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As featured on Newsnight,
Chris Evans, Working Lunch.
Jeannie James & Amanda Powell
South & West Oxfordshire
Looking for a high quality dog sitting service in South & West Oxfordshire? Barking Mad is the premier service in the local area and beyond, with ‘doggy holiday’ packages to please any dogs’ requirements and take the pressure off an owner who is worried about leaving their much loved pet behind while travelling away.
Your dog is a valued friend and is very observant to their surroundings. They get used to their environment, the people in their lives and their daily routines. These factors shape them as an animal, which makes it very difficult for your dog when they’re away from that environment. They are part of the family unit, but unfortunately it isn’t always possible to take them with you, leading to potential anxiety for them and you.
Barking Mad understands these pressures and has designed packages for short-term stays with hosts who care about animals and will cater to your dog’s personal routine and requirements. Leaving your dog with a service who visit your house once a day to feed and walk your pet isn’t ideal, and neither are kennels, with large numbers of other dogs there at the same time, all being fed and exercised together. The routine you’ve worked hard to build up can be disrupted very quickly.
Our network of dog-loving hosts is wide and varied, so we know we can find the right match for you and your dog in your area. The host family or individual will follow our specialised dog care instructions carefully, with our strict pet care criteria foremost in the mind of our specialists when they vet potential hosts. We advise that you pack a few home comforts, familiar things that smell of home, so that when your dog first arrives to unfamiliar surroundings they have a feeling of safety right away.
Their senses are vitally important to their wellbeing and this will help immensely, especially if they are staying for more than a day or two. These objects can include toys, bowls and blankets, whatever their favourite things are at home. Your dog will receive high quality care where they are placed. Our team will have got to know your dog, their routines for walking and eating, making sure that the instructions are clear to the host in order to create the perfect, welcoming environment.
Our team of experts are at hand day and night, 24 hours a day, in case of emergency. If there are any special requirements in terms of the types of food your dog needs to eat, or any medical attention required, this is all built into the host’s instructions. All families are welcoming and have a real love and affection for animals, an amazing thing to know when you are leaving your favourite animal behind for a short time!
On top of all of this we’ll also send you some updates from your dog’s holiday in the form of a few images and a holiday postcard. You’ll be pleased and reassured to see your dog happy and healthy, allowing you to enjoy your time away all the more. They’ll still miss you, but it’s easier to enjoy your holiday if you know they are ok. You’ll see how popular we are by visiting our testimonials page, where there is five-star rating after five-star rating from happy dog owners in your area.
As the number one dog-sitting company in South & West Oxfordshire, we are proud of our service, but it’s not limited to one town or county. Nationwide, there are over 70 Barking Mad branches, all willing to help pet owners. So if you need assistance in another part of the country, whether for a couple of days or a few weeks, we’ll be happy to help!
Barking Mad was established in 2000 and has gone on to become the premier dog-boarding service in the United Kingdom. Unlike other companies, we treat your dog as an individual, putting together packages that suit their specific needs, including their daily exercise and dietary routines.
Give us a call on 01524 220202 or an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org, you won’t be disappointed! Our care is unrivalled by any other company in the UK, so why not begin your journey today and prepare your dog the ideal holiday package for when you’re next away.
|One off initial registration meeting||£42*|
|Daily boarding rate||£28*|
|Daily boarding rate for additional dogs||£22*|
|Collection and delivery||£42*|
* Includes VAT
Bailey – All ready for his holiday complete with paddling pool!
At the registration meeting you’ll receive one of our exclusive ‘Holiday Doggie Bags’ which you can pack with food, bowls, toys, treats and anything else to help your dog settle in more easily.
We even offer an unlimited luggage allowance at no extra charge!
Host families are given a Pet Schedule detailing all of the information we gathered at the initial registration meeting and we’re on hand 24 hours a day 7 days a week to support them.
We’ll send a photograph of your dog to you as soon as he’s been safely delivered to the host. The very next day we give you a ‘rest easy’ update, so you can then sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of your time away in the knowledge we’ve got everything covered.
On the day of return you’ll receive a fun postcard from the host and we’ll stamp your loyalty card so you can gain points which will entitle you to a free night away.
The best bit for us is seeing dogs happily settled-in and comfortable with their host. We will, wherever possible, be sure to use the same family each time you book a holiday. There are no minimum or maximum time limits we’re here whenever you need us.
Ask for your loyalty card. When your card is full you receive a FREE stay on us! (1 full card = 28 paw stamps).
If you love dogs but can’t commit to the full time financial and emotional responsibility of having a dog of your own, or if you have a very sociable dog who would benefit from visiting guests coming to stay, then you’ve come to the right place!
Our very own host families are extremely special people indeed. They have been selected carefully and interviewed in depth at home to ensure they meet our criteria. We get to know them really well and have worked with many of them for a great number of years.
Who are our hosts
It goes without saying, all of our hosts, without exception, are absolutely dotty about dogs. Some are actively retired people who’ve had dogs all of their lives but now enjoy the freedom and flexibility of caring for dogs on holiday. Others are younger, often with a family at home, where the addition of a visiting dog is great fun for all.
How it works
We’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to. We think it’s important that our hosts concentrate on looking after visiting dogs and that they are not exposed to, or distracted by a constant flow of potential customers and dogs coming and going. Our hosts are also protected from the awkwardness of dealing with money, insurance and paperwork, so that the enjoyment of looking after visiting dogs remains their focus.
Support 24 Hours a Day – 7 Days a Week
Looking after someone else’s dog is great fun, however from time to time you may need a little local, on the ground support and it’s great to know we’re on hand 24/7 to provide just that.
If you’re interested in joining our fun, dog loving host community to become a pet sitter we’d love to hear from you.
CLICK HERE to make an enquiry
A small selection of our lovely host families:
Brenda - 2nd May, 2017
"We recently had Fozzie for several days it was such a joy to have him my dog Wiggles loves him a lot.
My whole family love him as did our friends where we walk every day.
We look forward to his next visit.
Carol - 13th Apr, 2017
"We enjoy looking after peoples dogs as it gives us pleasure to think they have come from home to home. Sometimes our commitments are heavy but It fits in with our lifestyle as we can do it as and when we can. It gives us pleasure and hopefully the pets enjoy our company too. Barking Mad are efficiently run and if I had a dog of my own would gladly let them find a host for my."
Celia - 23rd Mar, 2017
"Lulu has just been to me on her fourth visit. We've both had a lovely time and it seems strange today without her. She is well known and well loved by my friends and neighbours now as well as the local dogs. We all look forward to seeing her again soon."
Jackie - 6th Jan, 2017
"We had the pleasure of looking after Pip for 2 weeks over Christmas this year! We all loved having him for his 2nd visit with us. We enjoyed the walks (even in the cold and sometimes wet) and my children loved his company too!
I would love to have a dog of my own sometime soon, but looking after dogs with Barking Mad gives me the opportunity to see how a dog would fit into our lives, what challenges it might bring and what delights too! I can test out different breeds and ages too in case I go down the rescue dog route!
Definitely a win win option."
Brenda - 6th Jan, 2017
"We recently had Molly come to stay we all fell in love with her. My dog Wiggles loved her too
She was so good and had us laughing when she showed attention to the Tv.
We enjoyed her company and will look forward to her coming to see us again.
Carol - 3rd Nov, 2016
"We thought the service we got from Emily at Barking Mad was very professional - the information we received on Inca prior to our having her was very precise and made our experience all the better. It was good to know she was at the end of the phone especially as this was our first time. Inca was a pleasure to have and as advised needed lots of love and attention which we certainly gave her. We look forward to the next time to host again. Many thanks."
Brenda - 26th Oct, 2016
"We recently had Scout come to stay with us what a lovely time we had scout and my dog wiggles became great friends it was really nice. Its nice that the dogs get to visit carers whilst the owners go on holday as it gives peace of mind for all concerned and the dogs are happy too We look forward to scout coming again"
Brenda - 26th Oct, 2016
"Scout came to stay a beautiful little dog we had a great time look forward to seeing her again.
Barking Mad is a lovely idea it is very important that the dogs are happy and we love it"
Celia - 4th Oct, 2016
"Lulu has just gone home after seventeen nights with me. This is the longest stay I've had but it wasn't too long. She is a delightful, easy dog to look after who quickly makes herself at home.
This is the third time she's been to me and I look forward to her next visit."
Brenda - 4th Oct, 2016
"I think Barking Mad is such a lovely idea as the dogs can visit families a bit of a holiday whilst their owners have a holiday too.
We recently enjoyed a visit from a beautiful dog Fozzie he settled into our home quite happily and we enjoyed him too.
Animals need to feel secure with no worries and fitting into a family environment makes for a happy doggie I think Barking Mad is a very good idea
I will look forward to the next vistor on four legs."
Jackie - 12th Sep, 2016
"I have recently looked after Pip for just over a week and really enjoyed it. I am looking to have a dog myself but want to be 100% sure I am doing the right thing before I take the plunge.
I love that with barking mad you get lots of help and support while looking after someone else's precious dog. If you have a problem or the dog becomes unwell you also know that help is at hand. I found the experience rewarding and it was lovely having Pip stay with us. The problem is we missed him when he was gone...
I would like to continue looking after dogs with barking mad.
Celia - 19th Jul, 2016
"Hugo has just had two weeks holiday with me. As a lively two-year-old Springer he was more of a challenge than I've had before but I loved it, and him. We walked many miles and I managed to loose some weight. An added bonus for me!
I think Hugo enjoyed having my undivided attention and he certainly made the most of it. I always think about how I would like my own dog to feel - happy, secure, content, and loved."
Linda - 29th Jun, 2016
"Hello I love having the dogs it gets me out and about too..I am fairly new to the neighbourhood. And I have met people that I would not have met if I was not hosting. All the dogs I have had since I've been hosting have been very good I love them all. I wish I could have some of the small dogs back I had last year!. Posted by Linda"
LindaS - 29th Jun, 2016
"I love being a host we find it encourages us to go out more and explore dog friendly places so we get loads of fresh air and exercise. We have the peace of mind that Barking Mad are on the end of a phone if we need them for any reason and its a great way of having a dog without the costs involved. Also if your lifestyle means you cannot have a dog then this is a great alternative. I would definitely recommend it as all the dogs we have had have been easy to care for and friendly, the hardest part is saying goodbye but because you know they will probably have another holiday before too long you don't get upset you just look forward to their next stay."
Anne and David - 28th Jun, 2016
"Hosting a dog gives us a lot of pleasure and is very rewarding. We have only been hosting dogs for 3 months but we're really enjoying it. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that each dog has had a lot of love and a good home from home holiday. We treat every dog as if it was ours, taking note of the pet profile guidelines. It is a great help knowing that you have the back-up of Barking Mad should anything untoward happen, which gives us peace of mind. John has been excellent matching us with the dogs we've hosted so far."
Brian and Carole - 8th Apr, 2016
"We have been hosting for 18 months now and have come to know the regular dogs we have. The owners have requested many times that they like them to go back to the same host. We find it rewarding that they make these requests.
