Dog holiday hosts appeal

Barking Mad host Jenny Charlton with Cuba.
Barking Mad host Jenny Charlton with Cuba.
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A surge in demand for canine vacations has sparked a hunt for dog lovers to look after the holidaying pooches.

Barking Mad, the award-winning home from home pet care organisation, needs more hosts to share their homes with dogs whose owners are looking for an alternative to kennels for their pets while they are away.

Tina Young, who runs the franchise in north and east Northumberland, is hoping to recruit at least 20 new hosts before the summer rush.

“We have a group of more than 35 hosts who regularly look after dogs of all varieties and sizes, from tiny Chihuahuas to huge Bernese mountain dogs and Irish molfhounds,” said Tina. “They do a fantastic job of providing the same levels of love, care and attention the dogs receive at home. But such is the increase in business, we need more people to help us cope with demand.”

For details about being a host, contact Tina on 01665 575981 or www.barkingmad.uk.com

In the last 12 months, Tina and her team organised nearly 350 dog holidays – a record number in the 11 years of Tina’s franchise – and nearly double the annual average of recent years.

“We are keen to recruit people, young and old, with or without dogs of their own. The main requirements are that they should enjoy the company of dogs and be sufficiently fit and active to provide their four-legged guests with the exercise they need. And ideally they would be retired people or stay-at-home single parents.”

Tina’s longest serving host is Jenny Charlton, of Brownieside, who, with husband Derek and their ever-friendly terrier Archie, has logged 165 dog holidays.

Jenny said: “I enjoy being a host because I’m crazy about dogs. For me a house is not a home without a dog. And our 11-year-old Border terrier Archie likes having other dogs in the house to play with.”

Barking Mad hosts Mick and Shirley Clark, of Morpeth, mirror Jenny’s views: “We used to have dogs, but because of our love of travelling we don’t want the year-round responsibility that goes with ownership. So looking after dogs for a few days or a couple of weeks is the ideal alternative.

“We love looking after the dogs and, in most cases, they’re better behaved and trained than we ever managed with our own! We’ve learnt a lot about the nature of different breeds too – something we would never experience if we just had our own. From five-month-old pups to 13-year-olds, they’re great fun.”