AN East Renfrewshire woman who set up a unique charity which provides animal companionship for older people has been honoured with a top award.

Louise Russell, founder of Give a Dog a Bone, won the Pride of Scotland Community Hero prize for her work to combat loneliness.

Her charity, set up in 2013, helps people aged 60 and over afford to home a rescue pet.

Louise, 47, was presented with the award at a glitzy ceremony at the Assembly Hall, in Edinburgh.

She was also delighted to receive a £10,000 donation for the charity from award sponsors TSB.

“The awards were a fantastic opportunity to be recognised and share the experience with my family,” said Louise.

“All the winners were just amazing human beings and it was an honour to be counted amongst them.

“It’s lovely to be honoured in this way and I hope it will shed more light on the work we do at Give a Dog a Bone.

“It’s a real team effort and I wouldn’t be able to operate the service I do without a wonderful team of staff and volunteers behind me.”

The Pride of Scotland Awards celebrate unsung heroes who go to extraordinary lengths to help others.

Louise, who lives in Clarkston, was awarded the Community Hero honour after being nominated and then assessed by a judging panel.

She had always dreamed of setting up a charity which would address two issues close to her heart – animal welfare and isolation in older people.

Louise came up with the idea of combating loneliness in the over-60s by removing some of the financial barriers faced by those seeking to adopt a rescue pet.

As well as offering financial support towards rehoming a rescue animal, Give a Dog a Bone provides ongoing help with insurance costs.

In 2018, Louise expanded the charity’s remit by setting up a pet foodbank for those who struggle to feed their four-legged friends, as well as offering free activities for over-60s, such as reflexology and chair yoga.

She added: “We’re proud of the charity’s dual role and, over the past nine years, we’re delighted to have brought thousands of animals and older people together.”

For more information on Give a Dog a Bone or to support the charity, visit or call Louise on 0796 974 2858.