Supporting animal companionship for those who need it most

Every pet owner knows the feeling of comfort and security a pet can bring, but for those going through a personal crisis, the friendship of a pet can make an enormous difference.

Our Special Friends provides practical support to vulnerable people in difficult circumstances, enabling them to enjoy the reassurance of animal companionship at a time when they need it most. Whether helping someone to look after their own pet or paying them regular visits with a volunteer dog, Our Special Friends brings real comfort to those facing illness, bereavement or other personal crises.

How does it work?

Our Special Friends is a young charity that promotes the wellbeing of vulnerable people and their pets by providing practical and emotional support during difficult times. This invaluable support enables pets to stay with their owners despite a change in circumstances, and could range from helping with dog walking to cleaning the cat’s litter tray.

As part of their work, Our Special Friends supports pet owners in making difficult decisions concerning their pets, as well as helping bring peace of mind through pet care planning. For vulnerable people who don’t have a pet of their own, Our Special Friends can also help with finding, introducing and monitoring a new pet, or arranging regular visits from a volunteer dog to brighten a vulnerable person’s day.

This support is open to anyone, regardless of their age or location, and Our Special Friends works in private homes, hospices, nursing homes and many other locations. What’s more, the charity works with both human and animal charities to raise awareness of the impact of loss, as well as the importance of human-animal bonds.

How we’re helping

In 2015, the Petplan Charitable Trust pledged £2,500 to Our Special Friends to help the charity continue its important work in West Suffolk and beyond. As the charity grows, this grant will enable it to develop the educational and human resources necessary for reaching out to vulnerable people, who can often be ‘invisible’ to existing support networks. In the long term, Our Special Friends aims to open a Human-Animal Bond Centre that will serve as a head office as well as a space for training, conferences and dog assessment.


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