Nicola is always very careful to match the host and dog and this shows in the requests she gets.
Keep up the good work. A perfect match makes a happy owner, dog and host.
Barking mad prides itself on this and Nicola and her team work very hard to make this happen.
We have just got another first time little doggy today and we hope that he will want to come back again.
A big thankyou to all the team."
Celia - 6th Apr, 2016
"Archie has just gone home after his second visit. He's the most affectionate little dog I've met. Really loving, kind, and gentle. He can be a bit naughty sometimes but we suit one another well and both thoroughly enjoyed our week."
Gwen - 31st Mar, 2016
"We have just had a second visit from a lovely dog that we first met over last Xmas. Having become very fond of her the first time, it was lovely to see her again. She settled more quickly this visit, and was very relaxed. We really enjoyed our time with her, and look forward to her next visit."
Gwen - 24th Mar, 2016
"We have just had a beautiful golden labrador to share our lives with for the past nine days. He was delightful, really good around other dogs and children, and a joy to be with. I'm looking forward to having him to stay again."
Pam - 18th Mar, 2016
"We have just said goodbye to our latest doggy client and thoroughly enjoyed having him here.
He settled in straight away, was friendly and playful. We never imagined choosing this breed ourselves but he's now a very firm favourite and today the house seems empty without him. Hope to look after him again sometime."
Gwen - 14th Mar, 2016
"I enjoy doing the best I can to make sure that my doggy guest feels relaxed, cared for and loved whilst they're away from home. This is what I would want for my own dog, when I have to go away on holiday, so I find it very rewarding to provide this for other people and their dogs."
Jenny - 8th Feb, 2016
"For me, the best part of being a Barking Mad host is getting to know all the different doggie personalities and making friendships with them, particularly when my new houseguest could be feeling a little bit homesick."
Margaret & Stan - 26th Jan, 2016
"We have thoroughly enjoyed hosting a lot of Barking Mad dogs over the last seven years. We have always had terrific support from Brad and team and prior to that from Chris and Alex. In all that time we have only needed help once during a visit, for minor veterinary attention, and that was dealt with very quickly and efficiently. I think this is because the dogs are well matched to their hosts (and the hosts own dogs!) in the first place. We also use Barking Mad for our own dogs holidays."
Adam - 22nd Jan, 2016
"When we moved to Dundee we both missed not having a dog in our lives. Being a host for Barking Mad gave us the opportunity to have that again, even though giving them back at the end is always hard.
It allowed us to see how well having a dog would fit into our lives in a full time situation, and directly influenced our decision to get our own. Now we look forward to hosting other dogs for Angus to play with.
As hosts, the support you receive from Brad is amazing and the detail he goes into to facilitate yours and the dogs well being is incredible.
I would thoroughly recommend anyone who wants to have a visitor now and again, someone who misses the company of the dog but has commitments and everybody who wants a dog but is not sure if it will work to become a host with Barking Mad, you won't regret it!"
Lorna - 22nd Jan, 2016
"I have been a host for several years, I started with Barking Mad as I wanted to have a dog but visiting family in the south made it impractical, so when I am home I have a dog, I have had a great variety of dogs from a little Jack Russell to a huge mountain dog. Barking mad is great because they match dogs with their hosts in all the years of hosting I have never had a dog that I would not have again. Hosting dogs means I go out everyday, I talk to many people and share doggie stories."
Ed and Barbara - 22nd Jan, 2016
"Having a four-legged lodger for a few days is always a pleasure. Still getting over the loss of our own dog but nothing cheers you up more than another wagging tail around the house. Great support from Brad and his team. If only he could do something about this awful Scottish weather."
Kate & Graham - 20th Jan, 2016
"We live in Shirley and have local parks, woods and fields nearby. Whatever the weather we love taking the dogs out and about. They have joined us for barbecues, street parties and made visits to a local elderly care home. Our grandchildren have learned to overcome their fear of dogs by meeting our 'guests'.Having a dog keeps us fit and healthy too. Our garden is large and well fenced so the dogs can enjoy chasing squirrels!
We would love to have a dog of our own but with working full-time until recently and travelling it never seemed the right time. Having dogs for Barking Mad has 'filled the need'. We have had so many dogs to stay (and everyone a pleasure) and one in particular has come twice a year since 2008.
Tina organises things so well - she 'matches' the right dog to the right host - so everyone is happy ( most of all the dog!)"
Susan - 20th Jan, 2016
"I love being a host for dogs with Barking Mad, and enjoy meeting the different visiting dogs, and getting to know each ones individual personality."
Sandra & Terry - 19th Jan, 2016
"We love being hosts to barking mad, Terry is around most of the day, and I work 4 days a week, so we can have doggies almost all the time other than we are on our hols !!, we already have our fav’s Bruno, Bentley, Darcy , Biscuit, Ben the boxer & Gunner, and Tina will try her up most so we can have them on repeat hols, it means a lot to us as we love looking after all the little & big ones, and they all have there own little characters, we have photos of all the dogs we have had since July last year, and look forward to seeing them all again this year, and miss them when they go home, It’s a pleasure to look after doggies on there hols, & and its filled a gap since loosing a couple of our own pets last year,"
Jenny, John and Jean - 15th Jan, 2016
"Being an animal lover - I love working with Barking Mad and being a host for them. I especially like having their beautiful doggies to stay. The doggies all have their own very different characters and we have some good times filled with really good fun and laughs with the doggies that stay with us.
We all really enjoy having the pets and get out and about and sometimes on the odd occasion we take them out to other parks and places close to home. Its just like having your own pet!
I do like the events and walks that Tina at Barking Mad arranges. Its a chance to get out with other hosts and meet them and hear their tales as a host.
I recall a fete we went to lovely sunny day with lots of dogs and we all had such a great time, I recall feeling quite sorry when the fete ended."
Tracey - 15th Jan, 2016
"We have been hosting since last summer and really enjoy the experience and getting to know the personalities of the dogs, even the cheeky ones !
I particularly like walking in the fields and woods nearby with my host dogs as company, and its great exercise too.
Rosina - 15th Jan, 2016
"I first looked after dogs in 2005 & have kept photos of all my visitors. After a break, came back to it a couple of years ago. I have had Millie two years running & cannot wait to greet her again in July, it feels like a special friend spending her holiday with me :)"
Gwen - 8th Jan, 2016
"Sheba, a beautiful Belgian Shepherd dog, was my first experience with 'Barking Mad'. She was adorable, very gentle, and well behaved. She seemed to fall in love with my partner - maybe she saw him as her temporary pack leader - and we both really enjoyed her company over the Christmas period. Having lost my own much loved collie of over 15 years, in October, I had felt lost without a dog to love and care for - so being a 'Barking Mad' host was ideal for me. We're so looking forward to our next doggie guest, and also hope to see Sheba again at some time in the future."
Celia - 8th Jan, 2016
"My last visitor, Pip, was an absolute sweetie. A breed I've not had experience of before and a real delight. She came to me for just a few days before going on to her regular family.
She loved her bed - well actually my bed - and when she was ready to go up at night she would stand at the bottom of the stairs, with one paw on the bottom step, and stare at me until I gave in."
Elaine - 9th Nov, 2015
"We really love our holiday dogs, we like to spoil them, love them, lots of cuddles and make sure they are really happy with us, it's lovely to get the same dog(s) over and over again, they just make themselves at home, and all our dogs know where the 'treat' cupboard is.. We get such a lot of love from them and look forward to them returning."
Sarah and Stan - 9th Nov, 2015
"We adore having new Barking Mad dogs come to stay and love it even more when they return for second and third visits. Its such a pleasure to spend time with these much loved dogs and take them for walks on the beach and around the countryside. We know that when our 'crazy' Collie goes to stay with a Barking Mad host, she will be safe, happy, and much loved."
Liz - 4th Nov, 2015
"We have really enjoyed hosting our last two dogs, Nelson and Finn. As a family we enjoy meeting the new dogs and letting them be a part of our family, albeit only for a while. It is good to know if we have any issues we can just call Emily. We hope to keep hosting even when we get our own dog, (something my husband would never have agreed to until he realized how complete a dog makes a home)."
Debra - 4th Nov, 2015
"We have had a full calendar for October starting with a surprise arrival as another host was sadly taken poorly. Ruby arrived within 40 minutes of the phone call but soon settled in and became a family favorite. Then came Azi, she takes over our lives but ooh how we love her. Lastly we had Jess, an old lurcher who turned into a puppy again when it was walkies time. Each very different but all very lovable."
Diana - 15th Oct, 2015
"I have always had dogs since I was born,having lived on a farm. I cannot remember ever being without dogs. Now I am on my own it is great to have more than one dog.
I am a dog lover, plus Kali my lab just love to go on walks and have company at home.
So we are both very happy bunnies"
Nicky - 13th Oct, 2015
"I started pet sitting nine years ago for Barking Mad.
It is very enjoyable and I love the country and Beach Walks. I have to make an effort to get out with the dogs here.
I have many regulars that come year after year. Each dog has its separate character. With the pairs I love watching the integration between the two dogs.
I work for Ian Carney who pays a lot of attention to detail, doesn't mind going over things with me if I am not sure and always makes sure the dog is familiar with my bungalow before he leaves. He always promptly answers the phone and I feel that I am not alone with the responsibility of someone else's dog.
My life would be empty without Barking Mad.
Nicky, Dorset Host. Posted by Nicky"
Clive - 23rd Sep, 2015
"Having just said goodbye to our 2nd holiday dog whom we've enjoyed entertaining and looking after. We look forward to our next dog!"
Carole - 21st Sep, 2015
"Nicola and her team always go the extra mile to ensure they are acting in the dogs best interest. If there is any doubt about a dogs health she will always act accordingly so that the owners can rest assured that there dog will get the best possible attention and the owner can relax and enjoy their holiday. We have always welcomed all our lovely dogs for holidays and they enjoy their stay.
Keep up the good work and keep sending these lovely dogs for their holidays that they can enjoy.
A first class team who cares unreservably for the dogs in their care. Posted by Carole"
Debra - 17th Sep, 2015
"We have just enjoyed a lovely long weekend with Roxy the staffy. She is so well behaved we hardly knew she was there but now she has gone our home is a quieter sadder place. This is why we love Barking Mad as each dog gives us a smile!"
Sarah and Stan - 9th Sep, 2015
"We love taking our four legged holiday friends for walks through the fields and to the beach, Its a privilege to get to know the new dogs and become friends and really special when they come back to us for a repeat holiday full of cuddles and fun."
Angela - 21st Aug, 2015
"I have just become a host for Barking Mad and recently cared for my first dog, a lovely old Labrador. He fitted in so well with my own two dogs and I thoroughly enjoyed giving him a special holiday for a few days and am really looking forward to helping out again. It is something very dear to my heart and feel I am being of use to others in providing a safe and welcoming home from home for someone's beloved pet. Plus my own pets also enjoy the company."
