ANIMAL lovers who find themselves unable to keep pets because they are working, may be about to have their prayers answered.

A ‘dog day care centre’, which looks after mutts during weekday working hours, could open in East Lancashire for the first time if Rossendale firm BowWowMiaow gets its way.

The Crawshawbooth-based service has said it wants to create four new jobs by expanding into a vacant industrial unit in Waterside Road, Haslingden.

The centre would provide ‘structured play, exercise and rest’ for up to 30 dogs while their owners are at work, co-founder Chloe Taylor said.

She said similar schemes in Greater Manchester had proved successful and that interest in a similar service in Lancashire was growing.

Ms Taylor, who helped set up BowWowMiaow in September 2010, said: “We’ve got four vans at the minute which cover from Burnley down through Rossendale and as far as Hawkshaw, near Ramsbottom.

“With the day care centre, we’re hoping we’ll attract customers from all over Lancashire because we’re right near the motorway.

“At the moment we’ve got a good dog-walking business but my colleague Judith Mallinson and I are branching out as partners.

“If all goes to plan and this is approved and successful, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to branch out again into another area and take on more staff like a groomer.”

If it gets the green light, the centre will be open from 7.30am to 6pm on weekdays and close at the weekends.

Ms Taylor, 26, said people’s busy lifestyles had led to a rise in the number of dogs needing cared for during the working week.

She said: “We’ve got a bit of a mixed clientele at the moment. There are people who get up really early to walk their dogs and will leave them with us because they are concerned; then there are others who want their dogs to benefit from the social side of it.

“We do group walks and the whole place will hopefully be just like a nursery.”