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Barking Mad Northumberland Dog Sitting Local News

Barking Mad for 13 years! – May 2018

In April 2005, I launched Barking Mad in Northumberland, so this month I am celebrating 13 years of organising dog holidays. Wow, where does the time go!! I have organised thousands of holidays for lots of very lucky doggies, and I have become a dog holiday expert. So what have I learned over the years?

* Strong team –  I have surrounded myself with a fantastic, loyal, hard working and flexible team. As a team we work so hard to provide the service that you and your dog deserve. 5 star service every time.

*Excellent Hosts –  I have an amazing community of host families. They volunteer their time, open their hearts and their homes to your lovely dogs. They are warm, friendly, reliable, trustworthy and always go above and beyond what I expect to make sure that your dog has a lovely holiday.

*Friendly dogs – Not all dogs are suited to Barking Mad. If a dog is aggressive, destructive or have severe behaviour problems, then living in another persons home and becoming part of their family for a short while, is probably not the best idea. The dogs that we tend to attract are lovely family dogs, who just want their regular routine maintained, with lots of love, attention and TLC. #happy dogs #happyhosts

*Matchmaking to suit everyone’s needs – Matching dogs with the right host is one of the most important parts of my job. A lively dog who needs lots of exercise to maintain it’s happy nature, will be matched with an active host. A dog that sleeps in the bedroom, would be matched with a host who would let their 4 legged guest sleep in their bedroom… and so on. My job is to find out what is important to your dog, and then choose a host perfect for their needs.

*Don’t be afraid of change – If it’s not working, then have the confidence to change it. Over the years,  I have had the ability to change certain things within my business to suit my changing life. So, when my kids came along, I knew that I needed help if I was to maintain customer service standards and operational hours. So plans began to recruit  a part time team. I also knew that I no longer had room to operate the 7 day operation from my own home, so I moved into an office near Alnwick. Great decisions I think! #teamwork

*Barking Mad is a National Franchise, and I have always worked very well with the Franchisor and my neighbouring franchisees. We are a great team and often share ideas and support one another. We are  Locally Owned and Nationally Recognised. #franchising

I am very proud of my business. Over the years, I have met lots of amazing people and lovely dogs. I have made some great friendships and I am proud to say that I have grown my business, as well as my family. #HappyDays #worklifebalance

Here are some photos of me and my team over the years.

#dogholiday #expert #happyholidays

Tina young starting Barking Mad in 2005

Tina starts the business in April 2005 with the help of her trusty sidekick Elvis!

Tina young for Barking Mad takes on Tim

Tina realises that she needs a 2 legged sidekick too! Meet Colin, right hand man and Dog Chauffeur.

Barking Mad dog chauffer Ann for Tina young in Northumberland

Time to expand again with the arrival of Carol Ann, dog chauffeur

Meet Jenny, far left who came on board to help with admin in the office.

Brian supports Tina as she continues to run Barking Mad Northumberland

Husband Brian joined the gang to support the team whilst Tina was poorly.

one more on to the team, meet susuan for Barking Mad Northumberland.

Dog chauffeur team expands.. Here’s Susan.

our full team at Barking Mad

Meet The Team.. from left, Carol Ann, Colin, Susan, Tina & Jenny.

Northern franchisees buddy up for charity event – April 2018

Friday 23rd March was a big charity day for me… supporting 3 charities in one day! I was part of the Barking Mad team raising money for Dogs for Good, then I hot footed it back to my children’s school for an Easter Bingo to raise money for the school, then headed to The Duchess High school for their annual Fashion Show raising money for Hospice Care Northumberland… what a day! I was buzzing by the end, and I’m sure I went to sleep that night with a huge grin on my face.

The barking mad north east ladies raising money for dogs for good at the metro centre.

From left.. Sue, Tina, Tracy, Joanne & Carrie from Barking Mad

As this is my Barking Mad blog, I’ll tell you more about the Barking Mad event that we held that day. Me and my Northern pals got our heads together and decided to ask the Metro Centre for a charity stall. The rules and regs at the Metro Centre are quite strict; we weren’t allowed to sell anything, so we couldn’t bake ‘pupcakes’ to sell. We weren’t allowed to just rattle our charity tins at people asking for money. So, we decided to hold a Tombola. For weeks running up to the event, we all began to build a stash of lovely tombola gifts that people would be happy to win. On the day, we arranged our stall with over 100 gifts, and we had such a fab variety of prizes to be won. We sold 3 tickets for £1 and the shoppers of the Metro Centre were so generous. It was such a fantastic, feel good day. We all loved every minute and worked so well as a team. We all took our Barking Mad heads off and put 100% of our efforts into Dogs for Good.

dogs for good assistance dog at barking mad.

Joe, Michael’s (Dogs for Good) assistance dog.

We were pleased when Michael and his carer Holly turned up to support us. Michael has an assistance dog through the charity, so it was great for him to be there with us. His assistance dog is a lovely black Labrador called Joe. Aww, he was so good. Michael enjoyed giving us a little demonstration of Joe’s talents, such as picking things up off the floor that Michael had dropped. Michael told me “Having Joe is life changing, he makes such a difference to my life”.  He also explained that it is important for people to understand that they mustn’t pet an assistance dog, as they are focused on helping their human and whilst wearing their jacket, they are working. Today was different though, Joe had come to the fundraising event with Michael to raise awareness of the charity, and therefore Michael was happy for people to stroke and pet Joe. He did always stress that it is important to ask permission first.