Elaine - 21st Aug, 2015
"We love looking after our holiday dogs, they are all really lovely, friendly and usually make themselves at home straight away. We especially like to have the same dog back time after time and they always look really pleased to see us again."
Brian and Carole - 19th Aug, 2015
"Monty is always a pleasure to have in our home.. Just gone back to his home after another great holiday.
Nicola and her team are as always very efficient and friendly. Thank you to all of you.
Brian and Carole Posted by Brian and Carole"
Diana - 19th Aug, 2015
"I love having dogs I was brought up with my father's GunDogs we always had 2 or 3 at a time. A friend saw you advertising for people to look after them while a way on holiday or just for a week- end. So I did just that. I loved having Maisie also Kali loved it as well."
Cynthia - 10th Aug, 2015
"My Barking Mad dogs, many of whom come back again and again, light up my life. They are all different, with different hopes and needs, and getting to know them and earn their trust and affection is pure joy. They go everywhere with me, visiting friends, shopping, and of course on lots of nice healthy walks, good for me as well as them. Total strangers have become friends, stopping me in the street with "What's this one's name, then?" - or even, on between days, with a disappointed "No dog today?"
God bless BM, my area manager Ian, my owners, and first and foremost, all my dogs."
Celia - 4th Aug, 2015
"Rolo has just gone home after his weekend trial. He passed with flying colours. 10/10 I would say and I'm looking forward to his return towards the end of the week.
Well done Emily - you worked out straight away what sort of dogs are best suited to my situation. Quicker than I did."
Pam & Ray - 21st Jul, 2015
"After a year of being without a dog it was great to have not one but two dogs in the house. To see two little faces greeting us from their crate when we returned home was lovely. They settled in well and Emily made sure we were happy with them. Our grandchildren who live opposite were constantly here playing with them, which they adored. If only we had heard about Barking Mad when we were dog owners and didn't want to use kennels!!!!!!!!"
Filomena - 9th Jul, 2015
"Having Pebbles for a few days was delightful and Finley enjoyed the company. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of dealing with a dog other than my own and understanding her needs.
She seemed extremely happy and made herself at home immediately. All doggie friends on park enjoyed meeting her and she was in her element.
Great fun all round."
Mary - 8th Jul, 2015
"I've often asked myself why on earth anyone would want to be a host for Barking Mad. Belly rubs, staffie, Henry's smelly farts, being first out in pristine snow, pickle's snoring (how the walls vibrate), watching Starsky grow from a gangling four month pup into a well behaved teenager. I can go on and on but my favourite is sleeping on the settee on a hot afternoon having a 'nana nap' with a happy, contented pooch sleeping on my stomach dreaming of rabbits.
In 2014 I looked after 24 different dogs, most of whom returned numerous times. So far this year I've had 18 from little to large to very large (ah yes - Dudley). If I put my foot down and ask for time out to have a holiday myself then I get those puppy dog eyes from Ian (the boss) suggesting that I would love to take a dog with me. I generally succumb and thoroughly enjoy our time together.
Would I recommend being a Barking Mad host to anyone else? Having a boss like Ian who is very keen and hands on makes being a host easier. Should anything crop up he will be straight round to deal with it. I love hosting and would urge those people who are thinking about it to have a go. Where else can you wake up to a pair of soulful eyes, a lolling tongue and a wet nose in your immediate field of vision - that's enough about the old man!
Hi you folks at head office. I have spoken to Ian and he says that if you use this can you put it on both his Bath and Dorset sites please. Many thanks. Mary xx"
Celia - 30th Jun, 2015
"Having lost my beloved 15-year-old Westie last July I decided to sign up as a Host with Barking Mad towards the end of the year.
To be honest the first dog that came to me didn't really suit me and I wasn't sure I would do it again. But Emily persuaded me to have another try and I've had several dogs since which have all been delightful. My favourite, Lulu, has just gone home after her third visit.
I know she loves coming to me and I love having her."
Shannon - 27th May, 2015
"I love looking after all the different types of dogs that come for there holiday with me. I love caring for them as if they where my own. It gets me out and about meeting new people and their dogs too. All the dogs I've had come everywhere with me and even though each dog had a different personality they where all great to have. I look forward to caring for more dogs as well as caring for the same dogs that i have had."
Brian and Carole - 27th May, 2015
"Just coming to the end of another period of hosting a Barking Mad dog on holiday. We really appreciate what Nicola and her team do to connect the right dog to the right family. After having dogs all our lives the time came for us not to be selfish and home another dog in later life. Barking Mad filled that gap and we adore giving a home from home holiday to these special dogs. It's just what we wanted for our dogs rather than kennels.
We feel privileged to be a host for Barking Mad and look forward to giving the next dog with a good home, a good holiday.
Nicola and her team are very professional and give the owners and host families a very professional approach which makes a good holiday for the dogs and a lot of fun and satisfaction for the hosts.
Keep up the good work and can't wait for the next dog to come on holiday. Thank you to you all. Brian and Carole"
Brian and Carole - 29th Apr, 2015
"Beau just gone back home after having another fun holiday with us. She so appreciates the TLC we give her and look forward to having her again.."
Sue - 17th Mar, 2015
"I have loved having the pugs, a breed I've been thinking about getting. Was so nice to have a dog in the house again. All very well behaved and was nice to know Emily was always on call should the need arise. Looking forwards to my next house guest. Sue"
Celia - 10th Mar, 2015
"Lulu, a delightful little Coton de Tulear, was collected from me yesterday after a nine-day stay. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I was sorry to see her go. - Can't wait for her to come back again."
Elaine & Tony - 26th Feb, 2015
"Love looking after our holiday dogs. It's a brilliant, well run company, with people who really do care about the dogs, I would highly recommend to would be hosts or dog owners who can rest assured their babies will be well looked after."
Liz - 25th Feb, 2015
"Really enjoyed having Hamish. Appreciated the support, from Emily, with the walking issue and the fact I could call if any issues.
Next dog please.
Hayley - 25th Feb, 2015
"Me and my family love being a part of the Barking mad team! It makes me feel happy knowing the dog isnt in kennels and instead having a fun time in the our home. Its also great for my own two dogs, it gives them the chance to make new friends and socialise with other dogs all shapes and sizes!"
VLG - 8th Jan, 2015
"I recently hosted my first little visitors from Barking Mad. I was slightly nervous having 3 at once, but I need not have been concerned, Emily was very good with lots of info about what I needed to do.
They very quickly settled in and I really enjoyed having their companionship. I loved taking them out each day and watching them play with their toys."
Shirley - 1st Dec, 2014
"It's now twelve years since I first asked Barking Mad to look after our lovely Boxer Amber.Later,we became hosts and since Amber died,Barking Mad has helped to fulfill our enjoyment of canine companionship with dogs of many different breeds and temperament.
It is lovely when we have repeat visitors,to know that their owners are just as pleased with the Barking Mad service and care of their cherished dogs as I was with Amber."
Carole and Brian - 19th Nov, 2014
"Had a wonderful three weeks with Molly she really enjoyed her holiday. Thanks Nicola you were very supportive and explained every thing needed for Molly to enjoy her stay.
Looking forward to our next visitor.
Posted by: Carole and Brian Lee on 18th Nov, 2014"
Geoff and Ruth - 29th Oct, 2014
"We love the opportunity of hosting dogs as we no longer have of our own. This is a great way of having a dog around the house without the commitment of owning a dog."
Liz - 30th Sep, 2014
"My family and I love being hosts as it gives us the chance to meet lots of different dogs and get to know them.
The house feels empty once the dog has gone but we really enjoy giving the dogs a holiday and the owners piece of mind that this member of their family is being cared for safely and for a few days is a part of our family.
It is always good to know that Emily is on the end of the phone for support and the clear guidelines from the owners let us know what the dog enjoys and what their routines are."
Bruan and Carole - 22nd Sep, 2014
"We have just had our first dog on holiday and jess was a pleasure to have. We have always had dogs but lost our last one a year ago. It was a hard decision not to have another, but our age is against commiting to owning another. We saw a local advert for hosts and Nicola from barking mad made the whole process so easy.
Its the best decision we could have made and cant wait for our next doggy to come for a holiday. They make the house a home again. We love it. Thanks Nicola."
Monica - 28th Aug, 2014
"I lost my dog after 15 yrs together , so Barking Mad is ideal for me, I so enjoy having my doggy visitors, every one of them have their own characteristics, which is so nice to discover, whether they like playing ball, or tug of war with one of their toys, and I enjoy our walks as much as they do as well. Posted by Monica Bennett"
Ruth - 12th Aug, 2014
"How does one sum up being a Barking Mad host? Fun, good loving company, enjoyable healthy exercise and sociable walks when holiday dogs are here. When they are not, then time alone to relax, visit friends, have days out, holidays etc, but soon something is missing. You can't beat doggy company! So I look forward to my next 4 legged holiday guest.
When they arrive I read their notes (what to feed, when to walk, favourite games) all the information I need to make them feel at home. Together we enjoy their holiday and I help them write a holiday post card at the end of their stay!
Life couldn't be better, especially when they come again and their body language, eyes and tail all say 'great to be back, let's have more fun.' Penny the Patterdale, Ellie the Collie, Riley and Alfie thank you for coming into my life. I'm sure you are the first of many more holiday makers who I'll enjoy welcoming into this holiday home for dogs.
When my 16 year old Bonnie went to doggie heaven recently I couldn't decide whether or not to get another dog. There were advantages on both sides, so I got in touch with Barking Mad and with help from Nicola I became a holiday home for dogs. It's great fun, varied, flexible and rewarding; The benefits of having a dog whenever you want, without being tied all the time.
Thank you Barking Mad for enhancing my life.
Posted by: Ruth Middlebrough on 9th Aug, 2014"
Mandy - 11th Jul, 2014
"I have always owned animals but current circumstances don't allow me to commit full time to the care of a pet. I missed so much not having one around, saw the advert for Barking Mad and Barking Mad took me on. It is the perfect solution! I have had the privilege of looking after some wonderful dogs, enjoying walks and cuddles with my little friends. Now I always have a doggie to look forward to, some of them stay with me regularly, which is especially fun. Any drawbacks? - having to return my little friends at the end of their holiday!
Becoming a Barking Mad Host is one of the best decisions I have ever made!!"
Mavis - 30th Jun, 2014
"I have been hosting for Barking Mad for almost six years now, and have so much enjoyed the company of some beautiful dogs of many breeds. I didn't want to get another dog of my own, so this was a perfect solution to have the opportunity of having a lovely dog for company, walks and fun, and yet be free to go away whenever I chose. As time goes by, certain dogs return for repeated holidays, which proves that a happy dog means a happy owner who entrusts their much loved pet to you. Barking Mad is a well structured company, and it is always good to know that 24hr support is on hand if ever needed."
Bernie & Susie - 24th Jun, 2014
"Although new to Barking Mad its been one of the best things we have done living on a small farm we have space and plenty of local walks to offer our wonderful friends who have stayed with us. each one is missed and we long for their return.
