• Simon O'Donovan

Cats & Dogs

"Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What's one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully." Jon Katz

NEWS ROUND A Dalmatian gave birth to the largest litter of living puppies of that breed this week, in Albury Canberra. 19 pups were delivered, via C-section. Members discussed the pros and cons of dog breeding, with the point being made that there are many homeless dogs needing to be rescued. A scientific study proved whether cars or dogs are more intelligent. (Ask members to guess at the outcome.) Dogs were found to be the more intelligent, probably twice as intelligent, due to having a more dense cerebral cortex, but also in functional abilities. However, the 'Frontiers In Neuroanatomy' journal also admitted that cats are notoriously more difficult to study, not because they are stupid but because they couldn't care less about their performance. After the UK heatwave, many places were hit with floods. This included the village of Whalley in Derbyshire, where a dam began to give way under the volume of water coming over its top. Residents had to be evacuated from their own home for their safety. Members discussed what it would be like to leave your home and belongings. It was announced this week that plastic bag use in UK has halved since the 5p charge introduced. Customers now buy, on average, 10 bags a year compared to 140 bags in 2014. All agreed this was a big step forward in reducing landfill and protecting the environment, but that supermarkets had a way to go in reducing packaging. A rare original copy of the first Harry Potter book had sold for £28,500 at auction. The first edition of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', JK Rowling's debut novel, was bought by a private collector from the UK. The 1997 book, published with two errors, was sold by Staffordshire libraries for £1 about 20 years ago. It was 'Yorkshire Day' on 1st August. We discussed who has visited Yorkshire, or would like to. And watched this short video, which states that Yorkshire has more to offer than cricket, flat caps and Emmerdale.


(Please note that the 'Cats' and 'Dogs' activities have been included separately, in case you wish to split the session.) This week had a mixed theme of 'Cats and Dogs', as it is 'International Day Of The Cat' on 8th August and 'International Day Of The Dog' on 26th August. As it had been raining cats and dogs this week, members completed the following rhyme together ...

Doctor Foster went to Gloucester In a shower of rain, He stepped in a puddle, Right up to his middle, And never went there again.

We moved on to ask ... Are members more 'cat people' or 'dog people'? Has anyone got or had a cat or dog? What are or were their names?

Has anyone had a cat and dog at the same time and if so how did they get along?

CATS What are the good things about cats? - Purring, rubbing up against your legs, cuddling on your lap, their playfulness. What about the not so good things? - When they scram you, kill birds, fetch mice in and make noise during the night. And furballs. Is a black cat crossing your path bad or good luck? - It can be either, according to where you come from. But generally in the UK, it is believed that if a cat walks towards you it brings good luck and if it walks away it takes the luck with it. Different types of domestic cat: - Persian - Tabby - Manx - Siamese - Burmese

- Tortoiseshell

Wild cats:

- Lions - Tigers - Cheetahs - Pumas - Panther - Lynx Fastest animal on earth? CHEETAH - 61 MPH A cat has how many lives? - 9 Noise cat makes? PURR OR MIAOW

What are domestic cats gone wild called?

FERAL What herb makes cats sleepy? - CATNIP Which advert features 'Tony The Tiger' saying "They're great!" - KELLOGGS FROSTIES What household device was operated by 'The Cat's Whiskers'? - RADIO Which James Bond film featured 'Pussy Galore'? - 1964 'GOLDFINGER' What is the name of 'Postman Pat's' black and white cat? - JESS Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical 'Cats' is based on which author's book 'Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats'? T.S. ELIOT What does a Leopard never do? - CHANGE IT'S SPOTS In the nursery rhyme 'The Cat And The Fiddle', what did the cow jump over? - THE MOON Which cat starred in the 'Whiskas' adverts? - ARTHUR Which young actress starred in the 1965 film 'That Darn Cat'? - HAYLEY MILLS Who was Bagpuss's owner? - EMILY


