Yes, I know I have used the wrong “tale” here, but it is deliberate, used to illustrate my point. To really enjoy housesitting you must genuinely love all creatures furry, feathered and finned. And anyone familiar with my blog would know animals are my greatest passion (okay next to James!). Yes, there are animal free sits available, but they’re not for us.
James and I both relish the challenge of walking in to a housesit and making new furry friends, and setting the owner’s mind at rest. Many of our homeowners are first timers and are a little nervous. Not only are they leaving their precious pets with strangers but they are also leaving their home with them. It is a very trust based situation. One that if it works is a win:win situation for all concerned. The homeowner gets their pets and often gardens looked after for free. The housesitter gets free accommodation in a comfortable home with the added bonus of a ready-made fur family. As the things we miss most when travelling are our pets and our home cooking, it is an ideal situation for us.
Before the sit we chat back and forth on email, telephone and text message with the homeowners. Sometimes we meet up, if distance permits, occasionally we Skype or WhatsApp. In the early days we referred them to my blog to gain credibility but now we refer them to our housesitting references. By the time we meet up we feel we know each other already!
We divide the duties on our sits. I am the feeder, medicine administer and cleaner-upper of the animals (James doesn’t do doggie-do!) and garden waterer. We both do the walking, but the kitchen is largely James’ domain. He is something of an expert on coffee machines now!
Housesitting has enabled us to travel within Australia on an eye-watering budget of $100 a day (our financial adviser is still incredulous about that!) for over four months. So housesitting could be the way for an animal lover to travel the world on a budget, we are certainly going to give it our best shot!
Tips for Housesitting
There are many websites around for housesitting. We use Trusted House Sitters and have found them excellent. They offer much more information/pictures on the sit and the animals than others we have seen. They are an English based company but have sits all over the world, we have used them for all our sits in Australia. If you want to join TrustedHouseSitters send me your email address and I can arrange a 20% discount on membership for you.
I’m not kidding when I say you must love animals because there is a good amount of cleaning up “you-know-what” involved in some sits, especially where older animals are concerned. You also need to be very confident, with dogs especially, because some of the larger ones can be strong on the other end of a lead. And of course if you have to give them medicines.
One of the things we always do is send photos to the owners of their pets enjoying the sit, usually by text message. I laughingly call it “proof of life” photos but it just reassures the homeowner that Fluffy is happy. And okay, I like taking cute animal photos!