We have set up a gallery of our new friends and find great pleasure looking at the moments they have shared with us."
Niccola - 4th Jun, 2014
"I can honestly say that being a host for barking mad has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has helped me physically, emotionally and financially. After losing my own dearly loved Jack Russell I decided I couldn't have another dog to go through the pain of losing it again. Then along came Barking Mad, it must be nearly 7 years ago now and I've never looked back. All the dogs are such a pleasure and a joy to care for. You love them like they are your own and yes, you miss them when they go home but you know there will be another little one on its way to fill the space very soon . The best thing is that they do all come back regularly so your home really does become a home from home, it is wonderful when they come in and you know they are as happy to see you again as you are to see them. It really is the best thing, everything is in place to ensure you have 24hr help and support if necessary. You can specify what type or size of dog you prefer and also specify when you are available. Basically if you're happy the dog is happy and vice versa."
Karen - 27th May, 2014
"This has been my first week as a host of Barking Mad and I/we are loving
it! My first dog guest was Maisie a bearded collie cross. She stayed with us
for the weekend and was such a pleasure to look after. We had lots of fun at
the beaches and parks. We then had lovely little Malcolm a jack Russell cross.
He was very excitable but settled very quickly. He loved playing in the back garden and on
our walks where he came across rabbits, horses and even hens. We are looking
forward to getting gorgeous Bertie very soon. The house seems strange when we
don't have a doggy guest now.
Thanks again, Brad.
Karen, Brian, Nico and Dylan."
Barbara & Peter - 23rd May, 2014
"Our "visitors" have become part of our family over the years. They are as different as our children, and, just like our kids, we love them to bits. Nicola has proved to be a good friend as well as a wonderful "boss". Of course, we do spoil our dogs but they are on their holiday!"
Bev & Ellie - 15th May, 2014
"We love the flexibilty of having different dogs to look after, and we have a few regulars now, especially over half term and school holidays, they bring such fun into the house, with their own individual personalities, we shower them with love and affection (as would their owners) and get very attached - but we know they have to go home, till the next time..."
Cid - 15th May, 2014
"There are so many reasons to love having dogs come to stay with us..... we love having a variety of sizes and breeds and personalities, there's always something to delight us! My boys love having dogs around to play with, and they don't get bored with walking them or feeding them because there's always something different. We get such fantastic characters come and stay with us, they get us out and about, they fill the house with wonderful dogginess. If there's a downside, it's the sadness when they go back home..... until our next doggy friend comes to stay, that is!"
maxine - 22nd Apr, 2014
"I enquired about being a host following my friends' dog being on a 'Barking Mad' holiday. As soon as I met Tina I decided that I would like to become a host, because I was impressed by her friendly professionalism and her genuine love of meeting the needs of dogs and their owners. I have been very well matched with some delightful canine companions! I look forward to the regulars and to meeting new dogs. I have not had any problems as such, but appreciate the speed of response and action from Tina, Colin and Carol-Ann when I have needed information or help with something. I might also add that that Tina, Colin and Carol-Ann are as lovely as the dogs they bring!"
Mick and Shirley - 22nd Apr, 2014
"When we retired, we considered getting a dog of our own. We'd had lots of dogs whilst the children were young but it had been a few years since our last one had died. However, we planned to travel so thought perhaps it wasn't a sensible idea. Then one day, Shirley overheard a conversation about Barking Mad.....and the rest is history! Tina was brilliant - her passion and love for the animals was obvious and we warmed to her straight away. Very soon after, Charlotte, a chocolate Labrador, came to stay with us for 2 weeks. Charlotte adopted us and gave us all her love, attention and affection. The walks, the fresh air, the laughter we had with her were excellent. We said "goodbye" and looked forward to our next dog. Since 2011, when we became hosts, we've had lots of different dogs and return visits from a number of them. It's great getting to know their personalities and learning about them. Tina is always available to consult if there are any difficulties. If anyone is considering becoming a host, we would strongly recommend it. We've never regretted it for one moment! We've just returned from 9 weeks travelling and are desperate to meet our next four legged house guest!"
Karen and Paul - 17th Apr, 2014
"A house isn't a home without a dog in it. Our labrador, Hero loves to have a friend for a couple weeks - they have lots of fun running and playing together, then Hero gets a rest before the next doggy visitor arrives. There's something very special about a wagging tail, and a doggy greeting! We're very pleased we found Barking Mad and treat all our visitors as we would expect Hero to be treated - with love and respect."
Helen - 17th Apr, 2014
"My family used Barking Mad initially for our own dog Sally. She was an old labrador and I never wanted her to be put in kennels when we went on holiday. Tina at Barking Mad came out and totally put our minds at ease. We were shown various hosts, their gardens and all Sally's needs were taken care of. This made us feel so relaxed going on holiday knowing Sally was in the best hands, literally home from home care. She was, most of the time, homed with the same family which was even more reassuring! Sally did take poorly when we were on holiday once and we were up-dated daily by Tina and Barking Mad took extremely good care of her, I will never forget them for that. When Sally passed away a few years ago we knew we didn't want to get another dog and decided on being a host family. It really is the best of both worlds. My 12 year old son particularly loves dogs coming to stay and the love we get from them. We've had all sorts of different dogs and characters. However, as we are busy during school holidays etc, we can select when we would like to take dogs. We have the freedom now and it's so much fun. The great thing is we know we have the back up and support from Tina which is fantastic. If things sometimes don't work out Tina is there to help and even take a dog should we be unable to look after it (which is a very rare occurrence as Tina is excellent at selecting the right dog for the right host). We take lots of photographs for the owners which Tina emails to them, should they wish, on holiday. We also write a little postcard for the families so they know what their pet has been up to while they have been away. It really is a fantastic company and I couldn't recommend them highly enough. If you are wanting company from a dog but without the full time commitment then look no further than Barking Mad. Go on, give it a try.......!"
Sue and Paul - 17th Apr, 2014
"We became hosts for Barking Mad, thinking it would be good to have a dog occasionally and the exercise would be good for us, being retired we need to keep going!!
Tina impressed us immediately..she really works hard at matching the dogs to the people. We love dogs that are good fun on their walks, but behave in the house (who doesn't?) and we have had a range of young and old, big and small and lots and lots of Labradors. If there has been a problem e.g. The dog needs the vet to check something, Tina, Colin or Carol Ann arrive and take the animal to the vet. We had one dog who obviously wasn't happy, and frankly was making us unhappy, perhaps pining for its owner, and Tina took it and looked after it herself. So we never have to worry that we are stuck with an animal that we don't get on with.
Tina has become a good friend, and her team of Colin and Carol Ann are so professional and caring with the animals it is a pleasure to 'do business' with them.
If you are thinking of being a host, do try it...you have a lot of fun, I enjoy the caring for some of the older ones as well as running round with the young ones, without the responsibility of having your own animal. Posted by Sue and Paul Allcroft"
Audrey - 16th Apr, 2014
"Due to health issues I am unable to have a dog of my own. Being a host for barking mad means I can have the company and pleasure of a dog, for a period of time with out the resposibility and cost of owning a dog myself.It is nice to know that as a host I can enable owners to have a break safe in the knowledge that their dog is being cared for by someone whose aim it is to give the dog a holiday in a friendly loving enviorment."
erika - 16th Apr, 2014
"I have been a host for nearly 9 years with my husband and now I am on my own. It is an absolute absolute pleasure to have my little dogs come to stay! I have regular ones and find it a privilege to be trusted with someones pet. They are my friends and it gives me something to focus on meet other dog lovers as well.
Posted by: Erika Cockerill on 15th Apr, 2014"
Dorothy - 16th Apr, 2014
"My husband and I thoroughly enjoy being hosts for dogs. Faye is great and runs a valuable service. Every dog we have has it's own wee personality and we grow to love them more and more every day. They are like little rays of sunshine in our home. We are so happy we decided to be hosts. We love it."
Ian - 16th Apr, 2014
"It is a real pleasure for us to look after so many varied dogs and hopefully give them a great time in a caring way close to their home life.Have done this now for over 3 years with nothing but positive experiences and would fully recommend being a host."
Jaclyn - 15th Apr, 2014
"We are the lucky ones that get to look after your lovely dogs my family and i enjoy it because we get to meet so many different characters and they are all individual and whilst they are with us they are treated as part of our family. We love dogs but because of work commitments we can only host during the school holidays so we are always looking forward to our new guest arriving and we hope to be part of Barking Mad for a very long time."
Welcome to Barking Mad Oxfordshire.
If you're reading this, it's likely that you’re looking for loving care for your dog while you’re away. We understand that you need peace of mind and being dog owners ourselves, we know how hard it is to leave your dog behind, even for a short while. If you’re not lucky enough to have a family member or friend on whom you can call, we offer a perfect home-from-home dog care solution.
We’re sisters as well as business partners so Barking Mad Oxfordshire is run as a small family business. We took over from the previous franchisee in April 2014 and it’s fair to say that since then, no two days have been the same! That said, the one thing that is consistent is the joy we get from spending time with our fabulous four-legged holiday makers, their owners and of course our amazing host families.
In April 2016, we were delighted to welcome two new members to our team. As well as being dog owners and dog lovers, Kayleigh Cook-Smith and Fiona Miller bring with them a wealth of canine experience. Kayleigh spent her early career training explosives detection dogs and we were delighted when she joined us after taking a career break to have a family. Fiona devotes much of her spare time volunteering for dog and cat charities. She is currently a volunteer for the Labrador Rescue South East & Central and her role as re-homing co-ordinator takes her all over the South East region, placing needy Labradors in their forever homes.
You can probably tell by now that we are all dog mad! The loving care of your pet is our passion and our business. If you’d like to find out more about our service, please call for an informal chat or e-mail us for more information.
01865 922004 email@example.com
Jeannie and Amanda
After some time trying to figure out what to do with our large, very active dog whilst we were abroad, we found Barking Mad. Jeannie was brilliant, explained exactly how the system worked and spent some time getting to know Maisie. By the time we’d finished listing all the dos and don’ts and Maisie’s funny little ways, I thought there was no way anyone would want to let her move in with them. However, Jeannie and Amanda found a perfect host.
After a successful trial visit, Maisie was delighted to see Jeannie return to pick her up and happily jumped into the Barking Mad car again for the main stay. So we could be secure in the knowledge that she would be happy and well cared for.
Our little Louis returned from his second holiday very happy. We were very pleased that he spent his time away from us with the same lady as before. All practicalities were arranged smoothly and efficiently.
Very pleased with professional and convenient service. So much more reassuring than leaving our little dog in noisy, cold and intimidating kennel.
Will definitely be re-booking.
