Recently, someone asked us ‘Why do people even need house sitters?’. Sometimes we forget that not everyone understands what we do as full time house and pet sitters! This prompted us to share the following two stories on our Instagram, breaking down the responsibilities we had at a recent house sit in order to care for the animals and home:

We received a LOT of responses to those stories – mostly, people just couldn’t believe how much work we had to do, and that someone would hand over all those responsibilities to us. But that’s what we do. As house and pet sitters, our aim is to slip into a homeowner’s routine as seamlessly as possible and ensure that the pets are happy and cared for, and the house is kept ticking over as normal while the owners are away.

So why is getting a pet sitter better than putting your pets in kennels?

We truly believe that animals are happier staying in their own home instead of a new place, and strongly feel that it takes animals longer to get used to new surroundings than it does for them to get used to new people. At home, your dog is surrounded by their familiar scents, has all their toys and finds comfort sleeping in their usual spots. Some cats have certain areas in the house that they’re used to curling up in. For people who work 9-5 or for whatever reason need to have a set daily routine with their pets, inviting a house sitter to care for their animals is a good way to ensure their familiar routine is adhered to.

For some animals, kennels or boarding facilities just aren’t feasible. You could always ask a friend or neighbour to pop in and feed your tank of fish, but what about donkeys, snakes, tortoises or alpacas? These are just a few of the many unusual animals we’ve cared for while house sitting, whose owners would have had a tough time finding boarding facilities or friends to care for them. With larger animals like horses or cows, it can be unfair to ask a friend with little animal care experience to look after them while you’re away.

The same goes for reactive, anxious, or difficult animals. We’ve cared for our share of reactive animals over our years of house sitting – so much so that we very rarely find ourselves in situations that we can’t handle these days. We know how to act around nervous animals, and are prepared to keep up any behavioural training necessary while on the sit. Some dogs can be nervous around other animals – we cared for two Staffordshire Bull Terriers who would bark and lunge at any dog or cat they saw – imagine putting them in kennels where they would not only be petrified, but also scare the other animals around them. For some owners, putting their pets in kennels or asking a friend to watch them are unfortunately just not viable options.

Then there’s the benefits of having someone care for your home. Our longest house sit to date has been six weeks in a rural cottage in Norfolk, where we cared for three adorable terriers. Inviting us into their home for such a long duration was not only more secure, as we stayed in the house and made it looked lived in while the owner was away, but you’d also be surprised at how quickly house duties pile up. As we shared on our stories, there are many duties in the house we always carry out during house sits, and depending on the time of year or type of house these can differ wildly. For this housesit at the beginning of January, our duties included watering all the house plants, taking in mail and parcels that got delivered, tending the garden, taking out the bins and recycling each week, general cleaning and tidying the home – on top of feeding, walking and caring for all three dogs and keeping in contact with the homeowner for the duration of the house sit.

That’s another benefit – leaving your home in the hands of a house sitter means you can get regular updates on how your pets and home are doing, without having to go through staff at a kennel or feel like you’re annoying the friend you asked to pop into your home. It’s literally our job to receive and respond to any texts, calls or emails you send our way, and we enjoy keeping in touch as well as sending lots of photos and videos so you feel at ease. We’re also used to questions like;

‘Did the gardener come this morning?’

‘Could you open that letter and tell me what it says?’

‘When this bunch of flowers opens up in a week’s time, could you send me a photo?’

We are yet to say no to a request – as we’ve said, we’re there to slot into your routine and make the process as easy as possible for you and your pets.

When we leave a house we like to stay and handover with the homeowner, but sometimes homeowners tell us not to wait and in that case we arrange where to leave front door keys and make sure the pets are tended to and happy before we leave. We like to provide a great service, so we’ll wash and dry any bedding and towels provided for our stay, as well as tidying and cleaning the house from top to bottom. Most of the homeowners who send us reviews and testimonials say that we’ve left the house in a better condition than when they left for their trip – perhaps this is an unexpected benefit to getting a house sitter?!

All in all it’s a fantastic system – you get total peace of mind that your pets, whatever they may be, are being cared for in their own home and your house is being looked after to the highest standard.

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