Carole’s proud to call herself Barking Mad!

Carole Chester, of Bovingdon, who owns a Barking Mad franchise

Carole Chester, of Bovingdon, who owns a Barking Mad franchise

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Bovingdon businesswoman Carole Chester knew she was barking up the right tree when the chance to buy a dogs-on-holiday franchise came up.

Franchises are flat-pack businesses where people invest in a brand and get head office back-up to grow, cutting out some of the risk of completely going it alone.

Mrs Chester and her family, in Lancaster Drive, had previously looked after dogs for Barking Mad so when its Amersham and Chesham area became available she jumped at the chance.

She now works as a link between people who want a home-from-home for their pooch while they go on holiday and the people that host the cared-for canines.

Mrs Chester, 54, said: “I am now able to combine my love of dogs with running my own business.

“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.

“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.”

Mrs Chester was a defence industry design engineer before working in a school kitchen after having two daughters.

After seven years, she wanted to move to something less strenous.

She first heard about Barking Mad five years ago in the school playground.

Barking Mad arranges accommodation for dogs with select host families, where their existing feeding and exercising routines are maintained. Many hosts are retired dog lovers who, having owned pets all their lives, do not wish to commit again to the full time responsibility of owning their own dog but miss the companionship.