A multi-award winning Northumberland business woman is celebrating 10 years of taking dogs on holiday.
Tina Young has been operating the Barking Mad kennel alternative franchise since April 2005.
Since she began, she has arranged nearly 2,500 dog holidays for some 500 pet-loving families.
Over the decade, Tina has seen an average annual growth rate in business of 15 per cent and, along the way, she has collected three major franchisee of the year awards.
It was the lack of job satisfaction in her previous managerial roles with blue chip companies that led Tina to take the plunge and try something new.
A dog lover, she had been working as a volunteer for a dog charity and had taken on an unruly foxhound called Elvis, who she devoted a great deal of time and energy to train.
She said: “He was quite a challenge and I spent a year attending dog classes to try to socialise him with other dogs. I also read several dog behaviour books and took advice from canine behaviour experts. Suddenly, my corporate life was replaced with dogs, dogs and more dogs.
“Somebody, somewhere was trying to tell me something!”
In early 2005, a friend told her about Barking Mad and Tina decided to make contact with the organisation’s founder Lee Dancy.
It was the interview with Lee and her Dalmatian Bronte that sold her the idea of launching a Barking Mad franchise in Northumberland.
“My first client was Karen Dobson, of Warkworth, who wanted an alternative to kennels for her little poodle, Poppy. And, I am pleased to say, she remains a loyal customer and we have arranged holidays for her new poodle pup, Rosie,” she said.
During the past 10 years, Tina and her photographer husband Brian have adopted two children, Rachael and Adam.
She has built a network of 35 host families for the holidaying dogs and taken on three people to help with the business: Carol Ann Grey and Colin Heathcote, to help with the collection and delivery side of the business, and Jenny Beaumont to look after the admin.
Tina’s services have been recognised with two national awards in 2014.
For more information go to www.barkingmad.uk.com
or Tina on 01665 575981.