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OCTOBER 2017

WE DID IT!. 

Team Tina all completed the Great North Run last month. We were raising money for a small, local hospice based in Alnwick, and I'm so chuffed to report that we hit our target of £3000, in fact we went over it. The latest total is £3265 plus £600 gift aid. THANK YOU so much to everyone who donated to our worthy cause, I have been over whelmed with everyone's generosity.

The day was amazing. Anyone that has been part of the Great North Run will tell you that the crowds are fantastic, they literally line the whole route and cheer, clap, high 5 and give you the biggest boost, which carry you to the finish line. There are an army of volunteers, who help throughout to make sure the runners have the best experience. At the end, we headed to the Charity Village, to meet up with the HospiceCare team, and we were treated to a massage, cup of coffee and a snack.

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I had the best day ever and according to my running buddies, I smiled the whole way round. I've done the GNR before, but this year was very special to me. Last year I had cancer treatment, and this year I ran the Great North Run and raised over £3000 for charity.. Yippppeeee!

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I can't wait for GNR 2018. Thanks again for your generous donations... Tina xxxx

More information about HospiceCare North Northumberland can be found at their website http://www.hospicecare-nn.org.uk/

September 2017 

On Sunday 10th September, I will be running the Great North Run. When I say 'running' I actually mean jogging, shuffling with a bit of walking! I convinced 8 good friends of mine to join me and together we are raising money for HospiceCare Northumberland, based in Alnwick. They were a fantastic support to me last year when I had Breast Cancer. The Hospice don’t only deal with ‘end of life’ patients, which immediately sprung to mind when someone suggested them to me last year. They are a fantastic support for cancer sufferers, cancer survivors, and also their friends and family. It is not a ‘bedded’ hospice, as they do their support and treatments mainly in peoples own homes. They also have a drop in at the Hospice in Alnwick every week. During my cancer treatment, they helped with counselling, acupuncture and reflexology, all very useful when I was going through Chemo. I think they are a fantastic, local charity and they need to raise £500,000 each year to provide their service, which is why Tina’s Team of runners intend to raise £3000 for them. We have a just giving page, if you would like to donate, we would be very grateful.
www.justgiving.com
Search Team-TinaYoung-2017 OR text 70070.. type NNHC99 £..(your donation)

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August 2017
Over the summer, me and the team love to attend summer family shows at our local villages. It’s a great opportunity for us to chat with dog owners and tell them all about our service.

Come and visit us at our local shows.
Sat 12th August – Glanton Show
Sat 19th August – Warkworth Show
Sat 9th Sept – Kirkley Hall – North East dog show

It’s been a busy summer so far. Although I love to have a sunny summer obviously, I must admit that wet, miserable weather does tend to be good for business, as dog owners flee Northumberland via the airport for a warmer climate.

I’m off on holiday myself the last 2 weeks in August, so I will be leaving my trusty team in charge. We’re having a ‘staycation’, so I’m staying positive, and crossing my fingers and toes for some nice weather, to give me and the kids a chance to explore our beautiful Northumberland home.

I have Warkworth and Alnmouth beaches nearby, and I’m a fully paid up member of English Heritage, National Trust and Alnwick Castle. I have both wellies and flip flops on standby, so I just need to stock up on packed lunch supplies …Come on sunshine, we’re ready for you.

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June 2017

Meet the team

I'm Roly (short for Roland) Banks and I joined the team in 2017 after hearing from a friend, Barking Mad customer Steve Crawford, that Tina was looking for more people to help with her growing business.

I'm Tyneside born and bred and I started my working life as a 15-year-old apprentice printer with the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle. It was a tough environment but I enjoyed the challenges of meeting deadlines as I learnt the skills of being a compositor; arranging 'hot metal' type for printing the pages of the paper. I stayed with the Chronicle for nearly 25 years, rising to the position of print manager.

I then moved to work with label printing companies in Team Valley and Cramlington, where I live with my partner Gwen. I was a factory manager for a label printing company before retiring in 2015. And then after a year of not doing much apart from getting up early to walk our ten-year-old Westie, Cally, and completing the household chores, I was frankly getting a bit bored: I needed a new challenge. So, being a dog lover, when my friend (and Barking Mad customer) Steve mentioned the Barking Mad job I was intrigued to find out more.

I'm really glad that I followed up and discovered that I would be required to collect and return dogs from and to owners who lived often in out of the way places in our beautiful county, and that the part-time hours would be flexible to suit us both. I leapt at the chance of landing the job and I have not been disappointed: I've met loads of lovely hosts, customers and, of course, dogs. I look forward to meeting you and your dog.

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I'm Susan Seward and in February 2017, I joined the Barking Mad team, collecting and returning holidaying dogs.

I first learned about Barking Mad through an on-line search about three years ago and after meeting Tina, Barry, my husband, and I became hosts. Our lovely old black Labrador Brock had died a few months before and we didn't feel we wanted the full-time commitment of another dog, so looking after other peoples beloved pets seemed an ideal compromise.

We've thoroughly enjoyed being hosts, and living in Coquetdale surrounded by wonderful countryside, we are ideally located to give dogs plenty of marvellous walks.

I had retired as a nurse at Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington, where I specialised in ortho-geriatrics and orthopaedics care, and was looking for a part-time job when I learned that Tina was looking to extend her team. I jumped at the chance of getting the job; driving around our lovely county meeting terrific dogs, wonderful hosts and pleasant customers - what could be better?

The job allows me the flexibility to pursue our ambitions to travel; we have visited many countries in Europe and Asia and my hope is to go to the Indian sub continent in the near future.

I also enjoy visiting my nine-year-old grandson Marcus, taking part with Barry in quizzes at our local pub, the theatre and reading. My favourite author is Georgette Heyer and I think I've got all her books.  
I am also an inveterate scribbler and would love to actually finish one of the many manuscripts which are lying gathering dust in the house.

I look forward to meeting you and your dogs.

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May 2017

In April 2005, I launched Barking Mad in Northumberland, so this month I am celebrating 12 years of organising dog holidays. I have organised thousands of holidays for lots of very lucky doggies. I started the business on my own, (with the help of my faithful hound Elvis). Sadly, he is no longer with us, but my team has grown over the years and now we are a team of 6.

Here are some photos to show how we have grown over the years.

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April 2017

We had a great team meeting this month. We get together every 3 months to review the business and discuss all operational issues. We are now a team of 6 and it is vitally important that we work well together, and communicate really well. I’m so proud of my team. We support each other, work hard, have good fun and enjoy working together. And it all pays off. One of the agenda items was showing the team the amazing feedback that we get after dogs have had their holiday, and I showed them our repeated 5star Trust Pilot reviews. Please have a read of our customer comments on my page here, or go to the Trust Pilot site, and you will find us in the Animal & Pets category.
We started our meeting with a photo shoot, organised by my photographer husband Brian. I love the location, with Alnwick Castle in the background.