Complete these idioms about cats: Has a cat got your - TONGUE? (tongue tied) Have a cat - NAP (sleep in the afternoon) Curiosity killed the - CAT (letting your nosiness get the better of you) Let the cat out of the - BAG (reveal a secret) A copy - CAT (someone who copies another's work) A cat - BURGLAR (stealthy night time thief) It's raining cats and - DOGS (heavy downpour) There's more than one way to - SKIN - a cat (there are several options) SCAREDY - cat (someone who is frightened of a minor thing) Fight like cat and - DOG (have a real bust up) FAT - cat (someone who has lots of money and hasn't necessarily earned it) Grin like a - CHESHIRE - cat (smile from ear to ear) Like a cat on a hot - TIN ROOF (very agitated) Like - HERDING - cats (a difficult or impossible task) Look like the cat that got the - CREAM (very happy) Look what the cat - DRAGGED - in (looking dishevelled) Not a cat in hell's - CHANCE (highly unlikely) No room to - SWING - a cat (a very small house) Play cat and - MOUSE (chase something) Pussyfooting - AROUND (messing about) More than one way to - SKIN - a cat (several options) To have - KITTENS (extremely worried) Put the cat among the - PIGEONS (cause trouble) Weak as a - KITTEN (frail) While the cat's away the mice will - PLAY (have fun unobserved).

MUSIC ABOUT CATS Spotify Playlist here:

By way of introduction to this activity, ask members to say the name and type of animal their first pet was. Perhaps find this out to assist those with more significant memory or language difficulties.


What is a young cat called?


What is the procedure to sterilise a cat or dog called?


Has anyone visited a Safari Park or zoo recently? Discuss the pros and cons of keeping wild animals in captivity. Circle Of Life - Lion King King Of The Jungle's names? - MUSTAFA & SIMBA Who wrote the music for this film/musical?


Top Cat - TV THEME Name the characters? - T.C., BENNY THE BALL, CHOO CHOO, BRAIN, OFFICER DIBBLE Which TV advert did 'Top Cat' feature in recently?

HALIFAX Year of The Cat - AL STEWART Which Chinese year are we in now? - PIG

The Chinese have a waving/beckoning cat statue called 'Maneki-Neko' as a good luck charm?

Has anyone got one or seen one?

The Aristocrats - Film Score 'Everybody Wants To Be A Cat' Sung by - SCATMAN CROTHERS Listen carefully. What is the name of the beat in this song? - FELINE BEAT What's New Pussycat - TOM JONES

What year was this song a hit?

- 1965 Which is the largest of all the cats? - SIBERIAN TIGER I Thought I Saw A Pussycat A Creeping Up On Me - MEL BLANC What are the names of the cat and bird? - SYLVESTER & TWEETY PIE

What type of bird is Tweety Pie?

- YELLOW CANARY The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tight Fit What is a group of Lions called? - A PRIDE

And a baby lion?

- CUB Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken

Which bird features in this song?

- BLACKBIRD What is his name now? - YUSUF ISLAM Pink Panther - TV Theme

Who starred as Inspector Clouseau in the 'Pink Panther' film series?


What was the 'Pink Panther' in the 1963 film?

- LARGEST DIAMOND IN THE WORLD We Are Siamese - Film Score

What Disney film did this song feature in?


What colour eyes do Siamese cats have?

- BRIGHT BLUE Memory - Elaine Page Which musical is this song from?


Who wrote it?


Tiger Feet - Mud

What are cats feet called?


How big are tiger claws?


Maybe to finish, get members up dancing to this track and moving their tiger feet x

ACTIVITIES: MAKE a Cat's Cradle There is an instructive video here: Look at the 'SPOT THE ANIMALS' photographs. Each photo has a 'hidden' creature. We had great fun zooming in to find them.


"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself." Josh Billings "Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail." Kinky Friedman

Has anyone got or had a dog? (Has anyone a photo of their dog on their phone to show around?) What are/were their names/breeds? What are some of the good things about dogs?


What about some of the bad things?


