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Nigel (dog)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki
Nigel Bear[1]:1
File:Nigel the gardening dog.jpg
Nigel in 2019
Other name(s)Mr Bear[1]:1
🐈 🐕 🐎 SpeciesCanis lupus familiaris
🚻 SexMale
📆 🐤 Born(2008-05-17)17 May 2008
💀 Died11 May 2020(2020-05-11) (aged 11)
Ivington, Herefordshire, U.K.
Known forAppearances on Gardeners' World
👨 OwnerMonty Don

Nigel (17 May 2008 – 11 May 2020) was a male golden retriever dog owned by Monty Don, a British television gardening presenter. Nigel was known for his appearances on the BBC Two gardening programme, Gardeners' World, on which he was seen, with Don's other dog Nellie, following the presenter around his garden and sometimes playing with a tennis ball. Apart from his television appearances, Nigel was the subject of a parody Twitter account.[2]

Early life[edit]

The dog was chosen as a seven-week-old puppy from a litter in the Forest of Dean on 1 July 2008.[1]:1 The dog's sire was a champion of obedience trials while the dam was from a line of guide dogs and gun dogs.[1]:1 It was chosen by Monty Don and his son because, while it hung back, it seemed to talk the most – barking in an engaging manner while making direct eye contact with a goofy smile.[1]:1 A variety of names were considered and the full name of Nigel Bear was chosen as a compromise.[1]:1 He was then commonly known as Nigel but often called Mr Bear too.[1]:1

Injury in 2012[edit]

Nigel was popular with viewers who were concerned when he disappeared from the programme in September 2012. He had injured himself after twisting sideways when jumping to catch a tennis ball and had ruptured an intervertebral disc in his spine.[3] He was treated with steroids by a local veterinary surgeon and was then taken to Noel Fitzpatrick, a vet who specialises in extreme cases, who treated him with hydrotherapy, drugs and physiotherapy. Nigel recovered and resumed his television appearances.[1]

Don's views on dogs[edit]

Don said that he chose his dog Nigel because the domestic dog signifies the good and bad in human relationships with nature; humans can prioritise fluffy animals over others.[4] In September 2016 an autobiographical book entitled Nigel: my family and other dogs was published, telling the story of Nigel and the other dogs in Don's life, including the female golden retriever, Nellie, who also now appears with Don on Gardeners' World.[5]


On 11 May 2020 Don announced, through his Twitter and Instagram pages, that Nigel had died, six days before his 12th birthday.[6][7][8]

Don told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that Nigel had been more than a companion and had helped him with his struggles with depression. He said, "He was a bear of slightly limited brain, what he had was this absolute sense of purity. He exuded a kind of unsullied innocence and we all love our dogs, everybody thinks their dog is special, I've had lots of dogs and there was something special about Nigel."[9][10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Don, Monty (22 September 2016). Nigel: my family and other dogs. John Murray Press. ISBN 9781473641723. Retrieved 11 May 2020 – via Google Books. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Nigel on TwitterLua error in Module:WikidataCheck at line 23: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  3. "Gardeners' World: Meet Nigel the dog - Monty's pet has his own Twitter!". realitytitbit.com. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  4. "Monty Don talks about Nigel". BBC Shared Planet. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  5. Don, Monty (22 September 2016). Nigel: my family and other dogs. Hachette UK. ISBN 9781473641723. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. "Monty Don on Instagram: "I am very sorry to announce that Nigel has died. To the end he was happy, healthy and his usual calm, lovely self. But he was suddenly…"". Instagram.
  7. Don, Monty [@TheMontyDon] (11 May 2020). "I am very sorry to announce that Nigel has died. He slipped quietly away with no pain or suffering and is now buried in the garden with lots of tennis balls. Rest now old friend. See you in the sweet bye and bye."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. Rodger, James (11 May 2020). "Monty Don announces death of dog - days after Gardeners World appearance". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  9. "Monty Don: There's a hole in our lives after death of beloved dog". Evening Standard. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  10. "Monty Don thanks fan for support after his dog Nigel's death". Evening Standard. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.

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