs with the skills they need to help somebody living with dementia.


Peter Gorbing, CEO of Dogs for Good can see the far reaching benefits,"This really demonstrates positive social outcomes, both for students at HMP Castle Huntly and people in the community who will benefit from the dementia assistance dogs."


This pioneering partnership will help boost our training capacity to provide dementia assistance dogs, while also contributing towards the positive rehabilitation of participating students, helping improve communication, team work and emotional management.


Rebecca Leonardi, Director and Founder from Paws for Progress explains, "This inspiring project represents a true win-win-win situation, unleashing the potential of returning citizens to contribute positively to society."


In partnership with the University of Stirling, Paws for Progress will continue to monitor the rehabilitative outcomes for students in custodial care as the partnership develops over the next few years.


This marks an exciting milestone for the Dementia Dog Project, who will work on site as we embark on our next phase of the project to train and place a further eight dementia assistance dogs in Scotland, thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust.


Henry Simmons, CEO of Alzheimer Scotland adds," Its a wonderful example of collaborative working to develop different types of support for people living with dementia.  As the numbers of people developing dementia in Scotland increases there is a clear and urgent need for creative and innovative solutions."







Dog Days on Tour: Ailsa Hospital June 2016

Patients were thrilled to welcome the Dementia Dog team to Ailsa Hospital this week for a relaxing afternoon filled with pawing and petting.


The dogs were a joy to be around as they gravitated towards the dementia patients from the minute they bounced into the physiotherapy department.


Ayrshire College students were only too happy to come along and help out at the event too, which informed patients and carers about the benefits of assistance dogs.


After taking the dogs for walks around the building and playing with them for half an hour, the group listened to presentations from Medical Detection Dogs instructor Mandie Danks, and Bernard Wallis, speaking about Canine Partners.

Edinburgh Marathon Team run for Dementia Dog May 2016

The fantastic Tynetec/Legrand teams put in a tremendous effort to help raise funds for Dementia Dog. Their Just Giving total is now well above £7K and they plan to continue raising money until they reach the magic £15K figure required to fully sponsor a dementia dog and name him in memory of their fallen friend/colleague Billy Graham.


Marathon times:


Stuart Carroll: 2:48 (47th overall and 3rd in age category)

Paul Watson: 4:33

Ben Senior: 5:25

Ade Kiely: 6:33


Marathon Relay team: 6:24

1st leg, Fiona Ridley

2nd leg, Martin Cory

3rd Leg, Samantha Boothroyd

4th Leg, Samantha Barclay


Half Marathon

Tanya Da Silva, 2:23


Stuart Carroll has a few words of thanks for their supporters:


"Special mention to Kieran McCausland for being our official photographer, David Boothroyd for being chief supporter and to Martin Cory and Samantha Barclay for becoming relay stand in's at the 11th hour. Also, A valiant effort in the marathon by Stuart Barclay that saw him pulling out at 22 miles with a foot injury."



Dog Days on Tour #DAW2016 May 2016

Our Dog Day Tour continued with a visit to Ayrshire College in Kilwinning for Dementia Awareness Week. Visitors were greeted by Ayrshire College students and regular pooches Albert and Poppy.


The special Dog Day attracted record numbers of visitors, who enjoyed presentations by Mandie Danks, Medical Detection Dogs and Linda Whitby, Therapets.


The event was finished with a lively game of dog bingo that had everybody smiling.


Dog Day: Paws for Progress May 2016

We were delighted to welcome Rebecca Leonardi from Paws for Progress this month. Rebecca brought along Ellie, Bonnie, Mojo and Jack to delight and entertain everyone.



Dog Day: Therapets and PoliceScotland April 2016

Another fantastic Dog Day event, Do Days take place on the last Thursday of every month. This month we were joined by star dogs from Police Scotland and Therapets. We had lots of guests, old and new, and they all enjoyed the presentations and interacting with the dogs.


We even managed to fit in a game of Dog Bingo. Jim Baird took on the role of bingo caller and we had a few giggles at some of his pronunciations of the more obscure dog breeds.

Ayrshire health professional Dog Day April 2016
Barchester April 2016

Along with our partners, Paws for Progress, we are trying to find more ways to bring dogs into care homes.


