Dog lovers know all too well the pain of losing their four legged friend, who invariably becomes part of the family.
But in September a special event in Fife will give all dog lovers a chance to remember their former canine companions.
For a unique dog-sitting and boarding service in the Kingdom has organised an event at Leven beach as part of the second ever Dog Remembrance Month.
First held in April last year, Fife and Kinross Barking Mad franchise owners John and Elaine Warburton held a Dugs and Mugs event in 2017 to mark the occasion.
But this year, their quarterly Canine Capers and Cakes event will serve as the remembrance event – at Leven beach on Sunday, September 2, at 11am.
John said: “We usually have more than 30 dogs joining us for a mad dash about the beach – it’s fantastic to see.
“Our next walk is on September 2 and we want to invite dog lovers and those who have lost their dogs to come along and join us.
“There will be a Remembrance Tree for those who would like to leave a wee card and support our chosen charity, Dogs for Good.
“It’s an amazing charity which provides support dogs for children and adults with disabilities and helps transform their lives.
“When you see these dogs in action, you’re left in awe of their abilities and what they can do to help people.
“All of the messages left in memory of dogs will also be incorporated into a special willow tree memorial, which we’ll be planting in our garden. So it will be a lasting memorial to dogs people have loved and lost.”
For John and Elaine, who took over the Fife and Kinross franchise more than four years ago, it was a case of coming home.
John explained: “We were both born and brought up in Fife but moved away for work.
“We’d had enough of the rat race in London and around five years ago decided to move back to Fife to be closer to family.
“I initially worked in Edinburgh as a marketing director and Elaine as a keep fit instructor.
“But friends then told us the Barking Mad franchise was being sold. We both love animals so we met with the former owners and decided to go for it.”
While Elaine focused on the business alone for the first year, they then decided John should get on board full time too.
And the couple now love every second of their work, pairing up hosts with dogs looking for a holiday home.
John added: “I tend to operate with my head, whereas Elaine is much more emotionally attached to the dogs. She loves nothing more than getting cuddles from them all! “She’s even getting a tattoo in memory of all the dogs we’ve looked after.
“It’s not a nine to five job but neither of us would go back to the rat race now – we love what we do.
“We have our own Barking Mad family, with the hosts and customers.
“We hold Dugs and Mugs events monthly, where the hosts come along for a cuppa and Elaine’s cakes.
“And our quarterly Canine Capers and Cakes are also a big hit – the dogs have a blast running along the beach, while the customers and hosts get a chance to meet up and have a chat.
“We also have our own craft group, ladies who make goods we can sell at events for two local charities, Second Chance Kennels in Thornton and Fife Greyhound Trust.
“It’s our own community and we look after each other.
“For instance, during the Beast from the East, I was able to take supplies out to our customers and hosts in the Discovery.
“We are all one big family and we all love dogs!”
In addition to running Barking Mad, John and Elaine also have a veritable menagerie at their home in Fife.
They have five dogs of their own, three guinea pigs, two rabbits, two cats, five chickens and a couple of fish tanks.
So there’s never a dull moment in the Warburton household ... and that’s exactly the way they like it!
If you would like to join the Canine Capers and Cakes event, please visit Barking Mad Fife and Kinross on Facebook or contact John and Elaine on 01592 841064.
For more information on Barking Mad, visit www.barkingmad.uk.com.