In January 2014 I lost the best friend I’d ever known, my beloved collie, Banjo. Some people say a dog is just a dog, but to many dog owners, myself included a dog is so much more. They are your best friend, that constant companion who loves you and trusts you implicitly with whom you have a firm bond. When Banjo passed away, my heart was truly broken and as I write this tears a streaming down my face, but I wanted to share with you one thing that has helped me. . . . . . a steady stream of doggie visitors to stay while their owners are away on holiday!
I suppose in a way I’m quite fortune as I actually own Barking Mad (together with my husband), and Barking Mad is an alternative to kennels.
I’ve always been a huge animal lover and we always said that when we retired we’d have a dog, but as fate would have it we met Banjo while we were both still working full time for a children’s charity. So, to get our doggie fix we used to walk dogs on a voluntary basis for our local kennels, and one sunny Sunday it was Banjo that we walked. When we took him back we were stunned to find out that he’d been abandoned by his second set of owners just the previous day. They asked us at the kennels if we’d be interested in adopting him but we initially said ‘no’ as we were both at work full time, and we had a cat! Banjo, though had already got to us and we spent the next week talking about him and how we might be able to make it work. I arranged to reduce my hours at work, and our son at that time was only part time at College so we applied to adopt Banjo. When we received a phone call to tell us we’d passed the home inspection and we could have Banjo I cried with joy! He was then being cared for by one of the RSPCA fosterers (he wasn’t good in kennels), who brought him round the following Sunday.
Banjo had his quirks as many collies do, but a lot of his were as a result of his first home – we found out after adopting him that he came from a violent home and was never properly socialised as a puppy. Because of his upbringing, Banjo had a fear of other dogs resulting in a fight/flight reaction whenever he encountered one, this made walking him quite a challenge but with time and a lot of patience eventually he gained the confidence and self-esteem not to react in that way.
In January 2013 we were both made redundant when the charity we worked for went into administration. I was determined to find a job that would allow me to spend as much time with Banjo as possible – I couldn’t bear the thought of having to leave him at home all day, every day. So with this in mind I began looking into the possibility of setting up my own business; animal related, of course. Phil, my husband had sometimes talked about buying a franchise business, so we started investigating these, attended the Franchise Exhibition, sat in on discussion groups and generally gleaned as much information as we could. So when we came across Barking Mad it completely fit the bill!
It’s now 18 months since Banjo went over the rainbow bridge, and I’m still not sure if I could cope with the emotional turmoil of losing another dog, so for now I’ll carry on giving our doggie guests all the love and care I can. . . . . .they’ll never completely fill that hole, but they certainly do help.
If you miss having a dog, but like me can’t face the emotional commitment of another dog then perhaps you too would like some doggie visitors? Please feel free to contact me, my numbers 01260 278628 or you can email me at [email protected]