Nigel (dog)

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.[1]

Nigel the gardening dog.jpg
SpeciesCanis lupus familiaris
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

Injury in 2012Edit

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.[2] 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.[3]

Don's views on dogsEdit

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.[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. ^ Nigel on Twitter
  2. ^ "Gardeners' World: Meet Nigel the dog - Monty's pet has his own Twitter!". 27 September 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  3. ^ Don, Monty (22 September 2016). "Nigel: my family and other dogs". John Murray Press. Retrieved 11 May 2020 – via Google Books.
  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.
  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.