We visited Strachan Care Home in Barchester to deliver some workshops that will help us develop a new model. We were joined by three lovely dogs from Paws for Progress: Ellie the Collie, Bonnie the Springer Spaniel and Mojo the Black Rockstar Patterdale.


We were delighted to meet some fantastic characters, who were just enchanted by the dogs, and it was great to hear their stories too.



Ayrshire College students Dog Day visit March 2016
Heather Smith and her dancing dogs February 2016
Mandie Danks Medical Detection Dogs January 2016
International Dementia Conference 2016 January 2016
New mini pilot: Stress and Distress January 2016
Dog Day: Ken Hamilton November 2015


Dogs for Dementia in Australia October 2015
NES Charity of the Year July 2015
NOAH event at House of Lords January 2015


Alex 4 Paws Campaign January - March 2015

With your support a dog like Alex can continue to help people living with and affected by dementia.

Featuring in Alzscot Annual Review November 2014
ADI Conference September 2014
Dementia Champions September 2014

Dementia Dogs has a regular slot on the Dementia Champions Training programme at University of the West of Scotland.

Alzheimer Scotland, a DD partner, are key in the delivery of this programme and Dementia Dogs have provided 6 comprehensive presentations on the pilot progress and benefits to the families over the last few years.

Dog Days Autumn 2014

Dog days have commenced at the lovely new Kilmarnock resource centre, these are designed to enhance therapeutic activity for people with Dementia and their carers, bringing an opportunity for peer support enjoyment and friendship. The dog is a catalyst to share experiences of previous family pets with their antics and affection encouraging interaction and laughter. The dog days are also used to ensure that carers are given respite; a trained complementary therapist offers short treatments for carers and people with Dementia. The session is facilitated by the inspirational Ayrshire link worker Jennifer Risk, who also ensures a range of self management information and materials is provided. There have been three dog days held in 2014 and more are planned in 2015.

Australian Bid June 2014
Dementia Awareness Week Conference June 2014
Featuring on cover of Dementia in Scotland Spring 2014

As a way of controlling our progress reports we had a front page feature in Alzheimer Scotland’s key external publication ‘Dementia in Scotland’ This gave us an opportunity to share our progress with Alzscot members and supporters who have been a great help in championing the pilot.


The Featured David and Maureen with their assistance dog Vonn alongside Alec, Alex 4 paws and Moira.

Alec, Alex & Moira in the Local press February 2014

One of our Partnerships Alec, Alex four paws and Moira were featured in The Dundee Telegraph in Feb 2014 – some lovely footage and great comments from Moira

It’s been a wonderful change. Things are a lot calmer, and it’s all down to him.” Alex four paws has been dubbed the horizontal champion and his laidback manner and soulful eyes win the hearts and minds of everyone who meets him.

Shirley at Health Event in Dundee December 2013
1st Dogs Qualified 15th July 2013

Our first two dementia assistance dog teams are now officially qualified and working with people in the early phases of dementia. This makes them the first official dementia assistance dogs working in the UK.


SDS conference 23rd September 2013

Dementia Dog along with Dementia Circle & Dementia: Digital Futures (two other projects using design innovation to help people affected dementia) held an exhibit & workshop at the Alzheimer Scotland Self Directed Support Conference on the 23rd of September 2013. As a group we were trying to identify the small everything problems people are faced with, while at the same time looking for possible solutions.

Our NHS day 20th September 2013

Dementia Dog held a presentation at the Guide Dog Training Centre in Forfar for NHS professionals interested in the project. We discussed the applications of innovation in healthcare and got some fantastic feedback from the group on ways to develop Dementia Dog’s various services. This was topped of with a demonstration from Von, one of our assistance dogs in training. Thanks for attending guys!

Intervention Dog pilot 9th August 2013
National Dementia Week 3rd June 2013
SSSC Care Accolades 25th April 2013
Healthcare Expo 2013 13th March 2013

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Dementia Dog is supported by Alzheimer Scotland. Alzheimer Scotland - Action on Dementia is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland 149069. Registered Office: 22 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7RN. It is recognised as a charity by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, no. SC022315. Visit our main website at: