Honiton business owner Lucy Wakefield is this month celebrating the 5th anniversary of running her dog sitting business, Barking Mad. Despite her business success, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. The story of why she started the business revolves around giving up a career she loved due to a health scare and losing her beloved Newfoundland, Kodiak.
Up until 2008 Lucy was enjoying her career teaching children at Shute Community Primary School. However, at the start of the new school year, Lucy developed an intense headache which lasted a week, which she thought could be solved with a quick trip to the doctors.
It wasn’t until Lucy spoke to the doctor that she found out her condition was far more serious than a headache. Unfortunately, it turned out that Lucy had a benign brain tumour, which over a period of three years, she had operated on three times. Each time she had to take time off work. She knew that things had to change but she didn’t know how. Then her Newfoundland, Kodiak, at the age of 16 months, developed a twisted gut and sadly died. This was the trigger that she needed. Lucy gave notice on her teaching career but with no clear idea of where she was going next with her life.
Having become an odd jobber doing some gardening, some housework and some supply teaching, in 2013 Lucy noticed an advert in the local newspaper seeking an employee to work for the local Barking Mad franchisee. Little did she know this would be the start of a whole new business journey.
In September 2014 the business that Lucy was working for, came up for sale. Lucy wondered if this was what she was looking for, owning her own business, working with dogs, something that she loved.
Now celebrating its 5th birthday, and having recently won an award for outstanding financial growth, Lucy is loving her new career being a successful local business owner at Barking Mad Exeter. Lucy said:
“Barking Mad really did help me in my time of need and I'm so grateful to everyone who has helped to make this business a success. It’s a lot of hard work but getting to work with dogs every day is just wonderful. I would recommend dog hosting to anyone who has lost a dog themselves or to people who live alone or work from home. Having a dog in the house is fantastic and it can really brighten your day.”
Lucy’s business, Barking Mad Exeter, provides alternative accommodation to kennels for dog owners who are going on holiday. Dogs are looked after by volunteer hosts while transport, insurance, support and guidance are all handled by Lucy who is professionally trained and holds licences with the local council.
Who said ‘never work with children or animals!’
To celebrate the 5th anniversary, Lucy is holding a little coffee and cake event at the Mackarness Hall, Honiton High Street (next to St Pauls), on Saturday 14th September at 2.30pm. The event is open to all existing customers and hosts and anyone who might like some more information about becoming a customer or host. We will be holding a raffle in support of Dogs for Good, Barking Mad’s chosen charity of the year.
ALL DOGS WELCOME