Well it was Mitzi's first holiday with Barking Mad, she had got on well for her trial visit and was now heading off for a full week. Looking at the pictures of her stay she clearly had a wonderful time playing with her new friends! This time around though Mitzi had a slight mishap and cut her paw on a walk - this was no problem at all though as Amanda popped her off to our vets to get her patched up and then dropped me an email to let me know what had happened and that Mitzi was ok. It was so nice to be told even though nothing I could physically do it was good to be kept in the loop. I will certainly be using Barking Mad for all our holiday needs as its a fantastic service run by such lovely people. I also love the postcard you get at the end of the stay, it always makes us giggle with the things Mitzi has written....its certain that Cate and Russ who she has stayed with have grasped her nature and temperament to a tee! Definitely recommend to anyone considering an alternative to kennels.
This was a first time for me leaving my 4 month old pup and I was extremely nervous , Jeannie was great she kept me informed and put me at ease, although it was just one night I had emails of photos of Obi settling in and texts to keep me updated.
Top notch service can't recommend enough!
Barking Mad was highly recommended to me and quite rightly so. I needed someone to step in on a very short notice and Jeannie sorted everything out in a matter of days. Visiting me, assessing Storm and finding a suitable place for him. On the day Storm was picked up, which is a great service because there is always so much to do before you leave and so little time. When I was away Jeannie sent me a picture of the hosts and Storm with all of them having a big smile on their face which was so lovely to see. I would definitely recommend Barking Mad a wonderful service and Jeannie couldn't be nicer and more professional! Thank you so much.
Our large cross breed dog Brett had never stayed with a stranger before. As he is a rescue dog, we are very keen that he received the best care. Besides, we love him. He is our toddler. Jeannie and her team were wonderful. I felt that they cared for Brett just as we would have. I think he missed his pal Dexter when he came home. We will definately use this service again. Thank you so much!
This was the first time I had used Barking Mad for our springer spaniel Mitzi. I have never been keen on kennels so usually relied on family to have her while we are away. From the first phone call with Jeannie and meeting Amanda I felt very at ease that they would find an ideal home from home for Mitzi.
The service has been superb throughout and it was so lovely to get updates to let me know she had settled in well on her trial holiday and pictures showing her looking very happy! I was thinking she may not want to come home again!
I would certainly recommend Barking Mad to anyone looking for a home from home for there dogs, I know Mitzi will have a lovely time when we go on holiday later in the year and I can relax knowing she is having a blast!
My dog Bobbie had previously been to kennels when we went away and he was very happy there, unfortunately, due to retirement of the owners the kennels closed. In fact our dogs had been going to the same kennels for over 20 years, so we were unsure about what to do. I met Jeannie one evening with her Barking Mad tee shirt on and had recently had a flyer through the door, so decided to give it a try. We were very pleased with the attention to detail Barking Mad provided and Bobbie was thoroughly spoiled by his host, and he came home happy. Will certainly use Barking Mad again.
We can not praise Barking Mad enough. Our dog is our baby & we would rather not go away than to leave her in kennels. It was a big decision for us to leave her on her trial stay but everything went extremely well. Jeannie sent us photographs with her carer & sent us regular updates we therefore do not hesitate now when we want to go away!
Posted by Jackie 10 July 2015
I have been really impressed with barking mad, my cocker spaniel Jarvis has never settled well in kennels. Knowing he was staying in a home with a host family rather than shut away in kennels made me feel less guilty at leaving him. A huge bonus for us was the fact that Jarvis could be collected from our home before our departure and delivered back on our return. So much better than running around with kennel drops whilst struggling to pack etc and to get the family ready to leave.
Highly recommended, we will be using again, thanks
Our little puppy has just had her first happy holiday with her lovely hosts at Barking Mad. Thank you, Jeannie, for organising everything so well for Daisy.
A faultless experience as always. Since taking over from Cate and Russ, Jeannie and Amanda have ensured that it is "business as usual". The whole process of booking, collection and return is completely stress-free. Thank you!
Once again good service, Max is getting on cataracts, arthritis and deaf so I was a bit worried about leaving him but Jeannie and Amanda found him the perfect holiday home and I was more relaxed. Thank you so much for your great care, and I would definitely recommend you
I was very anxious about leaving Cassie while I went abroad for my daughter's wedding, but Jeannie was very reassuring &confident we would find the right person to take care of her which we did. Excellent service & would definitely recommend Barking Mad.
It is lovely to know that I can go away and be totally confident that Patch will be really well cared for and happy. This was only the second time he has been placed with his "foster mum" and he couldn't wait to jump into the Barking Mad car. Thank you and congratulations to Jeannie and Amanda.
The service was perfect! Just as it used to be with Cate and Russ. A perfect transition and a brilliant start. Seamus came home really happy. Thank you
Thank you to Jeannie and Amanda for seamlessly continuing with the first class service always provided by Russ and Cate. It is so reassuring to see our dogs happily bounding into the Barking Mad car, and for us to feel safe in the knowledge that they will be having a wonderful holiday of their own whist we enjoy our doggie free time
Barking Mad have given us a very helpful and professional service, even though we were very late booking. The doggy carer was exemplary, especially as Nala became very unwell during her stay, she nursed her back to health. We are very grateful and thoroughly recommend Barking Mad
This is the first time we've used Barking Mad for our Labradoodle puppy and we were rather anxious about leaving him. We needn't have worried though. Jeannie and Amanda gave us first class professional service and found a lovely "home away from home" for Louis. He seemed to be having so much fun, we were rather worried that he wouldn't want to come home! I would thoroughly recommend Barking Mad to others.
Jeannie and Amanda have taken over in style. Sadie was as happy as she has always been with 'Barking Mad' and was very thrilled to jump into the same car she is used to at the beginning of her holiday. When a happy, bouncy dog returns home, you know she has felt settled and well cared for.
Another perfectly lovely 'home-away-from-home' stay for our Samson - thank you to his wonderful hosts who really love him and care for him so well. And thank you Jeannie and Amanda for continuing Barking Mad's 1st class service!
I have always had full confidence in Barking Mad. My dog Meg is not bothered at all to go off on her holidays, and dare I say it seems a little bit disappointed to come back home! Jeannie and Amanda have quickly and efficiently taken over the reins, and share the same passion for dogs and providing an excellent service as Cate and Russell did. I highly recommend this service as a great way to have worry free holidays!
Our toy poodle Louis had another lovely holiday with Barking Mad: We know that from the way he behaved when he returned to us: he greeted us politely and rather briefly as if he had never left home and as if we had never left home. We looked at the photographs provided by his nice hostess and could hardly stop laughing having noticed that he did exactly the same things at her home as he always does at ours: his ball was in her slipper and his comfort-loving body was on her bed. What was truly great was that he spent his holiday with the same lady who hosted him a whole year earlier, so returning to her was like returning to his old friend. What more could you want from life?
We have been extremely happy with the service provided by Barking Mad and their host families over the last four years. Our dog is very well cared for and comes back relaxed, healthy and happy. Russ and Cate vet their host families carefully and we know that our dog is well looked after while we are away.
A big thank you to Cate and Russ for helping us out for the first time with Jezebel who has come home to us happy and relaxed. It is a big relief knowing you are there.
Thank you 'Barking Mad' for making sure that Maddie was placed with such a caring family and for making us feel 'ok' about leaving her! An excellent service and one that we will use again.
As always, Charlie was delighted when Cate came to pick him
up to go on his holiday! He always has a fantastic time and we feel reassured because we get a text to say he has settled in well. We thoroughly recommend this great service.
We have been using Barking Mad (Russell and Cate) for many years now. Florence our boxer dog has always been so excited to go away on holiday, desperate to jump in the car as soon as Cate arrives. Its wonderfully reassuring to know that while we are away, Florence is having a terrific holiday as well. Cate and Russell have always been superbly resourceful and never let us down, and able to respond effectively to last minute changes (such as being stranded in Egypt when the Icelandic volcano erupted). Every host that Florence has stayed with has been excellent. We love getting feedback and photos. See you again soon!
Barking Mad provided an excellent service and gave us peace of mind to enjoy our holiday. We felt our dog was in safe hands and would enjoy herself and be well looked after whilst we were away.
I would highly recommend this service to all dog owners.
Our little westie has now had her third stay with a Barking Mad host and was as well looked after as usual.The collection and return to home service is really useful (one less thing to do!) and the photos and postcards always appreciated. Thank you.
Bella has been very well looked after by her host and I am happy to go away knowing she will be happy and well cared for. The service provided by Barking Mad has been very efficient and reliable and the feedback provided on her return useful and reassuring.
I am extremely pleased with the service I have been given with Barking Mad and been using them for a few years now and would recommend them to anyone I cannot fault them in any way.
We have used Barking Mad for around 7 years now both for our dear old Joey, no longer with us, and now for our little Scrappy. We are always very pleased with the service and so grateful for the collection and delivery service because we do not have a car.We are so soppy and cry every time we have to say goodbye but really we know all will be well. What would we do without you!! Thank you Cate and Russ
Samson always greets Cait and Russ with affection and excitement - he knows that it's his turn for a holiday! When he gets back he bounds in happily having clearly been extremely well-cared for and much loved during his 'home-away-from-home' stay. Sam is our first family pet, and a rescue dog who spent long months in kennels during his early life. The thoughtful and personalised service offered by Barking Mad has meant we have been able to go on worry-free holidays, knowing Samson is with a host/host family who has been carefully matched with him by expert dog-lovers who have our pet's best interests at heart! We are so grateful to you Cate and Russ - thank you Barking Mad!
Barking Mad, specifically Cate and Russell Court, have made a wonderful difference to our lives - we humans and our very special dog, Sadie, who is traumatised by kennels. We can now travel, sometimes at short notice, with peace of mind, knowing that Sadie is happy with her host and being spoiled at least as much as she is at home. When she jumps excitedly into Russell's car on collection and then squeals with delight when she is returned to us, is a sure sign of a happy and contented dog. Barking Mad is a great service, given by people who truly care about the well-being of the dogs in their charge.
Maisie loves going to Barking Mad and her host Julie clearly loves dogs and it really is a home from home!It's so nice to have a photo of Maisie looking really happy with her host!We have now worries when we go away.
The days are shorter, the leaves are changing colour and the recent storms tell us that Autumn is well and truly here. It won't be long before Halloween so don't forget to put your pumpkin out if you want a visit from the 'Trick or Treaters'. Our Barking Mad pumpkin is already done!
Barking Mad Wins a National 'Dog Friendly' Award!
The UK public recently voted for the most dog friendly businesses and locations ........ and Barking Mad won the title of the most dog friendly dog sitter! We are delighted as you can probably imagine. We try our hardest to provide loving, home-from-home care for our customer's dogs and this award tells us we're doing just that. A big THANK YOU to our wonderful hosts who are the real winners. Click here to see the other dog friendly winners.
Here are some more recent holidaymakers enjoying their dog friendly holidays!
Canine First Aid
We recently attended a Canine First Aid course at Abingdon and Witney College and would highly recommend it. It's an open course so there will always be a mix of delegates. When we attended, there were dog walkers, groomers, private dog boarders but also, diligent dog owners who simply wanted more confidence to help their dog if they needed it.
The next one is 24 Feb 2018. Click here if you're interested in booking yourself on.
