Perks of being a full time pet sitter
When we began pet sitting full time in 2018, travelling all over the U.K. and beyond, we could never have imagined all the experiences we would have with this lifestyle. Beyond the obvious perks like travelling to new places, living rent free, and spending time together, our favourite parts of being nomadic house sitters are often the smaller, everyday things. The experiences we remember most fondly have almost snuck up on us, seeming small when they happened but looking back, these are the times that have made the past four years so rewarding.
Living like a local wherever we travel allows us to experience life in ways we never would have been able to without house sitting. We find cute markets around the corner from our home for the week, we discover hidden gems when we stumble upon new footpaths while walking dogs, and delight at having new favourite cafes, restaurants and places to visit all over the country. If you like having new adventures every day, this lifestyle is perfect for you! To give an insight into what it’s really like to house sit full time, here’s just a few of our unexpected and favourite perks of our lives as full time pet sitters:
Gaining a multitude of pet care experience
Starting with an obvious one – caring for pets as a pet sitter comes with the role! When we first began pet sitting, we thought it would help us decide what breed of dog we’d want to own one day, and what other pets we might like to have. Now we’re a few years in, not only has the decision become even harder to make (We want ALL the dogs! We want ALL the animals!) but we often find ourselves saying ‘Don’t worry, we’ve dealt with that before!’
A lot of pet owners we sit for nervously tell us about some ‘quirky’ behaviour their pets have, and as time goes on more and more often we’ve had experience with something similar, if not the same, already. We often joke that there’s nothing we can’t handle at a house sit – not out of arrogance, but from years of caring for so many different pets. This experience means we’re booked up back-to-back with house sits far in advance, and have a level of confidence at house sits that we didn’t have when we first started out.
At our first house sit in 2018, caring for a well-behaved Border Collie, we couldn’t have dreamed that in 2022 we’d be sitting here saying that we’ve now taken goats for walkies, cared for 18 dogs in one home, or even helped sheep give birth in the snow in a pitch black field at night. We’ve had cuddles with ducks, groomed donkeys, shared our kitchen with a house chicken, and hand fed alpacas. All memories we’d never have if we’d stayed in our 9-5 jobs!
Trying out different lifestyles
Another seemingly obvious one, but it goes beyond the physical location of a house. I can’t think of another occupation where you live in a flint cottage one week and a converted watermill the next, or a top floor London studio apartment before heading off to live on a farm. People often say to us how wonderful it must be to stay in huge mansions with weekly cleaners, fancy furnishings and swimming pools, but it was never about that for us – and it still isn’t.
The lifestyles that come with the houses we look after have always been far more interesting to us. It’s a view into a life we may have never experienced without getting out of our comfort zones and starting this journey. Our sixth ever house sit was in Norfolk caring for three terriers and more chickens than we could count. At that time we imagined ourselves settling down on a smallholding one day, and we were desperate to care for chickens to get a taste of what’s involved in caring for them. We got up early each morning, took the dogs for a stroll around the field, then came back to feed the chickens their corn and collect their eggs. We ate omelettes every day and still had an abundance of eggs! It was lovely watching the hens from the kitchen window and we loved it so much that we still often care for hens, and have just completed our fifth house sit for that same Norfolk home owner. Once we find joy in a lifestyle, it makes it easier to know where we want to go in the future, and all this accumulated experience in different settings helps us shape our idea of what lifestyle we’d like to have when we eventually have a home of our own.
Friendships in all corners of the world
Our Norfolk sit isn’t the only place we’ve stayed multiple times. We have dozens of repeat sits under our belts, having become firm friends with the owners and as a result we’re the first people they call when they need a sitter. Going back to a sit is always rewarding as we can settle back in straightaway – it’s like a homecoming of sorts, and we rarely find that anything has changed! Building these relationships all over the world means we’re never far from friendly faces wherever we roam. We always try to get in touch with homeowners when we visit their area, even if only for a cup of tea or to go for walkies! We’ve been invited to stay if we’re passing through, and we keep in touch with a lot of home owners, so it feels like catching up with old friends when we house sit for them.
As well as making friends with home owners, we stay in touch with other house sitters daily via our Instagram. Most of the new friendships we’ve made in the past few years have been with other people living a similar life to us. It’s great to find other people who just ‘get it’, and we’re grateful to have made so many new friends through house sitting full time!
We’ve touched on trying out different lifestyles via house sitting, but what about the every day things that come with those lifestyles? The home owners we’ve met have been very kind and generous, and allow us to use most if not all elements of their home. We’ve tried out Peloton treadmills, become adept at building roaring log fires, and tasted the dreamiest hot chocolates from a Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser (if you know, you know!!). Some of our favourite books have been discovered at house sits, as well as our go-to recipes – one of the many little joys of house sitting is perusing bookshelves in kitchens all over the country in search of a new favourite dish!
The more house sitting experience you have, the more house sit invitations you receive and therefore you can afford to be pickier with the house sits you accept. In this way, you can easily build your year around taking on house sits that suit the life you’d like. This might be choosing house sits with a good home office set up, so you can continue to work nomadically with a cat in your lap. You might be a film buff, and prefer modern homes with Sky, Netflix, Disney+ and every other streaming app under the sun so you can catch up on all the latest releases, all while petting a doggo beside you!
You should never make luxuries your priority and treat them as just that – a sweet added bonus – but the beauty of house sitting is that you can pretty much choose where and how you live. For us, before we take on any house sit we like to imagine what our day-to-day life there will look like. Aside from our top priorities of getting along with the owner and their pets, we like to stay in places where there are footpaths or walks straight from the house as we are avid walkers and hikers. Little luxuries at home are just the icing on the cake!
Adventure is out there!
Being nomadic in our house sitting lifestyle, we’ve travelled to all corners of the U.K. and have completed a few house sits in Europe too! While people who work 9-5 have to plan breaks around their jobs, with house sitting as our day job it’s like having a mini break every week! We’ve spent ten days exploring the architectural delights of Bath, a week seeing the sights in Berlin, a month hiking mountains in the Lake District, two weeks at a snow-covered lakeside home in Sweden, and several weeks here and there living in different pockets of London. All of these stays were completed with new doggo pals by our sides, and their owners loved receiving photos of their pooches having a little holiday of their own while they’re away!
We also have National Trust membership and have spent many days during U.K. house sits taking new four-legged friends with us on walks around the most stunning properties and grounds up and down Wales, England and Scotland. At the time of writing, we’ve visited 53 different National Trust places since we began house sitting! Being location independent means we see far more of our homeland and the world than would be possible if we weren’t living this nomadic life.
One thing’s for sure with full time house sitting – there’s never a dull moment! There are more perks and positives than we could fit into a blog post as every day is completely different. We’re so glad we took the plunge all those years ago and are now living a life we chose for ourselves, enjoying all the incredible adventures this lifestyle has to offer!
Does house sitting sound like your perfect life? Take a look at our What Is House sitting? blog post for a brief overview, as well as discount codes for various pet sitting websites to get you started! Our blog has lots more posts on house sitting and tales from our travels, and you can also follow us on Instagram to see more of our adventures! Drop us a DM while you’re there – we’d love to hear from you!