A Borders duo are offering dog lovers, who can't have their own pets, the chance to look after some furry friends as part of a temporary holiday scheme.

This month, Barking Mad - Lanark and Innerleithen, has been taken over by Marlene and Sarah-Anne Dickie who are inviting Borderers to volunteer as dog sitters and help families who don't want to put their pets into normal kennels.

The mother and daughter team, who have owned dogs themselves, took over the business after their Labrador Retriever, Max, spent time with a Barking Mad sitter.

Sarah-Anne told us: "We have had negative experiences in recent years with dog kennels with our own dog and we feel quite strongly about not using kennels to board your dog.

"We used Barking Mad and they were just amazing with Max.

"We are mother and daughter and have always loved dogs and wanted to work together in this industry for a few years and we were lucky enough to be in a financial situation where when offered to buy a part of the company, we could.

"And now, here we are!"

And becoming a dog sitter doesn't just benefit the families who need someone to look after their pet, it can also have some positive effects on an individual's health.

Sarah-Anne added: "Having a dog around has been linked with reducing stress and depression in adults and children.

"There have been benefits linked to lower risks of asthma in children who are exposed to dogs and pets in the early stages of their lives. General benefits would be purely for the great company and to get yourself fit and active.

"It is very rewarding being trusted completely with someone's dog.

"Dogs are becoming more and more pampered and loved by their owners as the days and weeks go on. It is a big deal trusting another human with your pet.

"And, who wouldn't want a furry friend to keep them smiling all day? It is also becoming a way that people can socialise by meeting other dog owners/sitters in the community and building friendships."

Prospective dog sitters go through a recruitment process to see how suitable they are for the job.

After this, volunteers can also join in with regular dog sitter meet-ups to get to know fellow hosts.

To find out more, contact Marlene and Sarah-Anne on 01555 476026, or email them at sarahanne.dickie@barkingmad.uk.com

And for more information about Barking Mad, visit www.barkingmad.uk.com