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March 2017

March has been a pretty exciting month so far. I was asked to speak at an International Women’s Day event at The Hope St Exchange in Sunderland. I was so proud to be asked and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I was one of 8 speakers on the day, and I loved hearing my fellow speakers telling their inspirational stories. International Women’s Day is an annual, global event which celebrates achievements by Women all over the world. It challenges discrimination and pushes for equality for our girls and boys. As a mammy myself, I recently told my 9 year old daughter that when I was her age, I wasn’t allowed to play football at school. I asked my PE teacher and he said “No, of course not, you’re a girl”. I just accepted it. But someone, somewhere didn’t accept it… which lead the way for our girls to be given the same chances and opportunities in life. #IWD2017 International Women’s Day 2017.

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I was also invited onto BBC Radio Newcastle for an interview this month.. that was very exciting and I really enjoyed it. I hope I’ll get the chance to do that again. Anyone that knows me, knows that I love to talk!!!..... They asked me tell my story, how do you come to run a business organising dog holidays? You can listen to the interview here.

January 2017

As usual the year has started off busy with lots of customers getting in touch to book their dogs in for their holidays. It’s always a good idea to get organised and book your dog in for their holiday, when you are arranging yours. We do get booked up, especially at busy times, and we don’t want to disappoint your dog. As we always say at Barking Mad….dogs deserve a holiday too.
I am meeting lots of new customers too. They are mainly finding us through google searches (you keep telling us that you love our website…thank you) and also through word of mouth. When our customers recommends us to their friends, they get a FREE days holiday for their dog, as a way of saying thank you. When dog owners find a service like ours that they LOVE, they tell their friends. So thank you everyone for spreading the word…..Your dogs’ really do appreciate it.
Happy Dog. Happy Holiday. Happy You.

December 2016

Well, what a year it’s been. I don’t mind admitting that I’m very pleased to see the back of it. I haven’t been very well this year, so have really leaned on my amazing team to support me.

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Barking Mad in Northumberland is my baby, or should I say puppy! I started this back in 2005, on my own, in my spare room. BUT, nowadays it is so much more than just me… We are now a fully developed TEAM. Me and the gang work so well together and pride ourselves on delivering a fantastic, top notch service to you and your dogs.

Back in January, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and immediately thought “Aaaargh, I haven’t got time for this. How will I run my business”… So, I called a team meeting and we discussed every aspect of the business and what needed to happen to ensure that everything ran smoothly. If I was struggling through chemo, I couldn’t afford for anything to get missed.

The last thing I wanted was unhappy customers, unhappy hosts or worst still unhappy dogs. So the team rallied around and we delegated duties and came up with a new 2016 plan. I still worked throughout my cancer treatment, but I was able to take a little step back… and at times I certainly needed to. Chemo and surgery certainly take their toll on your body and mind! But knowing that the day to day tasks were getting done and that we were still delivering our top notch service put my mind at rest.

Throughout the year we have continued to get 5star reviews from our customers, whether they are brand new customers or customers who have been using us for years.

We continue to review, during our quarterly team meetings. We talk about what’s going well in the business, and what can we do to improve even more. We have solid systems in place to communicate within the team so that nothing gets missed.

And lets not forget our amazing team of host families who love and care for our dog guests. I recently had a coffee morning for our hosts to say a massive thank you. They always go over and above the call of duty. They open their homes and their hearts and make your dogs’ feel loved and welcome.

2016 has been a fantastic TEAM effort.. 2017 here we come..

November 2016

We had a fantastic time at our host coffee morning this month. We held it at Stannington village hall and had a couple of hours to chat, drink a constant supply of tea and coffee, and eat a few tasty treats. The yummy catering was supplied by Nelsons coffee shop in Swarland, a firm favourite of mine.

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I love to organise this event, as it gives me a chance to thank my amazing hosts for taking such good care of our dogs. There was a great atmosphere in the room as all hosts chatted to each other and compared dog stories. We displayed lots of photos of dogs on holiday and the theme that ran across all the photos was “happy dogs” & “happy hosts”. Hosts left the event with a little goody bag filled with biscuits, chocolate and our annual Barking Mad calendar & newsletter.

After the event, I received a lovely email from one of my new hosts, it reads…
“Hi Tina, I enjoyed the coffee and get together today and thank you so much for the goody bag. We loved the calendar which has some super photos. And thank you for matching us with such super dogs, we have loved them all. We are so pleased that we became hosts’, it certainly meets a need in me”…. Jeanette

I really love to hear that my hosts enjoy caring for your dogs. I firmly believe that dogs are very clever and pick up on the atmosphere in the home. So when your dog feels welcome and happy at the hosts’ home, they relax and enjoy their holiday. When they come home to you, you will see the difference. They will behave as though you have never been away.

They will be relaxed (often very tired) and happy. Their home life routine has been maintained, they have had lots of cuddles, strokes, play and exercise. They have had lots of company and attention. If they could talk, they would probably say “thanks for a great holiday, I had a pawsome time”.. woof, woof!!

MEET THE TEAM

Brian  

I'm Brian Young and apart from being married to the boss, I am the newest member of the team.

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It was following Tina's breast cancer diagnosis that I became more involved in the business. Initially I helped with admin but with Jenny taking over much of that work I concentrated on dog collection and delivery.

I try to juggle Barking Mad's needs with those of my photography business which I have been building for ten years. Currently I work Mondays to Thursdays on photographing interiors and exteriors of up-market houses with Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays devoted to Barking Mad.

I really enjoy the contrast of the two: there's the isolation of working alone in large empty properties and the more sociable activity of meeting hosts and dog owners.

I grew up in Newcastle and educated at Walker Comprehensive before starting a degree course in astrophysics at Queen Mary's College in East London. I decided the course was not for me and then enjoyed, or should that be endured, a wide variety of jobs from bin man and road sweeper to builder's labourer before becoming a foreign exchange bureau operations manager.

I moved back to Tyneside in 1988 and joined Thomas Cook as a foreign exchange cashier which is where I met Tina.

We got together and set up home in Hebburn and later Jesmond. We married in 1997 and later moved to Guyzance with newly acquired and now much missed dog Elvis; both of us keen to start new careers. Tina began Barking Mad in 2005 and I started my business following a foundation degree in contemporary photography practice. My work can be viewed on brianyoungphotography.com

As well as helping to look after our children - Rachel and Adam - I enjoy fell walking, running and Japanese horror movies.


Carol Ann

I'm Carol Ann Grey and I've been a member of Tina's team since 2013. But my involvement with Barking Mad began a couple of years earlier when I was a host to holidaying dogs.

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I was born in Glasgow and moved to Northumberland when I was about six. My career has included a variety of community-based roles; I was employed by Gateshead Council as a neighbourhood management officer which involved working with various council departments, schools, local organisations and councillors. In this role I worked closely with voluntary groups, young people and residents, helping with social, unemployment and housing issues.

I took redundancy from the council a few years ago but have continued, on a part-time basis, to get involved in community work. I currently work with young people with learning disabilities either on a one-to-one basis or with a group, in south east Northumberland.

My job with Barking Mad gives me the opportunity not only to meet loads of lovely people - hosts and customers - and a wide variety of pooches, but also to discover some beautiful parts of Northumberland when I drive out to collect or deliver dogs.

When I first became a host I had Gina, a lovely gentle mongrel and she was very welcoming as each holidaying dog came to stay.

Apart from looking after dogs, my other interests include Ceroc dancing, scuba diving, badminton and reading. I attend my local church St Nicholas where I am involved in baptism visits and ceremonies, and I am a member of the Parochial Church Council. I am also a Foundation Governor at Cragside C E First School in Cramlington. But a lot of these activities are juggled around babysitting one or more of my five grandchildren, Ethan, Olivia, Jacob, Matthew and Joseph.

Jenny

                                     I'm Jenny Beaumont and I help Tina with the administration of her Barking MadHelen-1.jpg franchise. I first met her ten years ago, shortly after moving to Whittingham from London with my husband, John. At that time we had a lovely old English Bull Terrier cross called Margo. Not wanting to place her in kennels when we took a holiday, I found out - through word of mouth - about the service provided by Barking Mad. Margo had many wonderful Barking Mad holidays.

After Margo died in May 2011, Tina suggested we became hosts and we’ve had lots of lovely dogs to stay on holiday. In October 2011 we acquired an energetic young Setter cross from the Dogs Trust called Jake and in January 2014, we rehomed a Labrador, Jack, who is a perfect pal to his housemate.

We continue to use Barking Mad as customers and host dogs too.

Over the years Tina and I got to know each other pretty well. When Tina, who was dealing with an ever-increasing administration workload, asked in April 2014 if I could help out I was more than happy to get involved. Previously I have worked as a PA with a firm of Consulting Actuaries and a firm of Accountants; both jobs in Yorkshire. I have also worked as a Medical Secretary to an Oncologist and a Cardiologist at Charing Cross Hospital in London.

With my background Tina felt that I would be really well suited to helping out in the office. I now help her by going out to meet new customers, preparing pet schedules and general office administration.

My spare time is largely spent volunteering at Cragside as a Guide, Conservation Assistant and Administrator. I also love walking the dogs, reading and making stained glass projects at a weekly class.

Colin

Colin.jpgI'm Colin Heathcote and I've been working with Tina since 2009. We first met when my wife Pru and I were Barking Mad hosts. I had long since retired from my job as Public Relations Officer for Northumberland County Council and I was scaling down my freelance PR consultancy when Tina suggested she might be needing help with dog collection and deliveries and would I be interested?

Following an interview with Tina, Brian and her lovely old dog Elvis I was offered the job. (I think it was Elvis, whose bark of approval when I surreptitiously slipped him a biscuit, who swung it for me.) Since starting I have met hundreds of lovely dogs and many smashing BM hosts and customers.

I was born in Watford and worked in journalism and PR in Hertfordshire, London and Hampshire, until we (Pru, myself and kids Ben, Selina and Anna) moved to Northumberland in 1981.

In my spare time I enjoy community radio broadcasting, amateur dramatics, sport (I still play five-a-side football), doting on four-year-old granddaughter Sophie and writing. I recently completed my first book - "No Fires In Tring", a fictionalised account of my time as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper in Berkhamsted. It was first published as a Kindle download in April 2015 and recently as a paperback with Tina's husband Brian, who took this picture, producing the cover design.


January 2016

Happy New Year from the Northumberland team!

As usual the year has started off busy with lots of customers getting in touch to book their dogs in for their holidays. It’s always a good idea to get organised and book your dog in for their holiday, when you are arranging yours. We do get booked up, especially at busy times, and we don’t want to disappoint your dog. As we always say at Barking Mad….dogs deserve a holiday too.

I was really pleased to see a feature in Luxe Magazine this month. Luxe is a lifestyle magazine in the North East, featuring all the very best things in life. They wanted to run a feature on me and I gladly obliged. Read all about it here… I’m still chuckling at the thought of my “Luxe life”.. Running a busy business, working with dogs and I have 2 young children. As I said in the article, “My life is anything but Luxe… but I love it"

Click here to read the article on page 26!

December 2015

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We recently had a fantastic host get together at my favourite coffee shop – Nelsons at the Park in Swarland (yummy food, great atmosphere.. you must check it out).

I invited all of my lovely hosts to the party to thank them for the fantastic job that they do caring for our holiday dogs. I really couldn’t do this without them and I want them to always know how important they are. They absolutely love welcoming visiting dogs into their homes and always go over and above the call of duty when caring for their Barking Mad dogs.

They appreciate the responsibility of caring for someones’ else pet and they fully respect the owners wishes in terms of feeding, exercise and sleeping arrangements. They love the dogs like they are their own; they cuddle, play, walk and talk with their dog visitors. And in return their 4 legged friend showers them with licks, cuddles, companionship and make a great walking companion.

I uploaded a video of the party on my Facebook page.. please check it out www.facebook/BarkingMadDogCareNorthumberland

If you would like to care for dogs whilst the owner is on holiday, please get in touch. You are fully supported by Barking Mad. We bring the dog to you with all of its holiday essentials, full instructions on the dogs’ home life routine. My hosts tell me that they love meeting all the different breeds, they love the company and a 4 legged furry friend to walk with.

Paws to consider… could you be a host for #BarkingMad? 

October 2015

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October has been a very exciting month here at Barking Mad Northumberland.
Firstly, I took a trip down memory lane as it is one year exactly since I was awarded Franchisee of the Year with The British Franchise Association & HSBC. I was so honoured to win this top award, competing against big and small franchises across the UK. I really can’t believe that was one year ago, this month… time flies!!


Brian.jpgAs more and more dogs’ lovers in Northumberland choose Barking Mad as their first choice for their dogs’ holiday, we have continued to grow year on year and are so busy all year round. In October, the business became VAT registered and we also moved into new office premises. And finally, with all this extra business, we needed an extra pair of hands, so my husband Brian joined the team.

