Cancer diagnosis sees dog hols boss Tina em-bark on a new career

Tina Young in the Barking Mad Northumberland van.
Tina Young in the Barking Mad Northumberland van.

An award-winning businesswoman is swapping canines for children as she embarks on a new career.

Tina Young, from Warkworth, is selling her successful dog holiday business to become a children’s reading mentor.

The mother-of-two began Barking Mad Northumberland in 2005 and since then she has grown the business from a solo operator working from home to employing a team of four in offices based at Hawkhill near Alnwick.

She has organised nearly 3,000 holidays with the help of more than 40 host families who have looked after the dogs while their owners are away.

Her customers are mainly from the north, south and east areas of Northumberland, including Seahouses, Alnwick, Cramlington, Blyth, Rothbury, Morpeth, Ashington, Bedlington and surrounding villages.

Her prowess with developing the business led to her winning the Best Small Business Franchisee of the Year and the overall winner of the National Franchisee of the Year in 2014, beating such big names as Subway, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

Tina said: “I feel massively proud of the business, and how it has grown over the years. I love reading our five-star reviews after each holiday, so I know how much our loyal customers appreciate what we all do. It’s nice to do a job where you genuinely feel you make a difference.”

However, a diagnosis of breast cancer and months of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy led to a desire to try something new that would also help make a difference to people’s lives.

Recently she has been volunteering in a school – helping children with their reading – and found it very rewarding.

“My aim is to re-train to work in a school as a coach/mentor,” she said.

“So, no matter how much I have loved Barking Mad, the time is right for me to move on.”

Anybody taking on the business will become part of the Barking Mad national franchise, with a proven track record, a great local reputation, and a very healthy portfolio of customers, hosts and future agreed bookings.

Tina can be contacted on 01665 575981 or 07486 393219.