HAVE you ever thought your dog deserves a holiday too?
An entrepreneur from Helston has set up business offering just that – a bespoke home away from home for beloved pet pooches.
Owners even receive a postcard from their dog, explaining how they are enjoying their stay.
The idea is that when someone goes away, rather than take their pet to the kennels, they lodge them with a ‘foster family’.
Beforehand, each dog and owner are given an interview and a pet profile is drawn up, detailing everything about them, such as how the dog takes exercise, what food it likes, habits, preferences or how it interacts with other dogs or children.
Gary McLintock, a former aircraft engineer at RNAS Culdrose, hit upon the idea after his own dog refused to go and stay in kennels.
“The reason I chose to do this is one of my dogs can’t handle going to kennels,” he said.
“My customers will be those people that don’t want to do that. Of course, I am not here to knock kennels, but the dogs don’t get the same attention. It’s basically a cage for 22 hours a day.”
He has set up the business Barking Mad, which is a franchise of business model Mr McLintock said had worked elsewhere in the country. “For every customer, I go out and see them, talk to the owners and do a profile on the dog and draw up a pet schedule,” he said.
“I look at their routines, such as walks and exercise. Of course each dog is different and will react in different ways. The idea is to maintain the animals’ normal routines.”
When Mr McLintock left the Navy, he worked briefly as an engineer for BT, before embarking on his own with the new dog business.
“I’ve always been a dog person and I’ve always had dogs,” he added.
He is now building up his list of possible dog hosts, anyone who is willing to take in a dog for a short time.
“My ideal host isn’t someone whose looking to make money from this. It’s preferably someone has or previously owned a dog and still wants that contact,” he said. “Consider someone who’s retired and find they have more time on their hands. They might have been a dog-owner in the past but don’t want the commitment of owning a dog full-time.
“Of course, not everyone is able to take any dog at any time, everyone has their preferences.”
For customers, Mr McLintock offers to collect and drop their dog off after their trip. He hopes the novel venture will attract interest from across Cornwall.