Updated: Sunday, 5th July 2020 @ 5:57am

Manchester 'dog holiday' service lets canines have fun until you're homeward bound

Manchester 'dog holiday' service lets canines have fun until you're homeward bound

| By Locky Campbell

Leaving your pooch home when you’re on holiday has always been a heartbreaking moment for dog-lovers, however has the solution finally been dug up?

What if instead of leaving our dogs in a kennel or with a lonely neighbor, we can offer them a loving family who will love them just as much as we do?

Well that’s the general idea of Barking Mad, a business set up to help owners leave their dogs with fellow dog lovers who want to pamper them when we’re not around.

Lee Dancy, the operation’s founder, developed the idea from the sheer frustration of not being able to find suitable care for her dog.

She recognized a particular niche in the market after discovering that other pet-owners simply did not go away on holiday if it meant leaving their pets behind.

This canine initiative is now coming to Manchester, run by dog-lover, Frankie Doig, who aims to give Mancunians a home for their beloved pets.

Frankie spoke to MM about how the mourning of a pooch led to her searching for a way to potentially look after a dog on a more short-term basis.

“I was looking for something else, I didn’t know if I was quite ready for another dog, and through my browsing, I stumbled across Barking Dog.

“It just seems like a really great idea. A dog there for you at the weekend, the perfect way to give a dog some extra love and time, especially if you work during the weekend.”

Frankie, who has given up her job in banking for Barking Mad, has had dogs around her all her life, and was so thrilled by the idea that she immediately enquired about becoming a franchisee.

WALKIES: Frankie has given up her job in banking for Barking Mad

Running the business from her home in Prestwich, with her new Rottweiler, Pluto, adopted from animal sanctuary, Bleakholt, Frankie is looking to spread the puppy love to others.

“I’ve had ten dogs over the last few years so it seemed strange not having a dog in my house”, said Frankie.

The initiative is something that Frankie believes is ideal for families who may recently have lost a pet and are looking to find a temporary solution. For her, she believes dogs create such emotional bonds that they can work wonders by just being there for people.

“I think they just sense how people feel, they can when people are down, it’s amazing that they just know you want a hug. They tend to know what people are feeling and just love your attention."

Frankie’s top tip for those that may be shy of dogs or who are interested in managing a pooch is to remain relaxed.

“My secret is to be relaxed. To keep them well behaved, you just need to relax”, she said, “If your nervous with them, they’re really nervous, so just having the confidence to think they’ll be fine and that they’ll just have a smell and walk on."

The scheme is also something that Frankie feels would appeal to families with children that have been nagging for a dog their whole childhood.

BEST FRIENDS: Frankie says dogs create such emotional bonds that they can work wonders by just being there for people

“When my sister was growing up, she was nagging for animals all the time, and I was thinking that this would have been an ideal situation.

“You have a dog for 2/3 weeks in the summer holidays, let them experience what it’s like to have a dog full-time. Particularly, the walking and cleaning up and then see if they think they can take it on.”

Frankie feels that the service is very much an indication of the way in which modern day technology can really help people out.

“What’s changed is that people don’t live next to their families, you don’t know your neighbors well enough, so the idea of knowing that there might be someone there who wants to look after your dog and play with them makes you feel a lot more relaxed on your holidays.”

The response to the franchise is looking great so far and Frankie has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of people that have enquired about the service.

Lee Dancy, Barking Mad’s founder and managing director, also spoke to MM about her personal experiences of seeing the benefits of the service.

“We had a lady that met her husband through Barking Mad and they were both widows, and the love of dogs is what brought them together.”

Lee told MM about how it never ceases to amaze her how quickly a dog can settle in a new home.

She said: “They really see it as a holiday for themselves. We take a long time understanding our customer’s home routine, and we then match that with the most appropriate family.

“Dogs are fundamentally creatures of habit, so providing you can match their routine, they settle very quickly. At times, it looks like they’ve lived there forever.

“You can go away with complete confidence knowing your dog is having as good a holiday as you are.”

If you would like to enquire about using the Barking Mad service for your pet, or if you’re interested in becoming a host, contact Frankie here.