Complete these idioms about dogs: (Some clues in brackets) Shaggy dog - STORY (tall tale) Raining cats and - DOGS (hammering down) Like a dog with two - TAILS (excited) Dog - TIRED (knackered) Dog - ROUGH (feeling really ill) It's a dog's - LIFE (some people have it hard) Dog's - DINNER (a mess or a muddle) Let sleeping dogs - LIE (don't interfere) His bark is worse than - HIS BITE (his actions won't be nearly as bad as his words) Gone to the - DOGS (dilapidated or dishevelled) Doggy - BAG (given after a meal for taking home leftovers) It's a dog eat dog - WORLD (ruthless competition) Sick as a - DOG (again, feeling really ill) Can't teach an old dog - NEW TRICKS (people don't abandon their old habits or ways) The tail that wagged the - DOG (a small or unimportant thing is controlling the whole situation) Dog and - BONE (Phone – Cockney Rhyming Slang) Dog - EARED (tattered) Dogs - BODY (somebody who is put upon for tasks others should perform) Puppy dog - EYES (pleading expression) Puppy - LOVE (unfailing unquestionable affection) Work like a - DOG (work really hard) Every dog has it's - DAY (good things come to those who wait) Call the dogs - OFF (give up or let something go) Under - DOG (low in the pecking order) In the dog - HOUSE ( you've done something wrong) See a man about a - DOG (go for a wee) Fight like cat and - DOG (diametrically opposed) Hair of the - DOG (cure for a hangover) Man's best - FRIEND (goes without saying) What are boys made of? - SLUGS AND SNAILS AND PUPPY DOG TAILS And girls? - SUGAR AND SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE Name some brands of dog food: WINALOT CHAPPIE BONIO PEDIGREE CHUM BAKERS BUTCHERS Answer these general knowledge questions: What noise does a dog make? - BARK OR WOOF How many human years are said to be in a dog year?

- 7 A dog's lifespan is generally how long?

- 10-13 YEARS What is the smallest dog in the world?

- CHIHUAHUA And the biggest dog?

- IRISH WOLFHOUND What breed are the Queen's dogs?

- CORGIS Who was the renowned TV dog trainer/disciplinarian (SITTT)?

- BARBARA WOODHOUSE Where is Crufts held each year?

- NEC BIRMINGHAM What is the UK's largest organisation dedicated to the welfare of dogs?

- KENNEL CLUB The NCDL (National Canine Defence League) is now called what?

- DOGS TRUST Paul O'Grady hosts which TV show about rescued dogs?

- FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS Where is this filmed?

- BATTERSEA DOGS HOME What about dogs has been restricted since 2007?

- DOCKING TAILS What was John Noakes' (Blue Peter) sheepdog called?

- SHEP And Peter Purves' dog?

- PETRA Who was Schnorbitz' TV personality master (Saint Bernard)?

- BERNIE WINTERS What make of shoes are named after dogs?

- HUSH PUPPIES What USA buses are named after dogs?

- GREYHOUND Which breed of dog features in the HMV (His Masters Voice) logo?

- JACK RUSSELL What breed of dog is the Dulux dog?

- OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG Who was the first dog in space?

- LAIKA (3RD NOVEMBER 1957) Who was the villain in '101 Dalmatians'?

- CRUELLA DEVILLE What breed was Clement Freud's dog?

- BLOODHOUND What is a 'Pavlovian Reflex'?

- SALIVATION IN RESPONSE TO A SIGNAL FOOD IS COMING Winston Churchill described his depression as what creature?

- BLACK DOG What was the name of the TV Show about sheepdog trials?

- ONE MAN AND HIS DOG COMPLETE THESE DOG BREEDS (For this activity, print off photos of these dogs and ask members to identify them.) English - BULLDOG French - POODLE Cocker - SPANIEL Jack - RUSSEL Golden - RETRIEVER King Charles Cavalier- SPANIEL German - SHEPHERD West Highland - WHITE Welsh - CORGI / SHEEPDOG Saint - BERNARD (Carries brandy around it's neck) Great - DANE Yorkshire - TERRIER Doberman - PINCER Rough Border - COLLIE Staffordshire - BULL TERRIER Basset - HOUND English Springer - SPANIEL Mexican - CHIHUAHUA Sausage - DOG (Proper name Daschund) Irish - WOLFHOUND NAME SOME WORKING DOGS AND DISCUSS THEIR ROLES Police Dogs Sheep Dogs Guide Dogs Hearing Dogs Sniffer Dogs Rescue Dogs Sled Dogs Gun Dogs Beagles (laboratories) Greyhound (racing) SAY THESE Nursery rhymes about dogs together: Hey Diddle Diddle This Old Man Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone B.I.N.G.O. Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle The cow jumped over the moon The little dog laughed to see such fun And the dish ran away with the spoon! * This old man, he played one He played knick-knack on my thumb Knick-knack paddy whack Give the dog a bone This old man came rolling home. * Oh, where, oh, where Has my little dog gone? Oh, where, oh, where Can he be? With his ears cut short And his tail cut long, Oh, where, oh, where Can he be? Oh where, oh where Has my little dog gone? Oh, where, oh, where Can he be? * There was a farmer who had a dog, And Bingo was his name-O. B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O! And Bingo was his name-O! DOGS IN ENTERTAINMENT Scooby Doo's owner - SHAGGY Snoopy cartoon - PEANUTS (CHARLES SCHULTZ) Mutley master- DICK DASTARDLY Dogtanion based on - THE THREE MUSKETEERS Lassie breed of dog - ROUGH BORDER COLLIE Snowy master - TINTIN Hong Kong Phooey mild mannered - JANITOR Name of a cartoon sherriff dog created by TERRYTOONS - DEPUTY DAWG Butch The Dog cartoon - TOM AND JERRY Famous Five dog - TIMMY (ENID BLYTON AUTHOR) Hound Of The Baskervilles author - ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (SHERLOCK HOLMES BOOK) Peter Pan dog - NANA Dennis The Menace's dog - GNASHER (BEANO COMIC) Mary Mungo And Midge - which was the dog - MUNGO Spit The Dog master - BOB CAROLGEES Advert with the line "I'll be your dog!" - KIA ORA All Creatures Great And Small - Mrs Palfrey's dog - TRICKY WOO