Dogs in Transit
If your pet is unrestrained in your car, you could end up with a fine of up to £2,500 and penalty points on your licence.
Insurance companies are now warning clients that their car insurance may be invalid if they are involved in an accident in which there is an unrestrained pet in the car. If pets are loose, drivers could be pulled over by police for driving without due care and attention. This carries a maximum fine of £2,500 and nine penalty points.
It is advised that cat carriers should be placed on the back seat of the vehicle secured with the seat belt or on the floor behind the passenger seat. Dogs can either travel on the backseat and secured with a dog harness attached to the seat belt or alternatively they can travel in the boot of a car if your parcel shelf has been removed. A dog cage secured in the boot is also a safe way for your dog to travel.
Vets across the UK have reported hundreds of cases of the potentially fatal lungworm parasite in dogs since February.
The parasite is currently active throughout much of the UK and sadly, there have been at least nine deaths reported so far in 2017. Slugs and snails can carry the hidden killer lungworm parasite which can cause serious health problems in dogs and be fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
Lungworm can also be carried by foxes, so they have helped increase the geographic distribution of the parasite. Not all worming treatments prevent dogs from carrying, and potentially spreading, the parasite. Local cases include Abingdon, Oxford, Chipping Norton, Wheatley and Faringdon.
Click here to check the reported cases in your area.
All dogs are at risk of contracting lungworm, so it's important that every owner is aware. Click here to go to the lungworm website for more information.
It won't be long until firework season is upon us. For many pets, it can be an extremely stressful time. Click here to see the RSPCA guidance on how to keep your pets safe and calm.
Anxiety wraps help some dogs during fireworks and there are lots on the market. You can also make your own wrap using elastic bandages. See the image below for instructions.
All You Need is Love!
One of the best parts of our job is being able to deliver home dogs that have enjoyed themselves on their Barking Mad holidays. Take a look at the photos below and you will probably be able to work out why they all have such a good time.
Our hosts only look after one dog at a time so every holidaymaker is made to feel special. They have plenty of time for love and fuss and also, plenty of time for interesting walks in new places.
If it wasn't for our wonderful hosts, we wouldn't have this great service to offer. After a very busy Summer, we just want to say a big thank you to each and every one of you. You are all truly pawsome!
3000+ Dog Owners Create Trust
Trustpilot is one of the world's largest online review communities and allows prospective customers to see what our current customers really think about our service. We are delighted that 96% of reviewers (nationwide) award us the full 5* rating, allowing us to reach the premier position in the animals and pets category.
We celebrated reaching our 3000th Trustpilot review by surprising Gwen Reid with flowers and a Pets at Home voucher to treat her pooches. Gwen's dogs Bella and Layla are regular Barking Mad holidaymakers and puppy, Beau (pictured) will soon be joining them.We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review for us on Trustpilot. We really understand the importance of listening to feedback and love hearing what our customers have to say.
Drone Search and Rescue on Facebook
There is a fantastic new group on Facebook called 'Drone SAR for Lost Dogs'. Volunteer drone pilots register with the group to offer their services in the search for lost dogs. The fantastic news is that they seem to be having a lot of success.
Shown right here is Brodie who was recently found by drone pilot, James McMinn. Brodie was missing overnight and his owners were desperate. James carried out a few flights in the area and lucky little Brodie was spotted and rescued.
Lets hope their success continues and that they manage to reunite many more owners with lost dogs. If you're on Facebook, click here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/DroneSARForLostDogsUK/ to see more about the group.
Doggy Blood Donors - now in Abingdon too
Further to last month’s item on doggy blood donations, we can now tell you that the Boundary Veterinary Centre in Abingdon are also offering canine blood donation sessions. To qualify, your dog will need to be:
• Fit and healthy
• 1-8 years old
• Weigh more than 25kg
• Have a good temperament
• Has never travelled abroad
Call them on 01235 538721 to find out more.
The Barking Mad Team
We recently had a few team photos taken with us all in our new branding. It's a shame it was a bit cloudy but at least it wasn't raining! From left to right, Jeannie with Coco the Welsh Terrier, Kayleigh with Luna the Chihuahua/Yorkie cross and Maddie the Golden Cocker Spaniel, Fiona with Mac the Labrador and Amanda with Rory the Poodle.
If you're thinking about a late Summer break, do get in touch as there is still some availability left.
More Fabulous Holiday-makers
More lucky doggies on their recent holidays…..
Help Needed to Understand Dog Vocabulary!
Is your dog an intellectual with a large lexicon or a pooch of few words? Barking Mad Oxfordshire is involved in the launch of an online survey to discover just how well educated the canines of Oxfordshire really are and how they match up against their national counterparts.
We have teamed up with Venture Studios, the UK's leading family portrait photographer, to offer a fantastic free prize draw entry for survey participants. To be in with a chance of winning a Studio Experience voucher plus a 10 x 8 framed portrait of your pet, just complete the short survey all about your dog's word skills.
At the end of the survey, Google the following address to enter the draw: www.barkingmad.uk.com/competition
Please click here to enter the survey.
Beware of Mouldy Food
There was an horrific story on Facebook recently about Gary, an Oxfordshire sheepdog who reacted very badly to eating mouldy food. Luckily, his local vet was able to treat him quickly and it was a happy ending for him. If you want to see Gary's story in more detail, click here
Ingestion of mouldy food from the recycling bin or a compost heap can put your dog, cat or wildlife at risk. There are dangerous toxins in mouldy bread, pasta, cheese, nuts, or other decaying matter like compost. Clinical signs include vomiting, agitation, appearing to be 'drunk', tremors and seizures.
Doggy Blood Donors
The Canine Donor Programme helps to save thousands of lives every year. It is very similar to the human blood service. Owners register their dog and then attend a local donation session. It's all completely painless and apparently, dogs don't even realise they're giving blood half the time! If you think you might like to register your dog, s/he will need to fit the following criteria:
• Fit and healthy
• Between 1 and 8 years old
• Weigh more than 25kg
• Have a good temperament
• Have never travelled abroad
• Not on any medication
Donation sessions in Oxfordshire take place at the Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital, The Hawthorne Veterinary Practice in Banbury and the Boundary Veterinary Practice in Abingdon. If you'd like to find out more, click here to visit the Pet Blood Bank Frequently Asked Questions
Dog Friendly Awards 2017 Nomination for Barking Mad
We would be thrilled if you could vote for Barking Mad! Dog lovers are being offered the opportunity to recognise and reward businesses that go the extra mile for the benefit of the UK’s 9.4 million dogs and their owners.
For Barking Mad to stand a chance, please vote for Barking Mad Kirkby Lonsdale (our Head Office) and not any the local branches, as this gives us the best chance of winning.
Click here to vote
Happy Dog, Happy Holiday, Happy You!
Here are some of the lucky boys and girls who have been out on their holidays recently. If you're thinking about your own holidays, do get in touch to check availability with us. Obviously, this is the busiest time of year but we want to help our existing customers if we possibly can.
More Good News!
We are very proud to announce that Barking Mad has just been awarded the ISO 9001 quality standard! Achieving this award shows that we rigorously follow standards and procedures to deliver a high-quality service for our customers and hosts. We are the only UK pet care company (local or national) to have done this. Another first for Barking Mad!
Review us on Google and Facebook and get a £10 Gift Voucher of your choice!
These days, many people look on review sites before making purchases. We have received loads of amazing reviews on Trustpilot but would really welcome a few more reviews on Google and Facebook. If you would like a £10 gift voucher (from a store of your choice) all you need to do, is review us on Google and Facebook! To review on Google, just click here and for Facebook please click here
Once you've completed your reviews, please send us a quick e-mail or text to let us know which voucher you would like. (firstname.lastname@example.org and 07985 766868)
Thanks in advance!
Heatstroke in dogs
Most of us know about it takes just minutes for dogs to perish in hot cars, but not everyone is aware that dogs can also die from heatstroke.
If dogs are too hot and are unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, they will develop heatstroke which can kill. If you'd like to know how to identify the signs of heatstroke and, what to do if you suspect your dog is suffering click here
Barking Mad Price Increase
This is just a reminder that from 1 July, our daily rate will be increasing from £26.40 to £28.00.
2017 Holiday Makers
At last, the days are getting longer and we can start to look forward to the warmer Spring and Summer days ahead. Some lucky Oxfordshire doggies have already had holidays this year (see photos below).
The diary is getting busy so if you'd like to book holiday care for your dog, please let us know as soon as you're able.
The Labrador Rescue SE and Central
It's been a whole year since Fiona joined us at Barking Mad. If you've met her, you'll know instantly that Fiona loves all dogs. Ask her which is her favourite and she will admit that it's Labradors she has a soft spot for!
Such is her love for this breed, that she spends a lot of her spare time as a volunteer with the Labrador Rescue SE and Central. She started with the charity back in 1996, assessing Labs that were being given up for adoption and matching them up with suitable new homes. Eleven years on, Fiona is an Area Co-ordinator for Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. She now finds herself more involved in fundraising and raising awareness of the charity's work.
She acquired her own dog, Mac, through the charity. His owner was taken into a home and the family didn't want him. He was 8 years old, had deformed feet, bad ears and was also blind. The family gave a local kennels a month's fee and asked them to rehome him or get him put to sleep. By the time the Charity found out about him, he had just 3 days left. After Fiona adopted him, he was soon settled and happy. Due to this great charity, Mac is just one happy ending of many.
Now when Fiona takes any holidays, Mac has Barking Mad holidays himself - and loves it!
If you would like to find out more about the Charity, please click here http://www.loveyourlabrador.co.uk/
The Link Between Diet and Behaviour
Quite often, hyperactive behaviour in dogs is caused by the dog's diet. Some dog foods contain additives and preservatives to make them colourful and appetising. Not all dogs can tolerate the high sugar levels and some will act as if they have eaten a bowl of smarties! A great independent dog food comparison website used by lots of dog trainers and behaviourists is www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk This site gives rankings from 1-5 Stars and can guide owners on what to feed their dogs. All you have to do is key in what type, size and age of dog and it will suggest the most suitable foods for them. Click here https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/ for more info
The Yellow Dog UK Scheme
If you see a dog with a yellow lead, or with a yellow coat on, it could mean it needs space. If you're not familiar with Yellow Dog UK, it basically means 'please do not approach this dog', especially if you have your own dog with you. They are indicating that their dog cannot be close to other dogs and they are asking for you to give them time to move out of your way. The reasons why dogs might need space may vary but it could be one of the following:
* health issues
* a rescue dog being rehabilitated
* a previous bad experience with another dog
* may find bouncy, friendly dogs overwhelming
* a bitch in heat
* currently in training
* old and arthritic
* nervous or shy
If your dog needs space, please click here http://www.yellowdoguk.co.uk/ to find out more about the scheme. The Yellow Dog UK shop has accessories such as yellow leads, yellow dog coats, bandanas etc.
February 2017 News
Our New Branding!
Barking Mad has undergone a national re-branding and here is our new logo! It'll take a while to change the logos on the uniforms, cars and stationery etc. but you can be sure of one thing, you'll certainly notice once it's done!
