A NORTHWICH company which homes dogs with hosts who are feeling lonely while their owners are on holiday is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Founded in 2000, Barking Mad Northwich provides home from home dog care instead of kennelling, which allows those suffering from social isolation to benefit from dog companionship without having to own a dog.

It is also seen as beneficial for the dogs involved, who get to spend time with loving people instead of being housed in kennels while their owners are away.

Janet Baverstock, the company’s owner-operator, says that seeing the happiness which holidaying dogs have brought to the lives of those feeling lonely is one of her ‘proudest achievements.

“Hosts experience all the benefits of dog companionship without any of the emotional or financial responsibilities of full-time pet ownership,” she said.

“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 together with all their essentials to our hosts’ homes and providing 24/7 support.”

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.

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

“The best thing about hosting is unconditional love, and I always get a lovely good morning greeting with lots of tail wagging,” she added.

“I am much fitter, I have lost five stone in weight, and I have met so many new people both with dogs and without.”

For more information about becoming a Barking Mad host, visit barkingmad.uk.com or call 01606 800506.