The Travel Chest Blog

Let’s shout about it! Find out everything there is to know about rescue dogs, re-homing projects, shelter tales and much anticipated success stories on our Travel Blog. Stay updated on the latest travel deal news and the latest animal rescue news all in one place!

Why we began – plus an intro to Starlight Barking!

Why we began rescuing dogs – an introduction

During the 80s I was really lucky to be working in the Greek islands for a fantastic little company called Sunmed. The English bosses were mad dog lovers and so were most of the reps too. Fast forward to the modern day and what started as a hobby for rescuing dogs has now turned into a full time business and charity. 

Several of us adopted rescue dogs and our guests talked about them on their questionnaires and dug deep to help us with the other waifs and strays, clubbing together to pay the enormous quarantine bills and help some of the beach dogs get adopted. Even our Greek boss got involved, turning a blind eye, or in most cases nose, when the company cars were delivered at the end of the season clearly smelling of dog!

The lovely staff at Zante airport even gave my own little rescue, Foxie, an airside pass so we could start the dog rescue PR from the moment our guests stepped off their Dan Air flight.

Foxie – Zante 1982

Fast forward to the 90s

I’m co-founder of a small family ski specialist called Snowbizz and we have a travel agency called Sunbizz, specialising in last minute Teletext holidays to Greece. With just 9 staff, we’re tiny by comparison to the big boys on Teletext but crazily, we’re up there with the best and are in most tour operator’s top 10 travel agencies for Greece. None of them can quite believe it. Pre-email and internet, our working life is mental. We are open 7 days, not quite 24/7 – just feels like it. We are permanently glued to our headsets as the phones never stop ringing. Every call is a booking.

My old travel company, Sunmed, has merged several times and is now, and still is, a household name. My old boss and friend, Lynnie, is giving us any of their last minute seats to sell. We’re also working with other old Sunmed friends who have gone on to run their own travel companies. Apart from school holidays on every date most tour operators have a few empty seats. Last minute we are selling quality holidays at silly prices. It’s win-win for everyone.

I believe we got through our working day just by laughing at the craziness of it all. It was so frantic. Early morning we got a fax (yes – a fax!) sent to Fiona, our agency manager, from every tour operator friend indicating what was still available to sell. Viewdata was a pre-historic, but clever pre-Google app designed to help helpless travel agents find the last beds/seats on flights. Young travel agents – you can moan at your internet connections now – Viewdata had a mind of its own and froze constantly.

The only time we ever stop is when clunky old Viewdata freezes or when one of our animals or children are sick!

Fast forward to 2015

With our mutual love of animals, it was a partnership made in Heaven when I became re-connected with Fiona when her then 3 year old son, Ollie, came to Snowbizz to learn to ski and she helped me rescue and re-home 4 street puppies from Lemnos. This was the start of more dog rescue stories to come as more and more family and friends starting to help us.


Reminiscing about our Sunbizz days and Fiona remembering all my dog rescue stories from Greece, we realised that despite some fantastic volunteers little had changed in the last 30 years. And in many other countries the situation was even worse.

  • Animal welfare overseas is still mostly handled by just a few little star volunteers
  • Most dog shelters overseas are run-down sad gloomy prisons
  • Resort reps and tourists want to help but don’t always know how to
  • Barbaric, illegal random poisonings still affect everyone, even loved house dogs
  • Week old puppies are constantly found in the garbage
  • Hunting dogs are dumped at the end of the season
  • And tour operators would always want to advertise their empty seats!

And so the Starlight Barking Trust and Travel Chest were born, the only travel company dedicated to rescuing dogs! All 100% of our profit will go towards dog shelters and help save animals. We’ve teamed up with some other charities and starting with the dog shelters of Greece and Cyprus we believe that collectively we have the power to make a massive difference.

Marley – Lemnos 2017

How you can make a difference too

We want your help to create an enormous network of holiday makers who CARE about:

Children, Animals and Respect for Environment

The first thing is to please sign up and tell all your friends about the Travel Chest newsletter:

Let’s Shout About It!

We will bring you features on the Model Resort Project and how you can give back to the resorts which you visit.

Travel Chest will bring you the best travel deals ever! 

100% of our profit will help rescue projects worldwide!

This is real David and Goliath stuff. Please help us become the greatest.

A huge thank you from the Starlight Barking Team xxx