The Hunt for Hosts!
We're always keen to hear from anyone who might like to find out about hosting for us. We have put together this little video to circulate to those who may be interested. If you know anyone who might be suitable, please Click here and share the video with them.
Hosts Lizanne and Cyril
At our host Christmas party, Lizanne and Cyril said that they had just had the best Summer ever! We were delighted when we realised they were referring to their time looking after Barking Mad dogs. They joined us as hosts in Spring 2016 and by the end of the Summer, had looked after a variety of dogs from Cavachons to Cockers!
Lizanne and Cyril came to the UK seven years ago after making the difficult decision to leave their native South Africa. Lizanne and Cyril’s children, most of whom had already moved to the UK, were worried about them becoming isolated as they got older. They left their beautiful homestead, a place which had been home to them for many years and moved all the way to the market town of Witney.
After a period of adjustment, they settled in nicely. They had their beloved cat Millie, who had also made the long journey all the way from South Africa, but really missed having a dog in their new home. They decided they couldn't have one of their own as the costs were prohibitive and also, it would restrict their ability to take holidays and make regular visits to see their children.
When Lizanne spotted Barking Mad on Streetlife, she got in touch and it has turned out to be the perfect solution for them. They now enjoy all the benefits of having all these little 'characters' around without the expense or the long-term tie. As well as the increased exercise, they like the fact that other people are more friendly and will stop for a chat when they see they have a dog with them. We're thrilled that Barking Mad is such a great solution for Lizanne and Cyril and really appreciate the love and care they give to all their visitors. We look forward to arranging more doggy holidays at their mini-homestead in Witney!
Looking for a Great Groomer?
Our customers often ask us to recommend good groomers but we will only refer them to people who are suitably qualified and as passionate about dogs as we are at Barking Mad.
The Cotswold Grooming Company in Chipping Norton is owned and run by Ruth Warrior and Jo Travis. They relocated to Chipping Norton in October 2016 after running a very successful grooming studio in Northamptonshire. Their philosophy is that a good groomer should be link between the owner and the vet. While grooming a dog (or cat), they can detect any new lump or bump, any change in temperament and can raise any health issues before they escalate. They are meticulous in their attention to detail and have built their reputation on giving great service and guiding customers in good pet coat care.
They would be pleased to welcome you to their stylish studio to discuss your dog's needs. A complimentary coffee is always on offer! Click here to link to their Facebook page. Call 01608 644164 or e-mail email@example.com for more info.
CPR for dogs
It's one of those things you hope you never need but just in case, click here to link to a video which explains basic CPR for dogs. A lot of us are used to being miles from anywhere when we're out on our dog walks. When help is not immediately on hand, it's worth knowing the basics so we can do our best until help arrives.
January 2017 News
Happy New Year
We hope you've had a great start to 2017. We are looking forward to seeing you all when collect and deliver our fabulous holiday makers throughout the year. Our diary is filling quickly so please let us know about your plans as soon as possible, especially if you want us to check the availability of a preferred host.
Host Jenny with Marley
Review us on Google or Facebook and we'll Send You a Fabulous Barking Mad Calendar or Bag!
Google works in mysterious ways but apparently, the more reviews we get, the easier it is for people to find us on the internet. If you're a customer or host with a Google account, please click here to review us and we'll send you a Barking Mad calendar or bag - whichever you prefer (see photos below).
Facebook is also a great way of us generating interest in our service. All you need to do, is click here to go to our Facebook Page. Leave us a review and again, we'll send you either a calendar or bag.
Public Liability Insurance for Dogs
You may have seen the item on the recent Martin Lewis financial programme about Public Liability Insurance for dogs. In case you're not aware, dogs aren't covered for public liability without insurance, so if your dog causes a car accident, and the drivers sue, you'll be liable for the cost. This may be covered on your home insurance but you should check this before taking the risk. Cats are considered 'free spirits' by law courts and so, as an owner, you're not legally responsible for their actions.
Just to reassure our hosts, we (Barking Mad) have public liability insurance for dogs you look after while the owners are away.
The Dogs Trust offers annual membership for £25 and this includes public liability insurance. It is £12.50 if you're over 60. Click here
Ever Come Across an Injured Deer?
Although not dog related, this item will appeal to all the animal lovers. If you ever come across an injured deer, or worse, run over one, your first thought might be to call the Police and the RSPCA. With so many emergencies to deal with, response times for both organisations can be very slow. It's worth knowing that St Tiggywinkles, the well known animal hospital, will attend an injured deer almost immediately. As an organisation, they will help with any sick, injured or orphaned wildlife. They cover Oxfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire. Hopefully, you will never need their contact details but just in case, it might be worth adding their number to your phone contacts: 01844 292292.
The Good Vet and Pet Guide
The Good Vet and Pet Guide is a really useful site for dog owners. We are listed on there as a home boarding option. The blog (under News and Offers) offers lots of helpful advice and guidance about a range of dog and pet related issues. Click here to take a look.
We're delighted to have completed another great year and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers and hosts for being part of our Barking Mad family.
Au Revoir to Cate and Russ
Cate and Russ, who set up Barking Mad in Oxfordshire, will soon be heading off to their new home in Staffordshire. They will be greatly missed, not least by all the doggy visitors they have cared for so lovingly as hosts themselves.
Cate and Russ took on the Barking Mad franchise in 2006 and in the 8 years they ran it, managed to build up a really successful alternative to kenneling in Oxfordshire. When we took over, they kindly shared all their valuable knowledge and experience and also introduced us to as many customers and hosts as possible. Although there wasn't time to meet everyone, there is no doubt that this contributed to a really smooth handover.
We will be very sad to wave them goodbye but know that they will enjoy their fabulous new home further up the country. Their beloved Spaniels Bill and Dan will get even more country walks and will enjoy spending even more time with Mum and Dad.
We wish them all the very best.
Congratulations to Emma Hoskisson who won our recent #dogselfie competition. Emma was up against stiff competition as we had some fabulous entries - including some of our own customers! The photos were brilliant! If you'd like to see the rest of the entries, please click here to go to our Barking Mad Facebook Page. If you like what you see, Like our page!
Happy Holidays, Happy You!
If you were lucky enough to get a new tablet, laptop or phone for Christmas, the chances are you’ll be using it to select your next Spring or Summer holiday. We are already taking bookings for next year, especially the school holidays, so if you have any dates in mind, please do let us know. We can't guarantee host availability but if you have a preferred host, the sooner you can let us know the better.
Lest We Forget
In honour of the fallen, including all the animals, Rosie proudly wore her hand-knitted poppy collar when she stayed with Host Carole on Remembrance Sunday.
Why Do Hosts Become Hosts?
We now have over 50 amazing host families who look after Barking Mad doggies while their owners are away. Although they all have a love of dogs in common, it's clear that the reasons for becoming hosts in the first place are many and varied.
Paul and Audrey, shown below, are very popular hosts and have many, many regular visitors. A while ago, after they lost their beloved Labrador Paddy and then their Cocker Spaniel Jo, they couldn't face the heartbreak of losing another dog. Hosting seemed a great solution and it has worked out beautifully for them.
They both get different things from hosting. Audrey is now retired and enjoys the company of her four legged visitors when Paul is at work. She especially loves all our 'cuddly' dogs and is brilliant at taking care of any that suffer with separation anxiety. Paul works locally and happily takes care of all the exercising. For him, it's simply a matter of enjoying having dogs around, regardless of their shape or size!
Some of our hosts work from home and love having an excuse to get away from their desk for a healthy walk. Some spend part of the time out of the country and therefore, can't have a dog of their own. A few of our hosts live alone and just really enjoy having the company and fun that furry visitors can bring.
All our hosts are special but it's hard to convey just how special they are and just how much we appreciate them. They are the reason that Barking Mad exists and they are also the reason our customers can have happy holidays, safe in the knowledge that their dogs are having happy holidays too.
Self-Healing in Dogs
There is a ‘Botanical Self-Healing in Dogs’ talk being given in support of Medical Detection Dogs. It takes place on 22nd February at Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire and costs £12.00.
The talk offers suggestions for helping your dog to live as long, happy and healthy a life as possible and, ways for you to develop your understanding of your dog.
If you want to find out more, look on www.myanimalmatters.co.uk
The Good Dog Guide
Barking Mad Oxfordshire has been listed on The Good Dog Guide for some time now. We get regular enquiries from people looking for high quality home-from-home care for their doggies.
If you're not familiar with The Good Dog Guide, it's worth a look www.thegooddogguide.com
The site is set up to bring together useful information for dog owners e.g. pet products, pet friendly accommodation, dog friendly places to visit, walks & beaches UK wide etc. There is also a very useful section on pet health.
Robin and Janine
After many years hosting for Barking Mad, Robin and Janine have decided to 'hang up their leads'. We're really sad we won't be seeing them any more and so are lots of their regular four legged visitors. They have really enjoyed their time as hosts and have captured some of their experience below.
'We first heard about Barking Mad through a friend who had been a host for a number of years and had really enjoyed it. When we lost our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, we thought long and hard but decided that we were not going to have another dog. That said, we missed having a dog in our life and so Barking Mad seemed the obvious solution. We duly applied and after a careful assessment and interview, we were accepted as hosts.
Our first visitor soon arrived and we found ourselves back in the world of wagging tails and dog walking! It felt good to have a dog in our home again and any nervousness we felt soon disappeared. Since then we have looked after lots of different dogs of different shapes and sizes. Some dogs bound in quite confidently and take possession of your home and the best chair! Some dogs are more reserved and like to make their mind up about things more slowly. We have learned to let the dog set the pace, knowing that they all make themselves at home when they are ready. When a dog returns for a second or third time it doesn’t take long for the old routines to be re- established and we simply carry on where we left off.
It has been a real privilege to meet so many different dogs and share their lives for a little while. Each dog is an individual and getting to know their personalities and their likes and dislikes is simply fascinating. We had been asked what sort of dogs we would prefer to look after and that was always respected. We found ourselves with quite a variety of different breeds – small terriers of various kinds, spaniels, small cross breeds, and a number of Shih Tzus, a breed we had not previously encountered but one which has become a firm favourite.
Now, for a variety of reasons we find that we are no longer able to continue as a hosts, which makes us feel quite sad and we know we will miss our canine visitors. However, we shall always remember our time as part of Barking Mad. It has been an interesting, enjoyable and very rewarding experience with many highs, the occasional challenge and lots of fun moments – and we wouldn’t have missed any of it.'
More Recent Holidaymakers
Firework Advice from the Blue Cross
Fireworks can be terrifying for pets. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and happy during firework season:
Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if they doesn’t bark or whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Excessive panting and yawning can indicate that your dog is stressed.
