Claire Bannister MSc - Business Owner


As a child I wanted to be Dr Doolittle but I didn’t want the animals to speak to me in English, I wanted to learn to speak their language.  This is what has driven me to become an animal behaviourist and I may not quite be a doctor yet (watch this space) but through a lifetime of experience and education with a large variety of animals I have become an expert on their evolution, physiology and behaviour. This is essential to fully understand their needs and motivations so that we can give them the best lives possible and provide the highest welfare standards for the precious animals in our lives, because they truly deserve it.

Working with dogs is such a great job. They constantly surprise and amaze us and as a scientist I know that we have only scratched the surface of their abilities.

I am highly qualified with a Master’s degree in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare, which means I not only understand the theory of training and behaviour modification but have practical skills at that level too. 

The language of dominance is now completely out-dated and scientifically debunked. I adhere to and teach a strict code of ethics using the most modern behaviour methods and only use positive reinforcement.  I find that love works so much better than fear and creates a healthy, well balanced relationship between you and your dog. 

I have three dogs and two cats so animals keep me pretty busy in my spare time as well.

Matt Wright - Full-time Daycare Uncle Matt

I’m 23 years old and live locally in Colne.  I have always loved animals and wanted to work with them.  After I left school I was unaware that there were college courses that led to qualifications in animal care, so I studied ICT for 2 years, but I knew that this wasn’t what I really wanted to do.  Around that time I discovered the animal care course and animal management course at Craven College and studied there for 3 years. I left college with triple distinctions which I am proud of.

During my time at college I volunteered at a local exotic and domestic animal sanctuary, and at that time I thought that I really wanted a job in a zoo. But then I started to volunteer for a dog walking business which is when I realised that I truly wanted to work with dogs. I found them really fun to be around and I learnt about the different behaviours that they display and their communication. Since volunteering for the dog walking business I wanted to get more involved with dogs and found Barka Lounge and fell in love with the place.

At this point you would be expecting me to say that I have two dogs at home when in fact I have 2 tortoises one called Wilson … yes that Wilson from the movie Cast Away, many people who come to the house usually end up calling out his name when he trots away (in a Tom Hanks voice).  The other tortoise is called Norris just because he looks like a Norris (he just defines the name).  And a lot of the time they do display playful behaviour, just like a dog.  

In my spare time I like to go to the gym, reading and learning about animals and history, playing acoustic or electric guitars, I have around 9, mostly vintage guitars at home.  I love hunting in charity shops for vintage clothing from the 80’s and 90’s, my wardrobe is literally a step back into the past!

Emily Birkett - Full-time Daycare Auntie Emily

Emily joining the team was a huge hit with the Hip Hounds! all of the doggies love her. She creates games, and injects lots of fun into daycare, and has a smile that lights up the room, every day of the week. 

Auntie Emily lives in Barnoldswick with her partner and son. Whilst she doesn't have her own doggy yet, spending all day Monday to Friday with over 100 fur babies a week she doesn't feel that she urgently needs one!

Emily has cats at home and enjoys her spare time being out and about in the countryside having lots of fun with her little boy.

Auntie Emily joins the team from a background of horses, and managing a stable yard.

Emily is working hard studying a Barka Lounge bespoke dog behaviour diploma course, written and managed by Keits training academy.

Neve Rose Kinsella - Full-time Daycare Auntie Neve

Auntie Neve is a fantastic member of the team. She provides fun and games and oodles of cuddles. All of the fur babies adore her, with many of our puppies following her around all day!

Neve always knew she would have a career working with animals, and has a doggy of her own named Fin, he is a beautiful 13 year old Lakeland Patterdale cross. 

Neve is also studying her Barka bespoke dog behaviour diploma, managed on the job by Keits training academy. 

In Neve's spare time she enjoys hiking with Fin, spending time with friends and family and holidays to Spain in the sun!

Introducing - The Awesome Hip Human Volunteers / College and School placements.....

Barka Lounge is proud to support Craven College, Askham Bryan and all of the local secondary schools with student placements to gain dog specific knowledge and education. 

Auntie Lindsay
Auntie Kath

Uncle Sam

Auntie Jemima

Auntie Lizzie
Auntie Jenny