Reducing loneliness at Christmas is the aim of a North West Norfolk dog-sitting and boarding service.
Barking Mad Dog Care, who arrange for dogs to be looked after by host families while their owners are away as an alternative to kennels, is supporting Campaign to End Loneliness.
The service is encouraging their host families, customers and other dog lovers to take their pooch to visit someone who may be alone this festive season.
Tania Stowe of North West Norfolk Barking Mad said: “We are encouraging dog lovers to take a friendly pooch to say hello to someone who would appreciate a visit from a furry visitor and a chat.
“We aim to inspire the realisation that the greatest gift anyone can give this Christmas is time. It is our heartfelt mission to do our part to reduce loneliness, at Christmas and beyond.
“Dogs can be such a great ice-breaker and a real conversation started, so why not consider if there is someone nearby who you could begin to chat to.
“A common sense approach is obviously required though and the dog must be of suitable temperament.”
The service is also supporting The Great Christmas Get Together, which is a campaign run by the Jo Cox Foundation encouraging people to share #MincePieMoments with others.
The campaign declares “Christmas is a time when too many people are isolated and alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way!”
North West Norfolk Barking Mad is hosting their Christmas Get Together at Hunstanton Methodist Church on Tuesday, December 19, from 2.30pm, and is inviting anyone who is interested in spending time with others to join.
Ms Stowe added: “We hope that through this initiative we can help ensure that isolated individuals feel valued and included this Christmas.
“We started our campaign to reduce loneliness in the run up to last Christmas and have now established a regular monthly Tea with Tails coffee afternoon for dog lovers who feel isolated.
“We now have people who are newly widowed, fighting illnesses, dementia sufferers and even stay at home mums attending. Everyone has the chance to chat, cuddle a visiting dog and have a cuppa and cake.”
For more information, visit www.barkingmad.uk.com.