Barking Mad Bags
Barking Mad bags are great for packing all your dogs holiday accessories. They're also great for the supermarket as you can fit so much in! If you're a customer or host and you would like a bag (or another bag), please let us know. We've usually got some spare ones in the cars
Louise's Half Marathon Success
In our last newsletter, we mentioned customer Louise who was running the Oxford Half Marathon on behalf of the Oxford Animal Sanctuary. She completed the run and raised a grand total of £763.00! Well done Louise! You can still donate, so if you'd like to support Oxford Animal Sanctuary, just click on Louise's photo.
Dog Days of Summer
We didn't have many sunny days here in Oxfordshire this Summer but the cooler weather was much better for our furry fun seekers. They were able to spend lots of time outside enjoying our beautiful countryside and playing in the rivers and streams. They all had holidays to remember, as did our hosts, and we look forward to seeing them all again soon.
Barking Mad for Business and Pleasure
Louise has been using Barking Mad for over 5 years now. She felt that kennels just wasn't the right setting for her dog Meg so she looked online for some alternative care options. She uses Barking Mad because she needs consistency and reliability. Louise always books well in advance and uses the service regularly for both holidays and for work. Her career in personnel includes some trips away from home but that's not a problem as she says that Barking Mad gives her total peace of mind. Meg is always very relaxed when she's collected and always very happy when she's delivered home again. She is a very popular dog with the Barking Mad hosts and she knows a lot of them really well. It's fair to say that her holidays really are home-from-home!
If you're working away at any point, we'd be pleased to arrange care for your dog while you're away.
Louise is a volunteer at the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary (OAS) and is one of 25 runners taking part in this years Oxford Half Marathon on their behalf. OAS desperately need new equipment to look after the rescues during their stay. Louise and her team are hoping to raise as much cash as possible so if you would like to donate a few 'pennies for paws' please visit http://www.justgiving.com/Louise-Griffin3 . To find out more about the Oxford Animal Sanctuary, please visit www.oascharity.org.uk.
Good Luck with the run Louise!
Happy Holiday Makers!
It's the busiest time of the year and the Barking Mad cars are zipping about Oxfordshire collecting and delivering furry holiday makers. We have been delighted to
welcome so many new customers this season and have been particularly grateful to
receive so many of them as referrals from our existing customers.
We would not be able to provide our service without such fantastic hosts, who care
for their doggy visitors as if they were their own. Every dog is made to feel special
and loved and it's great for us to deliver home happy dogs that have had as good a
holiday as their owner. Below are just a few of our happy holiday makers.
Jo and Max
Jo and her family have hosted for Barking Mad for many years. They are all dog mad and love having doggy visitors come to stay. They live right near fantastic countryside and treat all their guests to great county walks. When they joined, they had their own, beloved Labrador Bracken. When Bracken sadly passed away, their home felt empty and about a year or so later, they started to think about getting another Labrador. They found Max (seen here with Jo) through the South East Labrador Rescue, a charity that finds new homes for Labradors in need.
Max had a sad life before he was rehomed. He was massively overweight and was never exercised or socialised. Since joining Jo and the family, he has lost all his excess weight and is now a happy and healthy dog. We're delighted that Max now has an amazingly happy life and that he and Jo provide such a loving, fun holiday destination for Barking Mad guests.
Well done to customer Jennifer on her success at the Finstock Dog show recently. Both her dogs Mozzy (shown here) and Buster were placed in their classes. We are delighted that Jennifer has recently become a host for us. She was so impressed with our service that she wanted to offer the same loving care to other friendly dogs. Welcome to the Barking Mad
host family Jennifer!
Medical Detection Dogs
We are pleased to include an update on Medical Detection Dogs from the Oxon & Cotswold volunteer support group. They are looking for people to help with various fundraising events to support MDD. The next fundraiser is a street collection in Witney on Friday August 12th. Could you help?
They will be having charity photo shoot by Chris Jones of www.pet-ography.co.uk on Sunday September 18th from 9.30 at Beaconsfield Hall, Shipton under Wychwood. You can book a 20 minute slot for a professional portrait of your dog (£10 for the sitting); coffee and cake and dogs' lucky dip for an extra £3. Why not treat yourself?
To get involved with this fundraising group, please contact Heather 01993 831909 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips for Dogs in Hot Weather
• Dogs are susceptible to sunburn, especially light coloured dogs. Be aware of
paws, noses, ears and anywhere that their fur is less dense.
• The temperature inside a parked car can soar in just minutes. It is best not to
leave any dog in the car for any length of time.
• Overheating - if a dog shows any symptoms, get him or her out of the heat.
• Walk your dog when it's cooler in the evening
• Stay on the grass. Remember, if you can’t put your hand on the pavement for 5
seconds, it’s too hot for your dog
• Wash and check your dog’s paws carefully - moisturise if parched or dry
• Create shade in your garden
• Spray the dog with a garden hose or immerse him or her in a tub of cool water
• Place the dog in front of an electric fan.
• Applying cool, wet towels to the groin area, stomach, chest, and paws
• Manage your dog’s activity by putting it on a lead.
• Carry a water bottle on longer walks
Oxford Times Feature
We were very pleased to feature in the most recent Oxford Times 'In Business' Magazine. When being interviewed, we were asked why Barking Mad was so successful. It was easy to respond. Our service works because we can give owners complete peace of mind while they're away. It's great that we're able to deliver home happy, relaxed dogs. We know our hosts are often sad when their four-legged visitors leave but they know that they can always look forward to seeing them again for another holiday.
We are still recruiting new hosts. If you know any dog lovers who would enjoy looking after friendly dogs, please put them in touch.
Finstock Festival, School Fete and Fun Dog Show - Saturday 2nd July 2016
We will be at the Finstock Festival on on Saturday 2nd July and would love to see you there. Finstock's village festival and school fete join forces this year to make one super family-friendly event on the school playing field. There will be 'wang a welly', a fun dog show, live music and the Finstock Bake Off! Other attractions will include tombolas, raffle, human fruit machine, football scoring game, teddies, ice cream, bouncy castle, balloon modelling, refreshments, Daisy Roots Ceramics, tug-o-war, BBQ & of course...BAR!
If you want a great afternoon out, please come along.
The grey weather at Ramsden Show didn't put off crowds of people who came along to enjoy all the attractions. We enjoyed meeting so many dog lovers and dog owners and they were very interested to hear all about the 5* Barking Mad service.
Here is the first 'team photo' we have taken nsince Kayleigh and Fiona joined us. They have both settled in brilliantly and have already collected and delivered numerous doggy holiday- makers. If you've not yet met them, hopefully you will soon.
Introducing Our New Team!
We are delighted to welcome Kayleigh Cook-Smith and Fiona Miller to the Barking Mad team. They are looking forward to meeting all the hosts and customers as they travel around collecting and delivering our fabulous, furry holiday makers.
Kayleigh loves dogs and is thrilled to be back working with them again after a career break to have a family. In her most recent role, she trained sniffer dogs and was responsible for deploying them to airports etc. to detect explosives. Prior to that, she managed two local dog kennels, so she brings with her a good working knowledge of all sorts of dogs. Kayleigh is pleased to be back doing what she loves and we're very pleased that she has joined us. She has dogs of her own - shown here with Maddie, the Golden Cocker Spaniel and Luna a Yorkshire Terrier/Chihuahua cross.
As a volunteer co-ordinator for the South East & Central Labrador Rescue Charity, it'll be no surprise to hear that Fiona is dog mad! She loves all dogs but grew up with Labradors, so they have a special place in her heart. She devotes a lot of her spare time fundraising for the charity and liaises with families who are looking to adopt rescued Labradors. She is very experienced in assessing adoptive homes so understands exactly what we look for when we recruit new host families. Until recently, she was a Communications Assistant at Thames Valley Police Headquarters in Kidlington. Her desire to work with dogs prompted her to apply to us and we're very pleased she did. Fiona is shown here with Mac, her own blind, rescue Labrador.
The Most Hosts!
We were delighted to win the Barking Mad National Award for recruiting the most hosts in one year. There are nearly 70 Barking Mad franchises but more people in Oxfordshire became hosts for Barking Mad than anywhere else in the UK! Hosting is a fantastic way to keep fit, socialise and get out and about. If you know anyone who might like to find out more about becoming a host, please put them in touch.
Ramsden Fete and Dog Show 11 June and Finstock Festival and Dog Show 2 July
We are at both of the above dog shows this year so please come along if you fancy a great afternoon out. Both shows have a range of attractions, so there should be something for everyone.
Barking Mad Facebook Business Page
If you want to see photos of our happy holiday-makers, please click on the Facebook icon and take a look at our Facebook Business Page. If you like what you see, please like our page!
We just want to say a big THANK YOU to our wonderful hosts for all the photos they pass on to us. You are truly 'pawsome'!
Win a Virgin Balloon Flight
Would you like to win a Virgin Balloon Flight with champagne and chocolates? All you need to do is click on the image to enter!
Carole missed the company of dogs but could not commit to getting another of her own. She discovered Barking Mad 4 years ago and says it's the best thing she's done for a long time. Carole particularly likes the fact that she is only offered the size and age of dogs she can manage and also, really likes the fact that Jeannie and Amanda are always on hand if she has any concerns.
If you'd like to find out about caring for friendly dogs for short holidays, please get in touch: 01865 922004 or email@example.com
You can see Carole's story here
What a county of dog lovers we are? We have been thrilled to welcome even more new hosts to the Barking Mad Host network. All of them excited about the idea of welcoming doggy guests into their homes.
Peter and Eleanor recently joined us and have already enjoyed looking after two of our friendly dogs. They have always had dogs of their own but would now prefer to be without the commitment. We are delighted that they have decided to become hosts for Barking Mad and besides a wonderful loving home, they offer walks in the beautiful countryside nearby. As Peter was a Cotswold Warden for 17 years and had often organised the work parties which repaired the gateways and stiles, he is completely familiar with the surrounding footpaths and bridleways.
If you know anyone who might like to become a host for us, please kindly pass on our contact details: 01865 922004 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas is just around the corner so it is worth thinking about your dog care needs.
If you think you might need us, do get in touch so we can check availability for you.
It’s been a hectic but enjoyable Summer, with lots of lovely dogs enjoying holidays all over Oxfordshire. Our hosts have been busy welcoming dogs of all shapes and sizes into their homes and have ensured that owners have been able to take Summer holidays safe in the knowledge that their cherished pets are happy and loved, just as they would be at home.
We’ve been delighted to welcome many new customers and have been pleased to be able to help almost every request. We’ve noticed that a lot of new customers are being recommended by existing customers and feel this is a fantastic reflection on the service that we provide.
We are looking forward to the school October holiday and the Christmas celebrations. If you think you might need care for your dog at these times, please let us know as soon as possible as we are getting booked up already.
Summer Update 2015
It’s been a really busy but enjoyable few months since we took over Barking Mad in April. We’ve been overwhelmed with the warmth and kindness shown to us by all the customers and hosts, old and new. We have already collected and delivered an army of happy dogs and we very much look forward to arranging all their holidays in the future. What a county of dog lovers we are!
We love working with and recommending local business, here are a list of fantastic people we think you might like to hear about: