Appeal for dog lovers to provide a holiday home

Barking Mad host Shirley Clark with black Labrador Olive.
Barking Mad host Shirley Clark with black Labrador Olive.

A surge in demand for canine vacations has sparked a hunt for more people to look after the holidaying pooches.

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

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

She said: “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.”

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

Current hosts Mick and Shirley Clark of Morpeth said: “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 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.”

The Barking Mad website outlines how the organisation does all the administrative work.

It also says: ‘We think it’s important that our hosts concentrate on looking after visiting dogs and are not exposed to, or distracted by a constant flow of, potential customers and dogs coming and going.

‘They are also protected from the awkwardness of dealing with money, insurance and paperwork.’

For more information about becoming a host, call Tina on 01665 575981.