He has been working with me in the background for the last 10 years and is now out and about taking dogs on their holidays, alongside Colin and Carol Ann. We can collect and return your pooches 7 days a week, so having Colin, Carol Ann & Brian available across the 7 days ensures we can keep up with demand.

I’m mainly based in the office organising holidays, matching dogs with hosts and meeting all new customers and hosts. I am assisted in the office by Jenny, who does a fab job of preparing all dogs’ notes in advance of their holidays.


I couldn’t run my business without my fantastic host families, who do such a great job of welcoming dogs into their homes. They love and care for your dogs and treat them as part of their family. Once a year, we all get together so that I can tell them how much I appreciate their hard work, and introduce them to each other.

They really enjoy getting to know new people and chatting with like-minded folk. So we’re in the process of organising that for next month. I’m always looking for more host families, so if you would like to hear more about being a host, why not give me a call, or come along to our Host get together and you can hear all about it from the hosts themselves.

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So October has been a great month to take stock of this year and get ready for next year… Bring on 2016..we’re ready!

Wishing you all lots of happy holidays, from Tina & the Team.

September 2015

big dog.jpgWe're getting bigger!!

Thank you to all my loyal customers who keep on booking holidays and keep on telling their friends and family about Barking Mad dog holidays. Barking Mad, Northumberland is growing, and growing, and as we are getting bigger, we now have to charge VAT. So as from 1st October 2015, all prices will be plus VAT.

If you have any holiday plans coming up, why not get in touch now. If you book and pay for your holiday before 1st October this year, then it would be at Pre-VAT prices.

As you know, you can book your hols via email tina.young@barkingmad.uk.com or telephone 01665 575981

July 2015

Wow, last month was my busiest month EVER! In my 10 years in business, I have never had a month like it. And as June came to end, there’s no chance to take a breather and put my feet up! July, August and September look to be busy, busy, busy… The dog owners of Northumberland are certainly booking lots of holidays this year. And the dogs of Northumberland are enjoying lots of #BarkingMad holidays.

So, with all of this extra demand, I need more and more host families. A typical host is retired or a stay at home parent. They have dog experience but have decided that they no longer want to have a dog full time. Some of my hosts found it so upsetting when their precious pet died, that they decided not to go through the heart ache again. But they really missing having a furry friend around the home and decided to become hosts for #BarkingMad.

Others enjoy their overseas holidays and therefore don’t want to commit to a dog full time as they are away for long spells. But when they are at home, they love to have a dog come to stay. For other hosts, there reason is financial. If they have a friendly dog of their own who loves other dogs, they would love to get a 2nd dog, but the cost of vet bills, food, holidays, insurance etc really mounts up, but being a host doesn’t cost you anything…in fact we pay you!

New host Roy told me “When I worked, I walked up to 10 miles a day and was very active in my job and now that I am retired, I am really keen to keep my fitness up. As a man, I wouldn’t go for a walk on my own, people give you funny looks! But walking with a dog is great. It keeps you fit, and it’s very sociable as we often get chatting to other dog owners

So, if you are #BarkingMad and would love to look after a friendly dog whilst the owner is on holiday, please get in touch. #companionship #exercise #love&licks

June 2015

I have two lovely children aged 7 and 4, and as most working parents will find, school holidays can be tricky. On the one hand I want to have lots of family time, but on the other hand I still have my business to run. Here at Barking Mad, Northumberland, we are busy all year round but especially busy during school holidays. Thankfully, both my husband and I work from home and can juggle work around to suit family life. I also have a fantastic team at Barking Mad, Northumberland. (A big thanks to my team…Colin, Carol-Ann and Jenny).

daughter to wrok day.jpgOn Saturday, I was on duty and had 3 lovely dogs to take on their holidays. Over breakfast I asked my daughter (aged 7) if she would like to come to work with me. It wasn’t a childcare issue as my husband was at home, but I thought it would be a good way for us to have some mammy/daughter time. I didn’t have to ask her twice - she raced upstairs into her bedroom and put on her Barking Mad uniform, and off we went. She helped carry the dogs belongings in and out of the car and held onto my paperwork such as dog photos/postcards and vaccination certificates. She was so pleased to have an important job and be able to help mammy for the day. I was so proud to work alongside my little trainee especially when she told me that this was “the best day EVER”. Of course, I agreed and I also thought that I must have the best job EVER.

The next day, it was family time…swimming pool, park, ice cream followed by several games of Top Trumps…the latest craze in my house!!

#takeyourdaughtertowork

#worklifebalance

May 2015

Does your dog have star quality?

The glossy magazine Living North have started an ongoing Dog of the Week competition, and all you have to do is send in pictures of your pooch with a little bit about them. Do they have any funny little quirks? And bonus points if there’s a Living North magazine in the photo too!

Each week’s winner will receive a bag of gourmet snacks from Jasper’s Dog Treats, and the overall winner at the end of the year will win a luxury doggy photoshoot with the dog photographer Rebecca Ashworth of Sit, Stay, Capture.

You can send your photos into Living North via Facebook or Twitter, or email (info@livingnorth.com) or by post to Living North, Studio 2 St Nicholas Chare, Newcastle NE1 1RJ.

I'm sure that the Living North team are looking forward to seeing lots of cute pics.

April 2015

In April 2005, 10 years ago, I launched Barking Mad in Northumberland. Wow, TEN years ago, where has the time gone? When I was younger, I can’t recall telling my careers advisor that I wanted a job arranging holidays for dogs! So, how did I get here?

I had been working in call centre management for two blue-chip companies and although there were financial rewards, I had very little job satisfaction and I felt “like a square peg in a round hole”; I just didn’t fit. My husband was in a similar position with his job and we both came to the conclusion that things really needed to change. It is a well-used cliché, but we do only have one life so we didn’t want to waste it doing a job that made us unhappy.

So, we sold our house, moved into a little cottage in the country and resigned from both of our jobs. My husband went back to college and now runs his own photography business. I spent about 9 months searching for something that would fulfil me. I’ve always been very passionate about my job and I like working hard, so it was so important to me to find something that suited me.

At the time, we had a Foxhound dog called Elvis. He was quite a challenge and I spent all of that year attending dog classes to try to socialise him with other dogs. I also read lots and lots of dog behaviour books and took advice from dog behaviour experts. As I was having some time off work, I volunteered with a local dog charity. Suddenly, my corporate life was replaced with dogs, dogs and more dogs. Somebody somewhere was trying to tell me something!

And then early in 2005, a friend told me about Barking Mad and the founder Lee Dancy. At the time, Lee did not have anyone representing Barking Mad in the North East. After a chat with Lee, we arranged a meeting at head office. We talked in detail about the business and I loved the fact that my ‘interview’ kept getting interrupted with Bronte, Lee’s Dalmatian, who would stick her nose in for a stroke or a treat! I thought, this is the type of business that I want to be involved in!

