HOLIDAY time is here again and not just for humans, because families with pets have to make the sometimes difficult decision about what happens to them while their owners are away.

A year ago animal lover Sue Gilkes, who lives in Little Walford, near Shipston on Stour, set up her business Animals at Home Cotswolds, which is celebrating its first birthday as the school holidays begin and all routes lead to the coast or airport.

The aim is to look after pets of whatever shape, size or type when their owners are taking a break. Mrs Gilkes explained: "The service we provide is very different to those many pet owners are used to. We know it is difficult to relax and enjoy time away from home if you are not 100 per cent confident that your pet is receiving the love, care and attention it is used to. This is why we tailor our service to meet every individual requirement.”

She has never lived without animals around her and over the years has owned a number of different pets from horses and donkeys, to cats and dogs, to chickens and ducks and lots of furries. Between them Mrs Gilkes and husband, Richard, own 13 dogs, many of which she shows, while there are also five working Clumber Spaniels and one working Springer Spaniel.

Animals At Home Cotswolds places pets with carefully chosen, animal loving hosts who are at home all day and have secure gardens and pet friendly properties. It also ensures hosts only have dogs from one family at a time, so they get all the attention they need.

"We have had an excellent first year," Mrs Gilkes added, " and are looking forward to many happy smiling owners and pets in the future."

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