It’s a dog’s life for award-winning Hartlepool businesswoman

Tracy Johnston (right) being presented with her award from Barking Mad MD Lee Dancy.
Tracy Johnston (right) being presented with her award from Barking Mad MD Lee Dancy.

A Hartlepool businesswoman has scooped an award after swapping dental management for canines of a different variety.

Three years ago Tracy Johnston stopped running her dentist husband’s practice and took up a franchise with dog boarding organisation, Barking Mad.

Tracy Johnston with one of her own dogs.

Tracy Johnston with one of her own dogs.

Now, the 55-year-old has shown she is top dog at running a company, after being awarded Most Improved Business Owner of the Year 2017 at Barking Mad’s 14th national conference.

The mum-of-two, who has grown her business by 40% this year, said she was thrilled with the award.

Tracy, who lives with her family in Blaise Garden Village, Tunstall, said: “It was a huge surprise. No way did I think it would be me, I am so pleased.”

The dog-lover, who has three miniature schnauzers of her own, runs the Cleveland, Teesside and Darlington branch of Barking Mad, and her main role is to match dogs with one of her 30 hosts when owners are going on holiday or need their pet looking after without putting them in kennels.

It is hard work and a full time job, but I love it

Tracy Johnston

She said: “It is hard work and a full -time job, but I love it.”

Tracy visits new customers in their homes to meet the dogs and she also collects and returns the pooches from their holidays.

She also supports the hosts while they have their four-legged visitors, such as taking a dog to the vet if it becomes unwell.

Managing director of Barking Mad, Lee Dancy, said: “Tracy has worked very hard and moved the business forward despite the challenges set in her way.

“We are proud to recognise her in this way and wish her the very best as she continues to go from strength to strength.”

Tracy is always on the lookout for new hosts and anyone interested can contact her on 01429 860846 or email her at