Ethel Skinner's (Eastenders) dog - LITTLE WILLY

Robbie Fowler's dog - WELLARD Mickey Mouse's dog friend - GOOFY Cartoon dog named after a planet - PLUTO Wallace's dog - GROMIT Simpson's dog - SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER Stephen King's horror dog - CUJO Doctor Who's dog - K9 COMMENT ON THE SAD FACE OF DOGS: Rabies Strays Puppy Farms Fox hunting Dog baiting/fighting Yulin Meat Festival Cruelty in all it's forms Since 2018 it is a legal requirement in the UK to purchase a puppy (or kitten) from a licensed breeder or dog rescue centre, which effectively outlaws puppy farms. Of course, Fox hunting with hounds is already outlawed since 1994 ('The Hunting Act').

MUSIC ROUND Playlist link here: What A Dog/He's A Tramp - Peggy Lee Name the film? LADY AND THE TRAMP

What dog breed was Lady?


Did any members have Donny's poster on their bedroom walls when they were younger? The Littlest Hobo - TV Theme Type of dog? GERMAN SHEPHERD / STRAY

Which other TV dog helped solve crimes and resolve problems?

LASSIE How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? - PATTI PAGE How much does it cost to rehome a dog from The Dog's Trust (nearest guess)? ADOPTION FEE IS £130 (INCLUDING NEUTERING, MICROCHIPPING, VACCINATIONS, VET BILLS/HEALTH CHECK)

Maybe singalong with this track, which most members will hold in their long term memories. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley Where was Elvis' home? GRACELAND, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

What were his nicknames?

ELVIS THE PELVIS & THE KING OF ROCK AND ROLL Hounds Of Love - Kate Bush What dogs are laid over Kate's shoulders on this album cover (show picture)? WEIMARANERS

What was Kate's first hit single, in 1978? (There is a 'Yorkshire Day' link)?

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Me And You And A Dog Named Boo - Lobo Ask members to guess the Top 10 names for dogs in the UK (2019 - TRUPANION)? 1. Luna

2. Bella

3. Charlie

4. Bailey

5. Lucy

6. Cooper

7. Max

8. Daisy

9. Bear

10. Oliver I Love My Dog - Cat Stevens What is a love of dogs called?


Is anyone afraid of dogs? Get Down - Gilbert O'Sullivan What was Gilbert's hit single about his niece called?

CLAIR Who Let The Dogs Out - Baha Men What is the wooden outdoors doghouse called?

KENNEL Walking The Dog - The Rolling Stones Ask members where their favourite place is for walking the dog, or going for a walk generally? Scooby Doo - TV Theme What was Scooby's owner called?


The other characters were FRED, VELMA, DAPHNE & SCRAPPY DOO King Of Rock And Roll - Prefab Sprout ("HOT DOG")

Who is this song about?

ELVIS PRESLEY What is the proper name for a SAUSAGE DOG?

DACHSHUND The Wild Rover - The Dubliners ("ROVER") Why is FIDO a common name for a dog?

IT MEANS FAITHFUL IN LATIN Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland What was the name of Dorothy's dog again? - TOTO

What were the characters looking for?



Members had a go at fashioning a dog out of modelling clay.

Others chose to go outdoors in the garden and have a game of catch, using a velcro ball and glove (available from Tesco).

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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