Elaine Warburton, who is a former police officer, has set up an Airbnb-style business for dogs. The 46-year-old from Scotland said that the business has helped her come out of her mental health problems that she had been suffering from for over 20 years.
Dog owners, who often can't take their pets along when proceeding on vacation, come to them instead of sending them to kennels, she said explaining the concept of her initiative. They match each dog with a host who is ready to pet the animal temporarily, thereby giving the dogs a holiday of their own, she added.
She took over 'Barking Mad', a dog boarding experience franchise in Perth and Kinross in 2014 with John (47), her childhood sweetheart. Elaine married John in Croatia in 2010. The couple made a community of about 20 volunteers who host dogs while their owners are away on a holiday. Elaine revealed that she had been struggling with depression since her first marriage broke down in 1994. The process of match-making a dog with a human host has helped her tremendously. While describing the functionalities of her Airbnb, Elaine said that owners approach her with their dogs and then, matches it with an appropriate host. The dogs, thus, are cared for in an atmosphere similar to their own home.
Elaine said that she feels like she has the best job in the world. She said she has always used exercise to treat depression. For her, running around and setting up pups with their hosts has helped to boost her mood in ways she says she could never have imagined. She added that the dogs keep her balanced and the effect of this is that her anti-depressant medication is the lowest it's ever been.
She also said:
"People may think I'm barking mad for doing this, but at least I'm no longer depressed!"
For Elaine, animals are like 'therapy'. Her service now helps connect dogs whose owners are away on vacation with host families across the UK. Instead of traditional kennels, the pet dogs get to experience living in a new place with a new family.