Burnside’s Frances Newman has had a peculiar career path - from working in a forensics lab -to looking after black Labs!
Frances, who lives in Tynwald Avenue with husband Paul,currently runs the Glasgow South branch of ‘Barking Mad’ which encompasses Rutherglen, East Kilbride, Bothwell, Hamilton, Uddingston, Newton Mearns and Clarkston.
Barking Mad provides dog sitting and pet sitting across the UK - an alternative to kenneling when owners go on vacation, or cannot look after their pooches for some time.
Once someone has requested their dog be fostered while they go on holiday or can’t look after their pets for a period Frances will head out to meet the pooch and assess its adoption needs.
She said: “We get as much information as we can about the dog and design a care plan that goes to the foster family. We also try and match the right dog to the right foster family as, for example, you don’t want a great big dog in a small flat. Dog lovers have a big issue with their dogs going in to kennels, so we find they are much happier with their dogs going in to a home.”
The 45-year-old has her own 11-year-old Cairn Terrier called Monty but is currently looking after a 12-year-old Labrador called Albert.
She added: “In Rutherglen we’ve got three foster families, but we’ve got ones all through the south side. Monty has no problem being around other dogs.”
As fun as it sounds, looking after canines hasn’t always been Frances’s job.
Starting off in science, she graduated from Glasgow University with a BSc. in Biochemistry in 1988.
She went on to work in the labs of the university for a number of years before making use of another talent she had... singing!
She added: “I had always done quite a lot of singing and I was always quite good at it so I started doing auditions for professional stuff! ”
Frances ended up starring as Carlotta in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Phantom of the Opera during its year run in Edinburgh.
She also freelanced in opera for the next six years for English and Scottish opera companies, however, decided she needed something more stable and so went back to the lab.
In 2000 she moved to Strathclyde Uni in the forensic science department, helping students. After six years she decided it still wasn’t for her and discovered Barking Mad were looking for recruits
Now she couldn’t be happier in her new role of looking after man’s best friend.
She added: “Labs weren’t really for me and I was looking for something else to do. I had used Barking Mad in the past as Monty had gone to stay with a host family and I remember thinking what a great job that would be! Then the opportunity came around for me to do it and I’m a dog lover so it seemed like fun. I love my job.“