DOG lover Tracy Johnston has ventured into business after starting up as an alternative to kennels.
The Hartlepool woman wanted to find a business she could run from her home in Hartlepool.
And after investigating how to do it, she has now become the Cleveland, Tees and Darlington area representative of a company called Barking Mad which offers a service for pet lovers to leave their animals.
Tracy has always been an animal lover and has always had dogs in the family. She owns three miniature Schnauzers called Millie, Tetley and Lunar.
She first came across Barking Mad by chance after overhearing a conversation between two people. She asked them for some information and was given a leaflet.
She logged on to the website and was delighted to find the franchise in her area was available to buy.
Tracy said: “I really enjoy meeting like-minded people and being able to solve their pet care dilemmas, it gives me a tremendous amount of job satisfaction.”
The mother-of-two, who is married to Tim Johnston, also, 52, lives in the Ward Jackson Park area of Hartlepool.
She has previous management experience as she used to do work in the dental practice which Tim used to own and run before his retirement.
The former South Shields resident said: “Our customers have complete peace of mind knowing their dogs are being cared for in a home environment similar to their own, whilst our host families are able to enjoy all of the benefits of owning a dog but on a part time basis.
“They say the best part about being a grandparent is that you have all the fun before handing the grandchildren back, and Barking Mad is the canine equivalent.”
Tracy described the response so far as “amazing.” She said she had been overwhelmed by the number of people asking about the service just six weeks into the venture.
Founder of the operation, Lee Dancy, developed the flourishing enterprise from an idea which was originally conceived out of sheer frustration when she failed to find suitable care for her own dog.
Barking Mad arranges accommodation for dogs with select host families, where their feeding and exercise routines are maintained.