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Would you like to spring into spring with a Springer Spaniel at your side?

Would you like to spring into spring with a Springer Spaniel at your side?

Amble through April with an Airedale?

Make memories with a Maltese or luxuriate in a Labrador’s love?

If you hanker after a hound, but you can’t commit to a canine of your own, becoming a Barking Mad host could bring dogs into your life.

Barking Mad matches up dogs whose owners are on holiday, with those who are unhappily dogless. It works like this – the dog follows their own routine in a home environment; the owner is able to relax, knowing their dog is being well cared for; the host gains the health and well-being benefits of dog ownership without the commitment.

If you can offer to accommodate a dog for at least two consecutive nights (e.g. a weekend) you could become a host. Of course, for longer holidays, some hosts have doggy houseguests for a couple of weeks or more, and many hosts enjoy repeat visits from the same dog, building a strong bond over time.

There are numerous motivations for becoming a Barking Mad host, though they all spring from the simple, yet fundamental, love of dogs. For some people, family commitments make having a dog all the time impractical. Other people’s jobs make full time dog ownership unrealistic. Grief for a beloved dog, recently lost, prevents some people committing to a new dog, leaving a dog shaped void in their lives which they would otherwise be unable to fill. In all these situations, and many more, being a host means having canine companionship when you want it, and freedom when you choose it.

In addition to providing quality dog holiday care, an important part of the Barking Mad ethos is developing strong local communities. All across the UK, including right here in Shropshire, there are Barking Mad groups, united by their love of dogs, enjoying friendship with likeminded people.

The Telford and Shrewsbury branch – which also encompasses Oswestry and Ellesmere – is run by Anne Kessell. She and her team are holding a coffee morning on Saturday 28th April at Percy Thrower’s Wyevale garden centre in Shrewsbury, from 10.00a.m. until noon.

“I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new potential hosts,” Anne says. “I’ve been bringing the Barking Mad magic into people’s lives for over five years, but it’s still special. There are few things as sad as a person pining for a pup of their own, and I can bring dogs into their lives again.

Anne has all kinds of dogs on her books – from the tiny to the massive, and from the energetic to the more sedate. A huge part of her role is finding the perfect human-dog partnership, so that everyone is happy. “If you fancy coffee, cake and canine chat, come along on the 28th,” Anne says.

As part of their commitment to making life as happy as possible for people and dogs, Barking Mad is raising money for the assistance dog charity, Dogs For Good, throughout 2018.

For more info contact Anne Kessell on 01952 677704 or Email


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