I could see that Lee was absolutely passionate and professional about her business and she had made it a success through lots of hard work. But, she could still be herself and fuss her dog mid-interview, because after all, this business is all about giving pleasure to and caring for our dogs.

The business model really appealed to me. I could run my own business and be part of a franchise organisation that would clearly support and guide me. As I had never run my own business, I felt this would work really well for me, so the decision was made and in April 2005 I launched Barking Mad in Northumberland…and I’ve never looked back.

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March 2015

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.

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Poppy - My first customer!

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 have settled your dog in with their host and we’ll let you know how the introduction went. We call this your “rest easy” call, as after you have received that call/text 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.

February 2015

When you buy a new product, do you read the instruction manual? Do you fully read the terms and conditions?

We all take in information in different ways depending on our learning styles. Some people like to read it, or see it. For me, I like to hear it. So for all of those auditory learners, I worked with a local company called Audioclicks who recorded my voice describing our service at every stage of the holiday booking process. I really enjoyed doing it and the results are now ready and live on my webpage. So please click on the paw prints and you’ll hear me describe all about your Barking Mad experience. We work hard at Barking Mad to keep our web page current, interesting, informative for you. We have the words, the pictures and now we have the sound. I hope you like it. 

January 2015

Happy New Year from the Northumberland team.

As usual the year has started off busy with lots of regular customers getting in touch to book their dogs in for their holidays. It’s always a good idea to get organised and book your dog in for their holiday, when you are arranging yours. We do get booked up, especially at busy times, and we don’t want to disappoint your dog. As we always say at Barking Mad….dogs deserve a holiday too.

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I am pleased to say that 12 new host families joined the team in 2014 and with another busy year ahead, I am looking to increase my team of Barking Mad hosts even more. Hosts are usually retired or stay at home mums and have experience of owning a dog. Dogs come with everything that they will need, we transport the dog to/from the host and we pay the host a daily fee. Hosts just need to provide lots and lots of love, affection and exercise. If you are “Barking Mad” and would love to share your home with a dog on holiday, please get in touch. Or pass this message on to a friend, neighbour or loved one who would love to have a 4 legged friend for company.

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Tel:  01665 575981 or email tina.young@barkingmad.uk.com.

NOV 2014

I couldn’t run my business without my fantastic host families, who do such a great job of welcoming dogs into their homes. They love and care for your dogs and treat them as part of their family. Once a year, we all get together so that I can tell them how much I appreciate their hard work, and introduce them to each other.  They really enjoy getting to know new people and chatting with like-minded folk.  This year, we went to the Northumberland Arms in Felton, which is a lovely pub with a swanky new conservatory on the side, which is perfect for parties. We had tea and coffee and cakes and scones. We had created a display of lots of dogs on holidays and the hosts loved to see photos of their favourite dog visitors. They chatted to each other and swapped stories about their dog guests. They all left with a Barking Mad goody bag which included the 2015 Barking Mad calender. They’ll need this to write down all of their dog visitors. 2015 already looks to be a busy year, so I’m sure my hosts will be booked up all year.

I also asked all of my hosts to spread the word, as I really would love more hosts. My hosts are typically retired or stay at home mums, who have had dogs before and understand the responsibility of caring for a dog. They are “Barking Mad” about dogs!

Here are a couple of photos of our 2014 host party, held on Sun 30 November at The Northumberland Arms, in Felton.

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OCT 2014

95744_Franchisee_Landscape_Generic_Winner_Logo.jpgI have had a very exciting month, scooping a top business award….Read all about it here!

TINA WINS TOP UK FRANCHISEE AWARDS

A Northumberland businesswoman's excellence in running a home from home dog care venture has been recognised with two national awards.

Tina Young of Guyzance has been crowned winner of the British Franchise Association HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards.

Tina won the Microbusiness Franchisee of the Year award – a category for businesses with less than £100,000 turnover – and then triumphed over five other category winners to take the overall winner title.

Following a rigorous judging process, the awards ceremony was staged in Birmingham Town Hall and hosted by BBC business correspondent Steph McGovern.

Recognised for their exceptional contributions to franchising in the UK, six category winners each received £1,000 for their efforts, while Tina collected £10,000 for taking home the top prize which was presented to her by former BBC Chairman, Lord Michael Grade.

Tina_Young_Barking_Mad.jpgTina said: “It’s unbelievable to be recognised for all the hard work that has gone into running my successful franchise. Barking Mad has allowed me to balance having children and running a successful business.

"With the invaluable help of Carol Ann Grey, Jenny Beaumont and Colin Heathcote I have strived to build and maintain a high quality of customer service. And we must be doing something right as about half of our business has come from customer referrals."

Cathryn Hayes, head of franchising at HSBC, commented: “Tina impressed the judges by turning her Barking Mad franchise into a management franchise, changing her business model to allow her take on staff– the first in the Barking Mad network to do so. At HSBC, we are very privileged that we get to work with some of the country’s most exciting and forward thinking franchisees and Tina epitomises just this.”

The BFA citation stated: "Tina has provided a great example to other entrepreneurs of how you can turn your lifestyle into a business opportunity. When she realised she was spending a lot more time with her dog and organising his social life with other dogs, Tina saw a business opportunity. The support and flexibility offered by Barking Mad meant that Tina was also able to pursue one of her other goals which was to start a family. In 2009 she adopted her first child and now has two children, crediting her franchisor for their support in adapting the Barking Mad model to allow her to take on staff, a first for the network. She now professes to having an excellent work-life balance combining her roles of business owner and mother. Tina is also recognised as an influential figure within the Barking Mad franchise network, and is regularly called on to deliver presentations on motivation, social media and customer service. A rigorous staff selection process also contributes to her success, and ensures that all staff know how important customer service is to the business."

Now in her tenth year of operation, Tina has organised more than 2000 dog holidays for clients throughout north, mid and south east Northumberland.

SEPT 2014

Back in 2005 when I launched my Barking Mad business I was all alone in the North East, and  I used to hate turning away customers that were too far away from my area of Northumberland. And now I am surrounded by my lovely Barking Mad colleagues. So, wherever you live in the North East, I’m sure that we can help. You may live in Northumberland but have friends, relatives or work colleagues who live in another area. Spread the word and you and your dog will be rewarded. At Barking Mad, we get so much business through referral, and we run a Recommend a Friend scheme. So, if someone books a holiday because of your recommendation, we will give you a free days holiday for your pooch as a token of our appreciation. Spread the word because…Dogs deserve a holiday too!!

