Barking Mad Alternative to Dog Ownership Celebrates 20 Years in MK

The Milton Keynes branch of a canine company founded to provide home from home dog care instead of kennelling is helping to celebrate its 20 years anniversary.

Charity organisation Barking Mad has provided a dog sitting service that helping to experience health and well-being benefits as an alternative to dog ownership, with this year marking its anniversary since being founded in 2000.

Jennifer Davies has been a ‘host’ dog sitter for Barking Mad for nearly fourteen years and believes that her hobby has changed her life.

She said, “The best thing about hosting is – UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! I always get a lovely good morning greeting with lots of tail wagging and I am much fitter. I have lost five stone in weight. Having a dog is much the same as having a baby – people talk to you and make a fuss of the dogs. I have met so many new people with dogs and without.

“My first doggy visitors were Todd and Jazz, two salukis. In the evenings, Jazz would curl up by my feet and Todd would be beside me with his head on my shoulder, gazing into my eyes. I was totally hooked – who wouldn’t be?

“I have a son who lives in Guernsey who I visit regularly, and I like going on holidays with my friends. If I had my own dog, this would make things more complicated. With Barking Mad, I always say I have all of the pleasure and none of the expense or worry about what would happen if I became unwell.”

It has been scientifically proven that patting and walking dogs can help people to feel more relaxed and less anxious. This makes a huge difference to emotional and physical well-being.

Those caring for a dog are also less likely to be socially isolated, research suggests.

‘The Pet Factor – Companion Animals as a Conduit for Getting to Know People, Friendship Formation and Social Support‘, states that, ‘Companion animals can be a catalyst for several dimensions of human social relationships in neighbourhood settings, ranging from incidental social interaction and getting to know people, through to formation of friendships.’

Owner-operator of Barking Mad Milton Keynes, Sue Garrett, said: “As Barking Mad celebrates its 20th anniversary, our proudest achievement is the happiness which holidaying dogs have brought to the lives of our host families. We match friendly dogs to hosts’ preferences and lifestyle, for their holidays and short breaks. It’s ideal for retirees, home-based workers and teachers in school holidays.

“We take care of everything, including chauffeuring dogs to our hosts’ homes with all their essentials and providing 24/7 support. Hosts experience all the benefits of dog companionship without any of the emotional or financial responsibilities of full-time pet ownership.”

To find out more about becoming a Barking Mad host, you can call 01908 410908/ 015242 20202 or visit

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