The barking mad north east ladies raising money for dogs for good at the metro centre.

From left – Tina, Joe the Labrador, Tracy, Michael.. with Carrie and Sue behind.

We had a fantastic day… and the final count for our fundraising efforts…. A massive £280. Wow, We are so pleased Thanks to the generous shoppers and staff at the Metro Centre.

We were also featured in the local press about this event, if you are interested in reading more about that take a look here.

Find out more about Barking Mad Northumberland dog home boarding Here

We’re Barking Mad about puppies! – March 2018

I’m very proud to say that Barking Mad has chosen Dogs for Good as our chosen charity for 2018. Dogs for Good are celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year, and we are so excited to be working closely with them this year.

Barking Mad sponsors our own Puppy #DogsforGood

We have lots of events planned nationally and we would love to raise the £5000 needed to sponsor our very own Pup. We’ve been waiting excitedly for our pup to be born, and yippee, the pups have arrived. We’re now trying to come up with a name… Any Ideas? Dogs for Good have told us that it must start with a P.

Our Barking Mad puppy could become an assistance dog, partnering with an adult or child with disabilities, or they could support a child with autism, or they could be a community dog, visiting schools. Whichever path our pup takes, we will be watching closely as they progress through their training. Their first year will concentrate on socialising, training and teaching them to take on all sorts of obstacles such as noises, traffic etc. I’m sure they’ll take this all in their stride and ‘graduate’ as a fantastic life changing support dog.

On the subject of fundraising, I have done a couple of events such as coffee mornings and cupcake sale, but my main event this year will be taking part in the Great North Run; the famous North East Half Marathon which takes place in September. I hope to raise lots of money, which will add to the National pot. Our target is £5000, which covers the cost of training our pup.. Watch this space for more info on our Puppy P.

#DogsforGoodUK #lifechanging #dogs

Find out more about Barking Mad Northumberland dog home boarding Here

Our Dog Chauffeur Service

barking mad dog home from home dog sitting service.

Susan, one of the ‘dog chauffeur’ team

Are you wondering, how your dog will cope being transported to their host family? Perhaps you are wondering if it would be better if you took them yourself. Barking Mad are your dog holiday experts and we have this covered, let me explain…

Back in 2005 when my Barking Mad life began, a lovely little poodle called Poppy had her first holiday. Poppy didn’t like travelling in the car and I remember worrying that her reluctance to travel in my car meant that she didn’t like me and didn’t approve of my idea of a holiday. But I was wrong, once she arrived at her hosts’ home, she bounced in, made friends with the hosts dogs and jumped straight up on the sofa…she made herself at home and continued to do so for many years. Many of you have dogs that are not keen on car travel. Trust me, once they arrive at the hosts, they forget the journey and settle in to their holiday home. My hosts do a fantastic job of welcoming your dogs into their home.

At Barking Mad, we have our very own dog behaviourist. Lisa’s advice and our many years of experience has told us that us transporting your dog works very well for your dog. We have every confidence in your dog settling in to their holiday home and don’t have the emotional attachment that you will have. Therefore, we can confidently and calmly introduce your dog to the host and as a result they are very accepting of their new environment. Dogs live in the moment and at that moment in time, these other humans are making them feel safe and secure, and of course they are getting lots of attention. Your dog is the priority, so please don’t worry about us transporting your pooch to their holiday home. We will call or text you as soon as we  have settled your dog in with their host and we’ll let you know how the introduction went. We will also text you the following day to let you know that they have slept well, eaten well and have settled in. We call this your “rest easy” message, as after you have received that message from us, you can rest easy and enjoy your holiday.

Your dogs’ holiday works well because your dog and our host both get a lot of enjoyment from the holiday…cuddles, company, exercise and much much more.

Barking Mad have been organising holidays since 2000. We are proud to be the dog holiday experts. But we are never complacent, we continually assess our service and always want to be the best that we can be.

Happy Dog. Happy Holiday. Happy You.

Find out more about Barking Mad Northumberland dog home boarding Here

Top Tips for a Stress free holiday

Barking masd beach holiday home from home dog boarding service.

Jester enjoying the beach on a Northumberland Barking Mad holiday with hosts Geoff & Ann

When booking your Barking Mad holiday, here are some tips for a stress free holiday –

  • If you can, try to organise your dogs’ holiday as soon as you have arranged yours, rather than leaving it until the last minute.  This will give you peace of mind and ease the worry about who will take care of your precious pet when you go on holiday.
  • When planning your dogs’ holiday, think about what time you will need to leave for the airport/train station etc. If you have an early departure, why not ask us to collect your dog the day before. Dogs often pick up on anxieties and any change in the home. If your home is anything like mine, the day my family goes on holiday the atmosphere is somewhat stressful, washing and ironing, packing and have we remembered to pack all the essential things!!! Our precious pets are amongst this chaos and it might be more helpful to let them start their holiday the day before. We pride ourselves on our punctuality, but if we were caught in traffic or had an unforeseen delay, we would hate to affect your travel plans and cause you undue stress, so collecting your dog long before you leave is a good idea.
  • When planning your holiday, we will always suggest a “Getting to know you” holiday first. We suggest a 2 night/3 day break so that your dog can stay with their host family, get to know them before they come on a longer holiday. The last thing we want is for you to worry and stress during your own holiday, so organising a short break first gives everyone peace of mind, and is a great introduction to Barking Mad. We want to ensure that we are all happy with how your dog settles away from home, before we arrange a long holiday.
  • We can collect and return dogs between 9am and 5pm, 7 days a week. A lot of our customers prefer us to bring home their pooch the day after they return from holiday. This can allow for any travel delays and will give you a chance to pop to the supermarket to stock up, and sort the pile of washing out!
  • When it comes to your dogs’ holiday, we will ask you to pack their essentials such as food, bed, bowls, lead etc. But please also pack anything that you feel is important to you and your dog such as a favourite toy. I often tell customers that they don’t need to wash the dogs’ bed prior to coming on holiday, as it will have your family smell on their bed which will be comforting and familiar to your dog.
  • Once we have your dog settled in at their host family, we will take a quick photo and text that to you. We’ll also send you a message the next day too.  Just a short message about how well your dog has settled in, this will hopefully put your mind at rest and you can enjoy your holiday as much as your dog is enjoying their holiday.
  • When your dog comes home, you will get a Pet Postcard, which is a holiday postcard written by your host, as well as verbal feedback from us. So you can be rest assured, we will let you know what your dog has been up to during their holiday.
  • Our aim is for you and your dog to have an enjoyable holiday experience. We want to give you peace of mind, and ease any worries that you may have and give your precious pet a lovely home from home holiday. At Barking Mad, we believe that Dogs deserve a holiday too!

Find out more about Barking Mad Northumberland dog home boarding Here

Northumberland Hosts Enjoy their Annual Pre-Christmas Coffee Morning – November 2017

November 19th was the date that me and my dog holiday organising team at Barking Mad Northumberland, invited our lovely dog care hosts to our annual pre-Christmas coffee morning. It’s a great chance for us all dog lovers of the North-East to get together and say a massive thank you for all the hard work this year making sure that dog home boarding service is the very best. Our hosts volunteer their time to open their homes (and their hearts) to our dog visitors and never cease to amaze us how loving and dedicated they are. Our dog loving hosts always go the extra mile and do everything within their power to make their dogs feel settled and ‘at home’ when they’re with us.

Barking Mad Northumberland dog sitting host coffee morning

Our Fab Northumberland hosts

The venue was Stannington Village Hall and me and my trusty team arrived early to dress the room. We had around 100 photos on display, showing dogs on holiday with their hosts. The tables had seasonal jars of Holly and Ivy, prepared by Jenny, and husband Brian was in charge of the music. We wanted to create a lovely, welcoming environment for everyone. My Mam and Aunty were enlisted to work in the kitchen preparing drinks. No instant coffee here, just an endless supply of fresh filter coffee and pots of tea! The catering was supplied by me and my team; lots of yummy home baking. There was something to tempt everyone, whether it was a Sweet mince pie (well it is nearly Christmas), Colin’s Smoked Salmon canapes or Susan’s sausage rolls.  For our hosts with a sweet tooth, then Jenny’s brownies or Carol Ann’s shortbread were a big hit.

Northumberland Host coffee morning

Setting up for the Host Coffee morning-what fun!

My kids (aged 9 & 7) got involved and manned the raffle table. What a good plan that was.. who could refuse my two cherubs when they asked people to buy a raffle ticket!! We were raising money for our fave charity – Dogs for Good UK and the final total raised was £57.

The hosts were met at the door, and after buying their raffle tickets, they took a seat with their fellow hosts. The place was buzzing with lots of chat and the hosts seem to really enjoy sharing stories and getting to know each other. Me and team mingled and chatted and made sure that everyone had plenty to eat and drink and had someone to chat to.

Half way through the coffee morning, I did a little speech. I talked about all the things that hosts do that really make a difference and I put the spotlight on certain hosts, trying to recognise as many as I could. All of our hosts are special, brilliant people and I wanted everyone to leave with a nice fuzzy feeling. As they left, we handed out their goody bags, filled with treats such as shortbread and chocs.

It was a brilliant success and the feedback that I received afterwards was absolutely lovely. A host event like this takes a lot of planning, but it is always worth it. My hosts are crucial to the success of our dogs holidays. I also asked for their feedback and ideas on future events. I placed questionnaires on their tables. Other options for future events include meeting at our local dog friendly cafes such as the Drift Café in Cresswell or Bertrams in Warkworth. Or meeting at local beaches in Alnmouth, Warkworth or Druridge Bay…I’ll work on that and come up with a plan for 2018.

#HappyDogs #HappyHolidays #HappyHosts

Find out more about Barking Mad Northumberland dog home boarding Here