I love having my own business, but being part of a national Franchise and having local neighbours is great. We are always around to support one another and after the photo shoot… we went for coffee and cake and a good chat…. About dogs of course!

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From left.. Tracy Johnston – Cleveland, Darlington & Teesside, Sue Seward –Tyne & Wear, that’s me…Tina Young – Northumberland & Carrie Jarvis – Newcastle & the Tyne Valley.

AUG 2014

Please HELP. I have a lot of wonderful "hosts" already but I am so busy that I am looking for more.  Would you like to give a dog/s a holiday in your own home?

*Are you retired or a stay at home parent?

*Have you recently lost your own dog and really miss the company of your 4 legged furry friend?

*Do you want to get out and have more exercise?

*Do you miss the social side of owning a dog?

*Or do you have a friendly dog already who would love a playmate?

You have full support from me, so if you have any problems, just give me a call and I take care of everything. You have no expenses, we bring the dog to you and they come with their holiday suitcase with all of their food, toys, bed etc. for their stay. You get all the enjoyment of having a dog without the full time commitment and you earn a little bit of pocket money too!  Being a Barking Mad host is so enjoyable.  If you are interested or know someone who would love to welcome a dog into their home, please give me a call on 01665 575981 or email me on tina.young@barkingmad.uk.com.

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JULY 2014

Last month, we had a fantastic team meeting.  Jenny our latest member of the team joined us for the first time. I first met Jenny when her dog Margo came on holiday. Margo sadly died, and she now has 2 lovely dogs called Jake and Jack, who have lots of holidays. Jenny is also a host. Colin and Carol Ann were hosts before they joined my team. We all work very hard to see things through our customers and hosts eyes and we are all very committed to providing the best possible holiday experience for you and your dog. And then afterwards, we went to the lovely Running Fox in Felton for our lunch.

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JUNE 2014

Last month, I was awarded Barking Mad Franchisee of the Year and I have just learned today that I am a finalist in the British Franchise Association 2014 Awards, in the category of Micro business Franchisee of the Year…Wow, I am so pleased and proud to be chosen from other franchise businesses. I am one of 3 finalists and we have been invited to London to for the next stage before the award winner is finally announced in Birmingham in Oct 2014.. Watch this space. www.bfa.org

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MAY 2014

Every year, Barking Mad franchisees are invited to the Annual conference, held in the beautiful Lake District at the Lakeside hotel, on the shores of Lake Windermere. It was a fantastic two day conference with lots of input from franchisees on various issues, so there was lots of learning and sharing of best practices. Everyone is so passionate about providing top notch service for our customers and dogs, and we all love to catch up and spend time with like-minded people.

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In the evening, we had  the awards ceremony hosted by Nikki Hird Brown, National Operations Manager. I couldn’t believe it when I was awarded with the top award “Franchisee of the Year 2014”. This is my 10th year running my Barking Mad business and I was so pleased to receive such a big pat on the back. It really means the world to me. I absolutely love running my Barking Mad business and get so much satisfaction every day when I get positive feedback from my happy customers and hosts, and happy dogs (I know they can’t talk, but they definitely have a way of telling us that they have enjoyed their hols).

Lee Dancy, MD said “Tina really has been an outstanding asset to the company. She is passionate and committed to her business and I would have no hesitation in recommending her work ethic as a template for how to run a successful Barking Mad franchise'.

And on the subject of awards, tonight at bedtime, my little girl who is 6 gave me a very special award. She gave me a bracelet which has the words “brilliant work” written on it. She said “that’s because you tidy my bedroom, made us a nice tea, pick up our stuff and feed the fish”… Priceless!

APRIL 2014

Wow, March was the busiest month ever. It seems that lots and lots of you are going away this year. Please don’t leave it too late, if you are going away this year, please get in touch and I will organise your dogs’ holiday… Dogs deserve a holiday too!

Do you know anyone who might like being a Barking Mad host? Perhaps they have recently lost their own dog and are really missing the company, but don’t want to commit to another dog full time again. As we all know, dogs offer companionship, exercise and plenty of licks and cuddles. We're always looking for dog lovers to join our ever growing team of hosts. Our hosts get so much pleasure from looking after a dog whilst the owner is on holiday, and they love to see their favourites come back time and time again. Why not get in touch for a chat. We'd love to hear from you.

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MARCH 2014

In February, the Northumberland team attended a Dog First Aid course, organised by Sue McCabe from Muttamorphosis Dog Training and Behaviour's and veterinary nurse Emma Foxall, from Companion Care Vets, Cramlington.

The course included practical tips and common sense advice on how to deal with a wide range of health and behavioural problems. We got to practise our bandaging skills on three live and one stuffed 'patients'. These were border collies Sage and Guinness, golden retriever Alfie and toy dog Spud. The session was most informative and has given us a basic grounding in recognising dog-related ailments and how to deal with them.

The day was packed with lots of tips such as dealing with bruising, grazes, deep wounds, burns, electric shocks, reviving an unconscious dog using CPR techniques. We picked up a good tip for stopping dogs fighting: if possible, bang tin trays together; don't physically intervene. Emma stressed the dangers of throwing sticks for dogs, due to the numerous injuries that she has seen. And when tempted to give your pet a tit-bit, never offer grapes, currants, chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocados or onions; all are poisonous for dogs.

Here is a photo of Barking Mad Northumberland (Tina, Colin and Carol Ann) with Sue McCabe www.muttamorphosis.co.uk  and Emma Foxall, www.companioncare.co.uk/cramlington

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A big thank you to our local papers, who all recently ran a feature on our First Aid course. Thanks to The Journal, The Northumberland Gazette and The Morpeth Herald.

JAN 2014

Happy New Year from the Northumberland team.

As usual the year has started off busy with lots of regular customers getting in touch to book their dogs in for their holidays. It’s always a good idea to get organised and book your dog in for their holiday, when you are arranging yours. We do get booked up, especially at busy times, and we don’t want to disappoint your dog. As we always say at Barking Mad….dogs deserve a holiday too.

I am pleased to say that 11 new host families joined the team in 2013 and with another busy year ahead, I am looking to increase my team of Barking Mad hosts even more. Hosts are usually retired or stay at home mums and have experience of owning a dog. Dogs come with everything that they will need, we transport the dog to/from the host and we pay the host a daily fee. Hosts just need to provide lots and lots of love, affection and exercise. If you know anyone that is “Barking Mad” and who would love to share their home with a dog on holiday, please get in touch.

