TrustedHousesitters at WVC (Western Veterinary Conference) Las Vegas, Nevada March 6-10th 2016. From Left to Right: TrustedHousesitters CEO Andy Peck, "Yours Truly" Social Media Manager (with fractured ankle) Georgina Richardson, Marketing Manager, Rachel Martin, TrustedHousesitters Co-Founder, Denise Pritchard, Marketing Consultant.
Well I have had the privilege of reading a veritable library since my last post ...
2015 .....Nineteen housesits across three countries:
22 Dogs, 11 Cats, 3 Horses, 11 Chickens, Fish (they kept moving counting was too challenging:) and some birds all while working full time for the world's largest house sitting organisation TrustedHousesitters.com ...
2015 wow what a busy house sitting year it's been! Now on my 17th house sit here in Las Vegas, Nevada the year will finish with Christmas and New Year in San Diego, California with the adorable Alfie. Mum and Dad are taking the family to Hawaii.
John and I are incredibly young at heart retirees, mad about animals, travel and living new experiences, our travel bucket list isn’t anywhere near complete.
Now private jets, houses on every continent, suites in the Leading Hotels of the World, and everything in between would be wonderful however our ship is still at sea on that one meanwhile pet/house sitting ticks all our travel lifestyle boxes, not to mention preserving our childrens inheritance ..... say “Thank you” children!!
Amazing location choices from UK, US, Australia, NZ, Europe, Far East etc etc to say TrustedHousesitters.com has the world covered is an understatement and the only limitation, for us very often, is simply a logistical one .... so much choice, so little time!! We live a few thousand miles away from our family and friends yearly visits are a must, getting a house sit near them is brilliant, close enough to enjoy each other, far enough away not to outstay our welcome in the bathroom!!
So back to our 2015 adventure we started off in Vernon BC. Then on to New York, Las Vegas, Vancouver, UK for 5 months with housesits in London, Oxfordshire, Sussex and the Midlands then it was back to BC on to Los Angeles and the adorable Stella, back to Las Vegas where I'm writing this and all whilst working full time for TrustedHousestters.com as Social Media Manager and contributing to the customer support team.
TrustedHousesitters is a phenomenal success story from humble beginning and a staff of three, five years ago to today .... the largest house sitting site in the world with a staff of 30 and growing and I'm privileged to have been there from the very beginning.
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year
Six to 8 million—that’s how many dogs are waiting in animal shelters to be adopted every year in the USA alone!
San Gabriel Valley Humane Society
ADOPTED! Millie was adopted by George Clooney and his wife Amal!! Millie, a bassett hound, now has a new brother named Louie who is also a rescue! Congratulations and thank you for adopting!!
Thank you George and Amal! When Celebrities, A Listers, The In Crowd, call them what you will, use their positions and influence for the greater good more power to them. Adopting pets, rescuing from shelters, instead of buying from pet shops or off the internet (WHY would you???) risking support illegal breeders and puppy farms, should not be fashionable it should be the first choice for all animal lovers but sadly it isn't so if this photo, which has gone viral, makes just one person stop, think and go directly to their local shelter to rescue a homeless animal it's worked ... so THANK YOU the Clooneys for going public with this and Millie you are one lucky girl!!!
As the saying goes .... Adopting a pet may not change the world but their world will change forever. They may just be the precious soul who rescues you right back! Remember #Adopt Don't Shop!
We left Vancouver at the end of April arriving in London ready for our European Summer. Housesitting is the best way of visiting friends and family ... you NEVER outstay your welcome or have to bed down on the couch or the blow up mattress. Relatives homes in the UK ours anyway, are notoriously small and not conducive with either personal privacy or comfort, unlike this billionaires converted Dreamliner ..... more the second picture
Our first housesit was in Brighton, close to TrustedHousesitters office, handing for work now we are in the Oxfordshire countryside in a delightful family home set in 12 acres with tennis court, paddock for the horses and a gorgeous black lab Shadow, German Shepherd, Pecan and very large tabby Simba. Weather's changeable but hey this is England.
Father's Day today. Happy Day to my Dad, gone but never forgotten ... I miss you Dad.
Hi from the most beautiful city on earth, I think so anyway. Vancouver is simply stunning especially when the sun shines as it has for the past week. Our TrustedHousesitters latest assignment is in the area of Kitsilano, West Vancouver this lovely home is two blocks from Kits beach my morning walk with Stella is divine ... there is something about being near the water.
