A volunteer dog cuddling and boarding service is being used to help tackle loneliness across Warwickshire.
Barking Mad, which is a franchise business that offers dog boarding, is looking to help people who could be on their own by helping them to become a ‘host’.
The business has ‘hosts’ including families, professionals and retired people that care for dogs across the Warwick district and all the areas beyond.
Hosts look after the dogs while their owners are away on holiday.
Colette Crowley of Barking Mad Warwick and Stratford believes that looking after a dog can help people overcome feelings of isolation or loneliness.
She said: “At Barking Mad Warwick and Stratford we have witnessed first hand how our host community of dog cuddlers and dog companions is a method of alleviating loneliness in our local community.
“We host coffee mornings for our host families, in which hosts are able to meet other hosts, chat about the dogs they host and meet new people. Some of our hosts do not meet other individuals during their week and they are delighted to meet other hosts and discuss the dogs they have had to stay.
“It brings them joy and for some alleviates depression caused by not speaking to anyone during their week.”
Being a host can also work for people who work from home.
“Whilst remote working has obvious advantages, working alone under pressure and not having the physical presence of a team to support you can lead to loneliness that can’t be fixed by any kind of app”, said Colette.
“Caring for a friendly dog not only provides canine cuddles but also the motivation to go and take a walk at lunchtime, increasing the likelihood of adhering to New Year fitness resolutions.”
Barking Mad is also looking to expand the number of hosts across the Warwick district and across Warwickshire.
Colette said: “We would love to hear from people in the local area who would be interested in becoming a host family for dogs on holiday.”
To find out more about becoming a Barking Mad host, you can call Colette Crowley on 01926800570 or click here.