 

DEC 2013

Brrrr, it’s cold. The winter tyres are back on the Barking Mad car so we’re all set to deliver your dogs to their holiday homes, whatever the weather! . Back in 2005, when I started my Barking Mad life, holiday bookings were very seasonal and November and December were very quiet months. After all, who goes on holiday just before Christmas…. Well, it turns out a lot of you do just that. I have been busy during November and December with lots of holidays from short breaks in the UK to those of you jetting off on long haul holidays. A lot of my customers have also taken advantage of my advance warning of a price rise. After holding my prices for 4 years I have decided to increase my daily rate from £20 to £22 from January 2014. I informed all customers in November to give them plenty of time to book at 2013 prices…There is still time…. please get in touch. Bookings can be made by telephone, email or via the website, and you can pay for your holiday by credit or debit card and on line banking.

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Has your dog been good this year? Treat them to a Barking Mad holiday in 2014…they’ll love you for it!

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NOV  2013

Our Northumberland team meeting went really well last month. It gave me an opportunity to thank Colin and Carol Ann for their hard work and efforts. Without them, I would not be able to run such a busy business. I am so lucky to work with two fantastic people who are so dedicated to delivering fantastic service to our customers. 

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I have been organising dog holidays for over 8 years now, (since April 2005) and even at traditionally quiet times of year, I am still busy, busy, busy. It seems that our holiday habits have changed over the years and we now go on holiday all year round. Are you escaping the winter chill for some winter sun or perhaps you are going skiing soon.  If so, please get in touch and I will organise your dogs’ holiday…..Dogs deserve a holiday too!

OCT 2013

I’m planning a team meeting this month with Colin, Carol Ann and myself. After our meeting, we’ll head to The Running Fox in Felton for lunch. If you live in Northumberland, it’s a fab coffee shop/bakery that has a great reputation for excellent food and excellent service.

The main topic on the agenda of our meeting is Customer Care. We pride ourselves on delivering a fantastic service to our customers. So are our customers the humans or the dogs. The answer is both. I place a great deal of effort into matching dogs up to the best possible host to suit their needs, and when my dog customer goes home happy, then my human customers are happy too.

Does your dog sleep in the bedroom and like cuddles on the sofa?. Or does your dog sleep in the kitchen and is not allowed on the furniture. I will match your dog up to a host who can look after your dog as you do at home. Is your dog boisterous or nervous or young or old. Matching up your dog with the host is such an important part of my job. Having plenty of hosts and a good variety of hosts is so important so that I have lots to choose from. I am so pleased to say that this year, 10 more dog lovers have joined my Barking Mad team of hosts. If you know anyone who is ‘Barking Mad’ about dogs and would like to care for a dog in their own home, please give me a call.

 

                  Here are some photos of my hosts with their Barking Mad dog guests.

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                                                                                                SEPT  2013

When it comes to holiday time, you will meet Carol Ann and Colin. They are on hand to collect your dog and ensure they arrive safely to their holiday home. Colin recently had a bit of time off from Barking Mad, to concentrate on his community radio station. 5 years ago, Colin and a team of volunteers set about launching a community radio station broadcasting to South East Northumberland called Synergy radio, 87.7fm. They had a temporary licence and broadcast for 28 days during August and September with great success. The next step is a full licence from Ofcom, which will be decided near the end of the year. During his time as broadcaster on Synergy radio, Colin invited me for an interview. We had a great interview on Monday 9th September and chatted about all things relating to Barking Mad. I have also had adverts played throughout the broadcast; you can listen here by clicking on the link.

 

Become a Barking Mad Host

Need a holiday home for your dog?

 

AUGUST 2013

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.

*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.

*If you have a mobile (who doesn’t nowadays), then I can send you text updates if you like. Just a short sentence about how well your dog has settled in, 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 lovely photo of your host and dog, as well as 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!

 

                                                            Roxy__Chris_at_Budle_Bay_1C.jpg  Roxy and Chris at Budle Bay.       

JULY 2013

Please HELP. I have a lot of wonderful "hosts" already but I am so busy that I am looking for more.  Would you like to give a dog/s a holiday in your own home?

eli_likes_kisses.JPG*Are you retired or a stay at home parent?
*Have you recently lost your own dog and really miss the company of your 4 legged furry friend?
*Do you have a dog already who would love a playmate?
*Do you have children (must be over 5) who keep on at you for a dog but you don't want the full time commitment of owning one?
*Do you want to get out and have more exercise?

You have full support from me, so if you have any problems, just give me a call and I take care of everything. You have no expenses, we bring the dog to you and they come with their holiday suitcase with all of their food, toys, bed etc. for their stay. Being a Barking Mad host is so enjoyable.  If you are interested or know someone who would love to welcome a dog into their home, please give me a call on 01665 575981 or email me on tina.young@barkingmad.uk.com.

 

JUNE 2013

Your feedback is so important: After your Barking Mad holiday, I am very interested to hear how you feel about your Barking Mad experience, whether it's your 1st holiday or 51st holiday. Our super duper new website shows up to the minute feedback, as customers comments go directly onto our website for other customers to read. This can be so helpful for new customers who might be feeling anxious about leaving their precious pet, so reading about other people's experiences can be very reassuring.
If you have had a recent holiday, or if you would like to leave me any comments, you can visit the link here.

https://www.barkingmad.uk.com/franchisees/northumberland/
* Please note that you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to use the form to send your comments.

How do I pay?: I am very excited as this week  as I ordered my hand held card terminal for credit and debit cards. I should be trained up and ready to go by next week. I have been looking for an alternative to cheques, as most of my customers often say they can never find their cheque book (a lot of us don’t write a lot of cheques nowadays).  A colleague in Scotland ran a trial using this terminal with great success. Customer feedback has been very positive as it is very convenient and the fact that we can now accept credit cards is helpful too.

MAY 2013

I recently attended the Barking Mad Annual Conference. This was my 9th conference and it was the best yet. I love to meet up with other Barking Mad franchisees from other parts of the UK. It’s a great opportunity to share ideas, and be inspired and motivated by like-minded people. Everyone got involved and the atmosphere was very positive, professional and fun. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Have you seen our Facebook page. Check out www.facebook.com/BarkingMadDogCare to see photos of dogs on holiday, and  read comments posted from customers, hosts and franchisees.

It’s been a busy, busy month. Lots more customers and hosts have joined the Barking Mad revolution!! Here are some photos of dogs enjoying their holidays this month.

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APR 2013

As the clocks changed and we came into April, we are seeing no sign of spring weather. Dog owners are dreading the thought of a wet, cold summer and are jetting off for some well needed sunshine, and obviously booking their precious 4 legged friend a Barking Mad holiday. Business is very busy, so if you are planning a holiday this year, please don’t leave your dogs’ holiday arrangements until the last minute. I would hate to disappoint your dog…. After all, dogs deserve a holiday too!