Stella is just a sweetie she' had a terrible start to her life five years caged in a puppy mill, when I look at her tiny body I cannot imagine this little thing producing litter after litter of puppies. What she endured we cannot imagine but the scars left tell some of the story (if only animals could talk) She is terribly nervous, some everyday actions, like putting her lead on leave her trembling it's obvious she was beaten. Her mistrust of men is so apparent she has not been able to trust being around John, who is kindness himself
and it took me 3 days to gain her trust enough for me to get her lead on without traumatising her. Almost 10 days on and we are the best of friends, she sleeps with me, lets me pick her up and best of all her tail wags constantly ... Mum is on a cruise, Stella is safe well and happy, the sun is shining and I'm housesitting in beautiful Vancouver, everything is well in the world! Have a great Day and thank you Stella for giving me your trust, I am very humbled.
Angela Laws, originally from the UK, has over ten years experience as both a house sitter and a home owner using sitters. She is part of the team at TrustedHousesitters.com and also a regular contributor to Silversurfers, RetireWow, Starts at Sixty, Boomeon and other publications.
1 How did you first learn about house sitting?
10 years ago we were living on Vancouver Island and our elderly, beloved Springer was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Holly had been our constant companion for 14 years while we lived an expat life traveling around the world. My son was visiting from the UK, for what would prove to be Holly's last Christmas and we wanted to take a trip to Seattle. Boarding her was never an option. She needed to be cared for at home. The alternative was no Seattle trip.
That's when I found Laura, a local pet sitter recommended by the doggy day care I used. We had left Holly before but always with our maids or someone she knew, once for 9 months while we were posted to Singapore from Bombay. As always I was more than a little concerned at leaving her. I remember calling home within a few hours of leaving and a comment by Laura, “I think I'm accepted. She's lying next to me with her head on my lap” made everything in my world OK. I would enjoy this trip to Seattle.
Sadly Holly left for the Bridge* soon after and the loss was unbearable.
Then a chance phone call from Laura changed my life. She called one day to inquire after Holly and I couldn't speak. It was then that she made a suggestion that when I was ready I might like to help with her ever growing client list, giving me the opportunity to have pets in my life once more.
My first house and pet sit was literally 10 minutes from my home, a young widow who needed to make a two week business trip to the States and couldn't bear the thought of boarding her gorgeous Cocker Spaniel .... so began this wonderful housesitting journey and the healing of my heart.
2. Why do you house sit?
Why do I house sit? Simply because I can. This altruistic win win concept fulfills a passion for pets, travel and helping people. The lifelong friendships we've made on this journey, both four and two legged, is the icing on an already beautifully, tasteful cake.
For me, pet and house sitting is that lifelong dream of loving something so much you would do it for free. I have pets in my life, I travel far more than I ever thought possible, a blessing for this serial nomad as staying “put” just isn't an option. My life has purpose. I get back far more than I ever give and the sense of personal satisfaction is immeasurable.
House sitting works in it's simplicity and the biggest winners? Precious pets. House sitters at their best, help pet parents close the door with absolute peace of mind.
3. How many house sits have you done? Where?
I've actually lost count over the years but since joining TrustedHousesitters.com in 2010 - 36+ Canada, States, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, NZ...
10% off all membership plans: Use code 3ONTHEROAD
4. How do you find assignments?
When I first started there were no major house sitting platforms so assignments came from word of mouth and recommendations. Over the years the industry has changed beyond recognition and competition has grown dramatically. However, we still need to spread the word to pet and home owners. In spite of the increase in mainstream advertising, there are still too many who are completely unaware of this pet care option and the travel freedom a house and pet sitter can provide.
Today membership of a house sitting website is a great advantage, in fact I believe a necessity. Whilst there are experienced house sitters who very successfully market themselves via their own sites and Social Media, for the vast majority, especially “newbies,” membership of a platform is the best strategy.
I belong to two Platforms: MindMyHouse.com and TrustedHousesitters.com
For me, TrustedHousesitters.com has proved to be the most successful. They are the world's largest housesitting website with the most listings. In some locations competition is high. Setting up daily email/real time alerts is essential, as is applying as soon as the listing goes live. With a great profile, good references, a professional approach and a positive attitude however, you create your own success.
I developed my own site http://www.housesittingperfected.com/ I have secured assignments and made great contacts but to get the best out of a personal site you need to give it constant attention. I simply don't have the time.
