Meet Oliver!

HOPE’s very own therapy dog.

Oliver works with our families to offer emotional support after someone has had a loved one killed in a road traffic collision, fire or drowning or has witnessed a traumatic event.

Oliver was gifted to HOPE by the charity Oliver’s Army Assistance and Therapy Dogs, who are based in Fife in Scotland. Dog Training – Oliver’s Army Assistance and Therapy Dogs (

Here’s Oliver as a puppy when he first arrived with us.


Oliver is a Labrador/retriever cross. His breed makes him well suited to be a therapy dog as he has a calm, gentle and loving temperament.

Oliver provides comfort and affection and is specially trained to be gentle and friendly and to accept strangers hugging and petting him. He is especially patient with small children.

Oliver attends HOPE’s monthly peer support group meetings as well as being available for one-to-one sessions with bereaved family members and walks in the park and at Wortley Hall.

On his visits to fire stations, when we use the community rooms there to meet with families, we’ll sometimes run into some of the fire fighters. They often stop to fuss Oliver, which can help them

with their mental wellbeing, as they attend and witness many traumatic incidents as part of their everyday work.

Therapy dogs can bring amazing benefits to people. Studies show that the simple act of stroking a dog prompts a relaxation response and promotes the release of stress busting hormones which can play a part in elevating mood and reducing anxiety. Dogs can reduce the focus on negative emotions and promote feelings of safety and comfort.

Oliver is undergoing a rigorous training programme to learn how to safely interact with people of all ages and abilities. This training will help him to remain calm and focused in a variety of settings. Oliver’s schooling started when he was a puppy, getting to know the basic commands. He is now progressing through the Kennel Club Good Citizen Training Scheme.

After a busy day working, Oliver likes to de-stress. He particularly enjoys running in the field and swimming.

We hope that Oliver can help to make people’s day a little bit brighter and bring some comfort to the families that HOPE works with.

Stay tuned for more updates about Oliver.