Last month, lots of dogs enjoyed their holidays. Here are a few pictures….

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MAR 2013

Wow… February was my busiest month since I started the business nearly 8 years ago. It was all down to lots of very organised customers booking their dogs in for their holidays early. I get very busy during peak times and often get booked up, so booking early really is a good idea.  I also met a lot of new customers who will be using Barking Mad for the first time in 2013. A lot of those customers came through recommendation. I’m so proud of the service that my team and I provide and when my customers recommend me, it makes it all worthwhile.

I am really pleased to be driving around in our newly liveried car, with the lovely Max, the cocker spaniel as the face of Barking Mad. Max is one of my customers and has had many happy holidays in Northumberland. I first met his owner, Gill, when she became a host for me back in 2007. You can also see Max on the website. Thanks to my husband Brian for the photos www.clothworksstudio.co..uk

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FEB 2013

I couldn’t run such a busy business without my fantastic hosts, who do such a good job of caring for your dogs. They are so committed, flexible, trustworthy and above all mad about dogs. They shower their guest dogs with so much love and attention that it is no wonder why dogs always settle into their holiday homes so well. Of course, it is a two way deal… in return the hosts get lots of unconditional love, licks and cuddles from their dog visitors, as well we a companion to walk with, talk to and snuggle up on the sofa with! 

As my hosts are so important to me, I recently arranged a little thank you lunch for them all. I was so pleased that everyone came, especially considering the awful wintery weather! I hired a local village hall and asked The Running Fox (Felton) to do the catering. We served drinks, food and introduced everyone to each other. We had lots of photos on display showing all the fantastic dogs that have been on holiday over the years. All the hosts loved meeting like-minded people and loved chatting about the dogs that they have looked after. It was a great success…now I just need to organise the next one!

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JAN 2013

Happy New Year from the Northumberland team !.

As usual the year started off busy with lots of regular customers getting in touch to book their dogs in for their holidays. It’s always a good idea to get organised and book your dog in for their holiday, when you are arranging yours. We do get booked up, especially at busy times, and we don’t want to disappoint your dog. As we always say at Barking Mad….dogs deserve a holiday too.

I am pleased to say that 10 new host families joined the team in 2012 and with another busy year ahead, I am looking to increase my team of Barking Mad hosts even more. Hosts are usually retired or stay at home mums and have experience of owning a dog. Dogs come with everything that they will need, we transport the dog to/from the host and we pay the host a daily fee. Hosts just need to provide lots and lots of love, affection and exercise. If you know anyone that is “Barking Mad” and who would love to share their home with a dog on holiday, please get in touch.

DECEMBER 2012

Brrrr, it’s cold. The winter tyres are back on the Barking Mad car and I ordered a new scraper for the car windscreen for those cold winter mornings. 

 Eight years ago, when I started my Barking Mad life, holiday bookings were very seasonal and November and December were very quiet months, after all, who goes on holiday just before Christmas? ... Well, it turns out a lot of you do just that! This cold weather is encouraging you all to jet off to somewhere warm. I am also really popular for weekend breaks, Christmas shopping trips, and skiing trips. This November was my busiest so far and December looks to be the same.

As usual, a lot of my new customers find me via a recommendation. If you use Barking Mad and you tell others, you would get a free days holiday for your dog when your friend books their holiday. It’s just a little token to say thank you for spreading the word.

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Has your dog been good this year? Treat them to a Barking Mad holiday in 2013…they’ll love you for it!

NOVEMBER 2012

I organised a very productive team meeting with Colin and Carol Ann. We reviewed the year so far and discussed what was going well and what we could do to improve out service. We work very hard to deliver fantastic service, as we really want the holiday experience to run smoothly and worry free for you and your dog. One of the ideas that we implemented immediately was Sunday working. In the past we have been unable to collect and return your dogs on a Sunday, however after taking on board customer comments and demand, we are pleased to be able to offer a 7 day service.

After our team meeting, we headed to my husbands’ photographic studio www.clothworksstudio.co.uk for a team shot for the website. Thanks Brian for the great shots. Over the years, Brian has taken some great dog photos for the business, which have been used in the Barking Mad Calender, Newsletters and coming soon, the livery on the company car.

Since launching the business in 2005, we have grown steadily and our reputation is spreading. I have a lot of new business through recommendation. Thank you to all my loyal, happy customers for keep spreading the word… The dogs of Northumberland are truly grateful. After all, they deserve a holiday too!


Christmas Fair at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland, Northumberland on Sat 17th and Sun 18th November. www.kirkleyhall.co.uk

 

OCTOBER 2012

Feedback from my customers is very important to me. It confirms that we are getting things right for you and your dog. I received an email today that I thought I would share with you. 

Jenny & John have trusted me with their precious pets since 2006. Margo had many holidays before she sadly died in May 2011. As a lot of you will understand, their home was so empty without their beloved Margo but they were too sad to get another dog. So they became Barking Mad hosts. They really enjoyed having dogs in their home again. By the end of 2011, Jenny & John decided the time was right to get another dog of their own and after a few trips to the Dogs Trust, Jake joined the family.  Jake has also had lots of Barking Mad holidays and so far they have clocked up 30 holidays. After the 30th holiday, I received this email.

"Just wanted to drop you a line to say next time you speak with Helen let her know that we loved the wonderful photos they sent of Jake on holiday, and also a big thank you to Ruby for writing us such a lovely postcard. So you know Ruby wrote "we love him so much we don't want to give him back"!

 "It's so lovely to know that he is well loved when he goes to stay with them.  He clearly has a fantastic time playing with Jessie and relaxing on the sofa with Lucy and Skye".

We love Barking Mad!

Jenny & John

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Local Links

We love working with and recommending local business, here are a list of fantastic people we think you might like to hear about:

Useful Links

Dog Training

Jacquie Hall runs Northumberland Canine Centre, based in Lee Moor Business Park, nr Alnwick. www.caninecentre.co.uk

Sue McCabe runs www.muttamorposis.co.uk

Doggie Daycare & Grooming

If you are coming to Northumberland on holiday with your dog, there are a few attractions that don’t accept dogs. Happy Hounds day care, situated just outside of Alnwick could take care of your pooch during the day whilst you enjoy the local attractions.
www.happy-hounds.biz

Doggy Day care and grooming salon. Doggy Days is an established business, set up in 2002 by Paula McArthur. Paula is busy all year round and is based in Cramlington, Northumberland.
www.doggy-days.co.uk.

Dog Supplies

High quality, heavy duty PVC coated fabric boot liner for the boot of your car. I have used one in the BM vehicle since I started the business in 2005 and they are tough, washable, waterproof, and great protection for your car.
www.hatchbag.co.uk