Social Media Pages https://www.facebook.com/trustedhousesitters
Facebook Groups such as Housesitting Cafe are a great source of help and information
Now assignments find me, I turn down far more than I can accommodate.
5. What's been your most interesting experience?
Living like a local for 8 months in Andalusia, Spain which is our longest sit to date. I had visited Spain often as a young adult, after all it was taken over by the Brits in the '70's. My lasting impression was “OK to visit, wouldn't want to live here." House sitting changed that perception totally. I could live there.
I volunteered with a horse rescue centre A.R.C.H. http://horserescuespain.org/ and remain actively involved with the charity. Animal charity/welfare is a passion of mine and work with TrustedHousesitters.com Fundraising Affiliate Programme.
We lost Bruno, the elderly rescued Dobbie, we were caring for. He developed cancer and when he was diagnosed our goal was to keep him well enough until his Mum came home. Sadly it wasn't to be. Taking a beloved pet to be euthanized is devastating even though you know it is the ultimate kindness. When that pet belongs in someone else's heart, the loss is no less.
The one comfort I have is knowing for Bruno and his Mum our presence, together with the love and care we gave him, eased both their pain and any guilt Mum may have felt.
6. Any hidden cons of being a sitter?
Too many opportunities, not enough time.
Sadness at leaving pets we become attached to.
I am always up front with my home owners about my OCD levels regarding order and cleanliness but like critiquing restaurant food, opinions and tastes are subjective. What I consider clean and tidy, others view as “hospitilized sanitation levels or show home condition." On occasions the lack of cleanliness and preparation for our arrival has caused concern but only once have I refused to stay in a home. Often all it takes is a gentle reminder, hints and guidance. I usually say I may arrive with a suitcase but would prefer not to live out of one.
When my sitters arrive they compare my home to a 5* Star hotel. All they need to do is unpack, relax and enjoy ..... oh that we were all the same!
7. What's your top tip for making house sitting a success?
Communication, communication, communication!
Dot the i's and cross the t's BEFORE making a commitment.
Never cancel or let your home owner down unless absolutely necessary. Finding something better is not a reason! Be absolutely certain the assignment is right for you in every aspect and once committed stay committed.
Location, location, location may be the ultimate in real estate purchase but it shouldn't be the main/only factor when applying for an assignment.
Have the right attitude and motivation for becoming a house sitter. House sitting is many wonderful things but a free holiday it's not. It comes with great commitment and responsibility. Be professional, applying for an assignment is like applying for any position of responsibility. Be proactive and a problem solver.
Be flexible, don't expect to “book” a house sit or rely on house sitting for your accommodation needs. You will set yourself up to fail.
You must love animals, not just your own ... there is a big difference.
Create a great informative profile. The home owner needs to get a sense of who you are. They will use this information in their selection process. References are paramount and they must be verifiable. If you are new to house sitting, excellent character references will support your profile. House sitting is an arrangement built on trust, anything you can do to increase the home owner's trust in your ability and to meet or exceed their exceptions is to your advantage...
8. Have / would you use a house sitter yourself?
I have engaged housesitters for ten years. My expectations are very high. I've never been disappointed, although I was once let down at the last minute but managed to salvage the situation. I also had a couple who looked after my home very well but were not the most gracious or generous of human beings, a rarity.
Mostly my experiences have been brilliant and on a positive note the couple of negative experiences demonstrated to me what an impact bad practices by a housesitter can have on someone’s life and plans.
Knowing this concept from both sides gives me a unique perspective. It allows me to bring empathy and knowledge to my role as a member of TrustedHousesitters.com customer support team.
* Rainbow Bridge http://www.petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm
The experience of losing a dog is universal for every pet parent. If these wise words help you, or someone you know, even if just a little, then this article has served its purpose.
Ernest Montague told DogHeirs, “I wrote this several years ago in memory of Bolo, a black and white Pit Bull who would always go for a walk, right up to the day he died. He might only get 15 feet before he stopped and looked at me and gave me the look: ‘I can’t go any further. But don’t you think for one minute I’m done walking.'”
Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to ‘death’, don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.
Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say: ‘No, no, not a good idea. Let’s not go for a walk.’ Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their aging tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that’s what dogs are. They walk.
It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone (exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.
However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don’t teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.
When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging its tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: ‘Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.’
When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human while. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it’s a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)
Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.
But don’t get fooled. They are not ‘dead.’ There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.
I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.”
Read more at http://www.reshareworthy.com/dogs-never-die-they-sleep-in-your-heart/#2bsZsq3V2y0cAjfG.99